Army taps 2,100 Louisiana light infantry soldiers for fall deployment to Iraq

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, march towards a CH-47 Chinook while conducting cold load training on March 1st. Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Akridge

The Army said Thursday approximately 2,100 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from Fort Polk, Louisiana will deploy to Iraq in the fall of this year.

The Mountain Division is scheduled to replace the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in the regular rotation of troops, according to Stars & Stripes.

The 82nd Airborne’s 2nd Brigade has been in country for seven months advising Iraqi forces as they faced the tough opposition during the battle for Mosul — ISIS’s de facto capital in Iraq.

According to the Army, the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be the first brigade-sized unit to deploy under the Associated Units Pilot Program. As part of the Army Total Force, 3rd Brigade has served with the 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard since March 2016.

The Army says building teams integrated with active and reserve components makes the team much stronger.

“The significant impact we’re making as a division crosses state lines, oceans and international borders,” said Maj. Gen. S. Lee Henry, commanding general of the 36th Infantry Division, Texas Army National Guard. “With the enhanced integration of active/reserve components, we’re building a better and stronger team that will enable us to fight our nation’s wars. We wish the 3rd Brigade well and a safe return to their families.”

Army officials say the team is trained and well prepared for the mission ahead.

“During the last several months, the Patriots have worked hard and completed multiple training events to include a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation in preparation for this important mission,” said Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, commander of the 10th Mountain Division. “I am extremely confident and proud of the entire 3rd Brigade Team.”

The Department of Defense is pledging to leave its forces in Iraq and support the country’s security forces as they fight to eliminate ISIS militants from their country.

Stars & Stripes reports that likely means 3rd Brigade soldiers could aid Iraqi fighters as they work to clear the ISIS-held towns of Tal Afar, about 40 miles west of Mosul, Hawija in northern Iraq and al-Qaim, along the Euphrates River at the Syrian border.

The United States confirms there are roughly 5,200 troops officially deployed to Iraq, but officials have said hundreds more are in the country at any given time on temporary assignments.

Operation Inherent Resolve coalition commander, Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, said July 11 he predicts the US will maintain its military footprint in Iraq through ISIS’s defeat. He added the Pentagon is in talks with the Iraqi government about keeping some troops in the country after ISIS is eliminated.

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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