- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) — About 6,000 soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., have received deployment orders over the past few days and will be heading for the Persian Gulf region where they will join a force now estimated total more than 60,000.

A brigade combat team from the 82d Airborne Division, elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, elements of the 35th Signal Brigade, and elements of the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade — roughly 5,000 soldiers — received deployment orders Jan. 12.

Fort Bragg announced the deployment of roughly 1,000 soldiers on Friday. They will be drawn from 1st Corps Support Command, 44th Medical Command, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, 18th Aviation Brigade, 101st Chemical Company, and 18th Soldier Support Group.

The soldiers will move to the region in support of the "global war on terror," officials at Fort Bragg said. It is largely understood they comprise an important part of any ground force that would wage war on Iraq.

"Fort Bragg and the XVIII Airborne Corps have responded from the outset of the war on terror and we continue to deploy forces to Afghanistan, Central Asia, Southwest Asia and Europe," stated the Corps in a news release Sunday. More than 13,000 soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps are already deployed.

The United States is expected to mass a ground force of more than 200,000 troops to prosecute any war. A large portion of that will be U.S. Marines.

Outgoing Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Jones said last week he expects 65,000 to 75,000 Marines to participate in the war.

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