- The Washington Times - Friday, November 4, 2016

Roughly 1,700 U.S. Army paratroopers are headed to Iraq to assist security forces in their fight against the Islamic State group.

The 82nd Airborne’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will soon deploy in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The troops will replace members of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Col. James “Pat” Work, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne, told Military Times on Thursday that his men are ready for the winter deployment.

“The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is highly trained, disciplined and fit,” the officer said. “Readiness is our top priority; our paratroopers are prepared for this deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Our team looks forward to this important mission and our opportunity to assist our Iraqi partners.”

The Pentagon also announced in mid-October that 500 soldiers from the Big Red One from Fort Riley, Kansas, will also deploy to Iraq.

“We will assist in training Iraqi commanders, staffs, soldiers, and police officers as they plan and conduct counter-ISIL operations in both the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys, with a central focus on the City of Mosul,” Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin, incoming commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, told Army Public Affairs on Oct. 14.

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The Pentagon has been coy about exact numbers of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, but its Force Management Level (FML) for most of the summer hovered around 3,800 individuals in Iraq and 300 in Syria (not including temporary troops in the region).

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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