101st Airborne goes into Afghanistan
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 4:55 pm
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., May 19, 2010 - The time for deployment preparations came to an end Wednesday as the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters cased their colors en route to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
This is the fourth deployment for the division headquarters since 9/11.
The colors for the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion were also
"On our watch we're going to continue the transition to the [Afghan]
government," said Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, commanding general 101st Airborne Division. "This indeed will be a critical year. Probably the most critical year since the initial coalition forces went into
Afghanistan nine years ago."
"Our nation is drawing down forces in Iraq and is committed to additional forces in Afghanistan. This Division is leading that effort," he said. "The time is now and the clock has already started."
At a media round table, Campbell focused more on what the Division will be doing while in theater.
"We want to maintain the great momentum that the 82nd [Airborne Division] has, but we also have some different things we want to get at," Campbell said. "One of the areas that we're going to try and get at is the police."
The area of responsibility for the Division is Regional Command East, which is comprised of 14 provinces and 41 key terrain districts. The Afghan police are the ones responsible for the districts.
"The [Afghan] Army has recruited throughout the country, the police are local," said Campbell. "If we want to be able to get down to that local level and really work the governments we got to get at the police.
"The more that we're partnered with the [police], doing security forces assistance missions, the better they're going to become every day," he added.
Quoting President John F. Kennedy, Campbell said, "Let every nation know, whether wishes us ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and success of liberty"
"That was true when President Kennedy said it almost 50 years ago," Campbell said, "and it is still true today."
Before the colors casing, Campbell took the opportunity to welcome Col. Dominic J Caraccilo, who will be taking the lead at Fort Campbell as the acting senior commander.
"The 101st and all of Fort Campbell are very fortunate to have him back at this critical time at this place," said Campbell. "You have a significant challenge ahead of you as our acting senior commander, but as we talked earlier today I am extremely comfortable leaving Fort Campbell under your leadership and I am confident you will be successful."
Caraccilo has been at Fort Campbell for seven consecutive years next month, although he was deployed for much of it. He recently served as the executive officer for the United States Forces-Iraq Commander Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. Before that he was the commander for 3rd Brigade
Combat Team here at Fort Campbell. His focus over the next year is to support the forward elements and maintaining stronger bonds here at home while helping to prepare the remaining units for combat and receive those that return.
"I am indeed happy to wear the screaming eagle patch once again," said Caraccilo. "My heart's always in this division. I sincerely have a passion for the 101st and all the units on this great post and promise to support the Families of our Soldiers."
More than 10,000 101st Soldiers are already deployed to Afghanistan. By the end of August, that number will reach 20,000.