Fort Stewart officially confirmed recently that two battalions will deploy to Afghanistan this year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The orders will affect approximately 1,500 troops and their families from the Marne Division.
The news may have taken many members of the local community by surprise. After all, when the end of the Iraq war was announced just last month, it was easy to get used to the idea of having all the 3rd Infantry Division troops safe at home — at least for a little while. There’s no doubt the soldiers’ loved ones enjoy having them here, and their presence in Liberty County also is economically beneficial. But duty calls.
It’s well known that Marne soldiers stand by, ready to respond to contingency operation requirements. They take training seriously and never stop preparing for the missions that lie ahead — even if those missions have not yet been identified.
The 3rd ID has one of the most successful combat records of any U.S. Army division, which is no surprise given Dog Face soldiers’ reputation for being strong, swift, fair and reliable. The troops were called on repeatedly to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. Both battalions slated to deploy to Afghanistan this year have served four tours each to Iraq, with the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team most recently returning from a yearlong tour in October 2010. And each time they were needed, the soldiers prepared for the task at hand, reassured their families and marched bravely into battle, comforted by the knowledge they would help improve the lives of many whose needs otherwise might have been ignored by their own govern-
So, even though we’re sad to see them go so soon, let’s stand behind our troops and wish them well as they head out to tackle yet another mission in their quest to keep our nation and its citizens safe and happy.