FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Dozens of friends and family gathered to welcome home 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers Feb, 20, 2020.
Nearly 800 Paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, along with members of the 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment and several enabler teams from the Immediate Response Force Brigade (IRF) began their redeployment from the Middle East back to Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Division executed a no notice deployment with the Immediate Response Force Brigade (1st Brigade Combat Team), rapidly projecting combat power into the CENTCOM area of responsibly. This was the most significant no notice deployment of combat forces in more than 30 years and a remarkable and historic effort by the logistical nodes on Fort Bragg.
Within hours of receiving orders to deploy the first elements of the Brigade mustered, drew equipment, and were wheels up from Green Ramp [Fort Bragg] within 18 hours and subsequently deployed the remainder of 1st Brigade on a very aggressive timeline in order to respond to the crisis situation in Iraq.
"We could not be more proud of these Paratroopers and it is an honor to welcome them home," said Maj. Gen. James Mingus, the 82nd Abn. Div. commanding general. "These great men and women honored the tradition of Paratroopers that came before them by answering their Nation's call on a moment's notice."
Since being deployed in January, the "White Devils" of 2-504 PIR stood ready as the Immediate Response Battalion (IRB) in the Central Command area of responsibility (AOR). The unit conducted tough realistic warrior tasks and training to remain at the highest state of unit readiness.
"Task Force White Devil built readiness and strengthened regional partnerships while serving as a deterrence package inside the CENTCOM AOR," said Lt. Col. Scott McKay, Commander of the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. "The task force trained on a daily basis throughout the mission to remain ready to respond to any threat."
The remainder of the 1st Brigade Combat Team remains deployed providing support to the CENTCOM Commander for any missions deemed necessary.
"As the centerpiece of the Nation's Immediate Response Force, it's critical that 1st Brigade and the 82nd Airborne Division are able to project global force employment," said Col. Andrew Saslav, Commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team. "Working across combatant commands not only demonstrates the flexibility and expeditionary capability of our Airborne Forces, but also better prepares our Paratroopers for the complexity of the modern global security environment."
Since the initial alert, the Division has deployed additional combat enablers including Mission Command elements, a Multifunctional Aviation Task Force, and Field Feeding Teams in support of operations in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
The 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment will reset personnel and equipment in preparation for exercise Swift Response 20, a linked exercise to Defender Europe 20 this spring with the Division.
Exercise Swift Response 20 is an annual U.S. Army Europe-led multinational airborne exercise that demonstrates the strategic employment of the Immediate Response Force and validate U.S. European Commander's ability to send high readiness forces into a designated area.
The exercise will feature high-readiness airborne forces from eight NATO nations, including Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States. Activities include intermediate staging base operations, multiple airborne operations, and several air assault operations.
Swift Response is a linked exercise to Defender Europe 20 - the largest deployment of U.S. based forces to Europe for an exercise in more than 25 years. Defender Europe 20 is intended to increase strategic readiness and interoperability by exercising the U.S. military's ability to rapidly deploy a large combat-credible force and equipment from the United States to Europe, and alongside its allies and partners, quickly respond to a potential crisis.
For more information, contact the 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, 910-432-0661.