The Department of the Army confirmed today, July 14, the Department of Defense's announcement for the next rotation of major units scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The announcement involves two brigade combat teams consisting of approximately 7,500 people. These units will replace redeploying units, with no change in force strength. The deployment window for these units will begin in the fall and continue into early 2010.

The brigade combat teams confirmed to deploy are the 3rd (Rakkasan) Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 173rd (Sky Soldiers) Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Vincenza, Italy.

The Army will only provide the best led, best trained and best equipped forces possible to maintain the capabilities of the International Security Assistance Force .The deploying units will conduct full-spectrum operations.

The 187th Infantry Regiment, from which the Rakkasans draw their history and lineage, was constituted on Nov. 12, 1942, at Camp Mackall, N.C. On August 27, 1950, the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment was reorganized and re-designated as the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. The Rakkasans have 44 combined months of deployment to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Even now, the Rakkasans have begun preparing for their next "rendezvous with destiny," being the only brigade combat team with an airborne regiment lineage in the history of the U.S. Army to fight in every war since the inception of airborne tactics in World War II. They returned from a 14 month deployment to Iraq in November 2008.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade was reactivated on June 12, 2000, on Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, where it served as European Command's only conventional airborne strategic response force. On March 26, 2003, the 173rd enriched its distinguished history when nearly 1,000 Sky Soldiers parachuted onto Bashur Drop Zone in Northern Iraq, effectively opening a northern front in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The deployment was the last in their support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the spring of 2005, the Sky Soldiers began their second deployment in three years to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon returning to Italy the brigade underwent transformation into an airborne brigade combat team, followed by a second deployment to Afghanistan for 15 months beginning in June 2007, returning in August 2008.

In these units and others throughout the U.S. Army, Soldiers and Family members continue to make great sacrifices for the good of our country in response to theater requirements. America's Soldiers are performing magnificently around the world during this time of war, and they appreciate and acknowledge the continued support of the American people.

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Lee M. Packnett at (703) 614-2487.