Posted: Jul 15, 2010 3:59 PM by Matt Stafford
Updated: Jul 15, 2010 5:58 PM
Nearly 3,800 soldiers from Fort Carson will begin deploying to Afghanistan Friday. On Thursday soldiers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division were making final preparations with a casing ceremony. Anticipation for the soldiers is high.
"Nervous, a little bit of nervous apprehension, I don't think anybody looks forward to going to war," says 2nd Lt. Nicholas Lange.
The 1st B.C.T. soldiers will work with the Afghan National Security Forces in the South and West Regional Commands. They'll be working to train the local security forces so they can withstand pressure from the Taliban.
The 1st B.C.T. returned from deployment to Iraq in the spring of 2009. They were moved to Fort Carson, along with the 4th ID, from Fort Hood in Texas the same year. This is the fourth deployment for the 1st B.C.T. since 2003; however it's the brigade's first deployment to Afghanistan.
The change of environment has the brigade changing their look.
"We've had to convert from a heavy brigade combat team into an infantry brigade combat team," says Col Jeff Martindale, commander of the 1st B.C.T.
That means more boots on the ground. The unit will move from the heavy artillery to smaller vehicles and foot patrols. It's an effort to have closer contact with locals as they fight the Taliban, but close contact isn't always easy to get.
"We're taking more risks," says Col. Martindale. "Instead of sequestering ourselves in large secure bases, we're going to be out walking around in and amongst the population."
Leaders are happy to have an experienced group to take up the mission.
"I think that commands a lot of respect that you've got 19 and 20 year old kids that are looking at a 2nd and 3rd deployment," says 2nd Lt. Nicholas Lange. "A lot of them have been shot at so they have an idea of what to expect, they've gone through those emotions."
Once they are in Afghanistan, the soldiers are expected to be there about twelve months before they are rotated home. Leaders say it will take about a month to get the whole brigade to Afghanistan.