The 101st Airborne Division from Ft. Campbell is headed back to Afghanistan for the third time in five years, but the Division's commanding general says things should be different this time. Major General James McConville says his forces have to be more adaptive and agile as they set the stage for the 2014 withdrawal of U.S. combat forces.
About 600 of McConville's top staff are leaving now to command NATO troops east of the capital of Kabul, where thousands of Ft. Campbell troops are currently serving. But unlike the Division's two previous tours, McConville says this isn't a return to the same deadly fights with insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.
McConville says the Afghan military is leading combat operations now and the Division's role is to smooth the transition for Afghan security forces.
Soldiers serving in a combat aviation brigade at Fort Campbell are scheduled to arrive at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line after completing a deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers arriving home on Friday are from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. The aviation brigade has been working in eastern Afghanistan since last year to assist U.S. and international troops.
Thousands of soldiers from Fort Campbell are deployed or are preparing to deploy this year to Afghanistan.
Fort Campbell is resuming its monthly memorial ceremony for 101st Airborne Division soldiers who have died as thousands of troops from the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky are currently serving in Afghanistan.
This month's Eagle Remembrance Ceremony on Wednesday will honor Pfc. Shane G. Wilson of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team and Spc. Patricia Horne of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. Both died in 2012.
Wilson, a 20-year-old infantry rifleman from Kuna, Idaho, died Oct. 18 in Khost province, Afghanistan. Horne, a 20-year-old human resource specialist of Greenwood, Miss., died Aug. 24 in a non-combat-related incident in Bagram, Afghanistan.
The commander of an aviation brigade from Fort Campbell that is currently deployed said the Afghan security forces are becoming more capable both on the ground and in the air.
Col. Paul Bontrager, commander of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, briefed the media by teleconference on Monday on the brigade's first 100 days of its Afghanistan deployment.