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.
After years of taking the lead on the battlefield, Army leaders from Fort Campbell are learning how to take a backseat role when they return to Afghanistan this fall to serve as military advisers. About 1,900 troops from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, will serve as a Security Force Assistance Brigade with a mission to prepare the Afghan security forces for the coming withdrawal of NATO troops.
The 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell are celebrating 70 years since the inception of the airborne division with a weeklong celebration including games, a concert, an air show and memorials for the fallen.