I got a tip that an 82nd Airborne Division had been killed overseas.
It's heartbreaking to hear, but then I have to quickly snap my mind into reporter mode.
I knew the DOD would be releasing an initial report that announced the deaths, so I called my editor to let her know this would be coming, and that I would stay on it because I knew our troops were involved although I wouldn't be able to report that information right away.
Here's the breaking story:
And, a day later, after I had been at a funeral for an 82nd Airborne Division soldier that was killed just two weeks earlier, the DOD and division released statements identifying those killed as 82nd Airborne Division soldiers. I learned it was actually two soldiers, not one as I'd heard from my source.
Here's a link to that story:
Scooping up his children in each arm, Capt. Marc McKenney flashed a huge grin.
He held them tight, smiling at his wife Katie, who was holding their 14-month-old son Austin.
“This is something I’ve been thinking about for 13 months,” McKenney said. “It’s kind of surreal. It’s probably even more sweet than I imagined it would be.”
You can read the story here:
The commitment and selfless service of paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team shifted momentum and instilled confidence in the Iraqi security forces fighting to defeat ISIL, a jihadist extremist militant group also known as Daesh, commanders have said.
On Friday, those paratroopers were recognized for their achievements.
Read the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/rd-brigade-combat-team-honored-for-service-in-iraq/article_5521b90a-2eae-5ecb-bcae-27854dd8d79e.html
Iraqi Army soldiers fighting to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq are better trained and prepared - thanks to a push from Fort Bragg paratroopers.
"I think the Iraqis can do this," said Col. Curtis A. Buzzard, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which recently returned from its mission to train soldiers in Iraq.
"There's a renewed confidence," he said. "The Iraqi Army is better than Daesh. They can do this. It's a capable Army, it just needs some coaching."
Buzzard reflected on the accomplishments of his paratroopers during their nine-month mission in support of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Iraq during Operation Inherent Resolve. About 1,300 paratroopers from six battalions assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division were tasked with training the Iraqi Army to take down the Islamic State of Iraq, known as ISIL.
You can read the full story here:
The 82nd Airborne, and more specifically its 3rd Brigade Combat Team, are no strangers to Iraq.
Since 2003, parts of the brigade have deployed in support of U.S. efforts there on at least three occasions.
Now, more than three years after the U.S. military presence in Iraq was thought over, about a quarter of the Panther Brigade will return with a new mission to help train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State.
Read the story here:
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy this summer to Iraq to join about 1,250 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team already there to back the U.S.'s intervention against the Islamic State.
About 500 paratroopers from the division headquarters will leave in June for a nine-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Fort Bragg said in a news release.
Paratroopers will have a contingent in Iraq. Other paratroopers will be based outside Iraq in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
Read the story here:
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