Stars and Stripes | Feb 14, 2015 | by Tom Roeder
As Congress mulls America’s war with the Islamic State terror group, more than 4,000 Fort Carson soldiers prepared Thursday to leave Colorado for Kuwait, where they will take over as America’s largest ground force in the troubled region.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team bid farewell to the post in a ceremony and will head off soon to serve as U.S. Central Command’s Reserve force in the Middle East – the first soldiers into battle if a major combat force is used to battle Islamic State fighters.
The unit is Fort Carson’s heaviest force, armed with M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. Many of its soldiers are veterans of one or more of the brigade’s four combat tours in Iraq.
“We’re no strangers to deployment,” the brigade’s commander, Col. Greg Sierra told a crowd gathered for the ceremony.
Sierra’s soldiers have trained for more than a year for the Kuwait mission. They practiced skills that atrophied over more than a decade of counterinsurgency fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, re-learning the armored combat skills last used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
“We are absolutely ready for this mission,” Sierra said.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Congress to authorize long-term combat operations against the Islamic state, but reinforced his pledge to not use the U.S. Army‘s big combat units in the fight.
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