Approximately 1,000 paratroopers from the Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq early next year to help the Iraqi security forces take on the Islamic State, the Pentagon announced Friday.
The soldiers from the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., will begin to deploy in late January to train, advise and assist the ISF, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.
Their mission is part of the coalition effort to build up the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga so that they can recapture territory from Islamic State militants.
The paratroopers are preparing for a nine-month deployment, according to a spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne.
Approximately 300 troops from other Army, Air Force and Marine Corps units will also deploy to provide “enabler” support in areas such as counterintelligence, logistics, and signals, Kirby said.
Last month, President Barack Obama authorized an additional 1,500 troops to deploy to Iraq to participate in the train, advise and assist mission. The deployment of elements of the 82nd Airborne is part of that initiative.
On Thursday, Lt. Gen. James Terry, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters that other countries in the coalition are expected to contribute to another 1,500-strong force for the capacity-building effort.
“The key to success out there will be increasing the capabilities of Iraqi security forces,” Terry said.
Iraqi officials are reportedly eager to go on the offensive and retake places like Mosul, but the U.S. military believes the ISF aren’t ready.