The Army has identified the command elements that will be heading to Iraq to lead the fight against remnants of the Islamic State and to Afghanistan as peace talks with the Taliban continue.
The 1st Armored Division Headquarters stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, will be tapped to relieve 4th Infantry Division Headquarters as part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the Army announced Friday.
Roughly 250 soldiers will deploy “before the end of the summer,” said division spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rosalba Poulos.
“Elements of the 1st Armored Division Headquarters will deploy this summer in support of coalition and partner operations in Afghanistan,” Maj. Gen. Patrick Matlock, 1st Armored Division commander, said in a news release. “Like all soldiers of America’s Tank Division, this team is very well-trained, prepared to execute their mission and proud to be Iron Soldiers.”
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is the name of the U.S. mission to Afghanistan that succeeded Operation Enduring Freedom in January 2015, alongside a reduction of forces.
There are roughly 15,000 U.S. troops supporting combat against the Taliban.
The Army also announced the deployment of III Corps Headquarters, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, to Iraq.
The III Corps Headquarters will replace XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, as the headquarters of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
“The III Corps has a distinguished history of combat success, and our soldiers have trained several months for this important mission,” Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hendrex, III Corps command sergeant major, said in the news release.
“Our headquarters is ready, again, to lead operations against Daesh (ISIS) with our coalition nations and partner organizations to create enduring security in the region," Hendrex added.
Daesh is an Arabic language acronym commonly used to refer to ISIS.
Operation Inherent Resolve is the multinational coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
After the final pocket of ISIS’ territorial caliphate was eliminated in March, the mission has continued a steady shift to one of preventing the insurgent group’s resurgence in liberated areas.
There are roughly 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. In Syria, the number of U.S. troops was previously said to be at about 2,000, but there have been reductions in the number of forces over the past several months and the current number has not been disclosed.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.