Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fort Bragg Soldiers Return Home After Secretive Africa Mission | Military.com

Fort Bragg Soldiers Return Home After Secretive Africa Mission | Military.com: More than 80 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division quietly deployed in late September.

Unlike most missions undertaken by conventional Army forces, this one came with nearly no fanfare. There was no announcement the troops would be leaving. And officials on Fort Bragg, as well as families of the soldiers, were instructed to keep the mission quiet.

Deploying on little notice, the soldiers -- with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade -- briefly trained at Fort Bragg and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point before leaving for Africa to support Combined Joint Task Force -- Horn of Africa.

Over the weekend the soldiers returned to Fort Bragg, welcomed by family and friends at Green Ramp, and broke their silence.

For the past five months, the detachment of 85 soldiers provided aviation, personnel recovery and casualty evacuation capabilities to the Combined Joint Task Force -- Horn of Africa mission, which spans an area roughly the size of the eastern United States.

Comprised of soldiers from F Company, 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion and B Company, 3rd General Aviation Support Battalion, the detachment included the Army's last pathfinder unit and crews that fly and serve with the 82nd Airborne Division's CH-47 Chinook helicopter company.

The mission ends an era for the pathfinders of F Company -- representing the last time the unit was called to action before its inactivation later this month.