Fort Campbell soldiers deploy to Europe

Elements of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and 101st Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st...
Elements of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and 101st Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), board a plane June 27 at Campbell Army Airfield to deploy to Europe, where they will be tasked with assuring NATO allies and deterring Russian aggression in the region.(Ethan Steinquest, Fort Campbell Courier)
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 4:27 PM CDT
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FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (WSMV) - Hundreds of soldiers assigned to Fort Campbell left Monday on a nine-month deployment to Europe to assure NATO allies and deter Russian aggression in the region, officials announced.

Elements of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and 101st Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) have been assigned to carry out the mission, which marks the first time the division has deployed to Europe in nearly 80 years.

“We’re going to check the Russian influence and we’re going to impact the Russians’ decision-making for probably the next 10-20 years,” Col. John Lubas, deputy commanding officer for operations, 101st Airborne Division, said in a pre-deployment briefing. “We’re going to do this will all our partners in NATO, the European Union and the West, and this is an incredibly important mission.”

Lubas said the soldiers will contribute to that mission by representing the 101st with excellence in training exercises across Europe.

“The first couple of weeks are going to be really aggressive as you figure out what’s going on, what your mission’s going to be and where you’re going to get settled in,” Command Sgt. Veronica Knapp, division senior enlisted adviser, said in a news release. “But make no mistake, Russia and our NATO allies are watching us. They’ll be looking at our level of motivation, our level of discipline, how we look and how we sound as we get off that plane.”

Many of the soldiers assigned to the mission in Europe have previous experience with multinational training exercises, including Sgt. James Benzinger, 1st Squadron, 75th Calvary Regiment, 2nd BCT.

“I’ve deployed to Asia with the 25th Infantry Division, and working with NATO partners has a similar feel,” Benzinger said in a news release. “I’ve never interacted with our NATO allies before but from working with our Asian partners, it’s exciting because other countries have a different way of looking at the tactics. I appreciate being able to see their side of things and share ideas.”

Major General JP McGee, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, said the division has been in an increased readiness posture for several months and is just as prepared now as during World War II.

“Since D-Day, June 6, 1944, this division has repeatedly answered the nation’s call in every major conflict,” McGee said in a news release. “The Screaming Eagles of today are ready to support our allies to preserve the long-lasting stability in Europe that our predecessors fought and died to secure.”

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