Fort Carson commander says his troops are ready to deploy

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Over the next few weeks, thousands of soldiers from two brigades with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson will deploy to Afghanistan.

The Army won't specify exactly how many are going and where in Afghanistan they will end up, but KRDO NewsChannel 13 had a chance to catch up with the 4th ID's commander last week to talk about the men, their machines, and their mission.

Several times a week, Major General Randy George takes time to interact with his troops.

It's not just to oversee their training, but to gauge the pulse of the division just a few weeks before they head overseas.

When asked if it was a nervous time right now at Fort Carson, he said no, and that was confirmed in the comments from soldiers whom he spoke with.

Most told him they were more than ready to put their skills to work.

"Everyone I talk to, they're excited to deploy with their unit.  They're confident in their teammates, and they're ready to deploy," said George.

A high percentage of those heading to Afghanistan has never been overseas before.

"I would say a lot of the leaders have been there, but no, we have a lot of new soldiers who are being deployed and this will be their first deployment," said George.

The 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldiers will fly to Afghanistan on charter planes, while the majority of their equipment will go by rail to a port where it will then be shipped by boat.

The deployment will last anywhere from 9 months to a year.

Their mission is to train Afghan security forces as well as assist in counter-terrorism operations.

Even after 16 years, the battle in this ongoing war on terror continues.

Over the past few weeks, airstrikes have targeted a narcotics factory, a terrorist training camp, and more.

In Kabul, the capital, 103 people died in a bombing in January, and the city has become so dangerous with so many different terror groups that American soldiers and diplomats are only allowed to travel by helicopter from the airport, not by road.

George believes the soldiers know what they're getting into.

"I don't think I have run into a soldier that didn't know," he said, "I mean they signed up for the army in a time of war, knowing that they could deploy."

Major General George, who last visited Afghanistan in 2010, declined to speculate on how the current level of danger compares to past.

However, he said his biggest concern is not what's happening in Afghanistan, but what happens at Fort Carson before they deploy.

"My fear would be that we would send a soldier somewhere untrained, not an expert, not in great physical condition, confident and disciplined, so that's our focus," he said.

And with that in mind, the training of the thousands of soldiers weeks from deploying will continue as long as possible before it's time to ship out.


Here are links to all three parts in our special report on soldiers at Fort Carson:

Part 1 - Ready To Deploy

Part 2 - Ready To Fight

Part 3 - Ready To Fire

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