Army Announces Deployment of 1,500 Alaska-Based Troops

The U.S. Army announced Friday that approximately 1,500 soldiers from Alaska will deploy to Afghanistan later this year.

The deployment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, is part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

"As the only U.S. Army Airborne brigade in the Pacific, our Spartan Brigade paratroopers are exceptionally capable, well trained and a well-led organization," Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, the commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska, said in an Army press release.

"These soldiers train rigorously in a wide range of climates and environments. I am fully confident in their ability to excel and overcome any challenges they will face during this deployment."

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The Army also announced its intent to retain the 4-25, stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, as a full brigade combat team and not convert it to an airborne task force.

In 2015, the service ordered the 4-25 to downsize to an airborne task force of 1,046 paratroopers as part of a structure initiative to develop a smaller, more agile force.

The plan to retain the 4-25's current size is based on emerging mission requirements and the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directing the Army to ensure its active force of 476,000 soldiers, according to the release.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan are split between two missions -- NATO's Resolute Support mission to advise Afghan security forces and the separate Freedom's Sentinel, the U.S. counter-terrorism operation against the remnants of al-Qaida; an emerging offshoot of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS; and other terror groups.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at