About 500 soldiers from Fort Riley, Kan., will deploy to the Middle East in late October to support the mission to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State militants, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.
About 200 of the soldiers from Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division, the “Big Red One,” will deploy directly to Baghdad and Irbil in Iraq. The rest will be stationed in the region and deployed to Iraq over time.
The Defense Department said the soldiers are preparing for a one-year mission.
“The troops will advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces to help them go on the offense against ISIL and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights,” the announcement said. “This will also increase the United States’ capacity to target ISIL and coordinate the activities of the U.S. military across Iraq.”
President Barack Obama has pledged that American troops will not be involved in ground combat.
| Matt Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org