From the Fayetteville Observer
3rd brigade combat team on the ramp again
By Henry Cuningham
Pfc. Roberto Rizo is using crutches because of a leg injury, but he left Fort Bragg on Friday on his way to Iraq because his unit needs him.
The 24-year-old supply clerk from Nicaragua was among about 200 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team who departed Friday afternoon for a year in Iraq. The deployment of 3,500 soldiers began before Thanksgiving, and about half the soldiers are gone. They hope to be back for Christmas 2009.
“I have a light injury on my leg, I have a fracture,” Rizo said. “But I volunteered to go and try to do my job and serve the country.”
Capt. Clay White, his company commander, said normally somebody with that kind of problem might stay behind.
“He recognized how much we need him on the team,” White said. “He volunteered to come forward with us.”
In an adjoining passenger shelter on Friday, about 200 soldiers of the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team waited to fly to Afghanistan to train and mentor the Afghan army and police. After mobilizing, the guardsmen trained at Fort Bragg for about 60 days. They expect to return to Fort Bragg by early September.
The 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers flew out of Pope Air Force Base’s Green Ramp on their way to Kuwait. While waiting in the passenger shelter, they talked on cell phones, snoozed on rucksacks or went outside for a few last puffs on cigarettes.
They will spend about a week in Kuwait before moving on to Baghdad. Rizo will be able to get good medical care in Kuwait, White said.
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