Fort Bragg troops say goodbye to family and friends as 3,000 more head to Europe amid fears of Russian invasion
FORT BRAGG, NC (WNCN) – Pfc. Al-Muntakim Chambliss will leave behind his girlfriend and mother when he deploys overseas with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg.
The 20-year-old shared his last conversation with his mother before preparing to leave.
“It was more like a prayer. A private thing. Just with me, her and my girlfriend,” said Fayetteville native Chambliss.
President Joe Biden has ordered the deployment of 3,000 additional troops from Fort Bragg in Poland. CBS News reported that US officials have said they believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen soon.
The State Department is moving all U.S. Embassy personnel to Ukraine closer to the Polish border where U.S. forces are stationed.
“I had my Bible and cigarettes,” said the PFC. Kyle Johnson with the 82nd Airborne.
Those are the two things he thinks will stay in his pocket on the next deployment. He said he was ready but nervous about his first mission.
“The fact that we don’t necessarily know what we’re getting into, don’t know how long we’re going to be there, what’s going to happen,” Johnson said.
This deployment aims to reassure NATO allies and deter any potential aggression by Russia. Nearly two weeks ago, 2,000 Bragg troops deployed to Poland and Germany.
Staff Sgt. Jeanetta Wani said the troops were well prepared.
“I have enough confidence in my leadership to bring me back. So, I’m not too worried about anything,” she said.
Before boarding the troop plane, soldiers spent time chatting with fellow combatants, relaxing and even calling family.
“It was a bit difficult a few hours ago when I gave them the last call, like a goodbye. Just because it was real, like I didn’t know the next time I was going to them talk,” Johnson said.
The 3,000 troops will be deployed from Pope Army Airfield over the next few days.