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Monday, October 1, 2007

Rakkasans Have Arrived In Kuwait

Rakkasans filter into Kuwait

by Sgt. 1st Class Kerensa Hardy, 3rd BCT Public Affairs

KUWAIT -- After emotional farewells to friends and loved ones, 12 hours on a plane, three hours on a bus and countless hours of the obligatory “hurry up and wait,” the Rakkasans have reached Kuwait.

The torch and advance parties from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, are adapting to the heat of the desert and have hit the ground running..

“Many of the Rakkasan Soldiers said their goodbyes, the arriving Soldiers now get to turn their attention to conducting the final required training here in Kuwait prior to moving into Iraq,” said Lt. Col. J.B. Becker, 3rd BCT executive officer.

While brigade and battalion staffs work to get their tactical operation centers up and running and establish a battle rhythm, others have begun attending invaluable training sessions.

Two classes on counter-improvised explosive devices and radio-controlled IEDs marked the beginning of official training at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

Soldiers were alert in the classes, not wanting to miss any of the information spouted off by subject-matter experts that could potentially save their lives.

The way I look at it is, if I’m here fighting this war now, my kids won’t have to.

— Sgt. Dan Evans, Company B, 3rd Special Troops Battalion

Although the record-high temperatures that hit Fort Campbell a few weeks ago may have made the transition a bit easier, quickly rising temperatures require an “o-dark-thirty” start for ranges in Kuwait to avoid the scorching heat.

The stay in Kuwait is as short as a few days for some and a few weeks for others. It is the last hurdle to be crossed before setting out to accomplish the 15-month mission in Iraq.

Many of the Rakkasans have seen multiple deployments and expressed mixed feelings about being here so soon after the last deployment. The assistant brigade S6 said it feels like she was just here. “I’ve talked to people and we say, ‘It felt like we just had an extended mid-tour leave,’” Capt. Kashe Brooks said.

Another Soldier who’s also on his second deployment said he’s looking at the potential benefits down the road.

“The way I look at it is, if I’m here fighting this war now, my kids won’t have to when they come of age,” said Sgt. Dan Evans, Company B, 3rd Special Troops Battalion.

Evans said the anxiety he felt prior to the first deployment is gone. “I already know what to anticipate and look for.”

One infantryman, also on his second tour, said he’s glad to be here so the mission can begin. “I’m anxious and excited,” said Spc. Ronnie Sopko, Company C, 1st Battalion, 33rd Cavalry Regiment. “As soon as we got in country my motivation kicked up. I’m ready to get started.”

The remainder of the brigade should be here by week’s end.