FORT DRUM The first group of soldiers from the posts 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams has departed to begin a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
Soldiers left the area from the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Tuesday. Photos from the posts public affairs office showed soldiers receiving words of encouragement from Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the post and 10th Mountain Division commander, before boarding a plane to exit.
During the deployment, soldiers will serve as a security force assistance brigade, aiding Afghan security forces. They will be broken into security force advise and assist teams of six to 18 soldiers, which will be teamed with Afghan local police or military forces.
About half of each brigade will deploy, creating a departing group of about 3,000 soldiers.
Soldiers from the brigades have prepared for the deployment within the past six months with the Mountain Peak exercise, which this year was one of the largest on post in more than a decade, and rotations at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.
Their departures will be spread out through the month.
A casing ceremony to formally recognize the soldiers departure will be held on post Friday morning.