FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) — More than 4,000 Fort Carson soldiers are heading to Kuwait, where they will take over as one of America's largest ground forces in the region after President Barack Obama asked Congress to authorize military action against terrorists who are cutting a large swath across the Middle East.
Obama ruled out large-scale U.S. ground combat operations similar to those in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he asked for the option to use military force against Islamic State fighters for three years. The fight could be extended to any "closely related successor entity" to the Islamic State organization that has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria, imposed an extreme form of Sharia law and killed several hostages it has taken, Americans among them.
The U.S. Army has kept a brigade in Kuwait since the end of the Iraq war in 2011. Those soldiers, including two units from Fort Carson, have worked to train local troops from throughout the Middle East. In its most recent deployment to Kuwait, a combat team from Fort Carson conducted training missions with allies including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which have joined the coalition against Islamic State fighters.
The unit headed to Kuwait is Fort Carson's heaviest force, armed with tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Many of its soldiers are veterans of one or more of the brigade's previous combat tours in Iraq.
"We're no strangers to deployment," said the brigade's commander, Col. Greg Sierra.
The brigade has trained more than a year for the Kuwait mission. The soldiers practiced combat skills last used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported (http://tinyurl.com/o5qvh96 ).
The brigade's training regimen readied soldiers for a range of missions from humanitarian relief to nonstop combat, Sierra said.
Sierra told soldiers and their families that if his brigade tangles with Islamic State fighters, the outcome won't be in doubt. "In the end, if we do get into fights, we win decisively," he said.
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com