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Bragg's 82nd to again serve as quick-reaction force

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WILMINGTON (AP) -- The Army's 82nd Airborne Division will reclaim its role as the nation's quick-reaction force in 2009, once again keeping a unit on alert and ready to jump into combat anywhere in the world within 18 hours. A brigade from the Army's 101st Airborne Division took over as the country's quick-reaction force last year, after all four 3,500-solider brigades of the Fort Bragg-based 82nd deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Three of the four have since returned to Fort Bragg. The last 82nd unit to serve as the "division ready brigade" was the 2nd, which was the first unit sent into Iraq last year as part of the "surge" that added 30,000 troops to the U.S. forces there. Division spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt said the mission is considered a core responsibility of the 82nd and its paratroopers, all of whom are trained to rapidly deploy on short notice. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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