MAJOR GENERAL GARY J. VOLESKY
Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT)
Fellow Screaming Eagles,
It is always an honor for me to share what is going on at Fort Campbell with all the Screaming Eagle Veterans. Your continued support to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) throughout the year is remarkable. The Division has been non-stop getting ready for its next Rendezvous with Destiny. Over the past quarter, we have completed our Eagle Talon exercise, the Warfighter Exercise, a Pre-deployment Site Survey to Iraq and most recently the casing of our Colors for our upcoming deployment.
Immediately following our warfighter Exercise and the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday, the division began its final preparations for the deployment. The 101st will replace the 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters as the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command. We will be responsible for the command and control of almost 4,000 coalition troops from 18 different nations and rely on all of our service members and coalition partners to make a difference every day.
The country of Iraq is no stranger to the Screaming Eagles. Our casing ceremony in Feb 2016 marked the beginning of our next deployment and the 25th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. Once again we will build upon the great reputation of those great Soldiers that went before us and deployed to Iraq. Like, 2nd Lt. Thomas R. Drew, who from his Apache helicopter fired the first shots of Desert Storm destroying Iraqi radar sites. The Division followed that up with the largest air assault in history at that time, securing territory in the Euphrates River Valley and cutting Highway 8 to secure the flanks for U.S. armored forces attacking Iraqi forces in Kuwait. Although the ceasefire marked the end of Desert Storm it did not signal the end of our efforts in Iraq.
The Screaming Eagles were at the forefront of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and again during operations in 2005. Now, 11 years later, the Division will return to Iraq to defeat the threat to our nation, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. If left unchecked, the Islamic State will pose a very real threat beyond that region, to include the United States. And we are not going to let that happen.
As you know we could not do what we do without the love and support from the best military community I have ever served alongside. We stand together and as we deploy to Iraq, I would ask that you continue your phenomenal support to our Soldiers and their families.
Screaming Eagles! Air Assault!
MG Gary J. Volesky