FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Hundreds of paratroopers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina are deploying days after attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
More than 650 Fort Bragg paratroopers were sent out on Wednesday, the first day of the new year, as part of the Immediate Response Force, according to Fort Bragg.
Following the recent attack, the air force base reports increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, prompting the activation of the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
The military shared video of the paratroopers getting ready and taking off on a plane.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said about 750 soldiers total have been deployed to the Middle East.
"At the direction of the Commander in Chief, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division (in Fort Bragg, North Carolina) to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq," Esper said, adding that additional forces "are prepared to deploy over the next several days."
"This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today. The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world," Esper added.