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Families of deployed 82nd Airborne soldiers warned about social media use after receiving threatening messages
As if having a loved one deployed overseas isn't enough, family members of soldiers deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division are being warned of "menacing" messages they might receive on social media, and are being encouraged to report any they see.
The Pentagon has identified two paratroopers killed in Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Ian P. McLaughlin and Pfc. Miguel A. Villalon, both of whom were assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, defense officials announced on Sunday.
As America's adversaries become more sophisticated, U.S. combat troops heading to the war zone may have to get used to leaving behind their phones, laptops and even personal gaming devices, military experts say.
The Pentagon doesn't have a blanket policy barring service members from taking electronic devices on deployment, but combat commanders are beginning to prohibit them when going into the unknown.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Reuters) - For many of the soldiers, it would be their first mission. They packed up ammunition and rifles, placed last-minute calls to loved ones, then turned in their cell phones. Some gave blood.
The 600 mostly young soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were headed for the Middle East, part of a group of some 3,500 U.S. paratroopers ordered to the region. Kuwait is the first stop for many. Their final destinations are classified.
"We're going to war, bro," one cheered, holding two thumbs up and sporting a grin under close-shorn red hair. He stood among dozens of soldiers loading trucks outside a cinder block building housing several auditoriums with long benches and tables.
Soldiers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team are deploying to the Middle East as part of an ongoing buildup in preparation for increased Iranian aggression in the region.
Army Col. Joe Scrocca, spokesman for U.S. Army Europe, confirmed to Task & Purpose that "elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed to ... bolster security, for force protection, and to be prepared for any contingency."
Thousands of additional paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division will soon deploy to U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, a Defense Department spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.
The deployment comes in response to threats of retaliation from Iran for the killing of top military commander Qassim Suleimani in an American air strike on Thursday night.