The 1st Brigade has deployed four times since 9/11, three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. McCullough said the nine-month deployment will take the unit to provinces in eastern Afghanistan, where they deployed for the first time in that country.
The provinces are right along the border with Pakistan, McCullough said. Its a challenging area.
The briefing will be held in the Heydel Fine Arts Center and McCullough said they hope local civic clubs and elected officials will be able to attend. Cumberland officials said the briefing will be open to the public, but seating will be limited.
We are limited by the venue, but we have a target audience such as civic clubs and business leaders that can tell others, McCullough said.
He also hoped teachers or school faculty could attend and spread the information at local schools so students can learn about the unit and what the soldiers do on a regular basis. He said teachers could use the opportunity to have their students write to soldiers or send items to them while deployed.
McCullough said the briefing would cover everything there is to tell about the deployment, including how the soldiers prepared, what their mission will be once they arrive in Afghanistan and how they work with the Afghan people.
Well be introducing the unit and talking about our history some, McCullough said. They should have a good idea of everything weve done in the past year and what we will be doing in the next year.
During its training for the deployment in November, McCullough said the 1st Brigade trained for the Afghan terrain with live-fire and high-altitude mountain training at Fort Carson, Colo., and other training exercises at bases around the country.
McCullough noted the unit underwent a focused training on cultural education and negotiation skills and 270 soldiers received intense language training for the deployment.
While the 101st Airborne performs community outreach and is familiar with towns near Fort Campbell, McCullough said nothing they have done will compare to the kind of event being planned at Cumberland University.
He said the 101st Airborne is hoping to create a connection with communities beyond the soldiers typical stomping ground around Fort Campbell, such as Clarksville and Hopkinsville, Ky. McCullough noted the briefing at Cumberland gives local residents the chance to identify with the unit and remember there are still thousands of soldiers serving in harms way around the world.
The news tends to forget, unless something bad happens, that the war is still going on in Afghanistan, McCullough said. We want people to be interested in what we are doing.
As for the event at Cumberland, details are still being worked out with officials at the university, but McCullough said they are excited to hold such an informative briefing.
We wish we could do this in every town we have relationships with, he said.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.