It's a busy time for Fort Drum, near Watertown. Even as the Army prepares to leave Afghanistan, the post has parts of two brigades deployed. Its aviation unit is about to ship off for a nine-month tour. And the 10th Mountain Division is expecting more orders from the Pentagon soon.
Photos appear daily on the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade's Facebook feed, all showing the same scene: families embracing soldiers in a gymnasium, as the helicopter unit departs the north country piece by piece.
The troops are joining several thousand 10th Mountain Division soldiers already in eastern Afghanistan, working with the Afghan Army to provide security.
Major General Stephen Townsend commands Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. He says even as the war winds down, his soldiers still have a big role to play.
“We've been put on notice by the Army that we will be involved probably 'til the end,” he said. “Our nation's drawing down, so is our Army in Afghanistan – but not the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum. They still need support.”
Leaders from the post's 3rd Brigade Combat Team are now at Fort Polk, in Louisiana, preparing to bring the unit there for pre-deployment training. The brigade is expecting official orders soon.
A spokesman says division headquarters may also be headed to Afghanistan in the near future.