1000 paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade dropped into northern Iraq and captured an airfield according to this report. The 173rd is an independent brigade not attached to a division, and it is based in Italy. I’ve been wondering why either they or the brigade of the 82nd Airborne in Kuwait hadn’t entered northern Iraq. Now they have.
I guess CNN said the airfield was seized to clear the way for tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Somewhere else I read that it would be the 163rd Armored Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. Actually, maybe they meant 1-63 Armor. Are we going FLY in M1 tanks? That could take forever. BIG RED ONE!
Update 23:34 26 Mar 2003
In a sudden reversal, Turkey announced it was not going to deploy troops into norhtern Iraq without “coordinating” with us. This WaPo article is mostly about the 173rd’s airdrop, but notice this near the middle:
After several days of mixed signals from Turkey’s political leaders, the chief of the Turkish armed forces said today that Turkey would coordinate any additional deployment of troops to northern Iraq with the United States, backing down from previous threats to send forces across the border over U.S. and Kurdish objections.
Thus endeth the possibility of the Great Turkish Landgrab. Or the Turk-Kurd War of ’03. And check out the article. It’s got great info on the jump. But I’m still not convinced that we’re going to be airlifting armor units in.
Update 08:12 27 Mar 2003
Link inserted in the update. It’s a good read.