Col. Curtis Buzzard and Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Gustafson, command team for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division redeployed to Fort Bragg Sept. 21, with more than 300 paratroopers assigned to 3rd BCT.
The paratroopers completed a nine-month tour in Iraq in support of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Iraq during Operation Inherent Resolve.
In Iraq, Task Force Panther provided security force advise and assisted teams across multiple Iraqi army echelons and locations. The unit’s paratroopers worked with its partner nations to help train more than 12,000 Iraqi security forces.
“What was unique about us was not only were we there to train the Iraqi army and advise them, but we were the utility infielder that did anything else that was required, from flying (aerial reconnaissance), to providing logistics,” Buzzard said.
He explained that his paratroopers helped stand up multiple IA units that went on to have successes on the battlefield, namely during the Ramadi counterattack.
Upon completion of the mission, paratroopers returned home to cheering crowds holding handmade signs and supporters proudly waving miniature American flags.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling of emotion all at once seeing my Family again,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Coronado, a platoon sergeant assigned to Troop A, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment. “We (feel) a true sense of accomplishment; we went above and beyond to succeed.”