The Ukraine crisis puts the army’s 82nd airborne in heightened alert, among other units now identified

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The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division is one of several military units in increased readiness, while Russian forces continue a military build-up at the Ukrainian border.

“I can say today that these units include elements of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, which regularly, I think you all know, maintain high alert as well as elements of the 18th Airborne Corps, also based at Fort Bragg, “Kirby said during a press briefing Thursday.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby
(AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

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Fort Bragg is not the only military installation with units on increased alert. Kirby said forces from Fort Campbell, elements of the 101st Airborne Division and from Fort Carson, Colorado, elements of the “4th Infantry Division” and “Davis-Monthan Air Force Base” have also been put on increased alert.

The news comes after Kirby said earlier this week that about 8,500 U.S. troops have been put on increased alert, though at the time he declined to specify which units.

“Secretary Austin has put a number of units in the United States on an increased readiness to deploy, which increases our readiness to provide forces if NATO were to activate” NATO National Response Force, Kirby said Monday.

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and others are preparing to board a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In this image provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and others are preparing to board a C-17 cargo plane at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Master Sgt. Alexander Burnett / US Army via AP)

The units will include “medical support, aviation support, logistics support and, of course, combat formations,” Kirby explained Thursday.

Kirby declined to go into detail about the forces, noting only that they are on increased alert to deploy to Europe if necessary.

Some forces already in Europe are also in a state of heightened preparedness, Kirby said, adding that the Pentagon could choose to use forces already stationed in Europe if tensions continue to escalate.

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Members of Ukraine's territorial defense forces, volunteer military units from the armed forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine.

Members of Ukraine’s territorial defense forces, volunteer military units from the armed forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine.
(AP / Efrem Lukatsky)

The United States has for weeks been preparing for the possibility that Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine, and warn of serious consequences if Moscow goes through with an invasion. More than 100,000 Russian troops are on the border with Ukraine, and Kirby says the Pentagon has continued to see a build-up of “credible combat forces” for the past 24 hours.

The State Department has urged Americans in Ukraine to leave the country, urging them to do so while commercial flights are still available.

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