Martin C. Evans

101st Airborne Division Casualties Jump, As War Drags On

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2011 at 6:39 am

101st Airborne soldiers have suffered higher casualties amid the surge in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo in 2009 by Sgt. Prentice C. Martin-Bowen/Released)

In early December, members of the 101th Airborne Division moved into a new outpost west of Kandahar, part of a joint effort to train Afghan forces. They headquartered in a mud-walled building by a narrow road near the village of Sangsar.

Within days, the building was rubble. A suicide bomber driving a van packed with explosives managed to pull alongside the building and detonate his deadly load. Six U.S. GIs were killed, and four more were wounded.

The surge announced last year by President Barack Obama has come at a heavy price for members of the 101st Airborne. The storied infantry division saw its Afghanistan war casualty count nearly triple last year, reaching 103 dead, according to the Louisville Courier Journal, which covers the 101st Airborne’s headquarters at Ft. Campbell, Ky..

Many of the casualties are the result of IEDs, as soldiers are performing more foot patrols in an effort to pacify Afghanistan’s Taliban-ridden south. Injuries can be grievous. Two double leg amputees were being worked on in adjacent operating rooms at a U.S. military hospital in Germany during a recent visit there by Newsday.

“Counterinsurgency is a tough fight,” the division’s commander, Maj. Gen. John Campbell, told The Courier-Journal in an e-mail from Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan’s complexities make it “much more difficult than what I faced in Baghdad during the surge.”

Please help Inside The Wire report on Long Island’s ties to the 101st Airborne by letting us know if you have family or friends based at Ft. Campbell. Write to me at


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