As Congress mulls America's war with the Islamic State terror group, more than 4,000 Fort Carson soldiers prepared Thursday to leave for Kuwait, where they will take over as America's largest ground force in the troubled region.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team bid farewell to the post in a ceremony and soon will serve as U.S. Central Command's Reserve force in the Middle East - the first soldiers into battle if a major combat force is used to battle Islamic State fighters.
The unit is Fort Carson's heaviest force, armed with tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Many of its soldiers are veterans of one or more of the brigade's four combat tours in Iraq.
"We're no strangers to deployment," the brigade's commander, Col. Greg Sierra, told a crowd gathered for the ceremony.
After the ceremony, Sierra said the brigade's training regimen readied soldiers for a range of missions from humanitarian relief to nonstop combat.
"We are prepared for any contingency," he said.
Sierra's soldiers are getting a long weekend with their families before they head out. The colonel gave the families reassurance that if his brigade tangles with Islamic State fighters, the outcome won't be in doubt.
"In the end, if we do get into fights, we win decisively," he said.
Fort Carson brigade headed to Kuwait for possible showdown with ISIS