FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The storied 101st Airborne Division -- which parachuted at Normandy, fought on "Hamburger Hill" in Vietnam and played a crucial role in the Gulf War -- was ordered Thursday to deploy overseas.
The exact location and number of soldiers deploying was not disclosed. The 101st comprises about 20,000 soldiers.
The division -- along with its 270 helicopters -- will "support possible future operal war on terrorism," according to a statement from Fort Campbell, where the division is based.
The orders come as officials in Washington say the buildup of American forces in the Persian Gulf is accelerating, with two and possibly three more aircraft carriers likely to head toward the region in the next few days.
The deployment of the 101st was announced hours before President Bush urged the United Nations not to "back down" from Saddam Hussein and demanded quick action to disarm Iraq.
Edging closer to war, President Bush declared Thursday "the game is over" for Saddam Hussein and urged skeptical allies to join in disarming Iraq.
"The U.N. must not back down," Bush said. "All the world can rise to this moment."
"Saddam Hussein will be stopped," Bush pledged, warning anew that the United States will act along with allies if needed. He spoke before cameras in the White House's Roosevelt Room with Secretary of State Colin Powell at his side. Behind the president was a painting of Theodore Roosevelt, who led the United States into war with Spain in 1898, on horseback.
At the United Nations in New York, the Iraqi representative, Mohammed al-Douri, said of Bush, "It sounds like he wants a resolution for war."
At the White House, Bush said, "Saddam Hussein has the motive and the means and the recklessness and the hatred to threaten the American people."
"The dictator of Iraq is making his choice," Bush said.