By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

Small groups of soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team began departing Fort Hood earlier this month, but large flights began late last week with the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

The 27th Brigade Support Battalion followed, with the bulk of its soldiers departing Sunday. A majority of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, left Fort Hood Monday and Tuesday.

The 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment will be the fourth to depart, followed by the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

The brigade is the second from Fort Hood to deploy to Iraq in an advise-and-assist role. The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment left in August for Kuwait and began arriving in Iraq shortly after the president called an official end to U.S.-led combat operations and Operation Iraqi Freedom became Operation New Dawn.

Pfc. Thomas Duffy departed Saturday - Sept. 11 - for his first deployment. Duffy is a 25-year-old combat engineer in the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

Joining the Army was something Duffy said he always wanted to do. He participated in JROTC in high school and after graduating, had a bunch of "dead-end jobs." He worked in retail, at a gas station and as carpenter, but "I wasn't happy," he said.

Duffy finally decided to do what he was meant to do and enlisted a year and nine months ago.

Duffy was more than eager to get his first deployment under way.

"I'm ready to rock and roll," he said.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary or

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