The 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Afghanistan early this summer, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

About 3,200 soldiers from the “Black Jack” Brigade — the majority of the soldiers assigned to the unit and its six battalions — will deploy for nine months to an unspecified region of the country. Upon arrival, it will be the largest brigade combat team in theater, said Col. Robert Whittle, the brigade’s commander. The mission will support the withdrawal of forces and equipment from Afghanistan.

“We’ll be working throughout the area of operations to do that,” he said. “We’re real excited about having the opportunity to deploy and assist in bringing our forces home.”

To prepare for the mission, Black Jack is training at Fort Hood and will spend May at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.

“We’ll be doing a full mission rehearsal exercise,” Whittle said. “We’re ensuring every single one of our soldiers has all the skills they need for this deployment.”

To support operations back on post, Whittle said the brigade is setting up Task Force Pershing, which will serve as a rear guard to support soldiers and Black Jack families.

Also mentioned in the Defense Department release for summer deployments to Afghanistan were 2nd Cavalry Regiment of Vilseck, Germany, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division of Fort Knox, Ky., and 4th Infantry Division Headquarters of Fort Carson, Colo.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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