Col. Robert Whittle Jr., commander of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, addressed the unit’s future during a podcast last month for soldiers and families.
The brigade deployed more than 3,000 soldiers to Afghanistan in July and has conducted missions throughout three regional commands, as well as in Kabul, providing security and conducting retrograde operations.
In mid-November, the brigade began sending some troopers home less than halfway through the expected nine-month deployment. About 450 have returned, mostly from the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion and the 15th Brigade Support Battalion.
In the Dec. 22 episode of the “The Deal” podcast, Whittle said more homecoming ceremonies are on the way in coming months. Most are still expected for March.
“What we’re doing is ... we deliberately look at each platoon and company and as their mission is complete they will head back and we will let families and the rear detachment ... know as soon as we have confirmation,” he said. “By and large, for the majority of the brigade combat team, we are on a 270-day deployment.”
Whittle also discussed changes to some of the brigade’s battalions. First Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, a reconnaissance squadron acquired from 4th Brigade’s inactivation, is in the process of converting to a combined arms battalion back at Fort Hood.
To do so, Whittle said the battalion will gain another company, to have two armored and two infantry companies. This means new personnel and new equipment.
The 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion is also transitioning. Later this year, it will become the 8th Engineer Battalion, which will move its colors to the brigade from Fort Hood’s 36th Engineer Brigade.
Meanwhile, Whittle said troops will continue to focus on the mission at hand, and getting home safely.
Once home, they will “take a breath, really think about everything accomplished in this deployment before we return and start really hard again,” he said.