About half of the more than 3,000 deployed troopers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, will be home from Afghanistan by the end of the month, officials announced this week.
The “Black Jack” Brigade and its six battalions deployed in July with a mission as the security assistance force spread across three regional commands. The early redeployment of 15th Brigade Support Battalion and 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion began in November. On Wednesday, Col. Robert Whittle, brigade commander, announced most of 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, and the brigade headquarters would be home this month.
“The remainder will be back by the end of March and that’s when every single one of us will truly come home,” Whittle said this morning during a phone interview from Bagram Air Field.
To ease confusion for families, the brigade’s Facebook page has a list of companies and battalions that will remain in Afghanistan through March. This includes all of 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; and much of 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.
“A lot of what we’ve been doing out here is securing the closure of tactical infrastructure,” Whittle said. “We’ve turned over a lot of forward operating bases to the Afghan Nation Security Forces. That in turn reduces the footprint out here in theater. That means that the brigade combat team itself doesn’t need as robust a infrastructure.”
The reduction also means the brigade’s headquarters element is also no longer needed to provide mission command. Those soldiers remaining in Afghanistan will continue with the missions they have conducted over the past six months
“Typically what they’re going to be doing is securing forward operating bases, conducting combined arms route clearance operations, keeping lines of communication open and also convoy escort teams,” the colonel said.
More homecoming ceremonies are expected on Cooper Field next week.
“We really appreciate the tremendous support we have from the Fort Hood community, from our families back home and from the 1st Cavalry Division and III Corps, and we look forward to the return of the entire brigade combat team by the end of March,” Whittle said.