By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – The Defense Department announced Friday that the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, located at Fort Hood, will deploy to Afghanistan late this summer.
The brigade's 3,400 soldiers "will replace an unspecified brigade already on duty in Afghanistan," according to information from the Defense Department, and the deployment will "continue the U.S. commitment of two brigade combat teams in the command."
"In consultation with Afghan officials and NATO, commanders continue to assess the situation to ensure sufficient force levels to best support the Government of Afghanistan, perform counter-terrorism operations, assist with reconstruction, and train and equip the Afghan national security forces," information from the Defense Department reads. "Afghan security forces continue to develop capability and assume responsibility for security, and this U.S. force rotation may be tailored based upon changes in the security situation."
The brigade's commander said he is confident in the unit's readiness.
"We will continue with planned training in accordance with our current timeline to sustain and meet the training objective for our deployment, said Col. John Spiszer, the brigade's commander. "We want the soldiers and families to know that we are on target and ready to execute this mission."
For security purposes, the specific deployment dates weren't released, according to information from the brigade, and the soldiers continue to train at Fort Hood for subsequent operations.
During the deployment, brigade families will get full support from III Corps and the 1st Infantry at Fort Riley, Kan., where the division is headquartered. The unit also will stand up a formal rear detachment command that will oversee all unit and family support functions at Fort Hood while the brigade is deployed, according to information from the brigade.
The brigade uncased its colors at Fort Hood on April 19, 2007, and leaders were told be ready to deploy by April 2008, although official orders were never given. The soldiers spent January at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.
The brigade, also known as the Duke Brigade, was inactivated in March 2005 in Vilseck, Germany, after returning from a yearlong Iraq deployment.
Spiszer took command of the brigade one month before its re-activation at Fort Hood.
Six battalions make up the brigade: 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment; 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment; 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion; and 201st Support Battalion.
The 1st Infantry's 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in August 2006, and its 4th Brigade Combat Team deployed in February 2006. The 4th Brigade fell under the 1st Cavalry Division-led Multinational Division-Baghdad, which is now under control of the 4th Infantry Division.
The 4th Infantry's 1st Brigade Combat Team is set to replace the 4th Brigade. First Brigade soldiers began leaving for Iraq this month, and the entire brigade is expected to be in the Middle East by Monday.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7547