By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

The Defense Department announced Thursday deployment orders for the 1st Cavalry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

They and two other brigades are scheduled to start deploying beginning in the summer of 2010 as part of the next force rotation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to information from the Defense Department.

The 4th Brigade returned to Fort Hood from a 12-month deployment in June. Its soldiers are now getting equipment and leaders and conducting individual training.

The brigade is filled with tough, disciplined and combat-seasoned veterans who will perform exceptionally well on this mission, said Col. Brian Winski, 4th Brigade commander.

"The majority of our soldiers and leaders are Iraq veterans and like all troopers of the First Team, they will display incredible courage, commitment and adaptability during this critical mission. We have a comprehensive training plan under way now that will ensure our soldiers are fully prepared for the tasks that await them in Iraq," he said.

The 3rd Armored Cavalry also returned to Fort Hood this summer and its soldiers are conducting platoon and troop situational training exercises and roadside bomb lanes. They will begin gunnery in early 2010 and go to the National Training Center in May.

The Defense Department also officially announced Thursday the 1st Cavalry's Special Troops Battalion's 23-day extension in Baghdad.

The Defense Secretary recently approved a request by Gen. Ray Odierno to extend the deployment of the battalion, which includes the division headquarters, for up to 23 more days. Elements of the II Marine Expeditionary Force were extended for up to 79 days.

The extension affects about 1,000 soldiers in the battalion.

No other extensions are expected for 1st Cavalry brigades or battalions, according to information from a senior leader in the division.

In an Oct. 1 press conference, Odierno, commander of Multinational Force-Iraq, talked about the possibility of extending some headquarters following Iraq's January elections.

"What I don't want to do is bring in a brand new division headquarters, for example, for the elections," he said. "I just want to wait until a couple weeks after the elections. So it might cause a couple weeks' extension."

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