By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is busy this week preparing for a month at California's National Training Center.
Soldiers from 2nd "Sabre" and 3rd "Thunder" Squadrons and their vehicles filled Fort Hood's railhead Tuesday, loading their heavy equipment onto flatbed train cars near Clarke Road.
The vehicles began at a drift yard near motor pool row, where they were inspected for things like proper connection points and fuel and oil levels, said Staff Sgt. Toby Hunter, of Sabre's Fox Troop.
The Staten Island, N.Y., native is preparing for his third deployment to Iraq.
Rail loading for the National Training Center at Fort Irwin began last week and continues today.
Soldiers will begin to depart Fort Hood for California this week and full training will start at the end of May, according to information from the regiment.
The soldiers are expected to return to Fort Hood mid-June and depart for Iraq in late summer or early fall, according to information from the Defense Department.
The regiment's 4,200 soldiers deployed to Iraq in late 2007 and returned in January and February 2009.
Leading them was Col. Michael Bills, who relinquished command to Col. Reginald Allen April 3 at Fort Hood. Also during that ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. William Burns relinquished responsibility as the regiment's senior noncommissioned officer to Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Hunt.