By Emily Baker
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – The 700-1,000 soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division's headquarters and Special Troops Battalion have received orders to return to Iraq in September, the Defense Department and division officials confirmed Monday.
During the deployment, which will be the third to Iraq for the 4th Infantry since 2003, the soldiers are expected to take a mission in Baghdad, though that could change, said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, the division's spokesman.
No other 4th Infantry units have received deployment orders, but they are expected soon for the Fort Hood-based 1st and 4th Brigade Combat Teams and Fort Carson, Colo.-based 3rd Brigade Combat Team, said Maj. Mark Cheadle, also a division spokesman.
For now, "essentially the (Special Troops Battalion is going) because they own all the command and control assets," Cheadle said. "This whole building (the 4th Infantry's Fort Hood headquarters) is earmarked to go."
Until orders arrive for other 4th Infantry units, everything continues on schedule, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the 4th Infantry's commander, stated in an e-mail to the Special Troops Battalion's soldiers and their families.
"The division will complete our post-deployment priorities: reset, reintegrate, retrain and prepare for redeployment," Hammond stated in the e-mail.
Hammond said during a news conference at Fort Hood on Monday afternoon that the deployment orders are not a surprise and a condensed training schedule always has been used.
"We are not going to slight a thing," Hammond said of the training and preparing soldiers and their families for the deployment.
The Defense Department also announced Monday that the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters, the 1st Armored Division headquarters and the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division will join the 4th Infantry's soldiers in Iraq. Also, the 25th Infantry Division's headquarters will be extended in Iraq for 45 days.
The Defense Department announcement made no mention of the 1st Cavalry Division, which currently is deployed to Iraq and has the helm of Multinational Division-Baghdad.
The announcement said deployment orders are coming for 2,000 "combat-support and combat-service-support units" but gave no indication of which units will go.
The 4th Infantry returned from a year in Iraq and command of Multinational Division-Baghdad late last year.
During its year, the division was responsible for destroying more than 370 insurgent cells and detaining more than 12,000 people, putting two Iraqi army divisions in the lead after training them, working with seven police brigades and transferring responsibility in three Baghdad districts to police, where there had been none before, and conducting more than 33,200 patrols per month.
The division also had a role in the June death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq, who led al-Qaida there.
The 4th Infantry also deployed to Iraq in 2003-04. During that time, the division participated in Operation Red Dawn, the mission that captured ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein outside his hometown of Tikrit in December 2003.
After returning from Iraq last year, the division's soldiers were given a month of vacation and then began training for a possible return to Iraq. The division also is involved in a slow move to Fort Carson, which was designated in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. The 4th Infantry's 2nd Brigade Combat Team is in the process of moving to Fort Carson, and other brigades are expected to follow. Though the 1st and 4th Brigade Combat Teams have not received deployment orders, they are expected to deploy to Iraq and return to Fort Hood before moving to Fort Carson.
Contact Emily Baker at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7559