By James David
Killeen Daily Herald
The Department of Defense on Tuesday announced that two Fort Hood-based units are among the next 10 Army brigade combat teams that will deploy to Iraq between August and December.
Included in the announcement are the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, both based at Fort Hood.
Armywide, the deployments affect about 35,000 active-duty troops, who will serve up to 15 months.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment will deploy in November at the beginning of the month, while the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry will deploy at the end of December.
The 1st Brigade is fresh from a three-week field training exercise, and the news came as no surprise to its deputy commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Dixon.
"Our soldiers all knew we were training and resetting the brigade for another deployment," Dixon said.
The brigade came back from a yearlong deployment this past December, and will meet the Army's stated goal of having each combat brigade stay in the United States for at least 12 months between deployments.
Dixon said knowing an exact timetable is important for the soldiers and their families, so they can plan accordingly. "Our families are incredibly supportive of their soldiers. Knowing what's in store for them is 80 percent of the battle for morale," Dixon said regarding the deployment orders.
The brigade deploys with an experienced group of leaders, from the battalion commanders on down. All six battalion commanders have deployed with the division in previous capacities, and more than half of the captains serving as company commanders have Iraq tours under their belt.
"Continuity in our senior leadership will continue," he said.
The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is no stranger to the sands of Iraq, either. The regiment deployed most recently in Operation Iraqi Freedom III and returned to Fort Carson, Colo., in March 2006 before relocating to Fort Hood in July of last year.
Maj. Gary Dangerfield, 3rd Armored Cavalry public affairs officer, said the news came as no surprise to the regiment, either. "The families of our soldiers were informed on Friday that the possibility of definite deployment orders existed," he said.
Dangerfield said that the current training schedule includes a monthlong field exercise in the desert sands of Fort Irwin, Calif., in June and July so the regiment will be ready.
Also receiving deployment orders Tuesday were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd brigades, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.; 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Stryker), Vilseck, Germany; and 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany.
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