CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Fort Carson, Colo., will be the new home of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade after it finishes its Iraq mission next year.

The Department of the Army announced the “temporary relocation” of the 2nd Brigade from South Korea to Fort Carson on Thursday in Washington. Earlier this summer, the Pentagon announced the brigade would be part of the overseas force realignment and would not return to its bases in South Korea. But no destination was announced at the time.

The move to Fort Carson, projected to occur in late summer 2005, will result in an increase of approximately 3,700 military authorizations at Fort Carson, a Department of the Army news release stated.

“Temporary stationing of 2-2 ID (2nd Brigade) now is operationally imperative to ensure the Army is postured to fully support its strategic commitments. Additionally, the 2-2 ID will transform to a campaign-quality force with joint and expeditionary capabilities that meet the demands of combatant commanders,” the statement read.

Fort Carson was selected based on facility capacities, training space and locations of similar units, officials said.

“Family members of the unit’s soldiers will soon begin relocating to Fort Carson. This re-stationing decision will provide stability and predictability to soldiers and their families’ lives and supports the Army’s plan to stabilize the force. This stationing action does not involve the relocation of any Department of Defense civilian[s],” the statement read.

Earlier this month, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment Commander Lt. Col. Justin Gubler said deploying to Iraq from South Korea was particularly hard on his men.

“A lot of these guys are on their second year of deployment, when they planned only for a year’s deployment. Our families are not together in one place. They are spread across the U.S.,” he said.

A lot of problems and issues facing soldiers’ families are taken care of by on-base family support groups, he said.

“Wives band together and help each other. Our wives are distributed across the U.S., South Korea and the Philippines, and there is not a lot of support structure around them,” he said.

There had been speculation within 2nd Brigade about the move since their Iraq mission was announced several months ago, with Fort Carson often discussed as a possible destination.

Soldiers from another 2nd Brigade unit, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, said they were informed of the move two weeks ago.

Pfc. Collin Sayler, 28, of Tempe, Ariz., said Fort Carson will be a great place to be stationed.

The soldier was standing in a pile of sand and gravel at his unit’s current home, Camp Ramadi, Iraq, where facilities are minimal, mortars are a daily occurrence and recreational options are confined to a few makeshift gyms and the barren, dusty ground inside the wire.

Fort Carson is near many popular vacation resorts, Sayler said.

“You have the Rocky Mountains, skiing, hiking, Pike’s Peak … and it is closer to home than South Korea or Iraq,” he said.

Fort Carson is home to the 4th Infantry Division and has a combined military and civilian population of 20,000. Established in 1942, it was first used as a training camp for the Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command. Today it is one of the largest employers in the Colorado Springs area.

The Army will address permanent stationing of the 2nd Brigade through the Base Realignment and Closure 2005 analysis, the Department of the Army statement said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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