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ARLINGTON, Va. — Troops with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based in Baumholder, Germany, and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Stryker) out of Vilseck, Germany, will be among 35,000 soldiers slated to deploy next to Iraq, according to the Defense Department. The DOD announced Tuesday that 10 Army brigades would head to Iraq between August and December.

The 2nd Cavalry Regiment troops are expected to deploy to Iraq in August, while the 1st Armored Division troops are slated to go at the end of November, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl Ey.

In support of these 10 brigade combat teams, the U.S. Army Reserves will deploy 504 soldiers from the 478th Combat Engineer Battalion, based in Fort Thomas, Ky. Also, the 40th Signal Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Ariz. will deploy 430 soldiers. Both battalions deploy in August 2007.

During its last deployment, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division served as a “call-forward” force, first in Kuwait and then Iraq.

When the units were announced, the Army stressed that all deploying units will have spent 12 months at home before returning to the fight.

Not so, according to one alert reader who saw an early version of the story on stripes.com

A spouse who asked to be identified only as “a reader from Baumholder” said that some members of the 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Division returned in February, and thus would be going back to Iraq in just nine months.

“I'm from Baumholder and was a spouse of one of the soldiers involved in the A Co 1-6's extension last time. I just know a lot of soldiers are upset that they are being grouped into the same category as everyone else who not only got to spend half of their last tour in Kuwait, but will also have had Christmas with their families last year, and 12 months at home before deploying again.”

The deployments come after the Army lengthened tours in the U.S. Central Command to 15 months to give soldiers a full year at home. Ultimately, the Defense Department wants to give active-duty troops two months off for every month they are deployed.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman repeatedly declined to answer reporters’ questions Tuesday on whether the deployments would keep the overall troop presence in Iraq at 20 brigades.

He cautioned reporters that it would be “inaccurate” to conclude from news of the deployments that the buildup of U.S. forces in Iraq known as the “surge” had been extended.

But the move would give commanders the ability to keep 20 brigades in Iraq through the end of the year, Whitman said.

All five extra “surge” brigades are expected to arrive in Iraq by mid-June.

Defense officials have also said the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit has received orders to deploy to Kuwait and then Iraq as the next “call-forward force,” replacing the 15th MEU.

The commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq has said he plans to write a report in September on how effective the “surge” has been.

Who's affected

The following brigades will deploy as part of the regular rotation of forces for Operations Iraqi Freedom.

¶ 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany

¶ 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Stryker), Vilseck, Germany

¶ 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas

¶ 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

¶ 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

¶ 2nd Brigade, 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

¶ 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas

Source: Department of Defense

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