1st AD’s HQ going back to Iraq in late summer, DOD says
The 1st Armored Division headquarters has been tabbed to deploy to Iraq in late summer as part of the latest rotation of forces announced by the Pentagon on Monday.
U.S. Army Europe also disclosed a series of moves that will help round out the 1st AD headquarters team heading to Iraq. Those moves involve personnel assigned to units scheduled to inactivate, specifically soldiers in artillery, engineer and intelligence. In all, about 1,000 soldiers will be affected.
Additionally, USAREUR announced the relocation and conversion of some 1st AD units.
Headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, the division staff is “battle tested,” said Maj. Wayne Marotto, chief of public affairs for the division. “We are combat proven.”
Collectively, the division headquarters last deployed to Iraq in the spring of 2003. That deployment lasted about 15 months.
This time around the division headquarters will be led by Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, currently the deputy chief of staff for USAREUR and Seventh Army. Hertling, who served on the headquarters staff during the first deployment, is expected to succeed Maj. Gen. Fred D. Robinson within the next month or so.
Lt. Col. Larry Wilson, the deputy division operations officer, said much of the staff is already in place. Approximately 10 percent of the staff would come from 1st AD units that are in the process of inactivating, mainly in the artillery and engineer realm.
Wilson explained that this portion of the deploying force generally would provide planning and oversight in these specific areas.
“It’s not the guy pulling the lanyard on a Howitzer,” Wilson said. “It’s the headquarters folks.”
While some details have yet to be fully worked out, Wilson and other 1st AD officials said the headquarters staff would probably spend its tour in northern Iraq.
The division currently in charge in that region is based at Camp Speicher near the city of Tikrit. That unit, the 25th Infantry Division headquarters, on Monday had its tour extended by 46 days, the Pentagon announced.
The 1st AD headquarters will be based “somewhere north of Baghdad,” Wilson said.
For now, division leaders are expecting to spend a full year in Iraq, but, based on the unit’s last deployment and recent developments, that timeframe could shift. In 2004, the division’s tour was extended by up to three months.
“You plan for 365 days and adjust accordingly,” Wilson said.
Leonard Kuhlenschmidt, the first sergeant of the division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, said Monday he delayed his retirement in order to deploy with the unit. Kuhlenschmidt explained that up until a month or two ago, the expectation was the 1st AD headquarters would not return to Iraq until the fall of 2008.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the 25-year veteran said. “I requested to stay in the organization so I can deploy.”
During the yearlong deployment, the 1st AD headquarters will keep “a robust rear detachment” unit back in Wiesbaden to take care of families, Wilson said. There is no intention to move the division headquarters to the United States during the deployment, though, as the Army’s transformation plan currently stands, that remains part of the master plan.
n Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Division Artillery Brigade, Baumholder
n Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st AD Engineer Brigade, Giessen
n Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 501st Military Intelligence Battalion, Wackernheim
n Target Acquisition Battery, 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, Idar-Oberstein
n 526th Engineer Platoon (Topo), Wiesbaden
n 518th Engineer Platoon (Topo), Wiesbaden
Converting Units:n 1st Armored Division Headquarters, Wiesbaden, to a “modified modular division”
n Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 141st Signal Battalion, Wiesbaden, to 1st AD Special Troops Battalion, 146th Signal Network Operations Support Company
Source: U.S. Army Europe