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Cpl. Terry Bullard, ammunition team chief with Battery C, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, sets the sights on a M109 howitzer panormaic telescope. He is listening to the gunner's instructions to match his sight picture with the howitzer's sight. The 27th FA is with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade, and is to remain in Kuwait as a call-forward force for the U.S. Central Command in Iraq.

Cpl. Terry Bullard, ammunition team chief with Battery C, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, sets the sights on a M109 howitzer panormaic telescope. He is listening to the gunner's instructions to match his sight picture with the howitzer's sight. The 27th FA is with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade, and is to remain in Kuwait as a call-forward force for the U.S. Central Command in Iraq. (Jeremy Neece / U.S. Army)

Cpl. Terry Bullard, ammunition team chief with Battery C, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, sets the sights on a M109 howitzer panormaic telescope. He is listening to the gunner's instructions to match his sight picture with the howitzer's sight. The 27th FA is with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade, and is to remain in Kuwait as a call-forward force for the U.S. Central Command in Iraq.

Cpl. Terry Bullard, ammunition team chief with Battery C, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, sets the sights on a M109 howitzer panormaic telescope. He is listening to the gunner's instructions to match his sight picture with the howitzer's sight. The 27th FA is with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade, and is to remain in Kuwait as a call-forward force for the U.S. Central Command in Iraq. (Jeremy Neece / U.S. Army)

Staff Sgt. Jose S. Saxtos coaches Pvt. Richard L. Larossa, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, as he “zeroes” the sights and test-fires his Squad Automatic Weapon at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

Staff Sgt. Jose S. Saxtos coaches Pvt. Richard L. Larossa, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, as he “zeroes” the sights and test-fires his Squad Automatic Weapon at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. (Joshua Ramey / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Soldiers with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division spent months preparing for their second deployment to Iraq.

But instead of battling against insurgents as originally planned, the Baumholder-based troops got a new mission shortly after arriving in Kuwait: stay in the desert and be ready to join the fight across the border, if needed.

Although some soldiers were eager to do what they trained all summer to do, a pair of soldiers who talked to Stripes by phone from Kuwait said there also is a sense of relief that they do not have to head into a combat zone.

“We were certainly prepared to perform our mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom when we deployed,” said 1st Lt. Peter Kuzma, executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment’s Company C.

“But you can always continue to train and improve, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

The Pentagon announced before Christmas that the brigade would stay in Kuwait as a backup force.

The soldiers left Nov. 10 for Kuwait with the expectation that they would head to Iraq and had prepared mentally and physically for the dirty job of tracking down insurgents and rebuilding the war-torn country.

For the moment, many of the soldiers remain in the Persian Gulf region not knowing if they ever will get the call to go to Iraq.

In the meantime, the soldiers said they have to be ready in case they do.

While some warriors loathe the routine of training, Spc. Gerard Nutter said he and other soldiers break up the monotony by attending United Services Organizations shows, going to the movies and calling home.

Most soldiers live in tents, but many have moved into trailers.

Nutter isn’t disappointed he’s not in Iraq.

“It’s just a different mission,” said Nutter, a light-vehicle mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.

That mission mainly involves continuing to train much like they did in Germany last year.

Kuzma, who is on his first deployment, said being in Kuwait is not unlike being deployed on a field exercise.

Although the change in mission took some getting used to, he said morale is high.

“We’re training pretty hard,” Kuzma said. “And that’s keeping everybody’s head in the game. It was an adjustment when we found out our mission changed, but we’re working hard toward our new mission. No issues with that.”


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