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HEIDELBERG, Germany — The top commander of Army forces in Europe is leading a team of his top brass to 1st Armored Division communities to see how they can help families deal with the four-month extension of 1st AD troops in Iraq.

“We will cut through the red tape, we will modify the regulations, we will change policies — all as necessary to support you during the upcoming months,” Gen. B.B. Bell said in a written statement.

Bell’s tour comes in the wake of the extension to 1st Armored Division’s hitch in Iraq, which had been slated to end next month.

“In the very near term, I will lead a team of our most experienced support personnel to many of your communities to hear from you personally,” Bell said in his statement, promising, “we will not let you down.”

Citing security concerns, USAREUR spokesman Michael Tolzmann refused to say which U.S. military installations in Germany Bell would visit or when the general would be making his appearances.

Asked for possible examples of the kind of red tape-cutting Bell is anticipating, Tolzmann said such rule-bending “would include ... implementing changes to operating hours at [Child Development Centers] or other post facilities as a result of soldiers being deployed and families showing a need for change.”

Whatever is needed, Bell said, he and his staff will make sure it gets done.

“I have directly committed the entire United States Army Europe team to your help and assistance during this period of extended service for your soldiers,” Bell said.

“Our senior leaders and administrators will communicate with you and take your issues directly. We will solve them,” said Bell.

“Taking care of our own is our tradition,” Bell added, “and we will meet our obligations to you.”


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