Delay has 1st Infantry brigade in ‘wait-and-see’ mode
May 10, 2006
SCHWEINFURT, Germany — A day after Pentagon officials announced the delay of the planned Iraq deployment for the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade, soldiers and their families here differed over the significance of the change.
A Pentagon spokesman announced Monday that deployment for the 4,000-member brigade was “on hold.” Originally slated to start heading downrange in the coming weeks, the brigade was to be under the command and control of the 1st Armored Division while in Iraq.
No decision has been announced regarding if or when the brigade will deploy. U.S. Army Europe and 1st Armored Division representatives would not comment on the change, referring all questions regarding deployment schedules and reasons for the delay to the Pentagon.
On Tuesday, many brigade and family members would not comment on the deployment situation either. Those who did comment did not provide their names. Many said that not knowing a concrete deployment date, or if a deployment is still in the works, was the hardest part.
Pushing her child in a stroller near the shoppette on Ledward Barracks, one woman said that her husband had deployed with the brigade in 2004.
The woman said she had made plans to move to Missouri in anticipation of her husband deploying again and then getting out of the Army. Those plans are now up in the air.
“I was going to move home and buy a house and get settled,” she said, adding that she found out about the change on Monday. “It’s just messed up our whole plan.”
Her friend, whose husband is also with the brigade, said that the “wait-and-see” approach is a frustrating part of military life.
“It’s just the government,” she said. “You play the waiting game.”
One specialist said he had heard the news last week, and that it was a tough pill to swallow.
“It’s delayed my (estimated time of separation),” he said glumly. “So I’m a little sad about that.”
A private said he was disappointed, and had been looking forward to his first Iraq deployment with the brigade.
“A lot of guys were amped up to go,” he said. “Last week it was, ‘Be ready.’ Now they said we’re still on standby.”
Another private said he had heard that the brigade was going to the Syrian border, or to Ramadi or Mosul.
“We’ve heard a bunch of places,” he said, adding that the brigade may replace Marine Corps or National Guard units.
One military spouse said she was excited that her husband was not leaving, because they hadn’t spent July 4 together in a couple years.
“I do have friends who want to go and start it and get it done,” she said, adding that the uncertainty bothers her. “I’d rather have a date. I have no idea.”
The woman who had planned to relocate to Missouri said all she can do is wait out the decision-makers who are affecting her life, and the lives of her young children.
“If they’re not going to go, it’s a good thing,” she said. “But if they are, get them out of here sooner.”