HEIDELBERG, Germany — It was once the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt. It spent, all told, 27 months in Iraq, 15 of them in a second, grueling deployment as part of the "surge."

Now, with a new name, the unit is heading back to Iraq this fall, officials announced Monday.

Less than five months after leaving Iraq, the unit was reflagged in March — most of its soldiers replacing their Big Red One patch with that of the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade — and started relocating to Grafenwöhr.

The brigade’s troops will be among some 25,000 deploying Army soldiers to replace U.S. forces there now, not add to the U.S. presence there, Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said on Monday.

Capt. Mike Gunther, 31, of Mundelein, Ill., was among those who deployed with the Dagger Brigade last time. Monday’s announcement wasn’t a surprise to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment soldier.

"Most guys knew it was coming, with the 12 months on, 12 months off," said Gunther, who has deployed twice before. "There is a lot of good experience within the brigade or even within our battalion, with guys who have combat experience passing it on to new guys who have come to us since the last deployment."

Spc. Ben Proust, 33, of Santa Rosa, Calif., will leave his wife and two children at Grafenwöhr when he deploys with the brigade.

"I wouldn’t say I’m excited," he said, "but we knew we were going."

Stars and Stripes reporter Seth Robson contributed to this report.

172nd tapped for deploymentThe Army announced Monday that members of the Germany-based 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade will deploy to Iraq this fall. According to USAREUR, units deploying with the 172nd include:

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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