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View full text of email from Col. Robert P. White.

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The 1st Armored Division, 2nd Brigade’s planned November deployment to Iraq has been delayed until late February or early March, ensuring that some members of this unit will not spend a third consecutive Christmas apart from family members.

A senior military official confirmed the deployment delay late Tuesday.

“It’s good to finally know,” said Shelly Agostine, a military spouse. “It’s always good to have your husband around.”

Family members were being notified Tuesday evening of the change by spouses busy training in the field. E-mails explaining the path ahead also was circulated.

In an e-mail circulated to brigade families: Col. Robert P. White, wrote: “DoD has announced a change in the deployment dates for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored division, Baumholder, Germany. The brigade is now expected to deploy to the Central Command area of operations in early 2008 instead of November 2007. As a result of this action, changes in the unit schedule for training and preparing for deployment can also be expected.”

Talk has been swirling in recent weeks through the tight-knit military community of Baumholder that a change was looming. Word circulated through bars, restaurants, the post office and commissary.

For some soldiers in the brigade, the deployment adjustment means that they will now have a full 12 months dwell time at their home station.

For instance, there has been much speculation about the fate of Company A of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, a unit that only returned from Iraq in March but which was scheduled to deploy in November.

For weeks, military officials have remained tight-lipped about whether the unit would be deployed early.

And for soldiers who have recently arrived to Baumholder on new assignments from the 1st AD’s now inactivated 1st Brigade, the delay also ensures they receive the Pentagon-mandated full 12-month dwell time.

Full text of email:

The entire e-mail to families of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was made available to Stars and Stripes. It follows in its entirety.

COMMANDER’S STATEMENT TO FAMILIES:

“DoD has announced a change in the deployment dates for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany. The brigade is now expected to deploy to the Central Command area of operations in early 2008 instead of November 2007. As a result of this action, changes in the unit schedule for training and preparing for deployment can also be expected. Between now and the deployment; we foresee going to Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr from mid-October to just prior to Christmas, with approximately ten days of “max” leave time around Christmas and New Year’s. January and February will include deployment preparation here in Baumholder with a 2-week “block leave” period tentatively set for 4-17 February. This is good news for many families. I know you will have many questions about early return of dependents, DEROS changes, and other similar personnel issues, and I assure you we will continue to work these issues.”

Q1: When will the STOP LOSS - STOP MOVE go into affect?A1: We do not have official guidance on SL/SM tied to the new deployment dates. As soon as we have those directives we will disseminate the information. For now, normal transition orders and moves will occur.

Q2: How long is the new deployment going to be for?A2: In accordance with the latest DoD guidance, we expect this OIF deployment to be for up to 15 months.

Q3: Where will 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division be deployed to within Iraq .A3: We do not have those details and as contingency plans are developed you can expect specific details to be Close Hold for operational security reasons.

Q4: Does this impact dwell time data?A4: Based on the projected time the unit is scheduled to deploy under the proposed schedule, all units—company and above—will have at least 12 months dwell. This does not eliminate the possibility that some individuals who are deploying will not have 12 months of dwell. Individual dwell time is often affected by PCS and other similar issues. Like always, Soldiers impacted by individual dwell timing will be addressed on a case by case basis.

Q5: Is this shift a result of units like A/1-6?A5: This proposed adjustment is part of a comprehensive USCENTCOM review of incoming brigade size elements in an effort to maximize their capabilities and better facilitate force flow and transitional requirements. The timing of where and when specific units deploy is dictated by the needs of the Combatant Commander. (Refer to CENTCOM/MNF-I for further details).

Q6: Will this shift cause other units to stay longer to cover before 2/1 AD arrives?A6: The 2/1 AD deployment schedule is based on orders from higher headquarters and on requests from the Combatant Commander. Unit arrangements for those already in theatre are the purview of the Combatant Commander.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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