Pentagon: 3 units tapped for war tours
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon today announced three units that will be deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq between late spring and fall as part of a normal rotation of forces.
Between May and July, the 82nd Division headquarters of Fort Bragg, N.C., will replace the 101st Division headquarters in Afghanistan.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colo., also will be sent to Afghanistan. The 4th Brigade of the 101st Infantry Division will rotate out.
The units going in total approximately 4,700 servicemembers.
Later in the year, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., will head to Iraq. The unit, which includes 4,000 personnel, was identified because it is "Stryker-equipped," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
Originally, the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was set for Iraq, but was re-tasked to Afghanistan earlier this year. The assignment of the 4-2, according to a military spokesman, fulfills Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno’s desire to maintain two Stryker brigades in Iraq.
Whitman said these deployments fit current needs, but as the drawdown of combat forces begins, shortened deployments may be on the horizon for some units.
"At the end of the day, who knows what some of these boots on the ground time will be? Some of them will start, at some point, getting adjusted and be probably less than 12 months, but we’re not ready to get out there and start talking about that yet."
President Barack Obama last week called for the removal of all combat forces from Iraq by August 31, 2010.
By the calendar, brigade combat teams sent overseas after September 1 this year either would have to be remissioned, likely as trainers or security forces, or brought home.
Other Pentagon officials said that as the drawdown continues towards next year’s deadline, some units may be repurposed or sent home before the end of their 12-month tour, but that no such decisions have been made.
Referring to the U.S. self-imposed deadline to remove all combat-designated units from Iraq, Whitman said, "we’ll keep a rather large force there through the elections at the end of the year, and then you’ll see that draw down until August 31 ."