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BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Soldiers are on their way home after weeks of training in the field in Grafenwöhr. And upon arrival in Baumholder they will be greeted with this message: “DA has approved shift of 2nd BCT’s deployment to early 2008!!!”

The announcement, posted at the entrance to the garrison, isn’t new information for the soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, 2nd Brigade. On July 31, the soldiers were notified that their scheduled November deployment was pushed back to sometime in February or March.

But in the week since the brigade was notified, higher-level decision makers have remained quiet about the purpose of the change. To date, no official announcement from the Army or the Department of Defense has been issued related to the new deployment schedule.

A Pentagon spokesman did not respond to an inquiry from Stars and Stripes about whether an official announcement would be forthcoming. In May, it was the Department of Defense that announced the 1st AD, 2nd BCT would be among the units deploying in November.

U.S. Army Europe said Wednesday that announcements about deployment changes must come from the Pentagon.

In the case of Baumholder, an e-mail from the brigade commander was sent to families last week informing them of the change and explaining its purpose.

“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,” the e-mail stated.

The brigade was slated to conduct field training exercises through the month of August, culminating toward the end of the month with a mission readiness exercise. Now, soldiers are heading back to Baumholder early. They will be returning to the field in the fall in preparation for their 2008 deployment.

The upcoming deployment of 1st AD Headquarters, meanwhile, is still scheduled to move forward around September as planned. Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of the 1st Armored Division, will be fielding phone calls related to the deployment on AFN Radio at 8:05 a.m. on Aug. 15.

The purpose of the show is to answer questions related to 1st AD Headquarters, according to 1st AD spokeswoman Maj. Margaret Kageleiry. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if questions about the 2nd Brigade come up at that time, she acknowledged.

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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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