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Major units within the 1st Armored Division could be headed to Iraq earlier than expected.

In January, soldiers received an official e-mail from 1st AD headquarters telling them to expect to deploy between Nov. 1, 2005 and January 2006.

But 1st AD spokesman Maj. Michael Indovina said Tuesday that the 2nd Brigade Combat Team from Baumholder, Germany, now expects to deploy “in the fall,” which he described as anytime between September and November. That could be up to two months earlier than previously reported.

However V Corps officials say the news should come as no surprise to the troops.

“I honestly don’t know what each and every company was told,” said Hilde Patton, V Corps spokeswoman. “I just know in the overall window — we expected to have units leave within April and January.”

A Pentagon release in February listed Europe-based units that would deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan or Africa between April and January 2006. However, no 1st AD units were on that list.

Another unit not on the list, the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion from Wiesbaden, left for Iraq last week.

The unit left “early,” Patton said, because they had been home for 10 months, not the full year most units get after a deployment.

“It’s not always just because they’re leaving within the window time frame. It’s a combination of other factors,” she said.

Outside of the previously announced units headed downrange in the coming months, a new unit has been added to the mix, Indovina said.

A handful of air traffic controllers with the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment, Air Traffic Services out of Giebelstadt, Germany, who were not previously slotted for deployment will be leaving for Afghanistan soon, he said.

“Things change every day,” Indovina said about the addition to the deployment rotation.

The troops will remain downrange “until the mission ends.”

Right now, this does not look like a full year, but that could change, according to Indovina.

Indovina said the 2nd BCT is currently on block leave and will come home to predeployment exercises at the U.S. Army Combat Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany, in late summer.

CMTC provides realistic training for soldiers and units on their way downrange.

The 2nd BCT was activated Thursday. The division is now fully operational and ready to deploy as of Tuesday, he said.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, from Friedberg, will hold its activation ceremony June 30, Indovina said.

Stars and Stripes reporter Terry Boyd contributed to this report.

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