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ARLINGTON, Va. — It looks the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, Company A might be home for Christmas after all.

Based in Baumholder, Germany, the unit returned home in February and was slated to go back to Iraq in November with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, only giving them about nine months in between combat tours.

But U.S. Army Europe has asked the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division that the company not deploy with the rest of the brigade until the unit gets its full 12 months at home per Army policy, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Friday.

That means the company would head to Iraq 85 days after the rest of the brigade leaves on Nov. 19, Whitman said.

Whitman said he did not know if the soldiers in the company had been notified of the change as of Friday.

Defense officials were prompted to look into why the company was not getting its full amount of time at home after an alert reader from Baumholder let Stars and Stripes know the unit would have been getting less than 12 months at home.

Army policy dictates that troops can be deployed for up to 15 months in the U.S. Central Command theater of operations and then they cannot be deployed again for at least 12 months.

The policy does not apply to Reserve component Army units or other branches of the service.

Secretary Gates' memo on the interim Army deployment policy

May 9, 2007

Effective immediately, all active Amy units currently deployed or scheduled to deploy to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) will deploy for not more than 15 months "Boots on the Ground." Upon returning from deployment, these units will not be deployed again for at least 12 months. The only currently approved exceptions to this policy are one Active Component and one Reserve Component brigade already extended to 16 months "Boots on the Ground."

This policy applies only to Active Component Army units. It does not apply to units or personnel from any other Service; nor does it apply to Army Reserve Component units. The application of this interim policy for individual Soldiers deployed to the U.S. Central Command AOR, such as individual augmentees, those assigned temporarily to Joint Force headquarters, or those serving on various Training and Transition Teams, will be released under separate correspondence.

This is an interim policy. Army Active Component units will move to a rotation model of 12 month deployments followed by 12 months at home station as soon as possible. My continued goal is 12 months deployed and 24 months at home station, for these Active Component units.

Consistent with the current compensation policy, soldiers serving it) excess of 12 months "Boots on the Ground," whether extending a current deployment or deploying in the future, will receive an additional $1,000 for each month or portion of a month longer than 12 months that they remain in the U.S. Central Command AOR.

This Army Active Component deployment policy will provide improved force management policies and increased force stability. Likewise, this policy will provide better clarity, predictability, and confidence for Soldiers and their Families concerning current and planned unit deployments.

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