WASHINGTON - An Army armored cavalry unit and three brigade combat teams will deploy to Iraq next summer as part of annual troop rotations there, according to a Defense Department news release issued Oct. 8.
Also, an Army headquarters unit and elements of a Marine expeditionary force now in Iraq have been issued deployment extensions, the release said.
The number of troops involved in the movement will total about 15,000 servicemembers. The units will replace redeploying units, with no increase in overall force levels.
Units identified for deployment are:
– 3rd Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Fort Stewart, Ga.;
– 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Wahiawa, Hawaii;
– 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; and
– 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Hood, Texas.
The deploying units will serve 12-month tours.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates also approved a request by Army Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, to extend the deployment of the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters for up to an additional 23 days, and elements of the II Marine Expeditionary Force for up to an additional 79 days.
The extensions will ensure that key capabilities are maintained following Iraqi national elections in January and provide support for redeployment of remaining Marines and their equipment.
Odierno said Oct. 1 that current thinking is to maintain U.S. force levels in Iraq between 110,000 and 120,000 troops for the two months after the January election, but ahead of a massive U.S. force reduction expected before next fall.
“What we’ll do is we’ll hold that in place through the elections and about 60 days after the elections,” Odierno told Pentagon reporters. “And depending on how that goes, … then we will make a determination of coming down to the 50,000 transition force by the first of September.”