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Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 12:00 am

The U.S. Department of Defense announced in a news release Thursday that four units are scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan within the year. Two of those are from Fort Campbell.

The two units to deploy are the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (“Rakkasans”) and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (“Wings of Destiny”). Both are scheduled for deployment in late fall 2012. Public Affairs Officer Col. Frank Garcia of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) said the brigades will likely leave within the next three to four months.

According a separate news release from Fort Campbell, about 2,950 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade and about 2,580 soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade are set to deploy.

“I am confident in the leadership of these grigades, and know they are well trained for this deployment to Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division in the release.

The other units set to deploy are the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., and the 3rd Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade of Fort Stewart, Ga. The two units will deploy in late spring and early winter of 2012 respectively.

The announcement comes as no shock to the brigades themselves. Whispers of deployment have rumbled through the division for several months now. But the announcement contradicts the Army’s earlier promise of a longer dwell time.

In August, Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced that the Army would shorten deployment times from 12 to nine months and lengthen dwell time to two years. The change in deployment and dwell times was set to change in January.

Public Affairs Officer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team Maj. Stacy Hopwood said that the 3rd Brigade left for Afghanistan in February 2010 and came home a year later in February 2012 on a 12-month deployment. Now, just 18 months later, the brigade will deploy to Afghanistan again.

Lt. Col. Peggy Kageleiry at the Department of the Army said in an email that the Army remains committed to its goal of shortening deployment time and lengthening dwell time, but the transition may not allow for the full amount of dwell time.

“Initially some units will experience shorter dwell periods as the Army realigns units to divisions and meets demand under a nine-month deployment cycle,” Kageleiry said in her email.

Garcia said that, even though the dwell time was less than expected, the units are still ready for their next rendezvous with destiny.

“Being here at home is a great thing, but the time that we had here was sufficient,” Garcia said.

Reach Carla Jimenez at 270-887-3262 or cjimenez@kentuckynewera.com.

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