Pentagon Announces Iraq Deployments

Washington (AP) -- The Pentagon has notified more than 35,000 soldiers and Marines to be prepared to deploy to Iraq beginning this fall. They include three brigades from Fort Campbell.

The move that would allow commanders to maintain the ongoing buildup of troops through the end of the year if needed.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday the deployment orders, which have been signed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, do not mean that the military has made a decision to keep the increased level of 20 brigades in Iraq through December. A brigade is roughly 3,500 soldiers.

Instead, he said the decision gives the pentagon the "capability" to carry the buildup to the end of the year. Whitman says the replacement forces would give commanders in Iraq the flexibility they need to complete the mission there.

According to the Army, the combat brigades would deploy for up to 15 months. The Army also said that close to 1,000 additional support troops from the US Army Reserves would also deploy in August. Those would come from two units, an engineer battalion from Fort Thomas, Kentucky and a signal battalion from Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

The ten brigades include: the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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