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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Army units in Afghanistan get extended tours

This just showed up in my inbox from the Department of Defense:


The Department of the Army announced today the extension of a division headquarters and a combat aviation brigade in Afghanistan, as well as the future deployment of a division headquarters with recent Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) experience.


These moves are part of an initiative to place units on a habitual rotation to take advantage of their knowledge of the complex environment to which they are returning and to increase deployment stability. We will seek to better align the rotation of units and their headquarters for force cohesion.


The units being extended are the 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters, Fort Bragg, N.C., and the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Stewart, Ga. The 82nd Airborne Division will extend its current deployment by approximately 50 days, and the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade will extend for 14 days. These extensions are necessary to allow follow-on units to accrue one year of time at home station before redeploying (dwell time). The process will be managed to avoid any stop-loss for personnel.


The follow-on forces will deploy in the late spring of 2010. They are the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters, Fort Campbell, Ky., which will now deploy six months sooner than previously planned, and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Drum, N.Y.


These adjustments to the OEF troop rotation achieve better continuity at the division headquarters level in Afghanistan and increase deployment stability for the soldiers and families of these units. When these adjustments are completed, the units will deploy at close to a 1-2 ratio (1 year deployed - 2 years home) -- much better than today's ratio.


This rotation continues the U.S. commitment to maintain the level of forces necessary to provide sufficient military capability for the NATO-International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to further improve security and stability operations. In consultation with Afghan officials and NATO, commanders continue to assess the situation to ensure sufficient force levels to best support the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, perform counter-terrorism operations, assist with reconstruction, and train and equip the Afghan national security forces. Afghan security forces continue to develop capability and assume responsibility for security. This U.S. force rotation may be tailored based upon changes in the security situation.


"These adjustments to our force flow strategy are an important element in supporting the commander of ISAF's efforts to develop greater campaign continuity in regard to maximizing experience and stability in Operation Enduring Freedom," said Lt. Gen. J.D. Thurman, the U.S. Army's deputy chief of staff for operations.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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