Saturday, March 15, 2008
3rd Brigade Troops Will Make Early Return
3rd Brigade troops will make early return
Soldiers to start trickling onto post in early April
BY MICK WALSH
Fort Benning's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team will be redeploying almost a month ahead of schedule, according to commander Col. Wayne O. Grigsby Jr.
An advance party of representatives from each of the brigade's six battalions, totaling almost a tenth of the unit's 3,800 troops, is expected to arrive at the Lawson Army Airfield terminal during the second week in April.
The bulk of the brigade is expected to arrive, in Grigsby's words, "during the first couple of weeks in May."
Grigsby, speaking by telephone Wednesday from Forward Operating Base Hammer, was careful not to give any exact dates because "we won't know the definite timetable until 48-72 hours before we leave. But we are coming home early."
The brigade, part of the Pentagon's early 2007 surge into Baghdad, was scheduled to serve a 15-month deployment, which would have meant a mid-June return.
The passing of the baton to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, out of Germany, has already begun.
Families back home have also been given the tentative return dates.
"Our Family Readiness Group is already busy preparing for the arrival of our great soldiers," Grigsby said.
Almost as soon as the soldiers return to Kelley Hill, plans will be made for change in command ceremonies at the brigade and battalion level.
Grigsby will say goodbye to the Sledgehammer Brigade on July 17, to be replaced by Col. Pete Jones. The 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment will be the first outfit to change leaders. That comes in a June 25 ceremony. The others will take place between July 13 and July 17.
Grigsby also announced that a memorial service for brigade soldiers killed over the past year will be held July 11 at the new brigade headquarters at Kelley Hill.
Later that day, a football game and barbecue will be held at Doughboy Stadium for the soldiers and their families.
Grigsby said he's been in touch with Fort Benning's chief of staff, Col. David Ling, who assured him that preparation for the brigade's return to post is well under way.
"We're just happy to be a part of the Fort Benning family," said Grigsby, who is headed to a Pentagon job this summer.
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