Friday, April 18, 2008

Some Soldiers to Redeploy Next Week


Some soldiers to redeploy next week
Transportation delays behind slow return
BY MICK WALSH

While it was hoped that the advance party of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team would be redeploying to Fort Benning in mid-April, it now appears that the earliest the first group of soldiers will return to Lawson Army Airfield may be next week.

"There have been some delays on the transportation side," said Lt. Col. Scott Quagliata, the brigade's rear detachment commander. "We do not have a flight scheduled until the 23rd and that's actually a group from the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, nine or 10 soldiers."

The post public affairs office said Wednesday that they are unaware of any returning flights before next week.

While some may have expected the initial group of about 380 soldiers to arrive earlier than next week, brigade commander Col. Wayne O. Grigsby Jr. had warned last month that he could not provide definite dates because "we won't know the definite timetable until 48-72 hours before we leave."

The ADVON, or advance party of representatives, from each of the brigade's six battalions, totaling almost a tenth of the unit's 3,800 troops, will arrive several weeks before the bulk of the brigade is expected to arrive.

Grigsby said that should be "during the first couple of weeks in May."

The brigade, part of the Pentagon's early 2007 "surge" into Baghdad, Iraq, was scheduled to serve a 15-month deployment, which would have meant a mid-June return.

Families back home have also been given tentative return dates. "Our Family Readiness Group is already busy preparing for the arrival of our great soldiers," Grigsby said.

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