Dear Friends and Family,
The Sledgehammer PAO team is happy to be announcing some details on the unit’s upcoming redeployment. So we’ll just get right to it.
No doubt you are probably all aware of President Obama’s order to have no more than 50,000 advise and assist troops in Iraq by Sept. 1. This targeted mission required strength will allow the 3rd Brigade to maintain its partnership and support requirements, while requiring some Sledgehammer Soldiers to redeploy early. As part of the U.S. Forces drawdown, the 3rd Brigade has been ordered by the United States Division South Commander, MG Brooks, to send approximately 600 Soldiers home early to meet that strength requirement.
The Battalion Commanders and the Brigade Commander are the sole approval authorities on deciding which Soldiers to send. Mission priorities are the most important aspect for the Commander when making these decisions. Critical missions in Iraq may prevent some Soldiers from being able to leave early while critical missions at Fort Benning will require that some Soldiers do leave early. The next priority the Commander looks at when determining which Soldiers to send are those who have orders to PCS (permanent change of station), or ETS (end of time in service) before February, 2011. After that, Soldiers attending military schools, with start dates before October are considered. Last in the order of priority are Soldiers who made the 3rd Brigade football team or combatives team. Less than 10 percent of the Soldiers are those who are on the football team or combatives team. With approximately 600 slots to fill we anticipate that a good majority of the Soldiers who fall into any of these four categories will be going home early. However, it is very important to note that the mission in Iraq, and the support requirements at Fort Benning take precedence; this means that even if a Soldier falls into one of these four categories, it does not guarantee them leaving early. The majority of the Soldiers who do not fall into any of these categories will be returning as part of the main body flights.
Soldiers redeploying early are scheduled to arrive at Fort Benning starting the second week of August through the end of August. The main body flights are scheduled to arrive throughout September. The last main body flight is scheduled to arrive the first week in October.
Thank you, and SLEDGEHAMMER