More ceremonies this week
Fort Stewart's Public Affairs Office reports there will be three welcome home ceremonies for 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team and Division Special Troops Battalion soldiers returning from Iraq this week:
Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 4 a.m. for 300 main body soldiers.
Friday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m. for more than main body 140 soldiers.
Sunday, Oct. 24, at 8:35p.m. for 280 soldiers, including a trail party for 2nd HBCT and the first main body of Division Special Troops Battalion soldiers.
The ceremonies' times are tentative. Keep tabs on ceremony time changes at http://www.stewart.army.mil/flighttrack
Along with military families, local officials are happy to see 3rd ID soldier redeploy.
“From a personal standpoint I want (the troops) back just because it’s time for them to be home,” Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said Wednesday. Thomas, an Army veteran, served nearly 24 years on active duty.
Several groups, most ranging from 80 to 300 soldiers and even one group of 600, from the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team have already redeployed to Fort Stewart this past week. More welcome home ceremonies are expected this week.
“We are now at the start of the redeployment season for the 3rd ID’s 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, the Division Special Troops Battalion and the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team,” Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said. “From now until the end of the year, these units will return to Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. The 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team has already completed its homecoming at Fort Benning. We should remember, though, that the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently deployed as the 4th Advise and Assist Brigade under the command of the 1st Armor Division, just deployed not too long ago and is expected to return in summer of 2011.”
Larson said local residents should be aware the dates for homecomings often change because troops’ flight schedules change. Options are currently being considered “on when and where to celebrate the division headquarters return,” he said.
For information about arrivals of returning troops visit http://www.stewart.army.mil/flighttrack/.
Once soldiers return home they get “a day or two off” to spend with family, Larson said.
“Following that time off, the soldiers must go through the Army-mandated, 10-day reintegration process that includes relationship classes, medical screenings, updating finances and more,” he continued. “Currently, the 3rd Infantry Division does not appear on the ‘patch chart’ for future deployments. That means for at least the next two years, unless there is a need for the 3rd ID somewhere, the 3rd ID will be home. This will give us the opportunity to fully rest our soldiers and reset our equipment in accord with the Army Force Generation process.”
The 3rd ID deployed to Iraq last year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Sept. 1, 2010, the mission officially changed to Operation New Dawn. The current mission focuses on stability and support of Iraqi troops.
“In January of this year, there were 112,000 soldiers on the ground. At the end of the drawdown that’s happening right now, including the 3rd Infantry Division, there will be 50,000,” Army Col. Peter Hoffman told the Hinesville Rotary Club last Tuesday during a presentation about the current redeployment. Hoffman has recently been assigned as the chief of strategic partnerships, and so acts as a liaison between Fort Stewart and the civilian community.