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Commander, HQ head to Iraq
3rd ID in middle to third deployment
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch (right) encourages soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters Company as the board a plane Tuesday to deploy to Iraq. The commander of the division and Fort Stewart later also boarded the plane. - photo by Army photo by Jimmy McSalters
Third Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch and division Command Sgt. Jesse Andrews along with hundreds of headquarters troops left for Iraq Tuesday morning, joining more than 6,000 Marne soldiers already engaged in combat operations.
The Hinesville Military Affairs Committee, along with city and Liberty County leaders, gathered Monday in Veterans Park for Operation Yellow Bow.
The committee hosted the event, as it does each time the division deploys, to bid farewell to the commanding general and show support for the soldiers and their families.
A live oak tree had two large yellow ribbons adorned with the Marne Division patch attached as a symbol of that support.
Although the division is heading back to Iraq earlier than anticipated Lynch told the audience to stay focused on supporting the military.
“First off, don’t worry about us. We are trained and ready. We are going to fight and win this global war on terrorism. There’s no doubt in my mind. Your soldiers, your division are the most trained, best equipped and most prepared soldiers I’ve ever served with,” the general said.  
City and county leaders spoke words of encouragement and promised community support throughout the year’s deployment.
“Keep your face to the fight, and know that we have your back,” Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe said, noting the community is ready.
“We think that we are equally prepared and expectant of our responsibility as we attempt to support this division,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deployment will continue as more than 1,000 headquarters soldiers must be in Iraq by March 25.
The brigades are on a separate deployment schedule based on the Army’s modular concept. The 1st Brigade is already in Iraq fighting in Al Anbar and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team closed out its deployment last week. 2nd BCT would deploy in May, followed by smaller deployments in June or July, officials said.  
Despite reports of the 2,600 soldier Combat Aviation Brigade deploying in May, Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said “There are no deployment orders.”
The division has not received notification of a 45-day earlier than expected movement, he noted.
“Right now there’s nothing telling us specifically when and where,” he said.
The 4th Brigade deployment in late July is expected to bring the sequential deployment to an end, putting the division in full swing on its third tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
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