FORT STEWART — Units from the 3rd Infantry Division stationed at Fort Stewart and Kelley Hill at Fort Benning were included Tuesday in a Department of Defense announcement naming the next group of units to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Named in the release are the Division Special Troops Battalion "Legion," the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Raiders," the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Spartans" and the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Sledgehammer" from the 3rd Infantry Division.
The deployment window for these units begins in September and continues into early 2010. All the units have been preparing for these deployments.
The 3rd ID has deployed more times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom than any other unit in the Army. From the outset of the conflict, Marne soldiers have been on the leading edge of accomplishing this mission.
In the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Marne division spearheaded the invasion of Iraq, making a name for itself through a series of maneuvers into Baghdad, termed "Thunder Runs." These attacks into the heart of a dangerous regime ruled by Saddam Hussein led to the eventual capture of the city and the fall of that regime only several weeks into the conflict.
Subsequent deployments in 2005 to the central part of Iraq, and in 2007 as part of the surge, brought additional notoriety and experience to the unit as each brigade and the division headquarters executed their missions.
The Legion battalion and the division headquarters will make up the task force headquarters for Multi-National Division-North. Upon arrival, they will form Task Force Marne, which will consist of the Spartan Brigade, plus four more maneuver brigades from across the Army. These units will be joining the task force from Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Lewis, Wash., Fort Riley, Kan., and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
The brigades will all be serving as "advisory and assistance brigades." They will replace units currently on the ground in Iraq. The mission of these units will be to train and partner with Iraqi security forces, conduct coordinated counter-terrorism operations and protect current civilian and military efforts in Iraq. The advisory and assistance mission reflects the changing role of U.S. Army forces serving in Iraq.