More than 100 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team soldiers scheduled to deploy to the Al Anbar Province in central Iraq next week will stay behind.
Some are staying for good, and others may be called to deploy in a month or two.
4th IBCT commander Col. Lou Lartigue said “it’s not unnatural” for some soldiers to remain in the rear during a deployment. According to Lartigue, some soldiers are retiring from the military and some are staying behind because of medical issues. In addition, some troops will remain since the Army’s stop-loss policy ended in January, he said.
“It’s the first time we’ve not had stop-loss,” Lartigue said. “Guys who are slated to transition out can do that.”
Stop-loss is the involuntary extension of a military member’s active duty service under his or her enlistment contract. Under stop-loss soldiers were retained beyond their initial end of active duty service date. Last March, the Department of Defense announced stop-loss would be eliminated for the time being. The policy could be resurrected should extraordinary circumstances arise, according to www.defense.gov.
The website reported Army Reserve and Army National Guard units ended the practice of stop loss respectively in August and September 2009.
Lartigue explained some soldiers considered “deployable” may not deploy this coming month, but could be deployed in coming months. He said these troops could be recalled for overseas duty if their services are deemed required or to replace other soldiers who need to return stateside to handle family emergencies and the like.
“We are still taking over 3,000 total,” the colonel said. “There will not be a degradation in ability.”
The Army has planned to draw down to 50,000 troops in Iraq by September.
The 4th brigade will be replacing the 1st Brigade 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg, N.C. The brigade will work under the 1st Armored Division out of Germany, according to Lartigue.
The 4th IBCT is the last 3rd Infantry Division brigade at Fort Stewart to deploy in support of advise and assist, a mission that will transition to Operation New Dawn on Sept. 1.
About 150 Vanguard soldiers deployed June 26. Lartigue is scheduled to fly out July 5. The brigade held its color casing, a formally ceremony to signal the combat team’s official departure, on June 25.
The 4th brigade officially transitioned from a heavy combat team to a light infantry brigade in March 2009. This will be the combat team’s third deployment to Iraq since its activation on May 26, 2004, confirmed 4th IBCT Public Affairs Officer Maj. Mark Geeting.
3rd ID soldiers are scheduled to begin redeploying in October.