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More 4th BCT troops deploy
Soldiers heading into a year in Iraq
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A 4th IBCT soldier gets an affectionate squeeze Monday before deploying with his unit. - photo by Photo by Lawrence Dorsey
More than 3,000 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are deploying to Iraq this month. Hundreds of Vanguard soldiers told family and friends goodbye before loading their duffel bags and equipment into Army trucks on Monday.
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 brigade commander Col. Lou 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. President Barack Obama has mandated American troops will draw down to 50,000 in Iraq by early September.
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.
Some 3rd ID soldiers are scheduled to begin redeploying in October, although about 700 soldiers attached to 3rd ID headquarters — including 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo — have had their deployment extended by 30 days.
In other news, 200 soldiers from the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, will return home early. The 2nd brigade deployed in late October-early November 2009.
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