STAR-BULLETIN / 2007
At Schofield Barracks' Sills Field, some 4,000 soldiers from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division gathered in formation for a deployment ceremony Oct. 30.
7,000 isle troops to head to Middle East
By this fall, there will be nearly 14,200 Hawaii soldiers, Marines, Army Guardsmen and Army Reservists on active duty either in Iraq or Kuwait.
The Pentagon announced yesterday that 42,000 troops, including 25,000 active-duty Army soldiers, will be sent to Iraq this fall. There are now 155,000 U.S. troops, including 17 combat brigades, in Iraq and 33,000 in Afghanistan.
The call-up of the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the division's headquarters, including the incoming commander, Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen, has been anticipated for some time. Caslen assumes command of the 25th Division tomorrow.
The 3rd Brigade, however, is expected to remain in Iraq for only 12 months under a new Pentagon policy that will take effect in August. There are about 3,500 soldiers in the 3rd Brigade who will be deploying, along with another 1,000 soldiers in Caslen's headquarters.
The 3rd Brigade returned home last October from a 15-month deployment in Iraq and will spend barely 12 months at home before heading out again.
Under the current policy, Iraq combat tours are 15 months, which means units like the 4,000-member 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which left Wahiawa in December, won't be home until early next year.
The deployments would maintain a level of 15 brigades in Iraq, or roughly 140,000 troops -- the number military leaders expect will remain on the warfront at the end of July, once the planned withdrawals are finished.
Also leaving this summer for Iraq are 1,000 Kaneohe Marines from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, and 1,700 citizen-soldiers from the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade and the Army Reserve's 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry. The Kaneohe Marines returned home last fall after seven months in Anbar province.
The breakdown of the troops coming and going from Hawaii:
» 1,700 soldiers of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade, commanded by Col. Bruce Oliveira, and the Army Reserve's 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry, led by Lt. Col. Mike Peeters. (September/ October for Kuwait)
» 1,000 soldiers from Headquarters, 25th Infantry Division, led by Caslen. (Fall for Iraq)
» 3,500 soldiers from the 25th Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, led by Col. Walter Piatt. (Fall for Iraq)
» 1,000 Marines from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, led by Lt. Col. Andy Milburn. (Summer for Iraq)
» 70 soldiers from 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation, Hawaii Army National Guard. (Summer from Iraq)
» 7,000 soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, led by Col. Adelaido Godinez, and other soldiers assigned to Fort Shafter. (March 2009 from Iraq)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.