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Deployment announced for Fort Drum’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team

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FORT DRUM — A large contingent from the post’s 3rd Brigade Combat received orders to deploy this fall to Afghanistan.

About 2,000 soldiers from the brigade, about half of its personnel, will serve in a security force advise-and-assist role, similar to that assumed by the 10th Mountain Division’s Fort Drum-based 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams and 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, and the division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Polk, La.

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade are listed to operate in multiple areas in the southern part of the country for nine months. The 2,000-soldier estimate is slightly larger than the 1,500- to 2,000-soldier count for the post’s 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams, which it said will allow it to cover more ground.

The brigade recently entered a two-week block leave period, and its commander, Col. Samuel E. Whitehurst, was not available for comment Monday.

The planned deployment has been widely discussed for the last few months, with brigade and division leadership, including division commander Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, openly mentioning it on multiple occasions.

The brigade has trained for the deployment at the post’s Mountain Peak exercise and it recently completed a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.

Among the highlights for the brigade’s deployment will be its use of the Capability Set 13 communication technology. The technology, acquired by the brigade in October, helps track soldier movements and increase connectivity in remote areas through combined mobile satellite and radio connections.

The brigade is the second in the Army to use the gear since it was issued, after the division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team. The Louisiana-based brigade started its deployment to Afghanistan with the technology in June.

Though the deployment was announced formally in a Department of Defense press release Thursday, the announcement appeared not to get full distribution to media and post public affairs officials until the weekend.

Other units that were listed by the DOD in the deployment announcement were the 1st Cavalry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, and the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Riley, Kan.

The 10th Mountain Division has about 6,500 soldiers deployed, with about 5,000 of that total coming from Fort Drum.

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