It took almost three months, but a Stryker combat brigade based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord has finished deploying its soldiers to Afghanistan, the unit’s deputy commander reported Friday.
Lt. Col. Jody Miller gave a presentation during the monthly forum held by Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson. About two dozen people attended.
The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division began its deployment on Oct. 18, sending 3,000 soldiers overseas in the span of two weeks. But the brigade had to wait for other units to withdraw its forces before some of its remaining soldiers could deploy due to an U.S.-Afghan accord that limits the number of U.S. servicemembers serving there at one time.
The final 3,000 soldiers deployed last week, Miller said.
More than 1,000 soldiers assigned to the brigade will remain statewide, including Miller.
He said the brigade’s commander, Col. Michael Getchell, gave a report to members of family readiness groups last week.
The brigade is based in southeastern Afghanistan and has conducted two operations with Afghan security forces. Each of 4-2’s battalions are working alongside a Afghan mlitary brigade.
Getchell said some Afghan brigades are able to operate without assistance, allowing the brigade the flexibility to shift soldiers to other parts of their area of responsibility, according to Miller.
It’s gains like these that has led President Obama to say American forces will only support their Afghan counterparts this spring, opening the door to a more rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops.
(The link is to a New York Times article that quotes retired Lt. Gen. James Dubik, a former commanding general of Fort Lewis and I Corps who went on to lead the training of Iraq security forces and now works for a think tank.)
The brigade is due back in August.
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