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Less than half of Fort Drum’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team may deploy in 2013

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FORT DRUM — A large portion of the post’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team could be staying stateside, according to a letter sent to soldiers from its commander.

The note, sent last week by Col. Dennis Sullivan, said less than half of the approximately 3,000-soldier brigade will deploy to Afghanistan in early 2013 in what he called a new mission as a security force assistance brigade, aiding Afghan security forces.

To accommodate the changed mission, the brigade will delay its trip to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., until the middle of September.

Col. Sullivan said the decision on which units within the brigade will deploy will be made in coming weeks.

A brigade spokesman said the letter was sent to give soldiers and their families notice of the brigade’s deployment plans, and added that those plans had not been finalized.

The altered deployment came up last week as part of a regular discussion between Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, commanding general of the post and the 10th Mountain Division. Rep. Owens said the two talk about once every four to six weeks.

Rep. Owens said the changed mission was consistent with plans to help bolster Afghan military and police efforts, along with a planned drop in American military forces scheduled for 2014.

“In many respects, this is good news,” Rep. Owens said. He said the change in the number of soldiers deployed would mean fewer families would be separated and the brigade and division would be less stressed.

The brigade has deployed seven times in the past decade in support of missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Its last deployment concluded in fall 2010.

The letter was first posted on the brigade’s Facebook fan page, a seemingly rare move for such an announcement. The brigade’s public affairs officer said the brigade’s commander usually puts out public letters in conjunction with holidays and major national and military events.

A full copy of the letter can be found at www.scribd.com/doc/102366637/2ndbctletter

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