By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
Nov. 5, 2007 - About 1,000 members of 10th Mountain Division will deploy to Iraq this spring as replacements for troops due to rotate home, Defense Department officials announced today. The division, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., has been alerted of the upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed today.
"It was not a surprise. It was more of a confirmation," Benjamin Abel, the division's media relations officer, told American Forces Press Service.
Since returning from its last deployment in February and March, the unit has received new troops and conducted collective training, Abel said. Training in the months ahead will focus on getting the headquarters prepared to manage the brigades that fall under it in the theater, he said.
Training will include indoor computer simulations, as well as field training, and Abel said he has no concerns about northern New York's brutal winter conditions hampering the training. "These guys are as hard as nails," he said.
The headquarters' mission in Iraq will be to provide command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of security operations.
Whitman emphasized that the division will replace forces already in Iraq, not boost the U.S. troop presence there. Three headquarters elements are slated to remain in Iraq, although those plans could change based on conditions on the ground, he said.
The 10th Mountain Division headquarters will join 4th Infantry Division Headquarters, which deploys next month, and 1st Armored Division Headquarters, which recently arrived in country.
In addition to 1st Armored Division, headquarters units currently serving in Iraq are 3rd Infantry Division headquarters, which deployed in April, and 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, which deployed in November 2006.