By by Heather Graham, III Corps PAOMarch 19, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas (March 19, 2009) -- Soldiers from the 15th Sustainment Brigade's 154th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, currently deployed to Iraq, soon will be re-positioned to serve the remainder of their tour in Afghanistan.
The transportation Soldiers will join about 9,000 other servicemembers who have been repositioned in the past six months to support the mission in Afghanistan.
Family members of the 154th Trans. Co. were informed of the move Tuesday evening during a town hall session.
"We want to provide the most up-to-date info we can," Lt. Col. Mark Paget, 180th Trans. Bn. commander, told the Families, adding that it was important to be up-front with the info in order to quell rumors and keep Families informed.
The move will occur in the near future, although specific dates and the exact area of operation were not released.
"The repositioning of forces from Iraq to Afghan has been ongoing since October 2008," Air Force Maj. John Redfield, Central Command Public Affairs Office, said.
The repositioning of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan is in line with the Department of Defense's policy to reinforce efforts in Afghanistan and is the outcome of the progress in developing and transitioning responsibility to Iraqi Security Forces, Redfield said.
"The repositioning of forces from Iraq to Afghanistan represents the increased capability and progress being made in Iraq by Iraqi Security Forces and to provide their own security," he said.
At this time, the deployment length has not been affected by the repositioning.
"As of right now, there has been no announced extension to the 154th's deployment, but things can change," Paget said.
"It is possible for the deployment to last between 12 and 15 months."
"The mission they will conduct in Afghanistan will be similar to the one they were conducting in Iraq, and they have trained very
hard for this mission," Paget said.
The Soldiers' living conditions in Afghanistan will be similar to those in Iraq, although with a few less amenities.
"They will live in tents, eat at a dining facility and have hot and cold running water," Paget said.
The Soldiers will have access to telephones and Internet service in Afghanistan.
Soldiers' pay and benefits will not change and environmental morale leave will continue as planned with only minor adjustments, 13th ESC representatives told Family members. It was suggested that Families hold off on buying airline tickets though, because some Soldiers might go on leave from Iraq and return to Afghanistan.
Additionally, Families have been asked to stop sending care packages until the Soldiers' complete new address has been received.
In order to keep Families informed with the most accurate and up-to-date information, there will be a special page on the brigade's Web site, www.supporttheaction.net, for Families to submit their questions and rumors about the deployment, Paget said.
The 180th Trans. Bn. also is arranging a video teleconference with the company commander and first sergeant soon for the Family members to get information directly from the deployed command team.
Brig. Gen. Paul Wentz, the 13th ESC's commander, wanted the Families to keep informed through the unit command teams and the Web site, in order to help keep rumors from spreading.
"The team you got here with the 180th will do everything they can to take care of the Families," Wentz said. "I want to thank you for your sacrifices and for loving your Soldiers."
(Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sust. Bde. PAO, contributed to this story.)