The Defense Department announced Feb. 16 that the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters, from Fort Stewart, Georgia, will deploy to Iraq beginning in March 2007. This headquarters previously was scheduled to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom in June 2007, as announced on November 17, 2006, but will now be accelerated by a little over three months. The unit leadership notified the Soldiers and their families prior to this announcement.

This deployment affects an Army division headquarters of approximately 1,000 Soldiers. U.S. troop levels in Iraq continue to be conditions-based, and are determined upon the recommendations of military commanders in Iraq and in consultation with the Iraqi government.

The 3rd Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Rock of the Marne" for its steadfast defense in the face of numerically superior enemy forces in France during WWI, will provide essential command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of security operations in and around Baghdad. Over 4,500 Soldiers from the division are deployed to Iraq already and 8,000 more are preparing to deploy in March and May.

The Army continues to be completely supportive of Army families touched by the war's needs. Without our families' steadfast and unrelenting support, Soldiers would not be ready for combat, Army officials say. Using the Army's time-tested Family Readiness Group organizations, unit and installation commanders and their staffs are ensuring families are fully supported while their Soldiers are away.

Established in 1917, the 3rd Infantry Division is battle-tested and battle-hardened. From World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Marne Soldiers have achieved legendary accomplishments and established a lasting heritage of service to our country.

The division fought in Europe during WWII and remained in Europe to help protect NATO allies during the Cold War. The division also fought in the Korean War. One brigade fought in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and Marne division units deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo to restore security there.

This is the headquarters third deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The division was the vanguard unit in the march to Baghdad and it later returned to Iraq and helped fight insurgent forces alongside Iraqi security forces.

Fifty-one heroic members of the division have been honored with the Medal of Honor in its 89 years of service to our nation. Today, 3rd ID Soldiers are supported by friends and neighbors in Columbus, Hinesville, and Savannah GA where it trains for GWOT missions at Georgia's Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Benning.

The Defense Department and the U.S. Army will continue to announce major unit deployments as they are identified and told. For information, please contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.