Friday, October 06, 2006

I'd Say This is A Pretty Good Sign

In case you forgot, Ed is part of the 172nd Striker Brigade.

Official: Strykers to return home by Dec. 13

By Staff Report
Published October 3, 2006

WASHINGTON — An Army official has told Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office that all soldiers with the 172nd Stryker Combat Brigade Team are to be back in the United States by Dec. 13.

Murkowski’s office received the word in an e-mail from a legislative liaison over the weekend. The e-mail said Col. Mike Shields, the brigade commander, had announced the return date Saturday morning in Iraq.

The brigade is based at Fort Wainwright. As of July, the core brigade had about 3,900 soldiers, but Shields had a total of 4,400 troops under his command when Navy, Air Force and military policy specialty units attached to the brigade were counted.

The soldiers will return in stages, but all should be back by Dec. 13, according to the Army’s e-mail to Murkowski.

Commanders extended the 172nd’s tour in Iraq for up to 120 days just as the bulk of its soldiers were about to return in late July and early August this year. Military leaders said they could not guarantee the extension would end at 120 days, though.

The Army announced last week that it would advance another brigade’s deployment by 30 days to help the 172nd soldiers return by mid-December. Some officials said the goal was to bring the 172nd home before the end of the 120-day extension, but they couldn’t be certain that would occur.

Murkowski’s office issued a news release Monday night welcoming the latest announcement.

“By firmly committing to the 120-day window, as so many of us had asked the military to do, families throughout Alaska can look forward to a truly joyous holiday season,” Murkowski said in the news release. “Of course, our thoughts will be with all of the Alaskan soldiers, sailors and airmen who will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan throughout the upcoming holidays and beyond.”