Gulf Buildup Continues
As we went to press, more U.S. Army units have been alerted for or deployed to Southwest Asia. In the latest major development, on February 6, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and associated units received orders for deployment from their base at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Earlier, 2,000 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) deployed to Turkey.
On January 28, roughly 2,000 additional soldiers from V Corps in Germany got their deployment orders.
On January 19, the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) along with supporting units, collectively referred to as Task Force Iron Horse, received orders for deployment from Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Carson, Colo.
On January 10, 4,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade, or 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, received orders to deploy to the region from Fort Bragg, along with supporting units of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
The deployment of the 3rd Infantry Division to Kuwait has been completed and its units are in training there.
Army Realigns Commands. Under a new realignment plan, five major commands will now report directly to Department of the Army staff principals, while one will report to a different command.
The Criminal Investigation Command will report directly to the Provost Marshal General, a newly created position on the Army Staff. The Military District of Washington will become a direct reporting unit to the Office of the Army Chief of Staff. Medical Command will become a direct reporting unit under the Army Surgeon General. The Intelligence and Security Command will report directly to the Army's Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence/G-2. The Army Signal Command will realign under the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, which will in turn, report directly to the Chief of Information Operations/G-6. U.S. Army South will report to Forces Command, although it will still support the joint U.S. Southern Command.
The realignment plan will incorporate better business practices and corporate organizational concepts and will optimize the use of technology. The realignments will begin next fiscal year.
Other agencies will be consolidated and streamlined. Details of the realignment of other major command headquarters will be released after further staffing and study.
Crash Kills Four. Four soldiers were killed when their MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down seven miles east of Bagram air base on January 30. Killed were CWO Mark S. O'Steen, 43, CWO Thomas J. Gibbons, 31, Sgt. Gregory M. Frampton, 37, and SSgt. Daniel L. Kisling Jr., 31. There were no indications of hostile fire in the accident, which is under investigation.
Travel Change Fees Waived. Certain airlines have waived their service fees and penalties and will provide refunds upon request to soldiers who must change their travel plans when deploying for military duty. AirTran Airways, Delta, Continental, Frontier, Hawaiian and Northwest airlines have all agreed to adjust their rules to accommodate soldiers on deployments. Southwest Airlines already has free ticketing changes.
Some airlines will also waive fees if a servicemember can present a copy of military orders or a letter from a commander. Military travelers should either call their airline for waiver information or check the Department of Defense's Military Assistance Program web site for the latest information (http://dod.mil/mapsite/airtickets. html).
President Visits Wounded. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush met with five soldiers who were wounded in Afghanistan at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on January 17. The meeting was closed to the press.
After the meeting, the President addressed the press in the hospital lobby, telling them, "We had a chance to tell both soldier and loved ones alike that service to our country is noble and ... good and we appreciate it very much. …