So It Begins

By Sebastian Sprenger / December 7, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Department officials this morning released deployment details for the first batch of forces, numbering 16,000, supporting the Afghanistan surge.

An infantry battalion task force, with approximately 1,500 Marines, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., will deploy later this month. Regimental Combat Team-2, headquartered at Camp Lejuene, N.C., will deploy approximately 6,200 Marines in early spring 2010. A Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) headquarters from I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., will deploy approximately 800 Marines in spring 2010.

A Brigade Combat Team (BCT), with approximately 3,400 soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. will deploy in early spring 2010 to conduct a training mission.

Secretary Gates also approved the deployment of approximately 4,100 support forces, which will deploy at various times into spring 2010.

For the record, the announcement also notes that President Obama authorized the troop increase of 30,000 on Nov. 30 -- one day before his public announcement of the plan at West Point.