More Fort Hood Soldiers Tapped for Afghanistan Deployment


WASHINGTON -- About 500 soldiers from Fort Hood will be sent to Afghanistan in the late summer to join about 1,500 others from the Texas Army post deployed to the war-torn nation.

The soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, will deploy on a "regular rotation of forces" as part of the U.S. operation called Freedom's Sentinel, said Lt. Col. Sunset Belinsky, a spokeswoman for Fort Hood's 1st Cavalry Division, which oversees the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Freedom's Sentinel includes the American efforts to train and advise the Afghan National Security Forces in their fight against the Taliban and other insurgent networks.

The unit's soldiers will follow about 1,000 others from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and about 500 from 1st Cavalry Division's headquarters and its sustainment brigade's headquarters, who will deploy months and weeks before them.

The other 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldiers, which make up about 25 percent of the regiment, are expected to deploy in the near future, Belinsky said. Much of the regiment is comprised of riflemen who fight on armored Stryker vehicles. The regiment most recently returned from a nine-month rotation to Afghanistan in early 2015.

The 1st Cavalry Division soldiers, including division commander Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, will deploy later in the summer ahead of the 2nd Squadron. Thomson will take over as the U.S. deputy commanding general for support in Afghanistan.

It was not immediately clear where the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, soldiers would be stationed in Afghanistan or how long their tour would last.

There are about 9,800 American service members now deployed to Afghanistan, but that figure would decrease to about 5,500 at the end of this year under the current White House plan.

Army Gen. John "Mick" Nicholson, the U.S. top commander in Afghanistan, is conducting an assessment of operations there and has vowed to provide his own recommendation on the ideal future force strength within his first three months of command.

Pentagon officials have said Nicholson is expected to provide his evaluation to top American commanders and President Barack Obama by early June.

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