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US Army Combat Aviation Brigade To Deploy Early To Iraq

The aviation brigade would include UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47 Chinooks, and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance/attack helicopters.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 16, 2007
A US Army combat aviation brigade with more than 2,600 troops will be deployed to Iraq 45 days ahead of schedule, expanding a surge of US forces to nearly 30,000 troops, the army said Friday.

The 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade based at Fort Stewart, Georgia, will deploy in early May instead of mid June, the army said in a statement.

A senior defense official earlier told reporters that the brigades 2,600 troops were included in a group of 7,000 to 8,000 support troops that Pentagon officials had referred to earlier in congressional testimony.

They are in addition to 21,500 extra combat troops in five combat brigades that are being sent to Iraq at a rate of about one a month through May.

Currently, there are 142,000 US troops in the country.

The official said General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, had requested the aviation brigade and some 2,200 military police after reviewing his requirements for a crackdown center in Baghdad.

His request for military police was approved last week.

The aviation brigade would include UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47 Chinooks, and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance/attack helicopters.

The piece-by-piece expansion of the surge comes amid fierce debate in the US Congress over Democratic-sponsored measures to force the administration to begin withdrawing forces from Iraq this year.

The Senate late Thursday rejected 50 to 48 a measure that set a goal of March 2008 for the withdrawal of US troops.

But a separate measure that would pull US troops out by September 2008 was passed by the House Appropriations Committee.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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