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Army shortens Afghanistan deployments to 9 months

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 9:56 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter soldiers and their families got good news from the Army that deployments to Afghanistan next year will be shortened by three months.

However, Col. Frank Tate, commander of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, said the change does not affect the 2,600 soldiers in his helicopter unit.

“As of today, we are still on a 12-month rotation,” Tate said.

Army Secretary John M. McHugh signed a directive instituting a nine-month "boots on the ground" policy for deployed soldiers, providing more "dwell time" at home for soldiers and their families beginning Jan. 1. Current deployments are for 12 months, with a goal of 24 months at home.

The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade is expected to begin flying missions in southern Afghanistan early next year. It is being sent to Kandahar, Helmand and other provinces in southern Afghanistan with 26 two-seat OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, 14 Chinooks and about 55 Black Hawks based here. This will be the brigade fourth combat deployment.

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