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Rumsfeld Extends Three Units' Tours in Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2005 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved "a modest extension" of three units in Iraq for up to 10 days, Pentagon officials said today.

Two brigades of the 3rd Infantry Division and the headquarters element of the 18th Airborne Corps are affected by the decision.

An official speaking on background said DoD is making the move to help ensure stability through Iraqi elections scheduled for Dec. 15.

The 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., has been extended in Iraq from Jan. 10, 2006, to "not later than" Jan. 20, officials said. Four thousand soldiers are in the brigade.

The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Benning, Ga., will extend in Iraq from Jan. 19, 2006, to Jan. 26. Five thousand soldiers are in this brigade.

Finally, 400 members of the 18th Airborne Corps headquarters will extend in Iraq from Jan. 23, 2006, to Feb. 2.

The extensions will allow the units to concentrate on the Iraqi elections rather than worrying about the transfer of authority from one unit to another, officials said.

Defense Department leaders take even modest extensions very seriously. Rumsfeld has to personally approve any extension, no matter how short. "We are committed to a one-year deployment," the official said.

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