President Barack Obama's decision to drawdown U.S. forces in Iraq means the time soon could come when soldiers in Hinesville's Third Infantry Division spend more time on post than in a combat zone.
About 6,000 Georgia-based soldiers now are beginning what could be their last mission in Iraq for awhile. The 3rd Sustainment Brigade, part of the Ft. Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division, started a new mission.
Brigade commander Col. Shawn Morrissey described the mission to Savannah reporters. He said, soldiers will move the accumulated machinery of war, like containers, trucks and generators, out of Iraq.
"After seven years of combat operations, advising and assisting the brigades, we have this historic mission," Col. Morrissey said. "We'll be moving equipment out while also sustaining those still here."
The 3rd Infantry Division led the invasion of Iraq and has returned for multiple deployments. The Division's 12,000 soldiers in Iraq will begin returning in the fall as the Army follows Obama's 2011 withdrawl date.
"There is a sense of accomplishment, not this exhale of 'Yay, it's over,'" says Morrissey. "Particularly for many of us who've been here for several tours, we see the improvement in people's lives there."
As the 3rd Infantry Division's missions are completed, homecomings are expected to last from the fall of 2010 through the summer of 2011. That'll be welcome news in coastal Hinesville, home of Ft. Stewart.