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Majority of 3/1 soldiers back from deployment

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Roughly 100 left to return

By Marty Finley

The majority of troops deployed with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division have returned to Fort Knox,  Media Relations Specialist Kyle Hodges said Tuesday.

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Hodges said roughly 2,250 soldiers from the brigade had successfully returned to the U.S. from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan as of Tuesday afternoon. The post welcomed more than 179 soldiers back on Monday and was expecting roughly 100 on Tuesday, Hodges said.

That will leave approximately 100 soldiers left to return by May, he said. About 2,500 troops from the 3,500 or so soldiers stationed with the brigade deployed on the mission, Hodges said.

The unit was deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, operating in the roughly 7,000-square-mile Zabul province in southern Afghanistan, an area larger than Connecticut.

“Various units of the 3rd IBCT were spread throughout all corners of Afghanistan assisting Afghan security forces, government, and police forces in their transition to independent security and governance,” stated a Fort Knox news release.

Since the brigade started returning in November 2013, about 13 large ceremonies have been held on post to welcome the soldiers back into the warm embraces of their loved ones and friends. Hodges said that number is similar to the brigade’s last deployment a few years ago, which phased the returns over a dozen ceremonies or more.

When asked why the redeployments are conducted in phases, Hodges said he was uncertain.

“To be honest, I’d be speculating,” he said.

Hodges said Fort Knox also welcomed smaller groups of soldiers back from the brigade in smaller ceremonies that are held in an intimate, conference room setting. He said the post has welcomed the return of parties of soldiers as small as a half dozen.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com