Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, will be on Kelley Hill today to address the soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team as they prepare to deploy.
To mark the beginning of the brigade's movement overseas to Iraq, the unit's flags, streamers and guidons will will be packed up and prepared to ship to Iraq during what is called a "casing ceremony." Cucolo as well as 3rd HBCT commander Col. Peter Jones will address the troops during the ceremony, which will take place at 2 p.m. on Kelley Hill.
The unit's colors will be closely followed by the brigade itself, which is due to begin its exodus from Fort Benning today. That first batch of 3rd Brigade troops will board airplanes at Lawson Army Airfield. Those planes will carry them half a world away to Iraq where they will begin their mission of training Iraqi National Forces and police. The goal is to hand power over to the Iraqi people so that American troops can continue to dial down their presence in that country.
By next week, approximately 4,000 3rd Brigade soldiers will be en route to Iraq, thus beginning a 12-month tour of duty.