WASHINGTON — The Army has extended by two months the Iraq tours of about 6,500 soldiers, citing a need for experienced troops through the Iraqi elections scheduled for late January.
About 3,500 soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and 3,000 from the 1st Infantry Division headquarters will remain in Iraq two months longer than planned, Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said Saturday.
Whitman said the extensions would result in a net addition of 3,500 troops, since soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division, scheduled to replace the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry, will arrive as planned.
Replacements for the 3,000 from the 1st Infantry will delay their arrival until after the elections.
The Army said it initially had scheduled 10-month deployments for the units whose tours are being extended, rather than the usual 12-month tours, to stagger the rotation of forces in and out of Iraq this winter and avoid overburdening transportation systems.