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New Fort Riley unit ready for Iraq

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Here are recent headlines regarding Kansas military matters:Fort Riley[(AP) Year-old brigade ready for Iraq:][1]A year ago, the ranks of the Dragon Brigade were only one-sixth full, and it had only 5 percent of its equipment. Now, fully manned and equipped, the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, is leaving for Iraq in a few weeks. Its soldiers are part of President Bush's plan to increase the number of U.S. troops by 21,500 in coming months to stabilize Iraq, despite opposition to his strategy and questions about whether a brigade can be ready so quickly. The Dragon Brigade's 3,400 soldiers already were preparing to go to Iraq when Bush announced his latest plans. The president's announcement meant the unit will leave three days earlier than planned. Soldiers in one company hit Fort Riley's training ranges at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to practice searching and clearing. They were dressed in body armor and thermal underwear to protect against the bitter cold. This week, snow and ice covered the ground; soon, the troops will be walking on sand.[(WIBW) Fort Riley honors Ryun:][2] As former Rep. Jim Ryun settles into private life, wrapping up eight years in Congress, Fort Riley honors the former Congressman with a retreat ceremony Tuesday. All Fort Riley units will be represented with brigade and battalion colors carried by the color barriers. "He's done a lot for soldiers and their families of Fort Riley and we thought it was just appropriate to take a few minutes this afternoon to thank him for all that he has done for all of us," said Major General Carter Ham.[(WSFA) More Alabama Troops Being Sent To Afghanistan & Iraq:][3] Two local Army National Guard units are set to deploy to join Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom in February. After training at Fort Riley, Kansas, 16 guard members from Montgomery's 62nd Troop Command will go to Afghanistan to train Afghani troops for a 12-month deployment. And after about two months of training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, members of Montgomery's 131st Mobile Public Affairs Detachment will deploy to Iraq.[(AP) American deaths:][3] The Pentagon has announced the following US military deaths in Iraq. According to an Associated Press count, 3,057 members of the US military have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. ... Sergeant Gregroy A. Wright, 28, of Boston, on Jan. 13 in Muqdadiyah. Army First Engineer Battalion, First Brigade, First Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.[(AP) Analysis: Delegation changes tune in support of Iraq policy:][4] Fort Riley is at the epicenter of Bush's strategy for Iraq, training U.S. transition teams bound for Iraq and Afghanistan to expedite the development of armies in the countries so U.S. troops can come home. In February, the 4th Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division will deploy to Iraq, three days ahead of schedule, part of the Bush plan to increase U.S. forces by 21,500 in the coming weeks. Later this summer, an aviation brigade and 2,500 soldiers depart for their own yearlong tour.[(AP) Analysis: Delegation changes tune in support of Iraq policy:][4] Fort Riley is at the epicenter of Bush's strategy for Iraq, training U.S. transition teams bound for Iraq and Afghanistan to expedite the development of armies in the countries so U.S. troops can come home. In February, the 4th Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division will deploy to Iraq, three days ahead of schedule, part of the Bush plan to increase U.S. forces by 21,500 in the coming weeks. Later this summer, an aviation brigade and 2,500 soldiers depart for their own yearlong tour.Kansas National Guard[(AP) Guard benefits:][5]Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is proposing that the state provide an additional $250,000 to each of the families of three Kansas National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those families received $500,000 in death benefits, instead of the $750,000 that went to families of three other Guard members killed. In May 2005, the Legislature approved a payment of $250,000 to each of the families of the first three Guard soldiers killed. Those families also received a $100,000 death benefit from the federal government, along with the payout from a $400,000 federal life insurance policy. [1]: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/01/aprileysurge070120/ [2]: http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/5305247.html [3]: http://www.wsfa.com/Global/story.asp?S=5980971&nav=0RdE [4]: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/16514216.htm [5]: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/16523706.htm

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