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Fort Lewis Stryker unit delayed by troop boost

FORT LEWIS - President Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq has slowed the establishment of the Army's seventh Stryker brigade, to be based at Fort Lewis.

The bulk of the newly named 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division had been expected to arrive at Fort Lewis by the end of March, but that has since been postponed until May and June, base spokesman Joseph Piek said Wednesday.

The 5th Brigade was to be made up of soldiers from throughout the Army, some with previous experience in a Stryker brigade.

But the military is in the process of sending another 21,500 troops to Iraq, despite objections from House Democrats who pushed through a nonbinding resolution opposing the buildup.

"With the troop surge, a lot of the soldiers designated to go to Fort Lewis have gone elsewhere throughout the Army," Piek said.

Between 1,000 and 1,200 members of the latest Stryker Brigade Combat Team have arrived at the post since September, including battalion and company leaders who have seen to headquarters arrangements.

The majority of the unit's roughly 3,800 soldiers should be in place later this year.

"We'll still have the full up brigade here by early to midsummer," Piek said.

The 5th Brigade is the fourth to be established at Fort Lewis, which is also home to the 3rd and 4th brigades.

Previously, Fort Lewis was home to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, another Stryker team that last year was renamed the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and transferred to Germany as part of the Army's reorganization.

Because there are typically only four infantry brigades in a division, the latest will eventually be renamed the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division to replace one currently at Fort Carson, Colo.

Fort Lewis' 3rd Brigade is the Army's first Stryker brigade, now in Baghdad on its second yearlong tour in Iraq. Meanwhile, the 4th Brigade is preparing to go to Iraq in April as part of Bush's order. The early deployment, a month sooner than originally scheduled, meant the unit has had to continue training at Fort Lewis rather than go to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Stryker units

The Army has four other Stryker combat teams in additon to the two stationed at Fort Lewis: one in Germany, plus units in Alaska,

Hawaii and Pennsylvania. All serve as medium-weight, rapidly deployable units to fill the gap between lighter infantry and heavy forces.

Stryker units

The Army has four other Stryker combat teams in addition to the two stationed at Fort Lewis: one in Germany, plus units in Alaska, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. All serve as medium-weight, rapidly deployable units to fill the gap between lighter infantry and heavy forces.

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