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The 101st Airborne's 3rd BCT comes home from Iraq a month early:
In roughly 10 days' time, the first of four 101st Airborne Division brigades will be completely redeployed from combat — about a month ahead of schedule.But leaving wasn't as easy as you might think:
About 550 soldiers with Fort Campbell's 3rd Brigade Combat Team returned from a 15-month deployment to Iraq on Friday, and in a few days the brigade will finish its redeployment.
One of his fellow 3rd BCT soldiers, Staff Sgt. Christian Martinez, said when he found out he was coming home early it was a weight off his and his family's shoulders. "It was a relief because you can start seeing the beginning of the end," Martinez said.Babil Province, where the Brigade was deployed, was turned over to Iraq control last month.
He said it was difficult, though, to leave their Iraqi counterparts, who now control the area almost entirely themselves.
"The Iraqi army started crying and shaking our hands," he said.
"I think a lot of us were caught off guard by it," he added.
The DoD has also announced that the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which had been based in northwest Baghdad, will return home six weeks early. The unit that was scheduled to replace them will deploy to Afghanistan instead.