FAIRBANKS - More members of Fort Wainwright's 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team were returning Monday from their extended tour in Iraq with the remaining brigade members expected back by Friday.
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All but nearly 200 of the 3,800 soldiers with the brigade returned to Alaska between Nov. 25 and Dec. 5 after their 16-month deployment to northern and western Iraq and Baghdad.
A group of about 70 soldiers was expected to return to Fairbanks on Monday, leaving a final group to come home by the end of the week.
All the Stryker soldiers are out of Iraq, but a trail team remains in Kuwait to facilitate the return of the soldiers, Stryker vehicles and other equipment.
The Army will host an official redeployment ceremony for brigade soldiers and their families Tuesday in Fairbanks. A change of command and reflagging ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, when the 172nd becomes the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Army spokesman Maj. Kirk Gohlke said that even with the four-month extended tour, the Army is keeping the original reset time for the brigade.
The Stryker vehicles being shipped back to Fort Wainwright must undergo an overhaul. Preparing the vehicles for shipment includes removing armor and ballistic shields and winterizing for Alaska.
About 100 soldiers have been sent to Kuwait to meet the Stryker vehicles coming out of Iraq and to begin the overhaul procedures. That frees up the 172nd soldiers to come back directly to Fairbanks, Gohlke said.
At the same time, specialized teams are being sent to Fort Wainwright to complete the process.
The shipping of equipment includes 255 Stryker vehicles and more than 750 containers of equipment, according to a recent article in the Alaska Post, the newspaper published by U.S. Army Alaska.
Nearly 6,400 pieces of equipment, aside from Strykers, containers and weapons, are in the process of being mailed, airlifted or sent by ship to repair facilities in Alaska or the Lower 48.
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