- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

FORT HOOD, Texas, Jan. 23 (UPI) — The 16,400 troops of the Army's 4th Infantry Division may deploy for possible combat in green fatigues because they don't have enough of the sand-colored camouflage uniforms used in desert warfare.

Preparations have been under way at the nation's largest Army post since Monday when orders were received, and Maj. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, division commander, says his troops are ready for their assignment, although they are short on the uniforms.

"We will deploy in our green fatigues because we don't have enough of the desert fatigues in stock for everyone in the task force," he told The Dallas Morning News. "It is my call. We want everyone to dress the same. We can clearly do our job wherever we go, no matter what uniform we're wearing."

Fort Hood officials said the uniform shortage was only a temporary problem and preparations are continuing for the largest deployment at Fort Hood since the Persian Gulf War.

The 4th Division, the Army's premier high-tech combat division, will head the 37,000-soldier Task Force Ironhorse. The division includes the 3rd Brigade at Fort Carson, Colo., and National Guard and Army Reserve units from across the nation.

Odierno would not disclose the division's mission or destination.

"We're not going to talk about where we're going or how long we'll be there," he said. "And I'm not into message sending. We're prepared to go anywhere to do whatever is necessary."

The 4th Division, with its Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and motorized howitzers, is fully digitized. Computers link the mechanized units on a high-tech tactical combat network.

"It gives us full battlefield situational awareness," said Lt. Col. Ted Martin, commander of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment. "We know where our tanks and our people are, and we also can tell where the bad guys are. It's an incredible tool."

The 4th Division has been has been training at Fort Hood and the National Training Center in the Mojave Desert in California.

Troops have been inspecting and preparing heavy equipment for shipment around the clock since Monday. At the same time, soldiers have been making personal arrangement for their families as they prepare to depart in the next few weeks.


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