The birds are flocking to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Fort Carson.
UPDATE: …and Fort Wainwright, Alaska, the Defense Department announced.
The Army is adding a combat aviation brigade at the Washington base, bringing about 1,400 soldiers and 44 helicopters, the Olympian reports.
The total number of service members at the base is set to climb now to nearly 45,000, and the total number of helicopters to 143. Eight years ago, the post had 19,000 active-duty soldiers.
The 16th CAB, split-based between JBLM and Wainwright, will get rolling in fiscal year 2012 and be completely operational by fiscal year 2014.
Wainwright gets three additional medical evacuation aircraft in fiscal year 2013. The Army announcement nods to the state’s “strategic location” (They can see Russia from their backyards!) and says the plan is to replace and upgrade aviation facilities there.
Fort Carson, Colo., on tap for the other CAB, will get twice as many soldiers and even more helicopters, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.
Colorado lawmakers announced Fort Carson expects to gain an entirely new brigade with 2,700 soldiers and more 113 helicopters.
“One of the benefits (of creating a new brigade) is this will give our aviation units a longer and better rest time between deployments,” Sen. Mark Udall told the newspaper.
In other action at Fort Carson…
The Pinon Canyon saga between the Army and neighboring ranchers continues as the Army pledged this week not to expand Carson’s 235,000-acre training area.
In other action at JBLM…
The former commander of the 82nd Airborne will step in at International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, and — among other duties — help Gen. David Petraeus assess the scale and pace of the withdrawals.
Originally, I Corps was not on deck to deploy until 2012, but the Afghanistan deployment was moved up a year as the Army sought to bring in a trained unit to take over management at the Kabul airport base.