The 56th Stryker Brigade of the Pennsylvania National Guard is no longer deploying to Afghanistan in 2014.
In an exclusive interview with abc27 News, brigade commander Col. Samuel Hayes said he received word last month that the White House is accelerating the planned draw-down of U.S. troops from the country by the end of next year. Another brigade from Hawaii slated to mobilize for a spring 2013 deployment had its mission canceled, and Hayes' 3,000+ troops were originally positioned to relieve that group.
The 56th is currently conducting a command post "war fighter" as part of its annual training at Fort Indiantown Gap, and said they are moving forward in case they are called upon to deploy somewhere else in 2014.
"We're still in our available year, so if something else were to happen, we would still deploy," Hayes said. "You never what can happen a year from now, so you still have to train and be prepared and do trainings like this, with the eventuality we would still have to deploy."
The 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Willow Grove, is the only National Guard Stryker brigade in the United States. It provides light infantry land assets for both federal and state active duty missions.