Fort Carson soldiers to return to Pinon Canyon |

Fort Carson soldiers to return to Pinon Canyon


PUEBLO – About 1,500 Fort Carson soldiers will go to the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site starting Monday, marking the first time the Army post has sent a large unit to train on the site since June 2006.Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and others will participate in a field exercise in counterinsurgency through Feb. 22, Army officials said.The unit is preparing to go to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in preparation for a deployment to Iraq that could come later this year.The brigade also conducted a large-scale training exercise at Pinon Canyon in June 2006 called “Bayonet Strike.” It returned to Iraq in October 2006.The Army has said it wants to expand the roughly 370-square-mile Pinyon Canyon training area, a plan opposed by many ranchers who fear they will lose their land in an expansion. Congress put language in the 2008 federal budget that prohibits the Army from spending any money on expansion for a year.Fort Carson officials say the Army has used the training ground about 30 times – or a little more than once a year – since 1985 for large-unit maneuvers, such as a brigade, which typically has about 3,500 soldiers.