4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
"Forged for War"
The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, officially activated at Fort Polk on 19 January 2005. The 4th Brigade had more than 3,000 total personnel and was an infantry Brigade Combat Team (Unit of Action). The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division was to begin fielding new equipment in the weeks following its activation. Some of the higher-profile systems were to include the Long-range scout surveillance system, the Tactical unmanned aerial vehicle "Shadow" system, the Deployable Tactical Exploitation System, as well as the PAS-13 thermal weapon sight.
The 4th Brigade was created as a new Brigade Combat Teams, Unit of Action (BCT/UA), as part of the shift to the US Army's new modular force structure, increasing the Army's combat brigades from 33 to between 43 and 48.
This was an important part of efforts at the time to transform the Army to be relevant and ready to win the War on Terror. The 4th Brigade was designed to be a highly deployable unit that would enhance the Army's ability to project power from US bases while simultaneously preparing forces for full spectrum operations. In addition, modularity provides greater readiness within the UA's, as the infantry, armor, cavalry, field artillery, and support units train together at all times.
The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division contained 6 battalions and 3,242 soldiers. The brigade was designed as a light infantry BCT/UA and relied on movement of soldiers on foot, as well as using High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTVs) for tactical mobility. Primary weapons systems included small arms, howitzers, and Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided missiles (TOW). Additionally, it would be equipped with a network battle command system and, when required, would receive augmentation from an aviation UA. The Brigade, dependant upon mission requirements, could be deployed by air, rail, sea and ground transportation.
As a light infantry unit, the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division was designed to primarily use HMMWVs and MTVs for tactical maneuvers. Inherent in the infantry design, soldiers would maneuver to and from designated locations and disperse from the HMMWVs and MTVs on foot to complete training exercises. The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division would utilize engineer equipment for digging individual and crew-served weapons fighting positions. Soldiers would frequently use dug-in individual fighting positions such as foxholes, but would infrequently use vehicle dug-in fighting positions. Maneuver training would be conducted at Company, Battalion and Brigade levels. Maneuver training activities would be conducted in existing training areas at Fort Polk.
By the end of 2006, 10 additional modular brigades were expected to be in place throughout the Army. Under the new modular design, some division-level assets would be allocated at the brigade level. Incoming Soldiers would primarily make up the 3rd brigade, with Soldiers already stationed at Fort Drum rounding out the staff. The 2nd Brigade began converting to the new modular design during its deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain would complete 2 Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises (EDRE) annually at the brigade and battalion unit levels. BCT/UAs were designed to be highly mobile and deployable to enhance the Army's ability to project power from United States military bases. The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain BCT/UA had the ability to transport nearly all assets by organic motor transport and was totally transportable by rotary wing aircraft. It was deployable by air, rail, sea, and ground transportation and had deployment sites at England Industrial Airpark and Port of Beaumont in Texas.
The Department of the Army announced 23 July 2004 that Fort Polk would soon be the site for one of the new modular Brigade Combat Teams Units of Action (BCT/UA). "From a Fort Polk perspective, this is a great decision," said Colonel Kent Schweikert, Deputy Commander, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. "As home of the Army's premier training facility for light infantry forces, Fort Polk is exceptionally well suited to support one of the Army's new Infantry Brigade Combat Team Units of Action (BCT/UA). The infantry BCT/UA is a highly deployable unit and is an important part of the current efforts to transform the Army." As part of the decision to position the new BCT/UA, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment would move to Fort Lewis, Washington and convert to a Stryker Brigade Combat team. "The 2ACR has performed admirably in peace and war and will be missed from the post, but it will remain a relevant and lethal force wherever it is stationed," continued Schweikert. "The Army and Fort Polk remains committed to taking care of its soldiers during this transition. This decision supported Army efforts to transform now to meet current and future challenges in the War on Terror." The new BCT/UA, which would be stationed at Fort Polk in fiscal year 2005, would be designated as the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and would result in a net increase of approximately 300 additional Soldiers stationed at Fort Polk.
The Army announced on 18 August 2004 that Colonel Kent Schweikert would be the first commander of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, which would activate at Fort Polk in January 2005. Colonel Schweikert, arrived at Fort Polk in June 2004 after his assignment as the executive officer to the commander of Central Command, Joint Task Force North, in support of the war in Iraq. He was then Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. Schweikert had over 23 years of military experience with numerous command and staff assignments in prestigious units like the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 101st Airborne Division. "This is tremendous news for our team as a great soldier takes command of this unit," said Brig. General Michael D. Barbero, Commander, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. "While we will miss the Schweikerts here in the headquarters, the fact that they will remain here is great news for JRTC and Fort Polk."
The effective date for the 4thr Brigade, 10th Mountain Division was 16 January 2005. This date represented the official activation date of the brigade Fort Polk. Additionally, this date signified the first available day the brigade would have equipment and soldiers available and ready for training. The BCT/UA would be available for deployment as early as 15 July 2005.
The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), officially activated its companies in a ceremony at 11:00 AM on Thursday, 9 December 2004 at Dragoon Field. This ceremony recognized the activation of company, troop and battery level organizations within the 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division. The 4th Brigade was composed of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment; 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment; 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery; 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and the 94th Brigade Support Battalion.
The levels of training and leadership in the Brigade expanded rapidly after its activation, and by summer of 2005, soldiers conducted company-level, combined arms live-fire exercises. In the midst of preparing for deployment, elements across the Brigade provided disaster response and relief in Louisiana to help mitigate the devastating effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the fall of 2005. Soldiers deployed to New Orleans, as well as the local Fort Polk community to offer assistance. Once their disaster relief mission were completed, soldiers returned their focus to preparing for combat deployment at the second brigade-level exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center in November, 2005.
After January 2006, the Brigade deployed over 2,500 soldiers to the front lines of freedom. The majority of them deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, although Patriot soldiers were also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout 2006, several formations within the Brigade operated in Afghanistan. The Brigade command and headquarters established the first US National Command Element in Kandahar in order to facilitate the transfer of authority of combat operations to NATO-led Coalition allies. The 94th Brigade Support Battalion conducted logistics support through convoy operations, aerial re-supply, and forward-deployed support companies throughout tens of thousands of square miles of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan.
2-4th Infantry formed the nucleus of Task Force Warrior, a light Infantry Task Force that conducted combat and nation-building operations in Kabul, and other provinces, in Southern Afghanistan as part of a multi-national, Coalition brigade. Later, Task Force Warrior moved to eastern Afghanistan to support operations being conducted by the 10th Mountain Division as part of Combined Joint Task Force 76. Task Force Warrior returned home in November 2006.
Task Force Boar, formed around 2-30th Infantry, then assumed authority from Task Force Warrior in eastern Afghanistan, where they conducted combat and nation-building operations that would strengthen the burgeoning Afghan government and civil authorities.
In 2007 deployed elements of the Brigade returned to Fort Polk. In early 2008 elements of the Brigade deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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