15th Brigade Support Battalion
15th Forward Support Battalion
The mission of the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, "Gamblers," is to, on order, deploy to any theater of operations, execute logistical operations in support of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, redeploy, reconstitute and prepare for future operations. The 15th Support Battalion had a long heritage of providing logistic support to the Army. For more than 75 years, the Battalion had deployed around the world to participate in numerous campaigns.
The 15th Brigade Support Battalion was one of the most decorated active support battalions in the US Army. Tracing its lineage to when it was first constituted on 23 March 1925 as the 1st Medical Squadron, the unit had been first assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. The distinctive insignia, coat-of-arms, and motto "Standing By" were adopted in July 1928. On 25 March 1949, the unit was redesignated as the 15th Medical Battalion.
On 22 June 1976, the Battalion motto was changed to "Service Above Self." On 15 September 1985, the 15th Medical Battalion was inactivated at Fort Hood, Texas with elements being incorporated into the newly formed 2nd Forward Support Battalion as part of the reorganization the Army's logistic support structure. Initially, Forward Support Battalions were intended to have no lineage or honors.
This was soon changed and the Battalion was redesignated as the 15th Forward Support Battalion on 1 May 1987, being given the full lineage, honors, and colors of the 15th Medical Battalion. This was to incorporate the new support doctrine of "fuel, arm, and fix forward." For over 13 years, this concept had been the underpinning of flexible, responsive logistic support, enabling land forces to conduct continuous and effective combat operations on the AirLand Battlefield. With a multifunctional staff, a headquarters detachment and 3 diversified company-sized units, the Forward Support Battalion performed 4 of the 6 tactical logistic functions (fueling, arming, fixing, and sustaining). With help from the 1st Cavalry Division's Main Support Battalion and the Corps Support Command, the direct support logistics structure ensured that maneuver commanders could keep their units fixed, fueled, manned, moved, armed and sustained indefinitely.
The mission of the 15th Forward Support Battalion was to provide logistical support to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. To this end the Battalion was organized with 3 companies. The Headquarters and A Company consisted of all battalion-level command and staff personnel, all battalion food service personnel, and a support operations section. Additionally, it was the supply and service company in the Battalion and provides petroleum supply, ration support and general supply support to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team). B Company was a maintenance company that conducted direct support repairs and services on equipment in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. The company had the capability of repairing tracked and wheeled equipment, engineer equipment, fire control equipment, and tank turrets. Additionally, the service and recovery section provided metal working support and vehicle recovery support. The company also maintained a repair parts warehouse. C Company was a medical company that had the mission of treating, holding and evacuating patients from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
In October of 1990, the Gamblers were called into action, deploying to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield and subsequently Operation Desert Storm. On 20 October, 1991, the Battalion provided critical logistical support to the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade when it launched the first ground strike into Iraq during Operations Knight Strike. In August of 1995, the Gamblers were again called to action for Operation Intrinsic Action in response to Iraqi aggression. Deploying with 48 hours notice, the Battalion enabled the Brigade to maintain its highest level of readiness before returning to Fort Hood, Texas and passing the mission to follow-on units.
In March of 1999, the 15th Forward Support Battalion relieved her sister battalion, the 115th Forward Support Battalion, as center of logistics operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the NATO Stabilization Force during Operation Joint Forge (SFOR 5). While in theater, the Gamblers served as the command and control element of the 15th Logistics Task Force, working closely with augmentees from the 404th Aviation Support Battalion, the 27th Main Support Battalion, and the 13th Corps Support Command during the critical period of the Brcko Decision and the unrelated NATO Air War against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.
In November of 2001, as a direct response to terrorist attacks on the United States, the Battalion deployed "no-notice", as a part of Task Force Black Jack to North-Western Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For 6 months the Battalion provided critical logistical support to the Brigade in support of it's deliberate defense arrayed on the Iraqi border to further deter Iraqi aggression.
In January 2004, the Battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For 14 months, the Battalion conducting Combat Service Support, Combat Health Support, Civil-Military and Combat Operations in Baghdad, An Najaf, Al Falluja and Northern Babil. The 15th Brigade Support Battalion had to control the area abutting Camp Victory North to the east to deny sanctuary from which to attack the 2nd Brigade headquarters on the edge of Baghdad's international airport. The expedient move might have been to evict the 1,500 or so Iraqis living in the Victory North sector, Headquarters for the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat team. The Gamblers' main job was providing logistics for the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, overseeing support functions such as the mayor's cell, mechanical repairs and medical care. McCarver said the Gamblers decided to take on force protection to free up as many war fighters as possible for combat. During this deployment the motto was returned to the original "Standing By" on 23 March 2004. The Gamblers returned from Iraq in February 2005 having not lost one trooper in 14 months of combat operations.
On 15 July 2005, as part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force, the 15th Forward Support Battalion was inactivated along with the rest of the Division Support Command (DISCOM). As part of the modular transformation, assets previously held at division level, but habitually assigned to its brigades during operations were made organic to those brigades. The unit was reorganized, redesiganted, and reactivated as the 15th Brigade Support Battalion and assigned to the similarly reorganized and redesiganted 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
In September 2005, the Battalion deployed to New Orleans in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. During Operation Southern Bell the Battalion supported the 2nd Brigade Combat Team out of Algiers Naval Base providing excellent food, water, supply, fuel, maintenance support, and medical care.
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