Military


2-153rd Infantry Battalion
"Gunslinger"

The 153rd troops are part of the 39th enhanced Separate Brigade, assigned to the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 7th ID. The 7th ID was reactivated in 1999. Second Battalion has more than 600 infantry personnel and the 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate) is one of the Army's elite brigades, very well trained and equipped with a full stock of the most up-to-date weapons and technology.

The Guard's 2nd Battalion is headquartered in Searcy and is comprised of Detachment 1, Headquarters Company in Wynne; Company A at Walnut Ridge; Detachment 1, Company A at Harrisburg; Company B at Batesville; Detachment 1, Company B at Augusta; Company C at Forrest City; Detachment 1, Company C at Brinkley; and Company D at Newport.

In late September, 1917, the Arkansas National Guard moved by train to Camp Beauregard in Alexandria, Louisiana. The Arkansas troops were demobilized after their transfer to Camp Beauregard, and reorganization of the troops was made under a new system of organization worked out by the commanding officer at Camp Beauregard. The Eighteenth Division was changed to the Thirty-ninth Division, U.S.N.G. Under the reorganization plans the First Arkansas Infantry became the 153rd Infantry, and the Second Arkansas Infantry became the 154th Infantry of the Seventy-seventh Brigade. These regiments were all attached to the Thirty-ninth Division. The first unit of the division arrived in France on August 12, 1918, and the last unit arrived on September 12, 1918. It was then sent to the St. Florent area, southwest of Bourges, where it was designated as a replacement division. In November, 1918, it moved to St. Aignan. There several of the units were transferred to combat divisions. With the war ended, the 153rd Infantry landed in Hoboken, New Jersey, Feburary, 27, 1919, making the crossing aboard the USS. President Grant.

The 153rd Infantry Regiment was ordered to active duty December 23, 1940 and spent the next 10 days at what is now the University of Central Arkansas. The 153rd then moved to Camp Robinson and completed basic training. Moving to Camp Forrest, TN, the regiment spent six week in maneuvers and returned to Camp Robinson for a few days of leave before shipping out to Camp Murray, WA August 20, 1941. The 1st and 3rd Battalions were then posted to Annette Island and Seward, Nome and Yakutat, Alaska. The 2nd Battalion was stationed on Umnak Island, west of Dutch Harbor and took part in the occupation of Adak Island and the assault on Kiska. The 153rd returned to Camp Shelby, MS March 21, 1944 and was deactivated on June 30th and its soldiers assigned as replacements. Many returned to Camp Robinson as cadre.

Two Arkansas Army National Guard infantry units served in central Saudi Arabia in 1999 to support the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf. The mobilization of 266 citizen-soldiers significantly increased the National Guard's participation with allied forces in Southwest Asia since the Persian Gulf War. The two 133-man companies from Arkansas's enhanced 39th Infantry Brigade provided force security at two locations for about seven months. The units were Company B, 3rd Battalion, 153rd Infantry from Fordyce and Company B, 2nd Battalion from Batesville. They replaced an active Army element from the 82nd Airborne Division. The Fordyce unit, from southern Arkansas, was mobilized in late May 1999 and reported to the central part of Saudi Arabia in mid-June for about 120 days of duty. After nearly five months in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, 272 Arkansas National Guardsmen returned home in October 1999. Guardsmen aboard two planes landed at Little Rock Air Force Base. They were from the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 153rd Infantry, from guard units in Augusta, Batesville, Camden and Fordyce. All of the soldiers were part of the 39th Infantry Brigade and, for the most part, provided security for Patriot missile sites and communication equipment in the two countries they were stationed in. They were the first reserve unit to take over an active Army unit's mission in the region since the end of the Persian Gulf War.

The Batesville unit, from northern Arkansas, reported for duty in mid-September and began its 120 days of security duty in early October 1999. Both units were on active duty for a total of 155 days. Other National Guard infantry companies to continued with that mission in 2000 and beyond. They are the first two Army Guard ground combat units earmarked for duty with the six-year-old Southern Watch operation charged with keeping Iraqi military aircraft out of the no-fly zone that covers the southern half of that nation. The request for the infantry units was significant, Guard officials pointed out, because it comes on the heals of a 144-soldier Virginia Army Guard infantry company's successful six-month peacekeeping mission at a Sava River bridgehead in Bosnia and Croatia that ended April 1998. That was the first time a National Guard infantry unit had been sent overseas since Indiana Rangers were deployed to Vietnam 30 years earlier.

2-153 Infantry Battalion was also recognized when the unit received the Arkansas Quality Award at an awards ceremony in Arkansas. Brigadier General Ron Chastain accepted the award on behalf of 2-153 Infantry Battalion due to the unit being in Fort Carson, Colorado. The 2-153rd Infantry Battalion was nominated for this prestigious award for the way the soldiers have handled their day-to-day business and the professionalism they have exhibited. They were evaluated by the Arkansas Quality Award panel, which is based on the Malcolm Baldridge Performance Evaluation Program.

The linear and the decisive point are two search and attack techniques. During its June 2001 Annual Training, the 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment of the 39th Enhanced Separate Brigade (Arkansas Army National Guard) successfully combined these techniques in its overall search and attack concept of the operation.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, units from the Army National Guard were called to active duty in support of the War on Terrorism. The 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th Separate Infantry Brigade, was among the units mobilized and deployed. The 529 soldiers in the task force performed peacekeeping operations along the Gulf of Aqaba in the Sinai Peninsula from Eilat, Israel to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt where the base of operations (South Camp) is located. Additional personnel were selected from the 39th's Military Police Platoon in Little Rock; the 39th's 239th Engineers Detachment 1 at Booneville; 3rd Battalion, 153rd's Company C at Dumas and Detachment at McGhee; and 3rd Battalion, 153rd's headquarters at Warren and detachment at Monticello. The nearly 550 members of the 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry wwere the first pure-Guard unit to take part in the Multinational Force and Observers, or MFO, mission on the Sinai Peninsula.

Arkansas National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, headquartered at Searcy, Arkansas, got an unexpected but much appreciated Christmas gift 28 November 2001. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced it would pick up the $70,000 tab for the battalion's return to Arkansas for the holidays prior to the unit being deployed to the Sinai, Egypt, in support of Operation Noble Eagle/Enduring Freedom. The unit, training at Fort Carson, Colorado, since mid-October, learned that funding for the trip through Army channels was not a legitimate use of Federal funds. That news meant that soldiers returning to Arkansas would shoulder the financial burden associated with the trip. It was going to cost approximately $130 per soldier and the family support groups were going to try to raise some funds locally to offset part of the cost. On December 20th, the 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry rolled into town compliments of Wal-Mart (a $70,000 donation).

On July 21, 2004 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference that the Defense Department does not plan on extending any reserve component service member beyond the 24-month limit. At issue were about 400 soldiers of the 39th Brigade Combat Team of the Arkansas National Guard. The 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry served on peacekeeping duty in the Sinai beginning in October 2001. The unit now is serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad. The soldiers will go over 24 cumulative months of active duty beginning in November, officials said. The brigade, however, was not due to rotate back to the United States until March. No other units in any service will bump up against this time limit.



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