3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Bronco Brigade, was first organized at Schofield Barracks on 12 August 1963, as the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, along with the 1st and 2nd Brigades, 25th Infantry Division. The new brigade organizations replaced the old battle groups of the Pentomic Divisions, which had 5 infantry battle groups, each group having 5 companies. At the time of its activation, the Bronco Brigade consisted of the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, and the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry. The brigade's motto became "None Better."
The Broncos remained at Schofield Barracks for the next 2 years. Then, on 10 December 1965, the 25th Infantry Division received the order to deploy to Vietnam. On 24 December 1965, while the main force of the Division prepared to move out by sea, Air Force Military Airlift Command planes began transporting the 3rd Brigade's men and 2,000 tons of equipment to the northern province of Pleiku located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in Operation Blue Light. Blue Light was, at that time, the largest movement of soldiers and equipment by military aircraft in history.
Commanded then by Colonel Everette A. Stoutner, the 3rd Brigade established a foothold in the rugged terrain around Pleiku and created a blocking force against Vietcong personnel and supplies infiltrating South along the Ho Chi Minh trail and the Cambodian border. Their primary mission was to destroy any possible crossing sites along the frontier and disrupt any attempts by the North Vietnamese Army to conduct major combat efforts in the Central Highlands.
The rest of the Division arrived in Vietnam in early 1966 and was sent further south to deal with the communist forces around Cu Chi. The Broncos remained effectively an independent brigade, under the control of the II Field Force, US Army Vietnam, until August 1967, when it was reestablished in Cu Chi. The Broncos remained with the 25th Infantry Division until it began its deployment back to Schofield in 1970. Then, as part of the Division's post-war restructuring, the 3rd Brigade was inactivated.
The 3rd Brigade was reactivated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on 15 November 1985, as part of the 25th Infantry Division's reorganization to a light infantry division.
In 1995, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team) was deployed to the island of Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. After returning from Haiti, the Brigade conducted 2 Lighting Thrust II exercises on Oahu and completed 2 extremely successful deployments to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana. In 1996, 2-27th Infantry Infantry deployed to the Sinai for a rotation of MFO duty, and 2-35th Infantry deployed to Australia. The Brigade's success in these exercises was a result of the dedicated leadership and disciplined training that our soldiers endure. The 3rd Brigade expected to be deployed all around the world taking part in such exercises as: Tandem Thrust, Orient Shield, PACBOUND, and Cobra Gold.
More than 4,000 Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and US Army, Hawaii conducted the Lightning Thrust Warrior training exercise in February 2001 on Schofield Barracks and other northern Oahu training areas. Units, including the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and the division's aviation, field artillery, engineer, air defense artillery, military police and chemical units, participated in the field training exercise. Staff elements from the Division's headquarters deployed to provide command and control. Some members of the 3rd Brigade supported the exercise as opposing forces. Soldiers conducted combat-skills training at various sites, including Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield, Dillingham Military Reservation, Kahuku, and Puu Kapu training areas. The exercise gave commanders and soldiers the chance to practice war-fighting tasks and refine their combat edge. Lightning Thrust Warrior challenged the Division staff and commanders to make battlefield decisions and tactically move units while facing an OPFOR. Fighting against a fictitious enemy on the island of "Aragon," Soldiers performed missions to include attacking outposts, defending terrain, fending off aerial attacks, targeting enemy strongholds, maintaining communications and conducting combat service support operations. While training in combat tasks, soldiers did not conduct live-fire training during the exercise.
In 2005, as part of the transformation of the 25th Infantry Division to the US Army's new modular force structure, the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division was inactivated, reorganized, and redesignated as the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, an infantry brigade combat team under te new force structure. It was subsequently reactivated. As a result of the reorganization, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry was reflagged as 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, the organic cavalry squadron for the brigade combat team. The 2-7th Field Artillery and 325th Brigade Support Battalion were also made organic to the unit. A Brigade Special Troops Battalion was also activated.
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