3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
On 18 May 2000, the 3rd Brigade was reorganized as the US Army's first initial brigade combat team by losing 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor and gaining 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, the 334th Signal Company, and the 18th Engineer Company. 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor was reflagged as 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry and the 168th Engineer Battalion was also inactivated. The Brigade Combat Team's strength at the time was 3,614 personnel. The 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, remained assigned to the Brigade Combat Team. On 29 March 1995, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division had been reactivated at Fort Lewis Washington as part of I Corps, as the home brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division. The rest of the Division was station in the Republic of Korea. The 3rd Brigade therefore requried additional support units be stationed with it to make up for the fact that the Division's support assets were also stationed in Korea. When it was reactivated in 1995, the unit consisted of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry; 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor; 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor, the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery; the 168th Engineer Battalion (Combat), the 296th Forward Support Battalion, and C Battery, 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery.
The 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was organized as the 1st Provisional Brigade on 11 August 1917 in Syracuse, New York. Shortly after it was redesignated on 22 September 1917 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Infantry Brigade and was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. A month later the Brigade was sent to France where it saw heavy fighting as part of the AEF (American Expeditionary Force). The Brigade contained the 9th Infantry Regiment, 23rd Infantry Regiment, and the 5th Machinegun Battalion.
While they were in France the 3rd Brigade participated in a period of harsh training in the Bourmont area of France. The main reason for this was to ready themselves for the German enemies. The 3rd Brigade fought in many battles in France, including Chateau Thierry, the St. Michial Salient, and Meuse-Argonne. Throughout these battles the soldiers of the 3rd Brigade were greatly decorated and became the highest decorated in the AEF.
During World War I the 3rd Brigade earned 6 battle streamers for its participation in the major campaigns of, Aisne, Aisne-Marne, Lorraine 1918, le de France 1918, St Mihel, and Meuse-Argonne. For helping the French, their government awarded the Brigade 4 French Croix de Guerre, 3 streamers, Chateau-Thierry, Aisne-Marne, and Meuse-Argonne, and the French Fourragere symbolize it. The yellow and green Fourragere became a standard uniform item on the left shoulder of every soldier assigned to the Brigade.
After the war was over, the 3rd Brigade remained in Germany for a period of one year with the US Army of occupation. In late 1919, the Brigade returned to its home of Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There the brigade was deactivated on 9 October 1939.
On 1 February 1963, the 3rd Brigade was reactivated and reassigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia. Two years later, on 1 July 1965 the 3rd Brigade moved to Korea to join the rest of the 2nd Infantry Division, where its mission was to guard the western corridor.
In April 1967, 5 North Korean infiltrators were killed at guard post Lucy. Twenty-four days later, 2 more agents were captured and one was killed. From May to September 1967, 264 engagements with infiltrators occurred. During the Pueblo Crisis in 1968, increased enemy activity and propaganda resulted in 74 intrusion attempts and firefights. It was at this time that the Army authorized all personnel north of the Imjin River to draw hostile fire pay. From July to October 1968, 56 incidents involving the Brigade occurred. From 1969 on until its deactivation in 1992 the infiltrations slowed and eventually came to a stop.
The Brigade's future in Korea was changed when the US Congress adopted the Nunn-Warner Amendment to the 1989 Defense Appropriation Bill, which mandated a reduction in US troop strength in Korea from 43,000 to 36,000 by the end of calendar year 1991. In early 1990 the Bush Administration announced plans to cut 7,000 of the 42,500 US troops in Korea over 2 1/2 years. At that time the US had 11,600 Air Force personnel and 31,600 Army personnel in Korea. As a result, the 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade was withdrawn from Korea in 1992 and deactivated.
Moving the 3d Brigade, 1st Armored Division, and associated slice units from Mannheim, Germany, to Fort Lewis, Washington presented special challenges. Army reorganization plans called for restationing the 3rd Brigade from its parent division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, to Fort Lewis and reflagging it as the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, headquartered in Ouijonbu, South Korea. However, when the move was completed in September 1994, the 4,000 3rd Brigade soldiers (still known as the "Bulldogs," the name of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division) were separated from their new parent division. As a result, they had to organize as a split-based brigade combat team (BCT) with mechanized infantry, armor, artillery, engineer, and forward support battalions (FSB's), as well as an air defense artillery battery and a chemical platoon. Since no Division was stationed at Fort Lewis, the Brigade would not have the support of a division support command (DISCOM) headquarters, division materiel management center, or main support battalion (MSB). Concurrent with restationing, Brigade commanders and staff identified unresourced requirements and, with assistance from senior headquarters, worked to establish an organization that could meet their echelons-above-brigade support requirements. The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was officially reactivated on 16 April 1995 at Fort Lewis, Washington.
In April 2000 the Army officially began the transformation of the first of 2 brigades at Fort Lewis, Washington, to Initial Brigade Combat Teams. The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis was chosen to be the nation's first combat team to go through transformation because of the base's large training ranges and ability to transport troops quickly through nearby McChord Air Base and the Port of Tacoma. The new force structure would eventually become known as the modular force structure. The US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), developed the glide path that would take the Army from initial conversion of 2 brigades through to the objective force. The Brigade Combat Team optimized the tenets of its operational concept and organizational design by achieving the most effective balance of force projection and battle space dominance.
Early in 1999, the Kosovo deployment in Eastern Europe had highlighted several critical shortcomings in the Army. While the heavy forces were too heavy, took too long to deploy, and were too difficult to maneuver in areas of the world where they might have to operate, the light forces were too light and lacked staying power and lethality if they were deployed into an environment where they might face an armored threat. Also, future opponents would not give the American military a long lead time to deploy and would attempt to deny air strips and ports that the United States traditionally depended upon to deploy military forces.
The world continued to evolve into a more dynamic, uncertain, and complex environment. Information technology advances created powerful asymmetric threat options for potential adversaries, and continue to expand the potential nature and scope of future conflict. Faced with the reality of US military intervention, opposing forces would often seek to avoid US strengths by using asymmetric capabilities and use low technology to negate US high technology systems. These near- and mid-term threats included those surrounding conflicting regional interests and transnational criminal and ethnic groups.
The nature of the existing and emerging threats plus continued worldwide urbanization would make military operations in regions with weak infrastructure (especially roads, rail, bridges) and complex/urban terrain extremely likely. Threats in these locations were generally characterized by mid- to low-end industrial age forces equipped with limited heavy weaponry consisting of small numbers of early generation tanks and predominantly motorized Infantry. Other threats would include guerilla, paramilitary, special purpose forces, special police, and militia organizations. Regardless of the nature or origin of these threats, they would equip themselves with man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), mortars, mines, explosives, and machine guns, but would only be capable of limited duration and limited objective, high-tempo combat operations, but long-term, sustained unconventional, terrorist, and guerilla operations.
In response to these threats, in 1999 the Chief of Staff of the Army implemented a force design plan to meet regional commanders-in-chief (CINCs) then current and planned future operational needs. The forces would provide a more strategically responsive capability for small-scale contingencies (SSC) that do not compromise major theater of war (MTW) requirements. They had to be able to function as a guarantor combat force in a stability operation or support operation (SASO), and with augmentation, fight as part of a division in a MTW. Most importantly, these forces would be built around Infantry with rapidly deployable organizations that capitalized on the integration of combat support systems, combined arms, and a flexible, mobile, and lethal force mix fueled by the human dimension.
The new interim design would enable the Army to deploy brigades faster and be ready to fight upon arrival. The Army had been planning this transformation since October 1999, when Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera and Army Chief of Staff General Eric K. Shinseki unveiled the new Army Vision. The first 2 IBCT's would feature significantly different organizations from the Army's current brigade structure. Each would consist primarily of 3 infantry battalions, an artillery battalion and a reconnaissance battalion. The reconnaissance battalion, known as the reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition (RSTA) squadron would significantly increase the intelligence gathering capability of the brigade.
As a first step, one armor battalion from 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was reassigned to the 1st Brigade, 25 Infantry Division and one light infantry battalion from the 25th's 1st Brigade was reassigned to the 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade in its place. These units were identified as the 2 initial brigades. The shift aided the infantry requirements in the IBCT battalion for 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and the RSTA squadron requirements for the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
During the transformation, each month, I Corps and Fort Lewis dedicated one week to local, national, and international media visits focusing on Army Transformation. Depending on scheduled training, opportunities included live-fire, LAVIII (later known as the Stryker) operations, collective training from crew to battalion level, military operations in urban terrain (MOUT), and simulation exercise training. All training highlighted the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry, which was at the forefront of the transformation process.
The first IBCT to transform to the new design, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, achieved its Initial Operating Capability by December 2001. Initial Operating Capability was the point at which the Army certified the unit as being capable of accomplishing brigade-level operations. The second IBCT, the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, was at the time scheduled to achieve its IOC by December 2002.
Each brigade combat team would function with about 3,700 soldiers, some 700 less than the previous force structure. The bulk of each brigade would be 3 mechanized infantry battalions and RSTA squadron. The 4 units would account for about 75 percent of a brigade combat team, which would not only be able to participate in major theater wars, but quickly provide regional stability to "hot spots" throughout the world, including those in urban terrain. The initial brigade combat teams would have a more robust and varied intelligence capability, from the military intelligence company down to the company level. While 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division had an intelligence company and 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division did not, both were to have such a unit after the transformation is complete.
The 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery; the 1st Squadron (RSTA), 14th Cavalry); 209th Military Intelligence Company, and elements of the 296th Brigade Support Battalion deployed to the Yakima Training Center (YTC) via C-17 and C-5 aircraft the week of 16 April 2001 and redeployed via the same type aircraft by 4 May 2001. This was the first major test of the deployability of several IBCT units using USAF strategic lift aircraft from McChord AFB. Units and equipment deployed by C-17 were flown to the Yakima Regional Airport to illustrate landing within a contingency APOD using a short/constrained field. Units and equipment deployed by C-5 were flown to the Moses Lake Regional Airport to illustrate landing at an ISB with further onward movement to a contingency area. The Moses Lake field was a former USAF base with an extended runway.
While at the YTC, the units used newly acquired digital equipment and executed training activities. The 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry conducted live fire exercises at the platoon and company level; maneuver at the troop and squadron level; and integrated target acquisition and fires (with FA, mortars, and CAS), intelligence collection and analysis, and used their FBCB2 digital equipment continuously. The 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery conducted battery and battalions live fire exercises in support of 1-14th Cavalry. They included Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD), synchronization of mortars for marking fires, and aircraft delivery of ordnance through digital operations. The 296th Brigade Support Battalion set up operations to support 2 separate battalions and other smaller company size units operating in the field with transportation, maintenance, water/fuel, and medical support. The Movement Tracking System (MTS) was operational and very useful in monitoring the location of vehicles and the status of missions during the FTX.
At the time of its conversion the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infanty Division had 8 of the 10 Stryker variants planned for fielding. The Brigade did not have the Mobile Gun System vehicle or the NBC Reconnaissance vehicle. Also, 3-2nd Infanry did not have the add-on armor for its Stryker vehicles, but would use selected service-approved "in-lieu-of" equipment. These substitutions included the use of the Anti-Tank Guided Missile vehicle for MGS, and Fox vehicle for NBCRV. The Fox vehicle dimensions precluded it from C-130 transport.
For the first time since its time in Korea, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division deployed overseas in November 2003. The Brigade's Stryker vehicles and other equipment arrived on 12 November 2003 in the port of Kuwait on board the USNS Shughart and USNS Sisler after a 3-week voyage from Fort Lewis, Washington, via the Port of Tacoma. The deployment marked the second time that Stryker vehicles have landed on foreign soil though. In August a platoon from the Army's first Stryker Brigade Combat team conducted a capabilities demonstration in South Korea. Also on 12 November 2003, the first main-body flight of Arrowhead Brigade soldiers completed their day-and-a-half trip from Fort Lewis to Kuwait. The troops then got onto buses and headed for Camp Udari in northern Kuwait, while some went to the Port of Kuwait to assist in ship offload operations. Soon after docking, advance-party crews from 3rd Brigade and members of the Army Reserve's 598th Transportation Group (Forward) went to work unleashing the vehicles and equipment in the ships' cargo holds to prepare them for unloading, and eventually for their convoy to Camp Udari.
The Brigade had been preparing to leave Fort Lewis for about a month. It held a going away ceremony on 30 October 2003. The ceremony featured leaders from I Corps and 3rd Brigade Combat Team, who furled and cased the unit's colors, a gesture symbolizing the end to the unit's training period and the beginning of its new mission as a certified combat unit, ready for action in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division deployed to Iraq in November 2003 and redeployed back to Fort Lewis, Washington in November 2004. It would be replaced by another Stryker brigade, the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.
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