3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, one of 4 brigades in the Army's modular 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), has about 3,600 soldiers overall. The Brigade is located on Kelley Hill, 6 miles from the Fort Benning's Main Post. The mission of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team is to alert, upload and deploy by air, sea, and land anywhere in the world to conduct mobile, combined arms offensive and defensive operations. As part of the XVIII Airborne Corps, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team stands ready to move at a moments notice.
The history of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) began in Camp Greene, North Carolina, in 1917. It was one of the first American units to see action in World War I. Fighting in France, the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division would earn its nickname, "Rock of the Marne," for its epic stand against superior German forces during the battle of the Marne in 1918.
Twenty years later the 3rd Infantry Division was again deployed in combat. During World War II the 3rd Infantry Division fought in some of the most bitter battles of the war including Sicily, Anzio, Rome, and the Ardennes. For its heroic performance, the 3rd Infantry Division earned its second nickname, "the Dogface Soldiers" which was immortalized in the Division song.
During the Cold War, the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division fought throughout the entire Korean Conflict before being stationed in Wuerzburg, Germany in April 1958. There it held the distinction of being the first forward American Unit to deploy the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.
The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) took part in the Gulf War, but did not engage Iraq's heavy mechanized units. The 3rd Brigade was the only part of the 3rd Infantry Division to deploy for participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It served attached to the 1st Armored Division, replacing that organization's 1st Brigade.
The 3rd "Phantom" Brigade, 3rd Infantry Distinguished itself as the Advanced Guard Brigade of the 1st Armored Division during offensive operations against the Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) during Operation Desert Storm from 24 to 28 February 1991. As an attached Brigade consisting of 1/7th Infantry, 4/7th Infantry, 4/66th Armor, 1/1st Cavalry, 2/41st Field Artillery, the 16th Engineer Battalion, and the 26th Forward Support Battalion, the 3rd Brigade led the 1st Armored Division and VII Corps' main attack against the RGFC.
On 25 February 1991, the Brigade conduced a 110 kilometer movement to contact to destroy elements of the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division resulting in the capture of 299 Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW's). On 26 February 1991, the Brigade was ordered to attack east to gain contact with and destroy the RGFC in zone. The 3rd Brigade began an aggressive and continuous movement to contact that covered 74 kilometers in 12.5 hours, while fighting multiple engagements throughout the day and night with elements of the Iraqi 52nd, 17th, Adnan, and Tawakalna Divisions.
During one engagement with the Tawakalna Division the Brigade destroyed 27 Soviet T-72's that had established a hasty defense to cover the Iraqi forces withdrawing from the Kuwaiti Theater of Operation. On 27 February 1991, the 3rd Brigade was ordered to transition to pursuit operations to establish contact with and destroy the RGFC forces in zone. As the Brigade attacked and fought through the Adnan Division, securing a RGFC major logistics base, it captured 465 EPW's and made contact with the Medinah Armored Division, which was augmented by elements of 4 other Iraqi divisions. A fierce battle ensued culminating in the destruction of 82 tanks, 31 Armored Personnel Carriers, 11 artillery pieces, 48 trucks, 3 AAA guns and captured 72 EPW's with the loss of 2 Bradley Cavalry vehicles, 30 WIA's and 1 KIA.
In 1996, the 3rd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division was inactivated and reflagged as the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. The 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) returned to the United States at this time after 33 years in Germany. The 1st and 2nd Brigades were stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, while the 3rd Brigade was stationed at Fort Benning. This split originated with the decision to turn the 24th Infantry Division into an all Active Army Division in the 1980s, resulting in the reflagging of the 197th Infantry Brigade (Seperate) at Fort Benning as the 3rd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division.
The 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mech) deployed to the country of Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Spring in 2002. While deployed to Kuwait, the Hammer Team concluded its Brigade Movement to Contact LFX on 21 August 2002. All 6 of the Brigade's organic and habitually attached battalions deployed across a 15 x 35 kilometer area of operations, executed their combat missions under the most realistic conditions possible, and demonstrating to any in observance the lethality of the Brigade.
The Sledgehammer (or simply Hammer) Brigade battle staff provided operational and training C2 for ongoing missions, while operating split, based the main effort CR2 operations for the Brigade (-) in Doha , while concurrently supporting EIB and TF gunnery in the desert. The Brigade main effort in August 2002 was obviously final preparation, rehearsals and execution of the Brigade LFX. The LFX provided a great opportunity to challenge the Brigade's ability to provide cohesive C2 during the execution of a realistic mission across extended ranges. Simultaneously with the LFX planning/execution, logistics planners prepared the entire Brigade for commencement of phased-redeployment to Doha for CR2, which began within 24 hours of LFX conclusion.
Task Force 1-15th Infantry (Mechanized), the Dragons, including B/1-64th Armor, enjoyed the honor of initiating the first Task Force breach during the Brigade LFX. A combined arms operation executed at combat speed with absolute precision--truly textbook execution, and inspiring to witness. The Dragons' close maneuver coordination of their attack with Task Force Stalwart on their flank demonstrated their high level of readiness and expertise. Immediately upon redeployment from the LFX, Task Force Dragon executed comprehensive after operations maintenance (AOM), while their infantry Soldiers conducted final preparation for their EIB training/testing. Concurrently, Dragon leaders and units are executing preparation for subsequent level I/II gunnery and platoon LFXs. The Task Force staff was also coordinating for B Company's execution of Operation Inspired Gambit, an inter-theater training exercise for dismounted infantry soldiers in Pakistan.
Task Force 1-41st Infantry (Mechanized), Straight and Stalwart, of the 1st Armored Division from Ft Riley, Kansas served as the Brigade's initial main effort for the Brigade LFX. Firing the initial direct fire salvo within minutes of crossing the line of departure, Task Force Stalwart demonstrated their lethality and combat power throughout the subsequent attack. Initiating their breach minutes after Task Force Dragon, Stalwart's tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles provided withering direct fires at the point of breach to augment the massed suppression and obscuration fires of Task Force Rock. Shortly after exploiting the breach, Task Force Stalwart seized critical attack by fire positions that suppressed the enemy's second echelon defenses, in direct support of Task Force Panther's subsequent attack on the Brigade's western flank. Immediately after redeployment, Stalwart executed AOM, prep for EIB, and preliminary gunnery training. They concluded Bradley level I gunnery, amidst some challenging mid-day sandstorms, and began level I tank gunnery.
TF 2-69th Armor, Panthers, the Brigade main effort for the final phase of the Brigade LFX, lived up to their Regimental motto of "Speed and Power." Upon destruction of the enemy's first echelon forces and identification of the enemy's combined arms reserve (CAR), Task Force Panther initiated a 20+ kilometer attack into the exposed flank of the CAR. Preceding Task Force Panther's attack, the Brigade "softened" up the enemy formation with an attack by the newly-joined attack aviation brothers, 7-6th Cavalry from Conroe, Texas. The Panthers enjoyed a ring-side view of the awesome firepower and lethality of an Apache company in the attack as they simultaneously maneuvered to complete the CARs destruction. Enroute they also executed a near-flawless Task Force breach and rapidly passed their fearsome combat power through the point of penetration and into positions to complete the enemy's destruction with direct and indirect fires and dismounted infantry maneuver. Literally hours after completing their redeployment from the LFX, elements of Task Force Panther initiated movement back to Camp Doha as the lead Task Force in the latest battle, CR2. With typical professionalism and superb leadership at every level, they transitioned from combat operations to recovery/prep for future combat operations.
Task Force 1-10 Field Artillery, the Rock's Support, including attached batteries from A/4-1st Field Artillery (FRKS) and C/1-39 Field Artillery (FSGA) and TAB (FSGA) provided very close fire support. The Soldiers of the Rock Support Battalion safely and accurately delivered over 900 rounds of cannon and rocket artillery in support of the Brigade attack. Of note was that the MLRS battery, Charlie "Warriors" executed this LFX just one week after arriving in country, a demonstration of their flexibility, aggressive leadership, and readiness to fight upon arrival and win. Task Force Rock continued split-based operations as A/4-1st Field Artillery continued to support Task Force 1-41st Infantry and A/1-10st Field Artillery provided continued DS support to Task Force 1-15th Infantry, while the Battalion (-) redeployed to Doha for CR2 operations.
317th Engineer Battalion, Task Force Buffalo, provided the essential mobility and counter-mobility support during the Brigade LFX, once again demonstrating the superb expertise and high level of readiness the combined arms teams have attained during this deployment. The Engineer companies each executed a live MICLIC and multiple bangalore breaches in support of their habitual Task Forces. Under the thick cover of effective suppression and obscuration fires from Rock's Support, our superb Sappers rapidly reduced the complex obstacles supporting each enemy defensive position and enabled the TF maneuver to continue virtually unabated. Throughout the Brigade LFX, the Buffaloes with near flawless precision fired 8 live MICLICs and as many bangalores to facilitate maneuver mobility. As Task Force Panther initiated its flanking maneuver against the CAR, the Assault and Obstacle platoon deployed into action and emplaced volcano minefields to protect the Brigade's western flank as it transitioned to a Hasty Defensive posture in preparation for follow on operations. Task Force Buffalo was in the midst of split-based operations as C/317th Engineers continued to support Task Force 1-15th Infantry, while B/70th remained at NY Kabal to support Task Force 1-41st Infantry, and the Bn (-) tackled the CR2 fight with typical vigor and professionalism. The engineer battle staff continued to assist the Brigade staff in ongoing planning and preparation for future operations and leader development.
The 203rd Forward Support Battalion, the Eagles, closed out the ODS mission with a string of training and continuous support to the Hammer Team. As the Brigade conducted final preparation for the Brigade LFX, the Eagles deployed elements of the BSA to the field to conduct a Night Defense LFX, replicating a realistic scenario where elements of the BSA would defend their position against bypassed enemy elements attempting to infiltrate the Brigade rear area. Under extremely limited visibility conditions, the Eagles and BSA teammates executed the challenging LFX with disciplined expertise and spirited aggression, echeloning elements of Task Force Eagle during the week-long exercise. Task Force Eagle then spearheaded the Brigade's movement toward its LFX TAA, conducting a Convoy Defense LFX during the echeloned movement to field sites. With detailed planning, rehearsals and execution, each march column executed this realistic LFX with outstanding results. A highlight of this LFX was the opportunity for each convoy commander to call for and adjust mortar fires in support of the LFX. During the LFX, the Eagles provided comprehensive maintenance, fuel, ammunition, life support and medical support to the deployed Brigade. The medical team from C Company (Medical), along with PROFIS Docs were echeloned forward for responsive support, and participated with several exercise casualties, to include a rehearsed-exercise Medevac during the BFX. It was another extraordinary month for the Eagles, executing an aggressive training regimen while concurrently posturing the BCT for seamless transition to CR2 operations at Doha.
The Brigade's Separate Companies continued to provide responsive support contributing to our operational effectiveness. HHC/Brigade provided comprehensive C2 operations for the BCT LFX, they continued to support C2 of kabal operations, and aggressively executed CR2 operations in Doha. C/1-3rd Air Defense Artillery continued to provide "clear skies" over the BCT's combat operations, while simultaneously honing their combat readiness. C/103rd Military Intelligence provided invaluable daily linguist and GSR support to ongoing training efforts across the BCT. Concurrently, Team Cyclone concluded their operational mission training this month, gaining invaluable experience and expertise. The Cougars of C/123rd Signal demonstrated their tireless expertise and flexibility by keeping the Brigade "talking" on all operational nets during the Brigade LFX, while concurrently providing communications infrastructure in the Kabals-and email and MWR links back to you. D/10 Cavalry concluded a very challenging Reconnaissance and Surveillance Exeval and provided an essential flank screen to the Brigade during the Brigade LFX. 3/3 Military Police Company provided responsive support to BCT convoy and security escort missions ISO both field and garrison activities.
The focus as of early September 2002 was the continued support of Task Force 1-41st Infantry and Task Force 1-15th Infantry as they continued to execute the ODS mission, including the xecution of CR2 operations for the Brigade (-), and final preparation for transition and relief in place operations with the Spartan Brigade.
In September 2002, the Brigade departed from Kuwait. The 1-10th Field Artillery departed on 23 September 2002, with the rest of the Brigade returning in the following weeks. The 3rd Brigade completed their departure from Kuwait around 14 October 2002 and left for Pakistan for Exercise Inspired Gambit. After the completion of this exercise the 3rd Brigade finally returned home to Fort Stewart.
In 2003, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team raced across southern Iraq as part of the initial actions of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)'s first objectives were in and around Tallil Air Base, and were taken on on 21 March 2003.
3rd Brigade followed the 1st Brigade through lanes in the berm that separated Kuwait from Iraq before 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment; 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment; and 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment attacked Objectives Firebird, Clay and Liberty, which consisted of the air base and several key roads and bridges in its immediate area. Moving in behind preparatory fires from 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force 2-69th Armor seized the Highway 1 bridge that led to An Nasiriyah to prevent enemy reinforcements. Despite initial resistance, many Iraqis surrendered as Task Forces 1-15th Infantry and 1-30th Infantry fought in and around the airfield.
After securing the objectives, the Brigade allowed the rest of the Division to pass it and move toward As Samawah. It was relieved in place by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Task Force 1-15th Infantry was involved in fighting around As Samawah, but 3rd Brigade's next major action was the containment of Karbala. On 1 April 2003, as the 1st Brigade moved through the Karbala Gap toward Objective Peach, the Euphrates River crossing just south of Baghdad. 3rd Brigade Soldiers surrounded the city, allowing the rest of the Division to pass through the area.
Task Force 1-15th Infantry, attached to the 2nd Brigade during the battle for Objective Saints, took the intersection of Highways 1 and 8 south of Baghdad. Scouts from Task Force 1-15th Infantry led the way through tight roads and potentially dangerous towns between Objectives Peach and Saints.
After 1st Brigade seized Baghdad International Airport, 3rd Brigade conducted a forward passage of lines with 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment (the Division's Cavalry Squadron) on 6 April 2003 and attacked to the northwest of Baghdad, known as Objective Titans. They defended several bridges and kept Iraqi reinforcements from entering the city as 2nd Brigade conducted the Thunder Run on 7 April 2003. The Brigade fought off several Iraqi counterattacks, including an attack on its tactical operations center, over the course of 6-7 April 2003.
The Brigade was supported throughout the war by 203rd Forward Support Battalion, which made sure the front line troops got the food and supplies they needed, and 317th Engineer Battalion.
In mid-2004 the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) began transformation to the US Army's new modular force structure. The 3rd Brigade was subsequently reorganized and redesgianted as the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. One of the most important changes under the new force structure was the change in relationship between the new Brigade Combat Teams and their previsouly habitually assigned support units. Division support units, such as the 103rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 3rd Military Police Company, and 123rd Signal Company, along with the 3rd Brigade's habitually assigned 317th Engineer Battalion, were inactivated, becoming integral elements of the new Division and Brigade Special Troop Battalions. The Division Artillery (DIVARTY) was inactivated and 1-10th Field Artillery was inactivated and reactivated as an organic element of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Similarly the Division Support Command (DISCOM) was inactivated and the 203rd Forward Support Battalion was inactivated and reactivated, reorganized, and redesignated as the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion. 3rd Brigade lost its Cavalry Troop (D/10th Cavalry) and an Infantry Battalion (1-30th Infantry), which were both inactivated, but gained a full Cavalry Squadron (3-1st Cavalry), an integral part of the modular Brigade Combat Team.
In January 2005 the reorganized and redesignated 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq again as part of Task Force Liberty headed by the 42nd Infantry Division, and subsequently attached to elements of the 101st Airborne Division. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team returned from Iraq in January 2006.
In 2007 the 3rd Brigade Combat Team returned to Iraq for another tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) remained in Iraq into 2008.
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