49th Armored Division
On May 1, 2004, the 49th Armored Division was officially deactivated and was redesignated as the 36th Infantry Division
In addition to its state mission, the 49th is capstoned to the US Army III Corps and stands as the only fully functional, reserve component, armored division in the United States Army.
A 1997 Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) study on the 49th Armored Division of the Texas National Guard suggested, with some optimistic assumptions, that that unit might be able to be in theater 132 days after call-up.
Division teaming began in 1998 as a pilot program, pairing the 49th with the 1st Cavalry Division headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas, and California's 40th Mechanized Division with the Army's 4th Mechanized Division, also headquartered at Fort Hood. This original division teaming was announced at the 1998 National Guard Association conference by then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis J. Reimer. It was part of a program to integrate the active and reserve components, or AC/RC integration. Under division teaming, one division would have the lead in certain areas, and the divisions would share resources. When one division deployed, the other would mobilize to provide replacement operations, Reimer said during his conference speech. The Army's 1st Cavalry Division required additional personnel in order to mobilize to Bosnia in 1998. Had the Army already begun a pilot program matching active-duty divisions to Guard divisions, additional personnel could have come from the Guard.
The 49th Armored Division was organized following World War II when the Army National Guard was allowed to create two armored divisions. The two new divisions become the 49th in Texas and the 50th in New Jersey. In the beginning, the new divisions were more of an experiment than a commitment.
The men of the 49th Armored Division came from every part of the state, fought in every theater of World War II and had previously served in every branch of military service. Even though the division had not been completely organized, they trained together for the first time during a summer encampment at Fort Hood, TX in 1948.
The division conducted basic training for its own recruits as well as new training for veterans becoming acclimated to new equipment and roles. By 1949, the organization of the division was complete and the first tank gunners fired for final qualification.
Shortly after being designated combat-ready, the 49th was assigned as one of the six divisions comprising the Ready Reserve Strategic Army Force, a first priority reserve component.
In September, 1961, an executive order alerted the 49th Armored Division for mobilization due to the Berlin Crisis. On October 15, 1961, the division entered federal service at armories throughout the state and subsequently deployed to Fort Polk, Louisiana.
During their ten month stay at Fort Polk, the 49th made National Guard history. In May, 1962, the Texas division staged a massive maneuver that was code-named IRON DRAGOON. This is still remembered as a classic National Guard armor exercise. It was also during this period that the 49th was the first Guard unit to fire the Honest John ballistic missile.
Finally, the 49th was named part of the Strategic Army Corps, the best of the active forces. The division had been selected as a top unit in both reserve status and as part of the active Army.
In the post mobilization years, the division leaders concerned themselves with reorganizing the 49th from an internal structure of combat commands to a structure of brigades. The 49th was deactivated in 1968 and reformed into the 36th, 71st and 72nd separate brigades.
The 49th Armored Division was reactivated on November 1, 1973, with its headquarters at Camp Mabry, Austin, TX. Since the reactivation, the 49th has undergone a series of internal reorganizations and force modernizations.
The 49th Armored Division was selected to lead Task Force Eagle in Bosnia. Headquarters, 49th Armored Division provided the Command and Control Element in Bosnia-Herzegovia for SFOR7 (Stabilization Force, 7th Rotation). This American contribution to the international peace support operation in the former Yugoslavia is assigned to Multi-National Division - North (MND-N).
In March 2000 about 1,000 citizen-soldiers of the 49th Armored Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Robert Halverson, become the first National Guard unit since World War II to provide the command and control for an active Army maneuver outfit, in this case the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Carson, CO. The Lone Star Division's headquarters, reinforced by 200 Guardmembers from Maryland, directed the peacekeeping efforts of up to 3,000 3rd Cav soldiers in the American sector during the seventh Stabilization Force rotation. Two other Army Guard divisions were picked to command the Bosnian operation in keeping with Shinseki's vision of all reserve and active components serving side-by-side in "The Army." Virginia's 29th Infantry Division picked it up in October 2001, and Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division in October 2002.
The Division was to be comprised of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, a Russian Airborne brigade, a Nordic-Polish brigade, and a Turkish brigade. The French and British had responsibility for two other like-sized portions of the country. MND(N) included the cities of Brcko and Tuzla. Selected soldiers were assigned to Task Force Eagle, Texas National Guard, on or about January 1, 1999. Calendar year 1999 was spent in intense training preparation for the Bosnia mission. The Task Force mobilized early in 2000, went through post-mobilization training, and prepared for deployment.
Its mission there was to help support an open and free political process in addition to maintaining a stable and secure environment to encourage resettlement of displaced residents. The command was also tasked with encouraging and influencing the development of a professional armed force.
Deployment in Bosnia took place in February 2000 with return in October, with the headquarters of the 49th Armored Division, Texas Army National Guard, assumed the Task Force Eagle mission from the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). Total time mobilized was not to exceed nine months. This operation was a unique mission in National Guard history with significant importance for the 49th Armored Division and eleven other Texas Army National Guard units.
The peacekeeping force from Texas for this deployment consisted of members of:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 49th Armored Division;
- 1149th Criminal Investigation Detachment;
- 149th Personnel Services Battalion;
- 1104th Movement Control Team;
- Company H, 149th Aviation;
- HHC, Aviation Brigade all of Austin;
- 249th Signal Battalion of Dallas;
- HHC with Companies A and C, 111th Engineer Battalion of Abilene.
The 49th was in command of a total of 6,900 soldiers including the Maryland Guard's 629th Military Intelligence Battalion, Army Reservists and active duty forces from the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment as well as foreign troops taking part in the operations such as Turkey, Poland and Russia.
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