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33d Infantry Brigade
66th Infantry Brigade

As part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force, in 2005, the title and composition of the 66th Infnatry Brigade was changed to the 33d Infantry Brigade33d

The 66th Infantry Brigade is one of the maneuver brigades of the 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized), headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, KS. The 66th Infantry Brigade, with a total personnel strength of approximately 3,500 soldiers, has units located throughout Illinois. A light air assault unit, the brigade serves as the spearhead for the heavier mechanized infantry division. As an air assault brigade, it has few wheeled vehicles and relies on aircraft for mobility.

The 66th Brigade in Illinois consists of three Infantry Battalions and the Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) in Decatur. All sources agree that two of these battalions are the 1st Battalion, 131st Infantry, Joliet; and 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, Urbana. Apparently the third battalion is the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry, at Chicago. However, as of early 2002 the official homepage of the 66th Brigade stated that the third battalion was the 1st Battalion, 123d Infantry, Bloomington. However, this unit is only represented by Company B in Delavan, IL.

Divisional elements permanently assigned to 66th Brigade in Illinois include 1st Battalion, 202d Air Defense Artillery, Kewanee; 135th Engineer Company, Lawrenceville; and 135th Chemical Company, Machesney Park. The 2nd Battalion, 122d Field Artillery is permanently assigned to the Brigade from DIVARTY. The 634th Forward Support Battalion, Sullivan is permanently assigned to the Brigade from DISCOM to provide necessary logistical support for the combat units.

There are currently two major weekend training areas available to 66th Brigade units in Illinois. The largest is a 2,500 acre site south of Marseilles, which is equipped with a small arms range complex, repelling tower, hand grenade course, nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) training course, land navigation course and sufficient maneuver area for a battalion.

The second training location is Camp Lincoln, a 160 acre site on Springfield's north side. Home of the Illinois National Guard State Headquarters and the Illinois Military Academy, Camp Lincoln also has a small arms range and repelling tower.

The 66th Brigade, 35th Infantry Division was originally organized on 24 April 1832 in the Illinois Militia at Decatur as Captain Isaac C. Pugh's Company. It was mustered into Federal service on 6 May 1832 at Fort Armstrong to serve in the 5th Regiment, Whiteside's Brigade; and mustered out on 27 May 1832 at the mouth of the Fox River. It was mustered again into Federal service on 13 June 1846 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, as Company C (with Captain Issac C. Pugh commanding), 4th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Militia; and mustered out 25 May 1847 at New Orleans, LA.

The unit was reorganized on 18 April 1861 at Decatur as Company A (Captain Isaac C. Pugh commanding), 8th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It was mustered into Federal service on 25 April 1861 at Springfield; mustered out on 25 July 1861 at Cairo; and concurrently reorganized and mustered into Federal service at Cairo.

It was re-enlisted 24 March 1864 as Company A, 8th Infantry Regiment, Illinois Veteran Volunteers, before being mustered out on 4 May 1866 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana and disbanded on 13 May 1866 at Springfield. (The Illinois Militia was redesignated in 1873 as the Illinois State Guard and in 1877 as the Illinois National Guard).

The unit expanded and was reorganized in 1877 in the Illinois National Guard as follows:

  • Company I, 5th Infantry Regiment (organized 7 August 1877 as the Decatur Guards).
  • Company K, 5th Infantry Regiment (organized 5 February 1877 as Decatur Grenadiers).

Company I was redesignated in 1881 as Company H, 5th Infantry Regiment; it consolidated in 1882 with Company K and consolidated unit designation as Company H, 5th Infantry Regiment. It was mustered into Federal service on 7 May 1898 at Springfield as Company H, 5th Illinois Volunteer Infantry; and mustered out 16 October 1898 at Springfield.

It was redesignated on 23 June 1913 as Company L, 5th Infantry Regiment and called into Federal service on 25 March 1917; mustered into Federal service on 26 March 1917 at Decatur; and drafted into Federal service on 5 August 1917.

It was then reorganized and redesignated on 16 October 1917 as Company A, 124th Machine Gun Battalion, an element of the 33rd Division. It was demobilized on 30 May 1919 at Camp Grant, IL.

The unit was reorganized on 21 March 1921 at Decatur and Federally recognized on 6 May 1921 as Company H, 5th Infantry. It was reorganized and redesignated on 22 June 1921 as Company A, 4th Infantry, redesignated on 13 December 1921 as Company A, 130th Infantry, as an element of the 33rd Division. It was again reorganized and redesignated on 1 January 1924 as the Service Company (less Band Section), 130th Infantry, and on 1 May 1940 as the Service Company, 130th Infantry. It was inducted into Federal service on 5 March 1941 at Decatur. (The 33rd Division was redesignated on 21 February 1942 as the 33rd Infantry Division). It inactivated on 5 February 1946 in Japan.

Reorganized and Federally recognized on 25 March 1947 at Decatur as the Service Company, 130th Infantry, an element of the 44th Infantry Division, it was ordered into active Federal service 15 February 1952 at Decatur; released on 10 October 1954 from active Federal service and reverted to state control and concurrently relieved from assignment to the 44th Infantry Division.

It consolidated on 1 December 1954 with the Service Company, 132nd Infantry (organized and Federally recognized 16 March 1954 at Decatur) and the consolidated unit was designated as the Service Company, 130th Infantry, an element of the 33rd Infantry Division. It reorganized and was redesignated on 1 March 1959 as Headquarters Company, 2nd Battle Group, 130th Infantry, an element of the 33rd Infantry Division. It reorganized and was redesignated on 1 April 1963 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry; on 1 December 1965 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company (less the Battalion Heavy Mortar, Reconnaissance, and Maintenance Platoons), 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry; and on 1 February 1968 as Headquarters and headquarters Company, 66th Brigade, 47th Infantry Division.

It was relieved from the 47th Infantry Division on 9 February 1991, and assigned to 34th Infantry Division on 10 February 1991. It was relieved from assignment to the 34th Infantry Division and reassigned to the 35th Infantry Division.

The 66th Infantry Brigade led a contingent of Illinois Army National Guard infantry, aviation, engineer and logistical units to Iceland to take part in the 2001 Northern Viking exercise.

The Illinois National Guard received notification November 30, 2001 that a large part of the 66th Infantry Brigade would be called to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, with possibly as many as 1,500 to 1,700 soldiers to be mobilized for this mission.

When mobilized, the 66th Brigade was assigned to U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) to head up Task Force Santa Fe. The mission of the brigade was to provide security and force protection throughout the USAREUR theater of operations. The 66th Brigade was to supply the largest contingent of the task force, providing the task force headquarters (the command and control element); several subordinate battalion headquarters; numerous maneuver companies; and other specialized task force personnel, such as Chaplains and Judge Advocates General. Soldiers in the brigade were begin Soldier Readiness Processing in early December 2001 and then report to their mobilization site in January for pre-mobilization processing and training prior to deployment to USAREUR. The initial mobilization was to last up 240 days.



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