170th Infantry Brigade (Separate)
2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division
On 9 October 2012, at a ceremony at Smith Barracks in Germany, the 170th Infantry Brigade (Separate) cased its colors, marking its inactivation as part of planned drawdowns. The inactivation also marked the departure of US combat soldiers from Baumholder after more than 50 years.
The mission of the 170th Infantry Brigade (Separate) is to prepare for and deploy worldwide conducting full spectrum operations in support of global contingency operations and the Combatant Commander's operational requirements, in order to bring stability to the operational environment.
The 170th Infantry Brigade (Separate) was first constituted on 5 August 1917 in the National Army as Headquarters, 170th Infantry Brigade and assigned to the 85th Division. The unit was organized on 25 August 1917 at Camp Custer, Michigan and demobilized on 24 April 1919 at Camp Custer, Michigan. For service during the First World War the unit was awarded a campaign streamer without inscription.
The unit was reconstituted on 24 June 1921 in the Organized Reserves as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 170th Infantry Brigade and assigned to the 85th Division. The unit was organized in November 1921 at Detroit, Michigan. The unit was redesignated on 23 March 1925 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 170th Brigade and again on 24 August 1936 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 170th Infantry Brigade.
The unit was converted and redesignated on 31 March 1942 as the 3rd Platoon, 85th Reconnaissance Troop, 85th Division (Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 169th Infantry Brigade was concurrently converted and redesignated as the 85th Reconnaissance Troop, less 3rd Platoon, also part of the 85th Division). The Troop as a whole was ordered into active military service on 15 May 1942 and reorganized at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, as the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, an element of the 85th Division (later redesignated as the 85th Infantry Division). The unit was again reorganized and redesignated on 1 September 1943 as the 85th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized. The unit was disbanded on 25 August 1945 at Hampton Roads, Virginia. 3rd Platoon, 85th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized was award campaign streamers for participation in 3 campaigns in Europe during the Second World War: Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and Po Valley.
The unit was reconstituted on 6 November 1946 in the Organized Reserves as the 85th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, an element of the 85th Infantry Division and activated on 19 May 1947 at Appleton, Wisconsin. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 25 November 1949 as the 85th Reconnaissance Company. Its location changed on 1 March 1952 to Champaign, Illinois; on 1 March 1953 to Onargo, Illinois; and again on 13 October 1954 to Beardstown, Illinois. During this period, the Organized Reserves were redesignated on 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps, which was in turn redesignated on 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve. The 85th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop remained assigned to this organization throughout these redesignations. The unit was disbanded again on 1 June 1959 at Beardstown, Illinois.
3rd Platoon, 85th Reconnaissance Company was reconstituted on 21 January 1963 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division, with the remainder of the company thereafter having a separate lineage. This unit was activated on 1 February 1963 in Germany. The unit was inactivated on 15 April 1970 at Fort Riley, Kansas, but reactivated on 21 June 1977 at Fort Stewart, Georgia. 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division deployed to Southwest Asia in 1990 and subsequently participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. For this participation the unit was awarded streamers for 2 campaigns in Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait. The unit was inactivated on 15 February 1996 at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
In July 2009, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated and its personnel reflagged as the 170th Infantry Brigade (Separate), organized as a legacy heavy brigade combat team. The 170th Infantry Brigade (Separate) and its subordinate units were activated on 16 October 2009. The 40th Engineer Battalion, previously assigned to the 1st Armored Division was reassigned to the newly activated Brigade. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division had been redesignated while inactive as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 170th Infantry Brigade on 27 February 2008. The newly activated Brigade therefore continued the lineage and honors of that unit, which had started life as the 170th Infantry Brigade during World War I.
On 12 January 2012, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta that as part of a new, 10-year defense strategy announced by President Barack Obama earlier in the month, which emphasized air-sea doctrine to better allow the United States to confront more than one threat at a time, the Army would withdraw 2 brigade combat teams from Europe, while retaining a strong presence in the region via rotational units. On 16 February 2012, the Department of Defense outlined the force posture adjustments. This plan involved inactivating the 170th Infantry Brigade at Baumholder, Germany in early FY13. Approximately 3,850 soldiers assigned to the Brigade were in process of redeploying from Afghanistan to Germany at the time of the annoucement. Soldiers and families were expected to begin to move in summer 2012.
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