3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division
In March 2008, as part the transformation of the 1st Armored Division to the US Army's modular force structure, the drawdown of US forces in Germany, and the Base Realignment and Closure law of 2005, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division moved its colors from Germany to Fort Riley. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Riley was inactivated and reflagged as the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. The reorganized and redesignated 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, the Division's only Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was subsequently reactivated at Fort Bliss.
Prior to this movement, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team) deployed with or without equipment, built combat power, conducted military operations in support of the 1st Armored Division or other headquarters and redeployed.
The 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was known as a "round out brigade." Two US Army Europe brigades, known as round out brigades, were not located in Europe. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Armor Division and the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division were required to bring the 2 US Army Europe divisions to full strength. Each brigade consists of a 1x2 brigade set (one armor battalion and 2 mechanized infantry battalions). However, the actual authorization and equipment configuration for the pre-positioned brigade sets in central region was 2 2x1 brigade sets (2 brigades each consisting of 2 armor battalions and one mechanized infantry battalion). With the drawdown of US forces in Germany, the US Army began to redeploy both the 1st Infantry and 1st Armored Divisions back to the United States, reorganizing them under the modular force structure, and realigning their home stations to put all brigades of the divisions at the same location.
On 27 June 1944, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team was first constituted as Headquarters, Reserve Command, 1st Armored Division. It was activated on 20 July 1944. During World War II, the 3rd Brigade was awarded 3 campaign streamers: Po-Valley, Rome-Arno, and North Appenines. Returning to the United States at the end of the war, the Brigade was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 25 April 1946.
On 27 February 1951, the Headquarters, Reserve Command, 1st Armored Division was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Reserve Command, 1st Armored Division, and activated once more at Fort Hood, Texas. It was inactivated again on 23 December 1957, at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
In February 1962, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Reserve Command, 1st Armored Division was reorganized and redesignated as 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division and reactivated at Fort Hood. On 10 May 1971, the 3rd Brigade transferred its colors with the rest of 1st Armored Division to the Federal Republic of Germany. At that time, Bamberg became the home of the Brigade.
The Brigade deployed to Southwest Asia in December 1990 to participate in Operation Desert Shield. As the right flank of the 1st Armored Division wedge, and often times operating independently, the Brigade fought 4 major battles against Iraqi forces during the ground campaign of Operation Desert Storm.
On 17 December 1991, the Brigade's colors were relocated to Mannheim, Federal Republic of Germany as part of the USAREUR force realignment. On 17 September 1994, the 3rd Brigade colors were transferred to Fort Lewis, Washington and assigned to I Corps. On 29 March 1995, the Brigade was inactivated and on 16 February 1996, activated again at Fort Riley as 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
In July 2001 3rd Brigade's Task Force 2-70th Armor mounted up and rode out from Fort Riley, Kansas, on their way down the long, dusty trail to Kuwait.
Approximately 1,300 Fort Riley soldiers with the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division and 937th Engineer Group received orders in early 2003 to prepare to deploy in support of Central Command operations. Additionally, 400 more reservists received orders to mobilize through Fort Riley to deploy to the region. The 3rd Brigade deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 20 February 2003 to 15 April 2004.
The 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated in March 2008 as part of the redeployment of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division from Germany to Fort Riley. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was reflagged as the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in the process. 3rd Brigade was subsequently reorganized and redesiganted as 3rd Brigade Combat Team, an Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and reactivated at Fort Bliss, Texas, home of the 1st, 4th, and 5th Brigade Combat Teams, 1st Armored Division.