2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, the "Dagger Brigade," is a heavy brigade combat team assigned to the 1st Infantry Division.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team ("Dagger") was first constituted on 24 May 1917 as Headquarters, 2nd Infantry Brigade of the 1st Expeditionary Division, which was later designated as the 1st Division. During the First World War, the unit distinguished itself with campaign participation credit in the Montididier-Noyon, Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, Lorraine, and Picardy Campaigns.
Following World War I the Brigade was redesignated on 1 April 1921 as as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Brigade, on 23 March 1925 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, and again on 24 August 1936 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Infantry Brigade. It was relieved of assignment to the 1st Division on 11 October 1939 and inactivated 1 June 1940.
In 1942, units previously assigned to the 2nd Brigade participated in Operation Torch, the landings on North Africa. The 1st Infantry Division at the time was composed of 3 infantry regiments, the 16th, 18th, and 26th, all of which distinguished themselves in the push across North Africa from the Kasserine Pass to Rommel's eventual defeat at the battle of El Alemein. These units were then moved to Tidworth Camp in Wiltshire, England in anticipation of a cross-channel invasion late in 1942, but the next amphibious operation the unit would undertake next was to be in Sicily, not France. After Sicily, the units returned to England for preperations for Operation Overlord, the invasion of occupied France, and 1st Division units participated in the Normandy Campaign throughout the summer of 1944 and subsequent operations across France and Germany until the end of the war.
Back in the United States, on 30 June 1943, the unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Airborne Infantry Brigade, and activated at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. The Brigade was disbanded on 15 January 1945.
On 12 February 1958 the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division was reconstituted and activated on 15 February 1958 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The unit spent the next 5 years training in northern Massachusetts and Cape Cod. It was inactivated on 19 February 1962 at Fort Devens, only to be Redesignated on 23 October 1963 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and moved (with the rest of the Divison) to Fort Riley, Kansas in January, 1964, where it was reactivated.
In September, 1965, the 2nd Brigade deployed to the Republic of Vietnam where it earned 15 campaign streamers. The Brigade returned to Fort Riley in 1969.
The 2nd Brigade saw action again in December, 1990 when it deployed to South-West Asia with other elements of the 1st Infantry Division. In Operation Desert Storm, the Brigade earned battle streamers for the Defense of Saudi Arabia and the Liberation of Kuwait.
On 15 February 1996 the 2nd Brigade was relocated with the rest of the 1st Infantry Division in Europe, relocating to the German city of Schweinfurt. Soon after in February, 1996 the 2nd Brigade deployed units to Bosnia-Herzgovina to participate in Operation Joint Endeavor with the 1st Armored Division. On 7 October of the same year the entire 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Bosnia as the covering force for the 1st Armored Division's redeployment to Germany. With over 5,000 soldiers, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team participated in Operations Joint Endeavor and Joint Guard in Bosnia. On 10 November 1996 the 2nd Brigade assumed responsibility for the US sector of Multi-National Division (North). On 20 December 1996 the 2nd Brigade assumed its part in NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR) as the situation in Bosnia stabilized. In May 1997 the 2nd Brigade redeployed to Schweinfurt, leaving Task Force 1-77th Armor, which remained in Bosnia until November 1997.
Task Force Falcon, the stabilization force for the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, was first activated on 4 February 1999. Task Force Falcon served as the US component of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) with the mission of conducting peacekeeping operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's (FRY; Serbia) Kosovo province in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. Under the command of the 1st Infantry Division and including elements of the 1st Armored Division and 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Falcon entered the war-torn province on 12 June 1999. The troop list was based around the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd ("Dagger") Brigade and included forces from other Army and Marine Corps units. On activation, the Commanding General of Task Force Falcon was designated the Joint Forces Land Component Commander (JFLCC) for JTF Noble Anvil and as the Force Commander for Multi-National Brigade (East), a component of NATO's KFOR. The Falcon Tactical Assault Command Post (TAC) and E Troop, 4th Cavalry, the 2nd Brigade's Reconnaissance Troop, followed closely on the heels of the French forces, and entered the war-torn province on 12 June 1999 where they were greeted by scenes of destruction and desolation. Task Force Falcon headquarters occupied Camp Bondsteel on 13 June 1999, and grew into a Multi-National Brigade (MNB) that included not only US soldiers, but also soldiers from 7 other nations.
Initially the Task Force monitored and verified the withdrawal of FRY forces from the Area of Operation in accordance with the Military Technical Agreement. As this movement was completed, the force shifted its focus to monitoring and verifying the Kosovo Liberation Army's compliance with the Undertaking of Demilitarization and Transformation. As important as the military aspects of these peace enforcement tasks, Falcon found itself assisting in the return of massive numbers of refugees who clogged the roads in sector throughout June as they returned home from an enforced stay in temporary refugee camps. Falcon forces soon found themselves performing basic law and order functions and providing emergency humanitarian relief throughout the sector.
MNB East sought to establish law and order, provide emergency humanitarian assistance and support to the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and other agencies. MNB (E) units adopted schools and facilitated spring planting through the delivery of seed, fertilizer and fuel. MNB (E) also coordinated and facilitated the restoration of schools, public utilities and healthcare facilities.
The area remained dangerous. KFOR soldiers frequently came under fire from hostile forces in the performance of their duties. Nightly explosions from mines and UXO and routine exchanges of gunfire with unidentified hostile forces were the norm through the middle of August 1999. House fires, looting, assault, and robbery among the civilian populace stretched the MNB (E) troopers thin as they sought to establish a safe and secure environment.
The area around the city of Gnjilane became a center of ethnic troubles as unidentified forces increased violent attacks against the Serb populace in an apparent attempt to cause them to move. Grenade and homemade explosive device attacks began to intensify within the city and surrounding towns. In October, the Commanding General of MNB (E) directed a further repositioning of forces in a move, which greatly strengthened our presence along the ethnic fault lines. Gradually, violence began to decrease in this last discernable trouble spot. Indicative of the establishment of the safe and secure environment, the President of the United States visited the MNB (E) area on 23 November 1999 and joined Falcon troops to eat an early Thanksgiving Dinner at Camp Bondsteel.
By the early 2000s, 2nd Brigade was organized as a heavy brigade composed of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2 infantry battalions (1st Battalion, 18th Infantry and 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry), one armor battalion (1st Battalion, 77th Armor). During operations a Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular Brigade Combat Team) would be assembled from the Brigade and division-level supporting units. The 2nd Brigade was located at 2 Barracks (Kaserne) in Schweinfurt, Germany. 1-18th Infantry was at Conn Barracks in Schweinfurt. In addition, the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, was co-located at Conn Barracks with the 2nd Brigade.
The 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) and its supporting units were alerted in 2004 and deployed to Kuwait in anticiaption of operations in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition, the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry from the New York National Guard was activated in late 2003 and left their families, civilian occupations, and college to do their duty as part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. They came from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and a couple of other states in the northeast US, would serve in Iraq with the 2nd Brigade. They occupied a space named Camp New York. Camp New York was a temporary home for the approximately 3500 soldiers of the Brigade Combat Team until they were ready to move into Iraq. The deployment began on 10-12 February 2004, when deploying personnel were whisked away by bus to Nurnberg Airport. They were processed by the 571st Maintenance Battalion from the 21st Theater Support Command. This was to ensure their finance records were up to date. By 12 February approximately 3400 soldiers from the Brigade had arrived in the desert of Kuwait. These soldiers spent another 6 hours being processed at Camp Wolverine before moving on to Camp New York.
By 4 March 2004 soldiers in combat gear were checking vehicles, weapons and equipment preparing for the Brigade Combat Team's road march into Iraq. NCOs and officers did final pre-combat checks and inspections. At 0700 hours, Task Force Vanguard departed Camp New York and led the Dagger Brigade Combat Team into the combat zone. For the next 2 days, 20 more groups of vehicles amounting to over 2,100 soldiers made the grueling 500-mile trek. On any road march route, there are established Convoy Support Centers where vehicles could be fueled and crews could rest. By the evening of 6 March 2004, the final convoys were rolling into their new homes known at various Forward Operating Bases. Those who could not drive up were flown into FOB Anaconda and then moved to the FOBs by combat patrols. By 8 March 2004 the majority of the Brigade Combat Team was in Iraq.
The Brigade and its attached units were greeted by the 1st Brigade ("Raider") and 3rd Brigade ("Striker") of the 4th Infantry Division. The Raider Brigade was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, while the Striker Brigade was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. Each unit from Brigade through squad level linked up with a counterpart and started a 10-day relief in Place, in order to transfer techniques, procedures, and equipment.
By July 2004, over 120 days into Operation Iraqi Freedom II, the Dagger Brigade Combat Team was continuing to root out the enemies of Iraq while simultaneously balancing our effort of making this historic land into a fully functioning and self-reliant nation. Much of the infrastructure and governmental systems that are needed to run the country are in the stages of development, or not present at all. Development of these systems was a major area of emphasis as the soldiers continue to maintain a delicate balance between combat and stability operations. The BCT was helping rebuild government organizations and help repair the infrastructure.
The main mission was to maintain a safe and secure environment. Training, equipping and integrating the Iraqi National Guard was a critical part of this mission. Every day officers, NCOs and soldiers visit ING compounds to liaise with their Iraqi counterparts. The Iraqis were at the time beginning to accompany US Forces on patrols and manning Traffic Control Points that were once manned exclusively by the US Army. Forty-one soldiers from the 201st Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC, subsequently renamed the Iraqi National Guard) Battalion, working with Task Force 1-18th Infantry, received the newly minted Iraqi Achievement Medal for their actions during the month of April.
While those soldiers were honing their skills in the field, the Battalion and Brigade Staffs were receiving lessons on how to Command and Control their formations. Some of the Iraqi officers had experience in the old Iraqi Army. The US maintained constant contact with ING counterparts, primarily to build their systems, but also to help tailor their organization to run as proficiently as possible.
In order to give some relief to the high unemployment and give the people a sense of pride in their own efforts, the Brigade Combat Team used funds set aside for civil projects to contract or hire Iraqi businesses and workers to rebuild or develop the things needed in everyday life. Daily there were crews cleaning up the trash on the side of the roads in Tikrit and Bayji. Planning for building or refurbishing schools was underway and contractors were being selected for the projects.
While doing their normal job of soldiering, some members of C Company 2-108th Infantry, assigned to Task Force 1-26th Infantry helped a hostage return home. While conducting a security patrol the soldiers found Mr. Thomas Hamill, a Haliburton employee who was taken hostage in April 2004. The soldiers secured Mr. Hamill, dressed his wounds and got him on a helicopter that started his journey back to the United States.
The Department of Defense announced on 29 July 2005 plans for the return of 11 Army bases to Germany in FY07. Additionally, 2 other bases were identified for return to Germany in following years. These installation returns were scheduled as part of plans for the 1st Infantry Division headquarters' return to the United States with its divisional flag in the summer of 2006. Additionally, the 1st Infantry Division's subordinate units, as well as selected V Corps and US Army in Europe units, were to return to the United States, inactivate entirely, convert, or be reassigned in Europe to support Army transformation in FY06.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team was be assigned to another US Army, Europe unit until further disposition was determined and announced. All other 1st Infantry Division units remaining in Europe would be converted and/or reassigned to support Army transformation. Also, disposition of other tenant organizations on facilities announced for closure would be determined and announced in the future.
In March 2008, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, after returning from a second deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, cased its colors in preparation to move them to Fort Riley, Kansas to join other elements of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) already redeployed from Germany. Concurrently, the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division was inactivated, its personnel and subordiante units reflagged as the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). Elements of the 2nd Brigade in Germany were reflagged as the 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Seperate). The 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) was subsequently reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) and activated at Fort Riley, Kansas in April 2008.
In addition, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division was reorganized as modular Brigade Combat Team (Heavy) as part of the transformation within the US Army to the new modular force structure. As a modular brigade, the unit had various organic elements that had previously been attached to it during operations from division-level units, including field artillery (1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery), support (299th Brigade Support Battalion), engineers (70th Engineer Battalion), military intelligence, military police, and signals (the last 3 being elements of the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion). As a heavy brigade, the 2 primary maneauver elements were a mechanized infantry battalion (1st Battalion, 18th Infantry) and a tank battalion (1st Battalion, 63rd Armor).
In June 2012, it was announced that the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division would become regionally aligned with US Africa Command (AFRICOM) by 2013. The unit would become the main force provider for security cooperation and partnership-building missions in Africa. The Brigade was the first Army unit to be named in this way for alignment with a combatant command and this would mean the unit would be on deck for their mission for an entire year. The tasking would be to perform security cooperation, when needed, not operational or regular warfare missions. Other units would be assigned to follow the Brigade when its year-long tasking was completed. It was expected that those assignments would follow the Army force generation model.
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