39th Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate/Enhanced)
The 39th Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate / Enhanced) trains to proficiency on Enhanced Brigade premobilization tasks to act as a strategic reserve in the event of two nearly simultaneous major theater wars. Deploys NLT M+90 days to assigned theater to conduct combat operations.
The 39th Infantry Brigade is the largest combat command within Arkansas. The Brigade is Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas with Battalion Headquarters in Malvern, Searcy, Warren, Russellvile and Hazen. The Brigade's units have provided personnel in response to the call of the Governor all across the state of Arkansas. The officers and soldiers of the Brigade have served during emergencies such as floods, tornadoes, forest fires and ice storms, and has participated in searches for missing persons.
The history of the 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate) can be traced back to 1917 when guardsmen from Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas first formed the 39th Infantry Division. The 39th Infantry Division came into being 18 July 1917, when the number "39" was allocate to National Guardsmen from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. On 3 August 1917 [some sources state 25 August], the unit organized for training at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana and was designated as the 39th Division. After World War I, it was demobolized at Camp Beauregard on 23 January 1919. After several reorganizations, and participation in various capacities during World War II, the unit was reconstituted on 27 May 1946 as Headquarters, 39th Division. The 39th Divisional Headquarters was reconstituted, organized, and federally recognized on 30 September 1946 for Louisiana, and 26 August 1947 for Arkansas.
The unit was ordered into active Federal service on 24 September 1957. It was released on 25 October 1957 from active Federal service.
The 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate), known as the "Arkansas Brigade", was formed upon reorganization of the Army National Guard on 1 December 1967. The Brigade participated in extra training from May of 1968 to September 1969 to increase their readiness. In 1969, the Department of the Army designated the 39th Infantry Brigade as "The Arkansas Brigade".
In 1973, the Brigade was affiliated with the 101st Airborne Division (Air-Assault) for the purpose of training, and a greater emphasis on combat readiness.
On 12 April 1994, the unit was selected to become one of 15 enhanced brigades. The 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate) was selected as one of the light enhanced brigades to "stand up" the AC/RC integrated division. It became part of the 7th Infantry Division in 1999.
Since its organization, the 39th Infantry Brigade has undergone several minor reorganizations to meet National Defense requirements.
In 1996, the brigade completed a most arduous training exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate), headquartered at Ricks Armory in Little Rock, participated in several major training exercises during 1998. Lanes training emphasized critical individual, leader, and collective tasks throughout the year. The "multi-echelon" approach included day and night exercises for all infantry assault collective tasks prior to annual training. Battle Staff Training was integrated into annual training at all levels through the development of a Brigade operations order, which allowed subordinate units to do the same.
Annual training (AT) during 1998 was held at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, and Robinson Maneuver Training Area. During annual training, the Brigade was evaluated under Joint Readiness Training Center conditions by the 120th Infantry Brigade from Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Opposing forces support was provided by the 34th Infantry Division from the Iowa National Guard. The Missouri and Kentucky National Guard provided additional AT support.
During 1998 TOW missile companies qualified at Camp Robinson, while the 1-206th Field Artillery qualified for battery certification at Ft. Chaffee. Intelligence gathering from scouting and screen line operations was provided by Troop E, 151st Cavalry, while the 239th Military Intelligence Company developed counter-intelligence plans to provide the commander with an overall Brigade battlefield assessment. The 239th Engineer Company provided mobility support to the infantry mission by breaching obstacles, and also utilized engineer equipment to build survivability positions and to make several site improvements to the Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center. Combat service support from the 39th Support Battalion provided assistance in the completion of all required tasking with the food, water, ammunition, transportation, maintenance and medical support necessary to complete the annual training mission.
Members of the 39th provided countless hours during 1998 of volunteer service and personal time to programs such as presentations to local schools, churches, civic organizations, and the National Night Out anti-crime program. During the drought of 1998, emergency assistance was provided to the town of Perry with much needed water, and Company C (-), Forrest City, opened its doors as citizens evacuated neighboring states during Hurricane Georges. The Brigade takes great pride in the fact that its units have provided personnel in response to state emergencies by request of the Governor. The officers and soldiers of the Brigade are prepared to respond to floods, tornadoes, forest fires, ice storms, and have participated in searches for missing persons. Many units throughout the Brigade contribute to various community service projects around the state, including support to the Counterdrug Program with vehicles, equipment, and personnel.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (-), 2-153rd Infantry Battalion, Searcy, placed second in the Phillip A. Connelly Food Services Competition during 1998, while the 1-206th Field Artillery won the "Davis Award" for exemplary field food service operations during annual training. The 1998 Thariel Wayne Scrozynski Leadership Award went to CPT Ronnie D. Anderson from Company C, 3-153rd Infantry. The Honor Graduate Award for Class 41 of the Arkansas Regional Training Institute went to 2nd Lt. Michael L. Dunaway from Company A (-), 2-153rd Infantry, and Lt. Col. James a. Ryan, Jr., Brigade Chaplain, received the Arkansas Federal Employee of the Year Award.
The Army announced on July 26, 2003 that it had alerted two U.S. Army National Guard Enhanced Separate Brigades that may participate in the Army unit rotation plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The units are the 30th Infantry Brigade from North Carolina and the 39th Infantry Brigade from Arkansas. The 39th Infantry Brigade will be augmented with an infantry battalion from the 41st Infantry Brigade of Oregon. The deployment window for these units is between February and April of 2004. This deployment will last up to one year from mobilization to demobilization. These National Guard units will provide capabilities necessary to perform the on going mission in Iraq. Their deployment is part of the Army's unit rotation plan to further provide predictability in the lives of soldiers and their families as they serve the nation fighting the global war on terrorism.
On July 21, 2004 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference that the Defense Department does not plan on extending any reserve component service member beyond the 24-month limit. At issue were about 400 soldiers of the 39th Brigade Combat Team of the Arkansas National Guard. The 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry served on peacekeeping duty in the Sinai beginning in October 2001. The unit now is serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad. The soldiers will go over 24 cumulative months of active duty beginning in November, officials said. The brigade, however, was not due to rotate back to the United States until March. No other units in any service will bump up against this time limit.
Every day, the 39th Brigade's Civil Military Operations section works to make a positive difference in the lives of the Iraqi people to make them successful as a new nation. Their efforts have resulted in reconstructed schools, hospitals, irrigation and sewage systems, along with recreational projects for the children, just to name a few of their contributions to the overall mission. Every day, Soldiers with the 39th Brigade Combat Team drive past miles of trash that consume the landscape along Highway One in Taji, Iraq. The mission for this particular day, however, would lead the CMO team directly to the heart of this landfill to visit its inhabitants, some of the poorest people in the Middle East. The team was going in prepared for anything, and heavily armed with boxes of goodwill.