1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 3d Infantry Division was first constituted on 12 November 1917 at Fort Bliss, Texas. In less than 6 months, the Brigade deployed to France. During World War I, the Brigade participated in battles such as the Aisne Defensive, Chateau Thierry and the Champagne-Marne Defensive. The Brigade conducted offensive actions at Aisne Marne and Saint Mihiel, breaking the three-year stalemate of trench warfare.
With an outstanding record of achievement stretching through the first part of the century, the Brigade conducted numerous operations in World War II. On 1 June 1942, the Brigade was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters Company, 3rd Infantry Division, and by October 1942, the Brigade deployed to North Africa. The 1st Brigade participated in actions in Morocco and then made amphibious landings in Sicily. It moved across France and into Germany, where it captured the city of Nuremberg while facing fierce opposition. The long trek across Europe ended 3 years later near Salzburg, Austria.
Five years later, 1st Brigade deployed to the Republic of Korea. The Brigade landed at Wonsan in November 1950, where it fought in 8 campaigns. The Republic of Korea decorated 1st Brigade twice for its actions.
1st Brigade, 3d Infantry Division was cited in Department of the Army General Orders 43, 26 February 1953 (with attached units) for the defense of the Imjin River and the Hantan River line from 18 April 1951 to 23 April 1951; for the strategic retrograde from 24 April to 2 May 1951; and for the defense of Seoul form 3 May 1951 to 11 May 1951, inclusive. Having driven north to the Imjin and Hantan Rivers, the 3rd Infantry Division, controlling all the major arteries of Seoul, became the prime target of the powerful Chinese Communist spring offensive. In the face of overwhelming and frenzied hostile numbers, the 3rd Infantry Division held, inflicting untold casualties and disrupting the enemy plans. Then, the 3rd Infantry Division effected a deliberate retrograde with devastating effect upon the enemy. Finally, at the approaches of the to Seoul the Division once more held back the last hostile thrusts and to deny to the enemy the vital city. The individual and collective heroism of each member of the 3rd Infantry Division was conspicuous and was in accord with the highest traditions of the military service.
1st Brigade, 3d Division was again cited in Department of the Army General Orders 29, 31 March 1954 (along with attached units). During this period, Chinese Communist forces in the vicinity of Chorwon-Kumwha made an intensive effort to capture Outpost Harry, a keystone position. On 3 successive occasions the enemy attacked in reinforced regimental strength, prefacing his attack with heavy concentrations of mortar and artillery. The seemingly endless waves of Chinese fighters were able to break through friendly defensive firs and intense hand to hand fighting took place in the trenches on Outpost Harry. The coordinated efforts of armor, artillery and fighting infantry, as employed by 3rd Infantry Division units, overwhelmed the numerically superior Chinese forces and forced them to retreat from positions on 13 June 1953, leaving behind over 2,400 dead. Having been soundly defeated at Outpost Harry, the enemy transferred efforts to the east, and on 14 June 1953 conducted a coordinated attack against 3rd Infantry Division and the 9th Republic of Korea Army Division main line of resistance positions. Supporting the 9th Republic of Korea Army Division with tanks and artillery, and counterattacking a threatened enemy break through in the 7th Infantry Regimental sector, troops of the 3rd Infantry Division inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and forcibly ejected him from the position. The enemy left 1,275 dead in the trenches and in front of the position during this action. The actions of the 3rd Infantry Division denied the enemy the strategic terrain needed to launch a full scale attack in this vital sector.
he 1st Brigade was inactivated on 1 April 1960, reconstituted on 18 April 1963 in the Regular Army, and was activated on 3 June 1963 in Germany, where it was designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 3d Infantry Division. In Germany, the 1st Brigade, as part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization fought a war of deterrence.
After serving 33 consecutive years on foreign soil to maintain world peace during the Cold War, the 1st Brigade returned to the United States and was reactivated 15 March 1996 at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
In response to mounting tensions between the United States and Iraq, the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, received an alert to deploy to Kuwait on 16 February 1998. The first aircraft of soldiers landed at Kuwait's International Airport 2 days after the alert. Kuwaiti government officials and leaders from US Army, Central-Kuwait (ARCENT-K) met the arriving troops. The 1st Brigade was quite familiar with operating in the Middle East after participation in Exercise Bright Star 1998 in Egypt 5 months before.
Division soldiers moved directly to buses for the short trip to Camp Doha. At Camp Doha, leaders immediately went to the post theater for a 2-hour situational briefing on Operation Desert Thunder before linking up with their soldiers and supervisors who were taken directly to the draw yard. After equipment issue and upload, the Brigade moved to a marshaling area (Logistics Release Point 4), about 5 kilometers outside Camp Doha.
Logistics Release Point 4 served as the download site for the heavy equipment transports (HETs), an ammunition transfer point (ATP) and an emergency refuel site. Units downloaded track vehicles, received ammunition in combat configured loads and then moved to the tactical assembly area (TAA) and to their "Kabals" (designation for some field locations in Kuwait). Tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles went directly to the screening range. Upon arrival in theater 18 February 1998, the Brigade worked 7 days a week and, in many cases, 19-20 hours a day for more than 2 months. In some instances, the maneuver units could take time off when not training.
The Combined/Joint Field Training Exercise (CJFTX) was a 3 day ground rehearsal of the division's go-to-war plan in defense of Kuwait held between 19 and 21 April 1998. Divisional leadership was in country to participate in the CJFTX, including the Division Commander, Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, each brigade commander, DISCOM Commander and battalion commanders. The sensitivity of actually maneuvering the entire brigade led to notional play of several parts of the plan. The overall intent was rehearsing each phase of the operation without leaving a large military "footprint." Joint and Combined participants included the Kuwaiti Army and Air Force and the US Air Force, Marines and Army.
In 2001 the 1st Brigade deployed to Kosovo on a 6 month rotation under the 101st Division (Air Assault), as part of Task Force Falcon on a US peacekeeping mission. The Brigade conducted humanitarian assistance projects, presence patrols, cache searches and weapon accountability.
In January 2003, the 1st Brigade Combat Team arrived in Kuwait with the mission to deter Iraqi aggression in the region. By March, following countless training exercises in the Kuwaiti desert and an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein from President George W. Bush, the future seemed clear. On the night of 20 March 2003, led by Task Force 3-69th Armor, the Raiders crossed the border into Iraq around 8 p.m. and began their march toward Baghdad.
In 4 days time, the 1st Brigade crossed the border, secured an airfield, convoyed 30 hours straight and traveled 300 kilometers. In addition, TF 2-7th Infantry, TF 3-7th Infantry, 1-41st Field Artillery and the 11th Engineer Battalion engaged Iraqi forces in lengthy battles that resulted in 248 enemy prisoners and no Raider Soldiers seriously injured.
For the next 8 days, the Raiders staged operations from an assembly area northwest of An Najaf. From 25 to 27 March 2003, during a sandstorm that resulted in 25-meter visibility, the Brigade recon team and elements of TF 3-69th Armor and TF 3-7th Infantry fought around the clock with regular and unconventional Iraqi troops in Al Kifl, a northern suburb of An Najaf on the Euphrates River. The fighting resulted in scores of dead Iraqi troops, more than 50 enemy prisoners and no 1st Brigade casualties.
Tragedy struck TF 2-7 Infantry on 29 March 2003 when a local Iraqi stopped at a checkpoint north of An Najaf and detonated an explosive device in the trunk of his car. Four Soldiers died.
Three days later, the 1st Brigade was staged and focused on one objective: Saddam International Airport. Around 2 AM on 2 April 2003, once again lead by TF 3-69th Armor, the Raiders pushed northward for 70 kilometers through the Karbala Gap and across the Euphrates River to within 30 kilometers of the airport. The following day, under the cover of Air Force ordnance and 1-41st Field Artillery's barrage, the Raiders moved in on the airport. After 2 days of fighting, many Iraqi troops were killed and captured, and buildings in and around the compound were secure. The airport, under coalition control, was renamed Baghdad International Airport.
On 9 April 2003 Saddam Hussein's regime officially crumbled when Baghdad fell to Coalition forces led by the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). When President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, the Raiders were already 2 weeks into stabilization and support operations. For the next 3 months, the Soldiers of the 1st Brigade secured areas in and around Baghdad while rebuilding many of its communities.
After returning from Iraq, the 1st Brigade reorganized according to the new modular organization design of the Army, becoming the first brigade in the Army to do so, and it officially became the 1st Brigade Combat Team. This transformation was part of the transformation of the 3rd Infantry Division as a whole. Immediately following a month and a half long National Training Center rotation in May 2004 to June 2004, the 1st Brigade Combat Team received a warning order that it would deploy to Iraq in the end of 2004 for OIF III.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team deployed with other elements of the 3rd Infnatry Division (Mechanized) to Kuwait in December 2004. In Kuwait, the 1st Brigade Combat Team left the command and control of the 3rd Infantry Division for the command and control of the 42nd Infantry Division in Multi-National Division-North as part of Task Force Liberty. Later, after the departure of the 42nd Infantry Division from MND-N, the 1st Brigade Combat Team served under the 101st Airborne Division.
The brigade combat team was stationed at FOB Dagger in Tikrit, conducting transfer of authority from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division on 14 February 2005. The 1st Brigade Combat Team assumed responsibility for the Salah ad Din Province, including the cities of Balad, Samarra, Tikrit, Ad Dawr and Bayji and the surrounding villages and desert. During its deployment for OIF III, the Brigade witnessed the inauguration of the Transitional National Assembly in Baghdad, the writing of the new Iraqi Constitution, the referendum on the Constitution in October 2005, and the election of the new Iraqi government in December 2005. The Brigade redeployed back to Fort Stewart in December 2005 and January 2006.
In January 2007, the Raider Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V, making it the Army's first Brigade to deploy to Iraq 3 times.
1st Brigade Combat Team served in Anbar Province, the largest province in Iraq, under the command and control of Multi-National Forces West, headquartered by the United States Marine Corps for 15 months.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team was a joint task force consisting of more than 8,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen. The units came from all across the world including California, North Carolina, Colorado and Germany.
The Brigade assumed its area of operations in the central part of the Anbar Province, primarily concentrating its forces in and around the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province. No other brigade in Iraq covered a larger area than 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized).
The Brigade Combat Team conducted 9 brigade level operations and quickly transformed Ramadi from the second deadliest city in Iraq to its most passive in 6 weeks. The average number of daily attacks fell from 35 per day to less than one per day, as the city experienced nearly 300 violence-free days during the Brigade's deployment. Its friendship with the area tribes, mentorship of the Ramadi municipal government and partnership with 14,000 Iraqi police and army stabilized the area. President Bush acknowledged the brigade's achievements, claiming that Anbar became the beacon of hope for Iraq.
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