50th Brigade - 42nd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
The 50th Brigade of the 42d Infantry Division fights and defeats enemy forces in ground combat. It is one of three 'maneuver' or 'combat' brigades within 42nd Division. The units comprising the 50th Brigade consist of Infantry, Armor, Cavalry, and Artillery battalions. The 50th Brigade can deploy and fight as an independent force with the addition of logistical support units. The Brigade Headquarters is located in Fort Dix, Burlington County, New Jersey.
The mission of the 50th Brigade is to deploy, fight, and defeat enemy forces in any type of terrain, weather, or combat situation. In peacetime the 50th Brigade trains its units to meet combat readiness standards, while supporting all Division operations and exercises. The 50th Brigade also provides a ready force of soldiers and equipment to assist in NJ communities when disaster or emergencies strike. Units are located in many New Jersey communities and have often been called upon to provide relief and services in emergencies.
The 50th Brigade has two mechanized infantry battalions, one armor battalion,one artillery battalion, one cavalry squadron, and a platoon of military police. These are "heavy" units which are equipped with armored personnel carriers, Improved TOW missile vehicles, self-propelled howitzers,and main battle tanks.
The 50th Brigade goals for 1997 were to meet and sustain training and readiness levels required to support federal and state missions. Individual and collective training occupied the main effort by the soldiers of the 50th Brigade. Effective and successful units begin with qualified and professional soldiers. During 1997, 245 Brigade soldiers attended Military Occupational Specialty Courses (MOSQ), 918 soldiers received Front Line Leadership Training and 250 soldiers attended NCO Professional Development courses. The emphasis in the 50th Brigade was on preparing the individual soldier for mobilization.
50th Brigade elements conducted annual training at Fort Dix, New Jersey; Fort Drum, New York and Fort Knox, Kentucky. Scouts and armor crewmen from the 2nd Battalion 102nd Armor had the unique opportunity to train on the latest simulation devices at Fort Knox, Ky. Gunnery skills were enhanced as a result of this training. All eyes were on the 1st Battalion 114th Infantry as they conducted the National Guard's first ever Battle Focused Training Experiment (BFTE) at Fort Dix, New Jersey. BFTE combines live, virtual and constructive training in the same training event ensuring that troops at every level receive realistic, challenging and exciting training. The 2nd Battalion 113th Infantry provided Opposing Force (OPFOR) support to the 27th Infantry (Enhanced) Brigade over a six-week period at Fort Drum, New York. It was New Jersey's 2nd Battalion who showed the New York enhanced brigade how to plan, fight and win on today's battlefield! The 3rd Battalion 112th Field Artillery conducted gunnery exercises at Fort Drum, New York and the 5-117th Cavalry Squadron conducted its first ever consolidated training with its air troops from Rhode Island at Fort Drum, New York.
50th Brigade commanders and battle staffs participated in a Battle Command Battle Staff Training Exercise in March of 1997. This intensive Command and Staff exercise was a tremendous success, with 50th Brigade rated most successful in comparison to other Brigades throughout the 42nd Infantry Division (ID) who participated in exercises during 1997. Once again, the 50th Brigade demonstrated to the 42nd ID staff and to Fort Leavenworth's Leadership Development Center Operations Group, that the 50th Brigade is a critical member of the Army National Guard's Combined Arms Team.
The 50th Brigade continues to serve the citizens of New Jersey and the communities which surround the Interactive Community Resource Centers. 50th Brigade elements participated in 29 local parades and delivered much needed manpower and equipment in support of 85 domestic emergency (DOMAC) missions. Many 50th Brigade units and soldiers donated time, manpower and equipment to benefit youth programs such as adopting parks, building recreational centers and playgrounds for area youth and supporting the Adjutant General's Youth Camp at Sea Girt, New Jersey. The 50th Brigade was again in the forefront in serving communities and demonstrating that the citizen soldier is alive and well in New Jersey.
In 1998, the 50th conducted annual training at Fort Drum, NY, Fort Leavenworth, KS, and Fort Dix. Brigade training highlights included participation in the 42nd Infantry Division War Fighter Exercise at Ft. Leavenworth. The Brigade Headquarters and all subordinate battalions participated in a Battle Command Training Program, designed to exercise battle staffs under simulated combat conditions. This command and staff exercise was a tremendous success as the 50th was rated highly compared to its peers.
Fort Drum is located 20 miles south of the Canadian border in upstate New York. Most New Jersey Army National Guardsmen will spend their entire annual training at Drum. The New Jersey National Guard flexed its combat muscles at Fort Drum for almost all of August 2000. During the first half of the month, the 50th Brigade and the 42nd DISCOM (Division Support Command) practiced wartime skills in the north country. The 50th Brigade/DISCOM task force had to contend with cold, wet weather, alternating with hot dry, dusty conditions during their rotation. They echoed the old saying that "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change." Training highlights for the 50th Brigade included tank gunnery by the 2-102nd Armor on the newly completed Range 25 Complex; force-on-force maneuver operations by the 5-117th Cavalry; LANES training for the 2-113rd Infantry and all units participated in firing the Mark 19 automatic grenade launcher, the combined 120mm mortar school, and TOW missile firing. The 3-112th Field Artillery completed an external evaluation which included firing more than one hundred "copperhead" precision guided munitions during their AT period.
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