1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
The mission of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, "Raider," is to, on order, deploy to anywhere in the world, conduct full spectrum operations in support of the combatant commander's objectives, and redeploys to Fort Carson, Colorado.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division was first constituted on 19 November 1917, in the Regular Army as Headquarters Troop, 4th Division. It was organized at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont on 16 December 1917. The unit participated in World War I and was involved in numerous campaigns including Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Champagne, and Lorraine.
On the 1 March 1921, Headquarters Troop, 4th Division was reorganized and redesignated, less Military Police Platoon, as Headquarters and Military Police Company, 4th Division. It was inactivated on 21 September 1921, in Camp Lewis, Washington
The unit was reactivated on 1 June 1940 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 6 July 1942 as Headquarters Company, 4th Division, on 1 August 1942 as Headquarters Company, 4th Motorized Division, and on 4 August 1943 as Headquarters Company, 4th Infantry Division. As Headquarters Company, 4th Infantry Division, the unit served in the Normandy (with arrowhead indicating participation in the initial assault), Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe campaigns. The unit specifically distinguished itself fighting in Belgium and was cited twice in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army and received the Belgian Fourragere. Following the end of the Second World War, the unit was inactivated on 12 March 1946 at Camp Butner, North Carolina.
The unit was reactivated on 15 July 1947, at Fort Ord, California. It was disbanded on 13 June 1960 at Fort Lewis, Washington.
The unit was reconstituted on 21 August 1963 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. The 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division served in Vietnam and received participation credit for its roles in Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, and Counteroffensive Phase VII. The Brigade received 2 Presidential Unit Citations for its actions in Vietnam. One was for operations in Pleiku Province and the other was for operations Dak To District. It was awarded the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm twice for actions thru 1966-1969 and 1969-1970. It was also presented with the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for its service from 1966-1969.
The 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division was inactivated on 15 October 1995, at Fort Carson, Colorado, but was reactivated at Fort Hood, Texas on 16 January 1996. There the decision had been made to make the 4th Infantry Division as a whole the Army's Experimental Force in 1995. Its 1st Brigade was reorganized under the new Force XXI structure and was outfitted with digital communications systems, new equipment and new weapons systems.
In March 1997, after training on the new equipment and new tactics, techniques and procedures, the 1st Brigade was tested in an advanced warfighting experiment at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California. The Army conducted an advanced warfighting experiment (AWE) at the NTC featuring a brigade task force reconfigured and equipped with Force XXI's futuristic technologies. That rotation demonstrated the capabilities of many new warfighting systems and the tremendous potential offered by using advanced technologies to support battlefield tactical operations. While the rotation showed a great deal of promise for the military as a whole, the performance of the CSS units was inconclusive.
The 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division was the Army's Force XXI Experimental Force (EXFOR), designed to help build Army XXI. Its state-of-the art digital communications equipment, night fighting gear, and doctrine were realistically evaluated in an Advanced Warfighting Experiment against the NTC's vaunted Opposition Force (OPFOR). The AWE began on 15 March 1997. Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC) Joint Venture and Force XXI were the processes the Army used to create Army XXI, the force developed to be capable of victory in the following century.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team) deployed with nearly 1,000 vehicles. There were 73 separate technology initiatives consisting of more than 5,000 new items: Appliqué, Precision Lightweight Global Positioning System, Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, Battle Command Information System, and 1,386 others. At the time of the AWE, the 1st Brigade Combat Team was indisputably the most digitized ground combat force in the United States.
Several key differences marked the EXFOR's rotation to NTC from a normal training event. It was 6 weeks long from the time the soldiers left Fort Hood, Texas, until they returned, instead of the regular 4 week rotation. They deployed from Fort Hood with all their equipment, including M-1A2 tanks, Bradleys, howitzers and other materiel, at the end of February 1997. A unit on a normal rotation was expected to use equipment stored at NTC, much as prepositioned equipment in a combat theater. Then the the unit would spend a week training on the equipment before they deployed against the OPFOR.
The EXFOR arrived at NTC about 1 March 1997. First ensured their equipment survived shipment with no major damage. They then transfered the MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) and location devices from the NTC stock to its own vehicles. Leaders and soldiers were given about 2 weeks of rugged training to ensure the MILES and location gear interfaces with their own equipment.
When they deployed against the OPFOR, the soldiers were engaged for 14 days. The scenario they were given was also a measuring tool. It was the same series of situations faced by brigades on 5 other rotations within the past year. In those rotations the OPFOR had attacked at the same time in the rotation, in the same location, the same approach. Umpires were able to compare and contrast how the EXFOR did to what other brigades had done with different sets of equipment, different sets of capabilities.
After that scenario was completed, which took about 9 days, the rest of the AWE was "free play." It was at this point in a standard rotation that a unit usually engaged in live-fire training on a range with thousands of pop-up targets. The Brigade and the OPFOR had to find each other. They had to figure out the best way to attack or defend or defeat their opponent. The only boundaries were the fence around NTC.
Training for the EXFOR had begun during the summer of 1996 at Fort Hood, Texas. Commanders and soldiers learned how to use new equipment to its full potential. Going up against the OPFOR was a solid test for them. The OPFOR was a regular part of the Army's combat force. It stayed ready to deploy overseas and fight. It also trained in equipment from the former Soviet army, including armored personnel carriers and T-72 tanks. That equipment was what it used against units at the NTC.
US Air Force and Marine units also participated in some portions of the AWE. One of the hard parts was the synchronizing of all the systems, not just Army systems. There were 2 JSTARS (Joint Surveillance Tactical Acquisition Radar System) flights, several unmanned aerial vehicle missions and some special reconnaissance action to support the EXFOR. They were part of the experiment with transmitting information across the battlefield.
There were 71 prototypes of new equipment tested in the AWE. They ranged from the Apache Longbow down to simple small laser signaling devices. About 85 percent of the prototypes performed to requirements. Of the rest, 10 percent needed improvements to be useful and 5 percent were "ideas whose times have not yet come." Among "the great winners" were JSTARS, the UAV, and the Javelin missile.
The JSTARS was really important to get the big picture and the UAV validated the details. The 2 systems were "indivisible" partners. During the AWE, the tandem forced the OPFOR to change its operational patterns. They had to reorganize for force protection. They were 50 percent more defensive than they had ever been before according to the commander. The UAV used at the AWE was the Hunter, which was not expected to become part of the Army's inventory. The Hunter required too much manpower and a large operating field. The Outrider, a tactical UAV then in development, was expected to be more proficient and require less support resources. However, the Hunter helped prove the value of UAVs to ground combat units.
The Javelin was a winner to the point that light infrantrymen were being flown around in helicopters in Javelin packages to attack tanks. Only 2 of the advanced the AH-64 Apache Longbow elicopters were operational, but the ability to shoot from concealed, stand-off positions made it a deadly weapon. The OPFOR commander "lost" over 20 vehicles in the space of about 20 minutes and never saw what they were losing them to. Other systems that performed well were the mortar fire control system, which made mortar fire more accurate; armored and scout Humvees; and night vision equipment for individual soldiers.
In most units, only lieutenants, E-6s, and below operated the systems. Captains and higher ranking individuals were reluctant to run the systems. One very senior officer stated, "We need to fire all officers above O-2 because they refused to learn the technology." When battle staff officers did not believe what their digital "common relevant picture" was telling them, they bypassed and ignored it. One senior observer stated that at every after action review, when the observer/controllers compared the pictures of reality from their instrumentation to the Appliqué-Maneuver Control System-ASAS picture, there was virtually no difference.
Although the new systems had a 98 percent operational ready rate throughout the AWE, civilian contractors were present to quickly put them back on line when they failed. The kind of people who came out to service the prototypes had 25-30 years of experience, may have had Ph.D.s, and certainly were highly skilled technicians.
The new organization of the task force proved efficient. The concept of "2x9 plus 5" was also effective. That meant 2 9-man squads plus a 5-man machine gun team to each mechanized platoon. They added considerable firepower. The machine gun team gave flexibility that the Army had not had before.
Its success against NTC's world-class Opposing Force was largely attributed to increased situational awareness made possible by digital communications. The 4th Infantry Division was expected to continue to be the developmental organization for the Army to test new concepts and technologies. The Division would take advantage of the infrastructure in existence at Fort Hood.
In March 2003, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division soldiers conducted numerous raids and patrols seeking the remainder of Saddam Hussein loyalists and terrorist operatives in the area. On 13 December 2003, 600 1st Brigade troops, along with special operations forces, launched operation Red Dawn which resulted in identifying the location and capturing Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president.
In 2004, the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division was reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. This reorganization was part of the transformation of the 4th Infantry Division as a whole to the US Army's modular force structure. As part of the transformation, various assets previously held at division level, but habitually attached to its brigades during operations were made organic to those brigades. The 4th Forward Support Battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 4th Brigade Support Battalion, and along with the 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery, were reassigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Engineer, Military Intelligence, Military Police, and Signal elements were incoporated into a new Brigade Special Troops Battalion. Lastly, the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor was reflagged as the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry, becoming the Brigade's organic cavalry squadron.
As of January 2006, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry was operating in Camp Taji, an Army base approximately 10 miles northwest of Baghdad, fulfilling their second rotation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They replaced the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division and were expected to be there until 15 December 2006.
Following its return from Iraq in late 2006, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division moved from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Carson, Colorado. This was as part of larger realignment of US Army units.
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