53rd Infantry Brigade
The 53rd Infantry Brigade is the largest National Guard unit in the state of Florida. The Brigade continues to be recognized for its commitment to excellence with its selection as an "Enhanced Readiness Brigade." It is one of only 15 combat National Guard units in America to be recognized as such. As some of the nation's best, the soldiers are what give the Brigade its exceptional reputation. The 53rd Infantry Brigade includes 32 Units in Florida with 4,166 Authorized Personnel. The 53rd Infantry Brigade is called a Separate Brigade, or mini-division, because it is also self-supporting.
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the Noncolor Bearing Units of the 53d Armored Brigade on 9 Jan 1967. It was redesignated for the 53d Infantry Brigade on 25 Jul 1968.
The federal wartime mission of the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate) is to conduct combat operations as an Enhanced Readiness Brigade. Enhanced Readiness Brigades are essential Reserve Component combat structures designed to provide the strategic hedge against an adverse major regional conflict in a two major regional conflict scenario. They may be called upon to perform a variety of functions; reinforce, backfill, and/or augment Active Component formations. Additionally, provide rotational forces when protracted Active Component deployment to a major regional conflict requires relief of committed forces.
"Enhanced" refers to increased resource and planning priorities applied by the US Army and the National Guard, coupled with an enhanced training strategy during pre-mobilization that ensure the ability of the Enhanced Readiness Brigades to be ready to begin deployment at the highest readiness standard, C-1, no later than 90 days after mobilization. Enhanced Readiness Brigades normally operate as part of an Active Component division or corps. Enhanced Readiness Brigades are associated with Active Component divisions or corps for training. The peacetime training alignment between an Enhanced Readiness Brigade and an Active Component unit is not intended to dictate wartime employment. The 53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate) is aligned with the 82nd Airborne Division.
The Florida Army National Guard 53rd Infantry Brigade was the first of 15 Army National Guard enhanced readiness brigades to rotate through the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Ft. Polk, La., June 10-26, 1995. Enhanced readiness brigades will be able to deploy worldwide to augment and reinforce active Army units. Participating in the training were 65 per cent of the Florida Army National Guard. A convoy of 1,000 vehicles traveled from Miami to Panama City, Fla. to be loaded on barges and shipped to Ft. Polk for the National Guard Brigade training.
Florida National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve officials joined U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., 01 December 2001, in announcing plans for a new joint training center that will be the future home of more than 1,700 military reservists. The 216,424-square-foot facility to be built at Gateway Center in Pinellas Park will replace three existing outdated and overcrowded facilities including Tampa's Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, the JF Campbell National Guard Armory in Clearwater and the Lovejoy U.S. Army Reserve Center in Tampa. Construction of the new $53.5 million project began in 2002, and was expected to be completed by the spring of 2003. The House Appropriations Committee originally allocated $45 million for the project. Rep. Young, the committee's chairman, was crucial in securing the funds for the facility's construction. The National Guard units expected to be located at the new training center include the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Sep) Headquarters, Headquarters and Headquarters Company - 53rd Infantry Brigade, the 253rd Military Intelligence Company, and Companies A and B of the 53rd Support Battalion.
Two infantry battalions of the 53rd Infantry were activated in late December 2002. They were sent to Fort Stewart, Georgia for training.
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