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Sun Sets on Long Knife Brigade, Rises on Highlanders

Mar 06, 2008
BY Spc. Bradley J. Clark

FORT BLISS, Texas (Army News Service, March 6, 2008) - Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division made history Tuesday as they reflagged to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division during a noon ceremony at Noel Field here.

The new armored brigade, dubbed the Highlander Brigade, is a unit without history; placing the Long Knife Soldiers in the same position they were in nearly three years ago, when they stood up a newly-formed unit from scratch.

"Today we gather to recognize the 4th Brigade Combat Team's final task here at Fort Bliss, Texas; a critical task as Fort Bliss prepares for the arrival of the 1st Armored Division," said Col. Stephen Twitty, commander, 4th BCT, 1st Armd. Div.

The full arrival of the 1st Armored Division to Bliss is scheduled to be completed in 2012, bringing an additional 37,000 Soldiers to the post, a decision made under the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005.

"When the leaders of the military decided to transform the Army into a modular force, it seemed logical that the 4th Brigade Combat Team would exist at Fort Hood with the rest of the 1st Cavalry Division, however, there was a broader vision," explained Twitty. "The 4th Brigade Combat Team would be the first step in the process that would allow the 1st Armored Division to settle into their new home here at Fort Bliss, Texas."

While the reflag ceremony marked a new day for the 4th Brigade, it also allowed time for reflection on the brigade's accomplishments.

"What no one knew at the time was that the 4th Brigade Combat Team would not only make a physical footprint here in the sands of west Texas, but would also raise the bar of excellence with their phenomenal training success and gallantry in battle, both of which will be talked about for years to come," said Twitty.

The Long Knife Soldiers did many things thought improbable on an accelerated timetable, beginning with their trip to the National Training Center.

"It only took the Long Knife brigade nine months to develop and mature into an organization ready to be tested for combat at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.," said Twitty. "This brigade did what no one thought was possible. The opposing forces turned up the heat, but the Long Knife Brigade responded by outperforming units that had spent years training together."

After Twitty highlighted his unit's successful training, he lauded the accomplishments and voiced pride in the work his Soldiers did during a 14-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"It was the Soldiers of this brigade combat team who worked together to capture or kill high-value targets responsible for terrorizing Iraqi citizens, and who patrolled the streets throughout the day and night, making Iraq a safer place to live," said Twitty.

Concluding his remarks, Twitty read a message from the 1st Armd. Div. commanding general, Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, who was unable to attend because he is serving as the Multi National Division-North commander in Iraq.

"As members of our Highlander Brigade, you will now begin making your own history," said Hertling. "You, like the first Soldiers to serve in this division, are standing in formation during a time of conflict that is vital to the nation's interest."

Hertling's message continued to stress his pride in his new Soldiers and the importance of their mission.

"In 1940, there was a different global war on terror-a global war against tyranny," said Hertling. "Today, our global war against terrorism is just as important, and our nation depends on us as well. Make your history, be proud of your division, and stand tall when you call yourself 'Iron Soldiers'."

(Spc. Bradley J. Clark serves with the 4th BCT, 1st Armd. Div. Public Affairs Office.)

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