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1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (United States)

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1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
10th Mountain Division SSI.svg
10th Mountain Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1985—present
Country United States United States of America
Branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Type Mountain warfare
Role Mountain warfare
Size brigade
Part of 10th Mountain Division
Garrison/HQ Fort Drum, New York
Engagements World War II
*Kiska
*Italian Campaign
Korean War
War in Southwest Asia
Armed Forces Expeditions – Somalia
Afghanistan Campaign
Iraq Campaign

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division is a mountain warfare infantry brigade combat team of the United States Army based at Fort Drum, New York. It is a subordinate unit of the 10th Mountain Division.

Formed as the 10th Mountain Division's original headquarters company, the brigade traces its lineage through the division's fight through Italy in World War II and afterwards, as it commanded a training division and then an infantry division which briefly deployed to Europe.

1st Brigade was reactivated 11 April 1986 at Fort Drum, New York. The 1st Brigade is the Command and Control Headquarters for Task Force Warrior, consisting of its organic battalions 1–32nd Infantry, 1–87th Infantry, and 2–22nd Infantry. The principal units that have been assigned to TF Warrior during Division Ready Brigade missions, off post deployments, and major exercises have been the 3–6th Field Artillery, 10th Forward Support Battalion, A/3-62nd Air Defense Artillery, A/41st Engineer, A/110th Military Intelligence, A/10th Signal Battalion, and 1st PLT/10th Military Police Battalion.

the 10th Mountain Division's first brigade and its elements saw numerous deployments to contingencies around the world in the 1990s. With the War on Terrorism the brigade has seen two deployments, one to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003, and one to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. The Brigade Combat Team is scheduled for a third deployment, returning to Iraq in fall of 2009, but the deployment was canceled on 16 October 2009. [1] It is now deployed in Afghanistan (9 March 2010) and is scheduled to return to garrison in late January 2011/early February 2011.

Organization[edit]

The 1st Brigade Combat Team is a subordinate unit of the 10th Mountain Division, however its modular nature means it is capable of operating independently of the division's Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.[1]

The brigade consists of six subordinate battalions; its combat element consists of two infantry battalions, the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. The 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment provides armored reconnaissance services to the Brigade Combat Team, while the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment provides field artillery support. The brigade's Headquarters and command services are provided by 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion. All supporting services for the brigade are provided by the 10th Brigade Support Battalion. All of these battalions are located at Fort Drum with most of the rest of the 10th Mountain Division.[1]

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division traces its lineage back to the 10th Mountain Division's original headquarters element, which was constituted with the rest of the division in World War II. It was activated 17 September 1942 as the 10th Mountain Training Center.[2] After the training of the Division's soldiers was complete, the Training Center became the division headquarters.[2]

The 10th Light Division (Alpine) was constituted on 10 July 1943 and activated two days later at Camp Hale, Colorado.[3] The division was centered around regimental commands; the 85th Infantry Regiment, 86th Infantry Regiment, and 87th Infantry Regiment.[4] Also assigned to the division were the 604th, 605th, and 616th Field Artillery battalions, the 110th Signal Company, the 710th Ordnance Company, the 10th Quartermaster Company, the 10th Reconnaissance Troop, the 126th Engineer Battalion, the 10th Medical Battalion, and the 10th Counter-Intelligence Detachment.[4] The 10th Light Division was unique in that it was the only division in the Army with three field artillery battalions instead of four.[4]

The division trained for one year at the 9,200 foot high Camp Hale. Soldiers trained to fight and survive under the most brutal mountain conditions, fighting on skis and snow shoes and sleeping in the snow without tents.[5] On 22 June 1944, the division was shipped to Camp Swift, Texas to prepare for maneuvers in Louisiana, which were later canceled. A period of acclimation to a low altitude and hot climate was necessary to prepare for this training.[6] On 6 November 1944, the 10th Division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division.[3] That same month the blue and white "Mountain" tab was authorized for the division's new shoulder sleeve insignia.[7]

Italy[edit]

The division advancing in Italy in April 1945.
Soldiers from the division provide cover for an assault squad in northern Italy.

The division sailed for Italy in late 1944, arriving in Italy on 6 January 1945.[8] It was the last US Army Division to enter combat in World War II.[6] It immediately entered combat near Cutigliano and Orsigna.[9] The division initially made a series of defensive maneuvers, then in conjunction with troops of a Brazilian Expeditionary Force, it assaulted German and Italian positions on 19 February 1945, in the Battle of Monte Castello.[10]

The unit made concerted attacks on the Monte Della Torraccia-Mount Belvedere sector and the peaks were cleared after several days of heavy fighting.[9] In early March the division fought its way north of Canolle and moving to within 15 miles (24 km) of Bologna.[9] Maintaining defensive positions for the next three weeks, the division jumped off again in April, captured Mongiorgio on 20 April, and entered the Po Valley, seizing the strategic points Pradalbino and Bomporto.[9] The 10th crossed the Po River on 23 April, reaching Verona 25 April, and ran into heavy opposition at Torbole and Nago.[9] After an amphibious crossing of Lake Garda, it secured Gargnano and Porto di Tremosine, 30 April, as German resistance in Italy ended.[9] After the German surrender in Italy on 2 May 1945, the division went on security duty, receiving the surrender of various German units and screening the areas of occupation near Trieste, Kobarid, Bovec and Log pod Mangartom, Slovenia until V-E Day, the end of the war in Europe.[9]

Demobilization[edit]

Originally, the division was to be sent to the Pacific theater to take part in Operation Downfall, the invasion of mainland Japan. However, Japan surrendered in August 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[6] The division returned to the US two days later.[8] It was demobilized and deactivated on 30 November 1945 at Camp Carson, Colorado.[3]

During World War II, the 10th Mountain Division suffered 992 killed in action and 4,154 wounded in action in 114 days of combat.[6] Soldiers of the division were awarded one Medal of Honor, three Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, 449 Silver Star Medals, seven Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier's Medals, and 7,729 Bronze Star Medals.[8] The division itself was awarded two campaign streamers.[8]

Cold War[edit]

In June 1948, the division was rebuilt and activated at Fort Riley, Kansas to serve as a training division. Without its "Mountain" tab, the division served at the 10th Infantry Division for the next ten years.[3] The division's main function was to process and train replacements in large numbers. This mission expanded with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. By 1953, the division trained 123,000 new Army recruits at Fort Riley.[6]

In 1954, the division converted to a combat division once again, though it did not regain its "Mountain" status.[6] Using equipment from the deactivating 37th Infantry Division, the 10th Infantry Division was deployed to Germany, replacing the 1st Infantry Division at Würzburg, serving as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization defensive force.[11] The division served in Germany for four years, until it was rotated out and replaced by the 3rd Infantry Division.[11] The division moved to Fort Benning, Georgia and was deactivated on 14 June 1958.[3]

Reactivation[edit]

On 13 February 1985, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) was reactivated at Fort Drum, New York.[3] In accordance with the Reorganization Objective Army Divisions plan, the division was no longer centered around regiments, instead two brigades were activated under the division. The 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division was activated at Fort Drum while the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division was activated at Fort Benning, moving to Fort Drum in 1988.[12] The division was also assigned a round-out brigade from the Army National Guard, the 27th Infantry Brigade.[13] The division was specially designed as a light infantry division able to rapidly deploy. Equipment design was oriented toward reduced size and weight for reasons of both strategic and tactical mobility.[6] The division also received a distinctive unit insignia.[7]

Contingencies[edit]

In 1990, the division sent 1,200 soldiers to support Operation Desert Storm. The largest of these units was the 548th Supply and Services Battalion with almost 1,000 soldiers, which supported the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Iraq. Following a cease-fire in March 1991, the support soldiers began redeploying to Fort Drum through June of that year.[11]

Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division sweep a Somali village for weapons (1993).

Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida on 24 August 1992, killing 13 people, leaving another 250,000 homeless and causing damages in excess of 20 billion dollars. On 27 September 1992, the 10th Mountain Division assumed responsibility for Hurricane Andrew disaster relief as Task Force Mountain.[11] Division soldiers set up relief camps, distributed food, clothing, medical necessities and building supplies, as well as helping to rebuild homes and clear debris. The last of the 6,000 division soldiers to deployed to Florida returned home in October 1992.[6]

Operation Restore Hope[edit]

On 3 December 1993, the division headquarters was designated as the headquarters for all Army Forces (ARFOR) of the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) for Operation Restore Hope. Major General Steven L. Arnold, the division Commander, was named Army Forces commander. The 10th Mountain Division’s mission was to secure major cities and roads to provide safe passage of relief supplies to the Somali population suffering from the effects of the Somali Civil War.[6] Due to 10th Mountain Division efforts, humanitarian agencies declared an end to the food emergency and factional fighting decreased.[11] When Task Force Ranger and the SAR team were pinned down during a raid in what later became known as the Battle of Mogadishu, 10th Mountain units provided infantry for the UN quick reaction force sent to rescue them. The 10th had 2 soldiers killed in the fighting, which was the longest sustained firefight by regular US Army forces since the Vietnam War.[6] The division began a gradual reduction of forces in Somalia in February 1993, until the last soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry returned to the United States in March 1994.[11]

Operation Uphold Democracy[edit]

Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division secure Port-au-Prince International Airport in 1994.

The division formed the nucleus of the Multinational Force Haiti (MNF Haiti) and Joint Task Force 190 (JTF 190) in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. More than 8,600 of the division's troops deployed during this operation.[6] On 19 September 1994, the 1st Brigade conducted the Army’s first air assault from an aircraft carrier. This force consisted of 54 helicopters and almost 2,000 soldiers. They occupied the Port-au-Prince International Airport. This was the largest Army air operation conducted from a carrier since the Doolittle Raid in World War II.[11]

The division’s mission was to create a secure and stable environment so the government of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide could be reestablished and democratic elections held. After this was accomplished, the 10th Mountain Division handed over control of the MNF-Haiti to the 25th Infantry Division on 15 January 1995. The Division redeployed the last of its soldiers who served in Haiti by 31 January 1995.[6]

Task Force Eagle[edit]

In the fall of 1998, the division received notice that it would be serving as senior headquarters of Task Force Eagle, providing a peacekeeping force to support the ongoing operation within the Multi-National Division-North area of responsibility in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[6] Selected division units began deploying in late summer, approximately 3,000 division soldiers deployed. After successfully performing their mission in Bosnia, the division units conducted a Transfer of Authority, relinquishing their assignments to soldiers of the 49th Armored Division, Texas National Guard. By early summer 2000, all 10th Mountain Division soldiers had returned safely to Fort Drum.[6]

War on Terrorism[edit]

Readiness controversy[edit]

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carries soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division on a mission in Afghanistan.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, the readiness of the 10th Mountain Division became a political issue when George W. Bush asserted that the division was "not ready for duty." He attributed the division's low readiness to the frequent deployments throughout the 1990s without time in between for division elements to retrain and refit.[14] A report from the US General Accounting Office in July 2000 also noted that although the entire 10th Mountain Division was not deployed to the contingencies at once, "deployment of key components—especially headquarters—makes these divisions unavailable for deployment elsewhere in case of a major war."[15] Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation agreed with these sentiments, charging that the US military overall was not prepared for war due to post-Cold War drawdowns of the US military.[15] The Army responded that, though the 10th Mountain Division had been unprepared following its deployment as Task Force Eagle, that the unit was fully prepared for combat by late 2000 despite being undermanned.[16] Despite this, the Army moved the 10th Mountain Division down on the deployment list, allowing it time to retrain and refit.[14]

In 2002, columnist and highly decorated military veteran David Hackworth again criticized the 10th Mountain Division for being unprepared due to lack of training, low physical fitness, unprepared leadership and low morale. He said the division was no longer capable of mountain warfare.[17]

Initial deployments[edit]

10th Mountain Soldier in the Afghanistan Highlands.

In late 2001, following the 11 September 2001 attacks, elements of the division, including its special troops battalion and the 1-87th Infantry, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. These forces remained in the country until mid-2002, fighting to secure remote areas of the country and participating in prominent operations such as Operation Anaconda, the Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, and the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi.[3] The division also participated in fighting in the Shahi Khot Valley in 2002. Upon the return of the battalions, they were welcomed home and praised by President Bush.[18]

In 2003, the division's headquarters, along with the 1st Brigade, returned to Afghanistan. During that time, they operated in the frontier regions of the country such as Paktika Province, going places previously untouched by the war in search of Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. Fighting in several small-scale conflicts such as Operation Avalanche, Operation Mountain Resolve, and Operation Mountain Viper, the division maintained a strategy of small units moving through remote regions of the country to interact directly with the population and drive out insurgents.[19] The 1st Brigade also undertook a number of humanitarian missions.[11]

Reorganization and recent deployments[edit]

10th Mountain Soldier in patrol in Nuristan Province.

Upon the return of the division headquarters and 1st Brigade, the 10th Mountain Division began the process of transformation into a modular division. On 16 September 2004, the division headquarters finished its transformation. The 1st Brigade became the 1st Brigade Combat Team,[2] while the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was activated for the first time.[20] In January 2005, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was activated at Fort Polk, Louisiana.[21] 2nd Brigade Combat Team would not be transformed until September 2005, pending a deployment to Iraq.[22]

In late 2004, 2nd Brigade Combat Team was deployed to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.[22] The 2nd Brigade Combat Team undertook combat operations in western Baghdad, returning to the US in late 2005.[11] Around that time, the 1st Brigade Combat Team deployed back to Iraq, staying in the country until 2006.[2]

10th Mountain Division troops from the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry hike through Kunar Province.

The division headquarters and 3rd Brigade Combat Team redeployed to Afghanistan in 2006, staying in the country until 2007.[11] The division and brigade served in the eastern region of the country, along the border with Pakistan, fulfilling a similar role as it did during its previous deployment.[23] During this time, the deployment of the brigade was extended alond with that of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, however, it was eventually replaced by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team which was rerouted from Iraq.[24]

The 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team are scheduled to deploy to Iraq in the fall of 2009, as a part of the 2009–2010 rotation to Iraq.[25] The Army is currently expanding housing at Fort Drum, hoping to relocate the home base of the 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Polk to Fort Drum before 2013.[26]

Honors[edit]

The 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division earned two campaign streamers in World War II and two campaign streamers in the War on Terrorism for a total of four campaign streamers and two unit decorations in its operational history. Note that some of the brigade's battalions received more or fewer decorations depending on their individual deployments.[3]

Unit decorations[edit]

Ribbon Award Year Notes
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2003–2004 for service in Afghanistan
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2005–2006 for service in Iraq
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2007–2008 for service in Iraq


Campaign streamers[edit]

Conflict Streamer Year(s)
World War II North Apennines 1944
World War II Po Valley 1945
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan 2003—2004
Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraq 2005—2006


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "10th Mountain Division Organization". Fort Drum Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 5 August 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Lineage and Honors Information: 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Lineage and Honors Information: 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Almanac, p. 592.
  5. ^ "Center highlights 10th Mountain's legacy". USA Today. 13 July 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Fort Drum Homepage: History of the 10th Mountain Division". Fort Drum Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "The Institute of Hetraldry: 10th Mountain Division". The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 6 July 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d Almanac, p. 590.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Alamanc, p. 591.
  10. ^ Brooks, Thomas R. (2003). The War North Of Rome: June 1944– May 1945. Da Capo Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-306-81256-9. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "GlobalSecurity.org: 10th Mountain Division". GlobalSecurity. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  12. ^ McGrath, p. 189.
  13. ^ McGrath, p. 232.
  14. ^ a b "Army Strikes Back at Bush". ABC News. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "The Facts about Military Readiness". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  16. ^ "Army: 2 Units Unprepared". CBS News. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "No Bad Units, Only Bad Leaders". David Hackworth. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "'Be Proud, Strong, Ready,' Bush Tells 10th Mountain Troops". American Forces Press Service. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "Going in small in Afghanistan". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  20. ^ "Lineage and Honors Information: 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  21. ^ "Lineage and Honors Information: 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Lineage and Honors Information: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "10th Mountain Division Takes Afghanistan Task Force Command". DefenseLink. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  24. ^ Vogt, Melissa (16 February 2007). "173rd Airborne heading to Afghanistan". Army Times. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2008. 
  25. ^ "Army Announces next Iraq Rotation". US Army Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "Governor Patterson attends sendoff for 10th Mountain soldiers". New York State Government. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 

Sources[edit]

  • McGrath, John J. (2004). The Brigade: A History: Its Organization and Employment in the US Army. Combat Studies Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-4404-4915-4. 
  • Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States. United States Government Printing Office. 1959. ASIN B0006D8NKK. 

External links[edit]