2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (United States)

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2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
10th Mountain Division SSI.svg
10th Mountain Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1985-present
Country  United States of America
Branch  United States Army
Type Infantry brigade combat team
Role Offensive, defensive and stability operations
Size Brigade
Part of 10th Mountain Division
Garrison/HQ Fort Drum, New York, U.S.
Nickname Commandos[1]
Motto "Courage and Honor"
Anniversaries 2 October 1985 - Activation of the Brigade at Ft. Benning, GA
Engagements

World War II

Korean War
War in Southwest Asia
Armed Forces Expeditions – Somalia
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Dennis Sullivan
Ceremonial chief Colonel Michael Plummer

The 2nd 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.

Activated in 1985, the 10th Mountain Division's second brigade's elements saw numerous deployments to contingencies around the world in the 1990s. With the Global War on Terrorism the brigade has seen two deployments to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, and units within its ranks have seen two deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, making it one of few brigades to see over 40 months of deployment as of 2009. The brigade combat team is scheduled for another deployment, returning to Iraq in fall of 2009. The entire brigade is now back from its 09-10 deployment to Iraq.

Organization[edit]

The 2nd 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 Company.[2]

The brigade consists of six subordinate battalions; its combat element consists of two infantry battalions, the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment and the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. The 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment provides reconnaissance and surveillance services to the brigade combat team, while the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment provides lightweight indirect fire support. The brigade's headquarters and command services are provided by the Special Troops Battalion.[3] All sustainment services for the brigade are provided by the 210th Brigade Support Battalion. All of these battalions are located at Fort Drum with most of the rest of the 10th Mountain Division.[2]

History[edit]

On 13 February 1985, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) was activated at Fort Drum, New York, after several decades inactive.[4] 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.[5] The division was also assigned a round-out brigade from the Army National Guard, the 27th Infantry Brigade.[6] 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.[7] The division also received a distinctive unit insignia.[8]

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.[9]

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.[9] 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 deploy to Florida returned home in October 1992.[7]

Operation Restore Hope[edit]

On 3 December 1992, 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.[7] Due to 10th Mountain Division efforts, humanitarian agencies declared an end to the food emergency and factional fighting decreased.[9] 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 U.S. Army forces since the Vietnam War.[7] 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.[9]

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.[7] 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.[9]

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.[7]

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.[7] 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.[7]

Global 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.[10] 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 contengencies at once, "deployment of key components—especially headquarters—makes these divisions unavailable for deployment elsewhere in case of a major war."[11] 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.[11] 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.[12] Still, the Army moved the 10th Mountain Division down on the deployment list, allowing it time to retrain and refit.[10]

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.[13]

Deployments[edit]

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks, elements of the division, including its special troops battalion and the 1-87th Infantry and 4-31 Infantry deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2001. 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.[4] 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.[14] In 2003, elements of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division returned to Afghanistan to support US forces operating in the western region of the country.[15]

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,[16] while the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was activated for the first time.[17] In January 2005, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was activated at Fort Polk, Louisiana.[18] 2nd Brigade Combat Team would not be transformed until September 2005, pending a deployment to Iraq.[19]

In late 2004, 2nd Brigade Combat Team was deployed to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.[19] The 2nd Brigade Combat Team undertook combat operations in Baghdad including the Green Zone and Ahub Grab prison camp, returning to the US in late 2005.[9] Around that time, the 1st Brigade Combat Team deployed back to Iraq, staying in the country until 2006.[16]

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.[15] As of summer 2009, it was one of only a few brigades in the U.S. Army to be deployed 40 months or more in support of the War on Terrorism.[15]

Honors[edit]

Unit decorations[edit]

Ribbon Award Year Notes
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2004–2005 for service in Iraq
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2009–2010 for service in Iraq


Campaign streamers[edit]

Conflict Streamer Year(s)
Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraq 2004—2005

2006-2007


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "10th Mountain Division Organization". Fort Drum Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  3. ^ http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Heraldry/ArmyDUISSICOA/ArmyHeraldryUnit.aspx?u=4382
  4. ^ a b "Lineage and Honors Information: 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  5. ^ McGrath, p. 189.
  6. ^ McGrath, p. 232.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "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. 
  8. ^ "The Institute of Heraldry: 10th Mountain Division". The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 6 July 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b c d e f "GlobalSecurity.org: 10th Mountain Division". GlobalSecurity. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Starr, Barbara. "Army Strikes Back at Bush". ABC News. 5 August 2000. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Spencer, Jack. "The Facts about Military Readiness". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Army: 2 Units Unprepared". CBS News. 10 November 1999. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Hackworth, David. "No Bad Units, Only Bad Leaders". David Hackworth. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Gilmore, Gerry. "'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. 
  15. ^ a b c "Army Announces next Iraq Rotation". US Army Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  16. ^ a b "Lineage and Honors Information: 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "Lineage and Honors Information: 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "Lineage and Honors Information: 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "Lineage and Honors Information: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 9 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]