2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (United States)
|2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division|
2nd Brigade logo
|Active||1917 – Present|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Nickname||The Black Jack Brigade|
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2010)|
- 5th Cavalry Regiment
- 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment
- 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment
- 82d Field Artillery Regiment
- 15th Brigade Support Battalion
- Special Troops Battalion
Mexican Campaign 
The history of the 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division can be traced to 29 August 1917, when it was first constituted in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 2nd Cavalry Brigade. It was organized on 27 December 1917 at Fort Bliss, Texas, as an element of the 15th Cavalry Division. The brigade’s early years consisted of rigorous training and patrolling of the Mexican border. Operating from horseback, the cavalry was ideal for fighting in the harsh desert terrain. It was relieved on 12 May 1918 from assignment and demobilized on 9 July 1919 at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was reconstituted on 20 August 1921 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 2nd Cavalry Brigade and assigned as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division. The unit was organized on 14 September 1921 at Fort Bliss, Texas. At that time, subordinate units consisted of the 2nd Machine Gun Squadron, the 7th Cavalry Regiment, and 8th Cavalry Regiment.
In February 1943, the 2nd Brigade was alerted for an overseas assignment as a dismounted infantry unit assigned to the Pacific theater. The Black Jack Brigade’s first WWII combat duty occurred in the 1944 Admiralty Island campaign. In three months of hard fighting they seized the islands of Los Negros, Hauwei, Butjo Luo, and Manus, and alongside the 1st Brigade, destroyed a force of over Japanese. The newly secured islands provided a strategically vital offensive base for Allied air and naval power, from which they could disrupt enemy supply lanes in a 1,500-mile (2,400 km) radius and provide critical support for the Allied advance during the invasion of the Philippines.
The Black Jack Brigade was called upon again during the liberation of the Philippines, where the brigade fought in both the Leyte and Luzon campaigns. On 20 October 1944, 2nd Brigade Soldiers were among the first to storm the beaches of Leyte in what was the largest amphibious operation to date in the Pacific theater. Their contributions led to a victory that would prove to be decisive in the battle for the Philippines.
On 9 January 1945, the 2nd Brigade then participated in the invasion of Luzon, the largest of the Philippines Islands. The brigade was the first into Manilla, liberating the Philippine Capital and freeing over 4000 civilians from enemy prison camps. The conquest of Leyte and Luzon were vital to operations in the Pacific, as they denied critical resources to the enemy and provided a staging area from which assaults in the Japanese home islands could be launched. The brigade left Luzon in August 1945 for occupation duty in Japan, becoming the first Allied unit to enter the city of Tokyo. The brigade was inactivated on 25 March 1949 and relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division.
German Occupation 
On 20 May 1949 it was converted and redesignated as the 2nd Constabulary Brigade. The Brigade served in Germany until it was inactivated on 15 December 1951.
On 1 September 1963 the Brigade was reactivated again in Korea as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. The Brigade remained at Camp Howze in Korea until 1 July 1965, when the division colors were transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia.
The division was reorganized and activated as the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), the Army’s first Air Assault division. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara shocked many observers when he announced that this new Air Assault division would be combat ready in only eight weeks. The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) exceeded that demanding goal by reaching REDCON-1 status on 28 July 1965 and deploying to Vietnam in mid-August, only six weeks after the division’s organization. The men of 2nd Brigade boarded the USNS Buckner on 16 August 1965, en route to Vietnam and what would be their greatest challenge yet.
On 14 September 1965, the 2nd Brigade disembarked the USNS Buckner and marched onto Vietnamese shores at Qui Nhon. 2nd Brigade continued its tradition of firsts by becoming the first brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to reach Vietnam. The brigade, consisting of 1–5 Cavalry, 2–5 Cavalry, and 2–12 Cavalry, loaded into helicopters and flew in-land to the division base camp at An Khe.
In addition to being the first brigade into Vietnam, the 2nd Brigade would also become the first brigade in the division to see combat when on 18 September 1965 the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment would be OPCONed to 101st Airborne Division to participate in Operation GIBRALTAR. The 2nd Brigade would next see combat in Operation SILVER BAYONETE, where under the order of General Westmoreland the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) air assaulted into the Pleiku Province to pursue and destroy the enemy over 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2) of jungle.
Operation SILVER BAYONETE, also known as the Pleiku campaign, was a 35 day campaign in which the division maintained almost constant contact with the enemy and experienced some of the fiercest fighting of the Vietnam War. The division saw its first contact on 1 November 1965, when a troop from 1–9 Cavalry, the division’s reconnaissance Squadron, overran an enemy aid station belonging to the 33rd North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regiment. After landing to exploit the site, they were engaged by a battalion sized element of enemy, in fighting which was too close to allow for artillery or tactical air reinforcement. 1–12 Cavalry, 2–8 Cavalry, and 2nd Brigade’s 2–12 Cavalry rushed to the embattled troop’s aid, air assaulting into the fight amidst intense ground fire. They quickly decimated the NVA battalion and inflicted hundreds of enemy casualties. On 9 November 1975 3rd Brigade took control of Operation SILVER BAYONETE and continued the search for the three enemy regiments suspected to be operating in the Pleiku region. On 14 November elements of 3rd Brigade’s 7th Cavalry Regiment air assaulted onto landing zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley to conduct a reconnaissance in force in search of the enemy regiments. Soon after securing the LZ, the 7th Cavalry Soldiers began taking intense small arms, mortar, and rocket fire from an enemy force that vastly outnumbered them. The chaotic fighting that followed would be among the most intense of the Vietnam War. After sustaining heavy casualties, 1–7 Cavalry was able to reorganize their units and establish a hasty battalion security perimeter around LZ X-Ray. One of their platoons, however, was cut off from the rest of the battalion, pinned down and trapped amidst a battalion sized enemy force. The pinned unit, 2nd Platoon of Bravo Company, had suffered heavy casualties, and like the rest of 1–7, would endure multiple enemy attacks throughout the night. 1–7 Cavalry made three separate attempts to rescue the cut off platoon, but all three attempts were met with failure. It was in these dire circumstances that 2nd Brigade’s 5th Cavalry Regiment would be called in to help turn the tide of the battle.
Early on 15 November, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment air assaulted onto LZ Victor, approximately 3 km south east of the battle. On foot, they fought their way to LZ X-Ray, where after coordinating with 1–7 Cavalry, they pressed forward in search of the lost platoon. The 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment rescued the platoon, which had been devastated with casualties, and enabled their recovery back to LZ X-Ray. 2nd Brigade’s 2–5 Cavalry and elements of 1–5 Cavalry tied into the defense perimeter at LZ X-Ray and played a vital role in repelling and counter-attacking the enemy force over the next two days.
On 16 November, the battle at LZ X-Ray was effectively over. The enemy had taken thousands of casualties and was no longer capable of sustaining a fight. 1–7 Cavalry returned to Camp Halloway while 2–5 Cavalry, 2–7 Cavalry, and a company from 1–5 Cavalry maintained the perimeter at X-Ray. On the following day, all of the remaining units were ordered off of LZ X-Ray in preparation for a heavy bombing campaign in the area. 2nd Brigade’s 2–5 Cavalry marched without incident to LZ Columbus. 2–7 Cavalry, with a company of 2nd Brigade’s 1–5 Cavalry attached, marched to LZ Albany, where they were destined to see fighting every bit as fierce as that encountered at LZ X-Ray just days before.
2–7 Cavalry marched towards LZ Albany in a column, with 1–5’s A Company bringing up the rear. Almost immediately after reaching the LZ, the head of the 2–7 Cavalry column was engaged by a massive L-shaped ambush staged by two battalions of enemy fighters. The ensuing close-quarters battle was fierce and bloody, with both sides taking devastating casualties. After the initial chaos subsided, hasty security perimeters were formed, with 2–7 Cavalry hunkered down on LZ Albany, while A Company 1–5 Cavalry set a small perimeter 700 meters away. The situation was dire for the Soldiers at LZ Albany. They were low on ammunition and water, and the intense fire and close proximity of the enemy disrupted resupply and casualty evacuation efforts, as well as indirect fire and air support.
2nd Brigade’s B Company, 1–5 Cavalry rushed to the aid of the Soldiers at LZ Albany, landing at LZ Columbus and deploying to the battle on foot. Bravo Company fought their way to the A Company, 1–5 Cavalry perimeter and immediately got to work. They established and secured an LZ from which resupply and evacuation efforts could finally proceed. 2nd Brigade’s men continued to repulse enemy attacks throughout the night. On the morning of 18 November 1965, after 16 hours of continuous contact, the enemy force, devastated with casualties, finally withdrew. The firefights at LZ X-Ray and LZ Albany would come to be known as the Battle of Ia Drang. It was a battle marked by both great sacrifice and triumph for the Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division. While sustaining heavy casualties, the 2nd and 3rd Brigades dealt a striking blow to the enemy, killing more than 3500 enemy fighters and destroying two full regiments of a North Vietnamese division. For its actions during Operation SILVER BAYONETE, the 1st Cavalry Division earned the first Presidential Unit Citation awarded to a unit in Vietnam.
On 4 January 1967, 2nd Brigade participated in Operation MATADOR. Along with 1st Brigade, they air assaulted within the Binh Dinh Province to conduct a search and destroy mission against the Vietnamese Yellow Star Division. During this operation the units witnessed enemy soldiers fleeing into Cambodia, confirming for the first time the enemy’s use to sanctuaries in the neighboring country.
On 7 February 1967, 2nd Brigade took part in Operation WHITE WING, where they again conducted a search and destroy mission targeting the Yellow Star Division. All three regiments of the 2nd Brigade deployed to the Iron Triangle, a well fortified defensive position thought to be the regimental headquarters of the enemy in the Binh Dinh region. On 6 March 1967 Operation WHITE WING concluded as a major tactical success. 2nd Brigade maintained constant contact with the enemy over the entirety of the operation. Five of the Yellow Star Division’s nine battalions were rendered combat ineffective and the NVA temporarily lost its grip on the Binh Dinh Province. On 16 May 1967, 2nd Brigade took part in Operation CRAZY HORSE, a search and destroy mission against the 2nd Viet Cong Regiment in the jungle covered hills between Soui Ca and the Vinh Thanh Valleys. For his heroic actions in support of Operation CRAZY HORSE, 2nd Brigade’s SSG Jimmy G. Stewart was awarded the Medal of Honor.
2nd Brigade next participated in Operation PAUL REVERE II, where the first and second battalions of the 5th Cavalry Regiment inflicted heavy casualties on an enemy battalion at the Battle of Hill 534.
On 13 September 1966, 2nd Brigade participated on Operation THAYER I, a search and destroy campaign in the Binh Dinh Province which would involve one of the largest air assaults ever attempted by the 1st Cavalry Division. 2nd Brigade’s PFC Lauffer was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in support of Operation THAYER I.
On 31 October 1966, 2nd Brigade launched Operation PAUL REVERE IV, a search and destroy campaign focusing on Chu Pong, the Ia Drang Valley, and the Cambodian border area. Once again demonstrating 2nd Brigade’s devotion to the mission, even in the midst of tremendous hardship, C Company, 1–5 Cavalry engaged in a fierce battle with an enemy force vastly outnumbering them. C Company endured catastrophic casualties, but succeeded in driving the enemy from the area and inflicting hundreds of casualties to an NVA regiment.
Following Operation PAUL REVERE IV, 2nd Brigade engaged in Operation Thayer II, a search and destroy campaign in the Binh Dinh Province. When the campaign concluded in early 1967, the 1st Cavalry Division had destroyed two enemy regiments and inflicted more than 1500 enemy casualties. The 2nd Brigade distinguished itself next in Operation PERSHING, which initiated on 13 February 1967. Operation PERSHING was a massive search and destroy mission in the northern Binh Dinh Province, in which the 1st Cavalry Division committed all three of its brigades to the same area for the first time in Vietnam. In April 1967, while in support of Operation PERSHING, 2nd Brigade conducted Operation LEJEUNE in the Marine-controlled Quang Ngai region. The operation was conducted to free up Marines in the Quang Ngai area of operations and facilitate their movement further north. It was almost immediately apparent that the enemy in the Quang Ngai region was not prepared for the challenges posed by a brigade of air cavalry troopers. The enemy dispersed and hid, and only little and sporadic contact was initiated until 16 April 1967. Operation LEJEUNE concluded successfully on 22 April 1967, and the 2nd Brigade returned to the Binh Dinh Province to continue rooting out the deeply entrenched enemy forces there. On 21 January 1968, Operation PERSHING was concluded. In 11 months of fighting the division engaged in 18 major battles and numerous minor skirmishes, inflicting over 7000 enemy casualties. Four 2nd Brigade Soldiers, Specialist Fifth Class Charles Hagemeister, Specialist Fourth Class George Ingalls, Specialist Fifth Class Edgar McWethy, Jr., and Specialist Fourth Class Carmel Harvey were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions in support of Operation PERSHING.
On 22 January 1968, the 1st Cavalry Division relocated to the Quang Tri region to participate in Operation JEB STUART. As a result of the division’s relocation for Operation JEB STUART, it was in excellent position to respond to the Tet Offensive.
On 31 January 1968, in what would come to be known as the Tet Offensive, the enemy conducted a widespread and well-coordinated assault into Southern Vietnam. Thousands of enemy fighters overran the Imperial City of Hue, while five battalions of enemy attacked Quang Tri City. 2nd Brigade’s 1–5 Cavalry, alongside the 1–12 Cavalry, quickly responded and moved into the village of Thon an Thai, just east of Quang Tri City. They launched a heavy aerial rocket attack against the enemy fighters, forcing them to break off the Quang Tri attack and disperse. Quang Tri City was liberated within the next ten day days. 2nd Brigade’s 2–12 Cavalry, alongside elements from the Marines and the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, were tasked with liberating the city of Hue. 2nd Brigade again suffered heavy casualties, but in fierce block-by-block fighting, succeeded in liberating the city by the end of February. During the battle for Hue, the enemy was dealt more than 8000 casualties.
While the 1st Cavalry Division was repelling the Tet Offensive, the 26th Marine Regiment was taking heavy bombardment and ground attacks in the Khe Sanh region of Vietnam. On 1 April 1968, the 2nd Brigade, alongside other 1st Cavalry Division elements, conducted Operation PEGASUS in order to relieve the Marines at Khe Sanh. The 1st Cavalry Division completed to the relief of the Marine units on 10 April and assumed responsibility for the Khe Sanh area of operations. When Operation PEGASUS was concluded several days later, more than 1200 enemy fighters had been killed. On 27 June 1968, 2nd Brigade took the lead in Operation JEB STUART III, a search and destroy mission in the Quan Tri Province. They decimated an enemy infantry battalion at the village of Binah An, inflicting over 200 casualties.
On 1 May 1970, the First Cavalry Division conducted a search and destroy mission in the Fish Hook region of Cambodia, in what had previously been an untouched enemy stronghold. On 8 May, the 2nd Brigade discovered Rock Island East, a munitions dump where they secured more than 6.5 million anti-aircraft rounds, 500,000 rifle rounds, and thousands of rockets. The operation was a dramatic success, and when it concluded on 30 June, the enemy had taken enough casualties to field three divisions.
On 5 May 1971, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division’s colors were moved from Vietnam to Fort Hood, Texas, bringing the 2nd Brigade’s actions in the Vietnam War to a close. During 68 months of almost constant contact with the enemy, the 2nd Brigade distinguished itself through its lethal proficiency and unwavering dedication to the mission, even in the most arduous of circumstances.
The era from the Vietnam War until the Persian Gulf War was marked by unit reorganization and constant training. In 1979, 2nd Brigade participated in the Return of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) exercise. The brigade deployed to Germany to simulate the defense of Western Europe against a Soviet invasion force. In 1980, the brigade deployed to Fort Irwin, California to participate in Operation DESERT HORSE. There they conducted the largest peace time field operation to date, participating in six weeks of intense combined arms training and live fire exercises. During this operation the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) was employed for the first time in training. The 2nd Brigade conducted additional REFORGER exercises in Germany in 1983 and 1987.
Desert Shield 
In the Persian Gulf War, the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division was once again called to serve at the tip of the Army’s spear. On 9 October 1990 the Black Jack Brigade deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. The XVIII Airborne Corps, which included the 1st Cavalry Division, was tasked with defending in depth in order to prevent the seizure of eastern Saudi Arabia by Iraqi forces. The First Team was designated as Corps’ counter-attack force.
As the war progressed into the offensive stage, the 1st Cavalry Division’s mission changed in order to support the impending invasion of Iraq. In mid-February 1991, prior to the ground invasion of Iraq, the division fought the Battle of Ruqi Pocket, a critical feint designed to make the enemy believe that the main coalition ground attack would occur at the Wadi al-Batin region of the Iraq-Saudi border. On 15 February 1991, the Black Jack Brigade participated in Operation Berm Buster, where they breached the defensive berm between Saudi Arabia and Iraq to feign the initial stages of a ground invasion. Later that night, the Black Jack Brigade participated in Operation Red Storm, an artillery and aviation barrage of Iraqi border targets designed to suggest that the area was being prepped for assault. On 19 February, the 2nd Brigade’s Task Force 1–5 Cav conducted Operation Knight Strike, a reconnaissance in force through the Wadi al-Batin, becoming the first coalition unit to enter Iraq. The task force suffered 12 casualties, but successfully accomplished its mission of simulating the reconnaissance efforts for an impending invasion. The feints at the Wadi al-Batin allowed the VII Corps and the XVIII ABN Corps to stage themselves to the far west in preparation for the actual invasion on G-Day, 24 February 1991. It also tied up four Iraqi divisions in the Wadi al-Batin region, where the Iraqis were now convinced that the main attack would occur.
On G-Day, 24 February 1991, the Black Jack Brigade conducted Operation Deep Strike. As the VII and XVIII Corps were beginning to mount the main invasion of Iraq to their far west, the Black Jack Brigade pressed into Iraq once more through the Wadi al-Batin and feinted as though they led the main invasion force. The brigade fought throughout the night and following day, fixing four Iraqi divisions and allowing the main invasion force to envelop the enemy from their west flank. With its mission an unqualified success, the Black Jack Brigade withdrew back through the Wadi al-Batin and united with the VII Corps’ assaulting force to pursue and destroy the Iraqi Republican Guard in the Basra Region.
In August 1995, the Black Jack Brigade deployed to Kuwait to conduct Operation Intrinsic Action 95–3, a rotational force on force training exercise. The Black Jack Soldiers deployed on 48 hours notice, and 2 months ahead of schedule, in response to aggressive actions by Iraq. Following a highly successful training rotation, the brigade redeployed to Fort Hood in November 1995.
From 1995 to 1998 the Black Jack Brigade deployed to four National Training Center Rotations and Foal Eagle 97 where, as the first fully modernized brigade in the Army, it was the first US Army unit to deploy the M1A2 tank and the M88A2 recovery vehicle outside the continental United States.
In March 1999, the Black Jack Brigade deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Forge as part of Stabilization Force 5 (SFOR 5), a NATO-led multi-national peace keeping force. The Black Jack Brigade conducted a relief in place with the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in order to maintain peace and stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina. During a critical period involving the Brcko Implementation Decision and the air war against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Black Jack Soldiers displayed constant vigilance and professionalism maintaining peace and stability. In October 1999, the Brigade returned to Fort Hood, Texas. The Black Jack Brigade was called upon once again to be America's Vanguard as it maintained seven months of Division Ready Brigade status for the 1st Cavalry Division.
Operation Enduring Freedom 
In November 2001, the Black Jack Brigade Combat Team deployed to Kuwait as a participant in Operation Enduring Freedom as a direct response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Brigade Combat Team prepared and subsequently deployed 14 days after notification and returned to Fort Hood, Texas in early April 2002 following a highly successful operational deployment.
Iraq War 
The Black Jack Brigade Combat Team stood combat ready when the order to prepare to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom was given. The Brigade was integral in assisting the 4th Infantry Division deploy to Iraq, as well as preparing 1st Cavalry Division Soldiers and equipment to deploy to Iraq. The Brigade stood down for the Iraq deployment in April 2003 and soon followed this mission with a National Training Center rotation in July 2003.
The Black Jack Brigade deployed to Iraq in January 2004 as the lead element for the 1st Cavalry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I. During the initial deployment, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team was attached to the 1st Armored Division and patrolled Western Baghdad. The Brigade fell back under the 1st Cavalry Division in May 2004. During the brigade’s Operation Iraqi Freedom I/II deployment, a 14 month combat tour, Black Jack Soldiers saw action in Western Baghdad, An Najaf, Fallujah, and Northern Babil.
Following the deployment, the Black Jack Brigade underwent a transformation to the US Army's modular force structure. As part of the transformation, various assets that had been habitually assigned to the brigade during operations, but assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division as a whole, were made organic to the Brigade or were integrated into a Brigade Special Troops Battalion. Headquarters, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division was reorganized and redesignated on 17 October 2005 as Headquarters, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division thereafter had a separate lineage. The reorganized 2nd Brigade Combat Team lost 2–12th Cavalry, but gained an organic cavalry squadron (4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment), a field artillery battalion (3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment), and 15th Brigade Support Battalion.
Hurricane Katrina 
During the transformation, the Black Jack Brigade once again answered the call of the nation and deployed to New Orleans, Louisiana in support of the humanitarian relief effort following Hurricane Katrina. During the deployment, the Black Jack Brigade provided humanitarian and military assistance to the local governance and to the citizens of the Algiers district.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team returned to Iraq for its second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in October 2006. The Brigade assumed responsibility for central and southern Baghdad from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). On 23 November 2006, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team formally assumed responsibility of the area of operations from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Black Jack battalions hit the ground running and assumed a variety of counterinsurgency missions to repair and rebuild a nation crippled by 30 years under a totalitarian regime. By the fall of 2007, the Brigade enjoyed successes both in combat operations and along all major lines of operation: security, economic, essential services and governance. The Brigade continued to demonstrate its flexibility, lethality and compassion while simultaneously destroying or disrupting enemy forces and continuing civil military operations.
In January 2008, the Black Jack Brigade returned to Fort Hood, Texas after 15 months of continuous combat operations and began preparing to return to Iraq in January 2009 to the Sadr City and Adhamiyah neighborhoods of Baghdad as part of Multi-National Division Baghdad. The Brigade was diverted at the last minute to support operations in northern Iraq. At the time, Kirkuk was generally considered to be one of the most contentious areas in Iraq. The Black Jack Brigade conducted a partnership ceremony with the Iraqi Police and 12th Iraqi Army Division at Forward Operating Base Warrior on 14 February 2009.
Kirkuk had been the only Iraqi province that did not participate in the January 2009 provincial elections due to outstanding political disputes. The fate of the ethnically-diverse province, an unknown combination of primarily Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian ethnicities, had not yet been resolved. The mission of the Brigade was to reduce the tension among the northern Iraq Kurds and Arabs and to disrupt the very active insurgency that was limiting forward progress for Kirkuk.
The Black Jack Brigade partnered with Iraqi Police, the 12th Iraqi Army Division, and provincial and local civilian leadership to reduce violence by nearly 80 percent in one year. They also worked to significantly improve economic opportunities throughout the province by leveraging projects to create nearly 16,000 jobs in an area that was suffering from approximately 30 percent unemployment. They were replaced by the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division on 20 December 2009. In March 2010, Kirkuk participated in national elections for the first time since the invasion in 2003, with approximately 79-percent voter participation and no reported acts of violence.
The Black Jack Brigade has led the way throughout its remarkable history. During World War II, Black Jack was first to storm the island of Leyte and reach the capital of Manila during the liberation of the Philippines, and was the first allied unit to enter the city of Tokyo. They were the first of the 1st Cavalry Division’s brigades to conduct operations in the Republic of Vietnam. During the Persian Gulf War, Black Jack was the first coalition unit to conduct offensive ground-operations in Iraq. They were 1st Cavalry Division’s first brigade to deploy to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first brigade to arrive in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. The Black Jack Brigade Combat Team stands ready to lead the way to any contingency area world-wide to accomplish any mission that the future might bring.
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered PLEIKU PROVINCE
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered FISH HOOK
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered IRAQ 1991
- Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1965–1969
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1969–1970
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1970–1971
- Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1969–1970
See also 
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/Black.Jack.Brigade.1CD
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "Headquarters, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Lineage and Honors".