30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team

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30th Armored Brigade Combat Team
30th Infantry Division SSI.svg
Shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1973–present
Country United States
Branch North Carolina Army National Guard / West Virginia Army National Guard
Type Armored brigade combat team (ABCT)
Role Mechanized Infantry
Size Approx. 3,800
Garrison/HQ Clinton, North Carolina (Headquarters)
Nickname Old Hickory (special designation)[1]
Engagements Iraq War
-Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase II
-Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase VII
Commanders
Current
commander

COL Vernon Simpson

CSM Ralph Johnson
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 30ArmoredBdeDUI.jpg

The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team ("Old Hickory"[1]) is a modular heavy brigade of the United States Army National Guard.

The unit is composed of units from North Carolina and West Virginia. It was formed from the remains of the downsized 30th Infantry Division of World War II fame. It was nicknamed the "Old Hickory" brigade, in honor of Andrew Jackson, due to the original division being composed of National Guard units from areas where he lived.[2]

History[edit]

In 1974 the 30th Infantry Division ceased to exist and its units were divided amongst the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia Army National Guards. The 30th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) from North Carolina was chosen to carry on the lineage of the 30th Infantry Division.[3]

The brigade took part in Exercise Display Determination in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1992.

The brigade was affiliated with the 24th Infantry Division on 5 June 1999 during the division's reactivation ceremony as part of the active/reserve component integrated division concept. The headquarters for the division was an active unit located at Fort Riley, Kansas while its subordinate units were all National Guard units.

From 2000 to 2001 a few select units from 30th Brigade were chosen to conduct a six-month peacekeeping mission in war torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. The deployment marked the first time that National Guard troops were utilized as front line patrolling forces since the beginning of deployment of combat troops to the region.[citation needed]

In July 2002 the brigade conducted "Operation Hickory Sting '02" at Ft. Riley, Kansas in preparation for the unit's upcoming National Training Center rotation the next year. The unit's 2003 NTC rotation was dubbed "Operation Tarheel Thunder." After successfully completing its NTC rotation, 30th Brigade, along with the 39th Infantry Brigade from Arkansas, were informed that they would be deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In February 2004 the brigade began a year-long deployment to the Diyala Governorate in Iraq, with the help of an Illinois based unit, Battery G, 202nd ADA. With the deployment, 30th Infantry Brigade became the first National Guard brigade combat team to deploy to a war since the Korean War 50 years earlier. The brigade was also the first National Guard brigade to have its own area of operation in Iraq.[citation needed]

In 2004, one member of the Brigade, SPC Frederico Mérida was convicted of murdering an Iraqi National Guardsmen (ING) at FOB Mackenzie in Salh-Ad-Din Prvince near the village of Ad-Dawr and sentenced to 25 years in prison at his subsequent court martial. He apparently killed the ING member as a result of a sexual encounter gone wrong.[4]

The Battle of Baqubah[edit]

The first Battle of Baqubah (not to be confused with Operation Arrowhead Ripper in 2007) was some of the fiercest fighting that the brigade encountered during its deployment. The battle began at approximately 5:30 am 24 June 2004 local time as insurgents from the group Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad (aka Al-Qaeda in Iraq) attempted to ambush 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry (Mechanized) with small arms, heavy machine guns, IEDs and RPG fire. The platoon was able to break through the ambush and attempted to turn the battle around with a counterattack. As the battle wore on, however, battle damage to all three of the platoon's M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles forced the counterattack to halt and once again the advantage lay with the insurgents.[5][6]

At around 6:00 am reinforcements from Company A, including company commander Captain Christopher Cash, left the unit's forward operating base and were also ambushed almost immediately. In the process Captain Cash was killed. The Bradley in which Captain Cash was killed as well as one other returned to base, leaving only three Bradleys from 1st Platoon to reinforce 3rd Platoon.[7] As the reinforcements advanced on 3rd Platoon, an RPG struck one of the Bradleys, hitting SPC Daniel Desens and wounding several others. The platoon sergeant, SFC Chad Stephens, moved under fire without body armor or a weapon from his Bradley to SPC Desens' to retrieve the wounded Specialist. As SPC Desens was treated by the platoon medic, SPC Ralph Isabella, the platoon regrouped and continued its march towards 3rd Platoon. As they advanced once again towards 3rd Platoon, SFC Stephens's Bradley was also hit by an RPG, severely wounding his gunner and wounding several others including SFC Stephens.[5]

After SFC Stephens's platoon reached its objective, SPC Desens and six other wounded personnel were evacuated via helicopter and the platoon carried on the fight until 3:00 am the next morning. SPC Desens later died of his wounds. SFC Stephens would ultimately receive a Silver Star for his actions.[5]

As the well coordinated attack raged on for another eight hours, insurgents were able to overrun two Iraqi police stations as rocket and mortar attacks racked FOB Warhorse, the unit's forward operating base. Ultimately, Coalition forces were able to root out enemy hiding spots and strong points with UAVs as attack aircraft bombed them. In the end two soldiers from the 30th Brigade were killed and six wounded. While the actual enemy death toll varies, Coalition forces estimated at least 60 insurgents were killed in the attack. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attack although some experts question if Al-Qaeda in Iraq was actually capable of planning and carrying out such an organized attack, despite the fact that Al-Qaeda in Iraq flags were seen being raised by insurgents over the two captured police stations.[6]

Zarqawi claimed victory over the Americans in the battle, although it may have been a Pyrrhic victory as the insurgent death toll was much higher than the Coalition one and the attack neither forced the Americans from the city nor stopped the planned transfer of authority for the city from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Iraqi Interim Government at the end of the month. Zarqawi was killed in an air attack two years later outside of Baqubah and a year after that Operation Arrowhead Ripper succeeded in forcing a large part of the remaining insurgent forces out of the city.

Casualties[edit]

By the end of the deployment the brigade had lost five soldiers killed in action:

  • Captain Christopher S. Cash: 36, from Winterville, North Carolina, Commander of A Company 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. CPT Cash was killed on 24 June 2004 in the Battle of Baqubah.[9][10]
  • Specialist Daniel Alan Desens Jr.: 20, from Jacksonville, also of A Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. SPC Desens was also killed in the Battle of Baqubah on 24 June 2004.[10][11]
  • Sergeant DeForest L. Talbert: 24, of Charleston, West Virginia, assigned to 1st Battalion, 150th Armor. SGT Talbert died 27 July 2004 in Baladruz, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.[12]
  • Staff Sergeant Michael S. Voss: 35, from Aberdeen, North Carolina, assigned to 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. SSG Voss was killed on 8 October 2004 in Tikrit, Iraq when his convoy was attacked with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.[13]

Post-deployment and redeployment[edit]

In early 2005, as the brigade returned from Iraq, 30th Infantry Brigade transformed into the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team as part of the Army's new Brigade Unit of Action concept. With the transformation, the brigade disbanded the 119th Infantry Regiment who's lineage in the North Carolina National Guard can be traced back to before the American Civil War.[2] The brigade then gained the 1st Squadron (RSTA), 150th Cavalry Regiment (WV ARNG) as the brigade's reconnaissance element. The 1–150th Cavalry had previously deployed with the brigade to Iraq as 1–150th Armor. The brigade also gained the 30th Special Troops Battalion, formed from the 30th Corps Support Group.

In October 2007, the brigade was alerted for deployment once again, to include both the North Carolina and West Virginia Army National Guard assets.[14] In preparation for the upcoming deployment, the brigade attended a 23-day annual training period at Camp Shelby, Mississippi in May 2008.[15] The primary purpose of the training exercise was to complete Bradley Fighting Vehicle new equipment training for the scouts on fighting vehicle crews. The crews conducted gunnery through Bradley table VIII, while wheeled scouts performed gunnery with M2 .50 caliber machine guns. Other training included warrior task battle drill and individual weapons qualifications.

Operation Iraqi Freedom VII[edit]

The 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team prepares for a deployment.

In early 2009, 30th HBCT began mobilizing in Camp Shelby, Mississippi to conduct pre-deployment validation training.[16] With training complete, the brigade returned to North Carolina for one last time before the deployment to hold a deployment ceremony on 14 April and to allow soldiers to say goodbye to their families.[17] By early may, the brigade arrived in Iraq and began the process of taking over for 2nd HBCT, 1st Armored Division in a process known as "relief in place."[18] Shortly thereafter, the brigade began conducting patrols south of the Baghdad area as part of Multinational Division – Baghdad.[19]

On 21 May, less than a month after arriving in Iraq, the brigade began to take its first casualties. While making their way to a meeting with local officials in the Doura Market, three soldiers from 1st Battalion, 252d Armored's civil-military liaison team were killed by a suicide vest improvised explosive device (SVIED) in the Al Rashid district in the southwestern part of Baghdad along with multiple civilians. Major Jason George, 38, from Tehachapi, California was an Army Reservist and served as the battalion's civil-military officer. 1st Lieutenant Leevi Barnard, 28, from Mount Airy, North Carolina was a North Carolina Guardsman and served as Major George's assistant. Sergeant Paul Brooks, 34, from Joplin, Missouri was a Missouri Guardsman who had volunteered for the deployment and served as the team's medic.[20] Alpha Co. also of the 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor was in the market area at the same time that morning when the attack occurred. Their swift response to the incident resulted in the timely treatment and ground evacuation of the remaining coalition casualties to the 10th CSH IBN Sina Hospital and their efforts undoubtedly saved many lives that day.

On the same day, soldiers from A Battery, 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment successfully fired the M982 Excalibur precision guided artillery round from FOB Mahmudiyah. This marked the first time that a National Guard unit had used the new precision guided munition in Iraq.[21]

A little over a month later the brigade suffered four more casualties, this time from A Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry. They were killed when their HMMWV was struck by an IED on 29 June in the Mahmudiyah area, south of Baghdad. Sergeant 1st Class Edward Kramer, 39 and a father of two, was from Wilmington, North Carolina and was on his second deployment to Iraq with the battalion. Sergeant Roger Adams Jr., 36, from Jacksonville, North Carolina had recently joined the National Guard and had previously served in the Marine Corps. Adams was also a father of four. Sergeant Juan Baldeosingh, 30, from Havelock, North Carolina was a father of three and had been in the National Guard for a little over a year. He had previously served in the Marine Corps. Sergeant Robert Bittaker, 39, from Jacksonville, North Carolina was a father of two and had served two prior deployments with the battalion, one of which was with the brigade's deployment to Bosnia in 2000. This attack resulted in the single largest loss of life for the brigade since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[22] SGT Baldeosingh would later be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He would be the first North Carolina Guardsman to be buried at the cemetery since WWII.[23] SGT Juan C. Baldeosingh is listed in the Arlington National Cemetery database as being laid to rest in Section 60, Grave 8847.

Insignia[edit]

Shoulder sleeve insignia[edit]

Description: The letters “O H” blue upon a red background, the “O” forming the elliptical outline of the device long axis to be 2 12 inches (6.4 cm) and short axis 1 58 inches (4.1 cm). The letter “H” within the “O”. The letters “XXX” on the bar of the “H”. The insignia to be worn with long axis vertical.[24]

Symbolism: The letters “O H” are the initials of “Old Hickory” and the “XXX” is the Roman notation for the number of the organization.[24]

Background: The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved on 23 October 1918 for the 30th Division. It was redesignated for the 30th Infantry Brigade on 20 February 1974. The insignia was redesignated effective 1 September 2004, with description updated, for the 30th Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard.[24]

Distinctive unit insignia[edit]

Description: A gold color metal and enamel device 1 14 inches (3.2 cm) high overall consisting of a representation of a hornet’s nest in blue enamel charged at top with five gold fleurs-de-lis and in base with a gold five-pointed star, all enclosed by a continuous scarlet enamel scroll inscribed with the words “OLD HICKORY” at top and “BRIGADE” below and crossing at center overall from lower right to upper left a gold branch of laurel beneath a gold sword with point at upper right and hilt at lower left the blade divided in half lengthwise with green enamel above and red enamel below, both ends of sword and laurel branch protruding outside the scroll.[24]

Symbolism: The hornet’s nest, adapted from the crest of the North Carolina ARNG, is a reference to the unit’s home area. The fleurs-de-lis represent the unit’s participation in five campaigns in Europe during World War II, while the sword with blade in the colors of the Belgium Fourragére refers to that award received for service in Belgium and the Ardennes. The laurel branch and the star denote awards of the French Croix de Guerre with Palm and with Star for service in France during World War II; the scarlet scroll alludes to the Meritorious Unit Commendation.[24]

Background: The distinctive unit insignia was authorized for the noncolor bearing units of the 30th Infantry Brigade on 11 June 1974. The insignia was redesignated effective 1 September 2004, with the description updated, for the 30th Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard.[24]

Current organization[edit]

30th HBCT organizational chart

1st Battalion, 120th Infantry[edit]

The 1–120th Infantry was reorganized as a combined arms battalion when the brigade was modularized into a brigade unit of action. The battalion is headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina and consists of the following companies:

1st Battalion, 252nd Armor[edit]

The 1–252nd Armor was reorganized as a combined arms battalion when the brigade was modularized into a brigade unit of action. The battalion is headquartered in Fayetteville, North Carolina and consists of the following companies:

1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry[edit]

1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment is part of the West Virginia Army National Guard and was reorganized from the 1st Battalion, 150th Armor Regiment to become the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Squadron for the brigade. The squadron is headquartered in Bluefield, West Virginia and consists of the following troops:

1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery[edit]

1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment was reorganized as a fires battalion when the brigade was modularized into a brigade unit of action. The battalion is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina and consists of the following batteries:

230th Brigade Support Battalion[edit]

The 230th Brigade Support Battalion is headquartered in Goldsboro, North Carolina and consists of the following companies:

Special Troops Battalion[edit]

On 9 April 2006, HHC 30th Support Group (Corps) was reflagged HHC Special Troops Battalion, 30th HBCT[30] and was assigned to 30th HBCT when the brigade was modularized into a brigade unit of action. The battalion is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina and consists of the following companies:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Special Designation Listing". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "History and Traditions: North Carolina National Guard." Second Edition, August 1966. Public Affairs Section, the Adjutant General's Department, State of North Carolina, Raleigh.
  3. ^ Wilson, John. B (25 August 1999). Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades. Government Printing Office. p. 646. ISBN 978-0-16-049992-0. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Archive of Stories regarding Frederico Merida". Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Barrett, Barbara (11 November 2007). "Haunted by Iraq, a sergeant struggles". McClatchy. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Tyson, Ann Scott (21 July 2004). "Inside one day's fierce battle in Iraq". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ Petrovic, Kara (June–July 2006). "'Outside the Wire’ Citizen-Soldiers in Combat in Iraq". VFW Magazine. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ "DefenseLink News Release: DoD Identifies Army Casualty". Defenselink.mil. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Military Times, Honor the fallen: Army Capt. Christopher S. Cash". Militarycity.com. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "DoD Identifies Army Casualty" (Press release). Department of Defense. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Honor the fallen: Army Spc. Daniel A. Desens". Military Times. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "DoD Identifies Army Casualty" (Press release). Department of Defense. 29 July 2004. Retrieved 12 November 12, 2012. 
  13. ^ "DoD Identifies Army Casualty" (Press release). Department of Defensel. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Tan, Michelle (19 October 2007). "Guard names brigades tapped for deployments". Army Times. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  15. ^ "National Guard Unit Trains In Mississippi". 1270 WMPM News Blog. 1270 WMPM. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "30th HBCT Arrives at Camp Shelby". Newsblaze.com. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  17. ^ Clifton, Matthew (April 14, 2009). "Strength of Army families praised as "Old Hickory" departs for Iraq". U.S. Army. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Relief in place begins between Iron Brigade and Old Hickory". Army.mil. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "N.C. Guardsmen make first Iraq patrol". Army.mil. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "Three Soldiers honored for service, lives". Army.mil. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  21. ^ Jordan, Robert (29 May 2009). "Old Hickory Guardsmen Fire New Artillery Round in Iraq". Department of Defense. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  22. ^ Phillips, Mary (12 July 2009). "Four 120th CAB Soldiers honored for their service". U.S. Army. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  23. ^ Rose, Julie (4 August 2009). "NC National Guardsman buried today in Arlington National Cemetery". WFAE. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f "30th Infantry Brigade". The U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 12 November 12, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f NCARNG web site – 120th CAB page[dead link]
  26. ^ a b c d e f NCARNG web site – 252nd CAB page[dead link]
  27. ^ a b c d e "WV-ARNG Unit Locations". West Virginia National Guard. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  28. ^ a b c NCARNG web site – 113th FA page[dead link]
  29. ^ a b c d e f g NCARNG web site – 230th BSB page[dead link]
  30. ^ "Special Troops Battalion, 30 Armored Brigade Combat Team". The U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b c d NCARNG web site – 30th STB page[dead link]
  32. ^ US Army Field Manual 3–90.61 – The Special Troops Battalion, 22 December 2006

External links[edit]

  • "Guard Family Connection" magazine, volume 3, No. 4. Published 15 October 2007. PDF [1][dead link]
  • Lowe, Christi. "30th Brigade Combat Team to deploy to Iraq", WRAL.com. 30 October 2007."30th Brigade Combat Team to Deploy to Iraq". WRAL.com. 30 October 2007. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.