4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division "Raiders" was formed in 2005 as the US Army's 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT). The brigade was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington on 1 June 2006. It was the fourth of the Army's six planned active component Stryker brigade combat teams (brigades built around eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicles).
- 1 Formation
- 2 Brigade units
- 3 Unit history
- 4 Garrison operations
- 5 Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09
- 6 Return to Fort Lewis, Wa.
- 7 Accelerated
- 8 Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009–2010
- 9 Recent history
- 10 Command teams
- 11 References
The unit was originally formed at Fort Lewis in 2005 as the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Stryker), when the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) shifted to that post from Fort Polk, Louisiana, after a 15 month deployment in Iraq. When, in June 2006, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Stryker)'s colors were cased (to be uncased in Vilseck, Germany, along with a new batch of personnel from Fort Lewis's former 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Regiment). The 4th Stryker Brigade had the distinction of being the last U.S. Army combat brigade to serve in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The brigade comprises the following units: Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), an engineer company, an anti-tank company, a military intelligence company, a signal company, a logistics and support battalion, a field artillery battalion, three infantry battalions, and a cavalry or RSTA (reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition) squadron.
- 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment
- 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment
- 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment
- 202ndSupport Battalion
- HHC, 4th SBCT
- 38th Engineer Company
- F Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment (Anti-tank)
- 45th Military Intelligence Company
- 472nd Signal Company
- 732nd ESFS, Detachment 2 (Air Force)
While the brigade is one of the Army’s newest, its subordinate battalions have long records of service. The brigade’s six battalions and four separate companies have received honors from the Civil War through the First Gulf War that include some twenty Presidential Unit Citations, eight French Croix de Guerre, and nine Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations.
Upon activation, the brigade assumed the nickname of "Dragoon Raiders" as a way to highlight the unique capabilities that the Stryker brigade brings to the battlefield. Like the dragoons of our Army’s past, the soldiers of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team are mounted infantrymen possessing superior mobility and the versatility to successfully accomplish a wide range of divergent missions. The unit further adopted the moniker of raiders because of the Stryker Brigade’s self-sufficiency and ability to strike the enemy quickly and where least expected.
While preparing for its first deployment, the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team made significant contributions to the Army. In addition to supporting the Reserve Officer Training Corps Warrior Forge Program and deploying elements of the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment in support of wild-land fire fighting, the brigade was also at the forefront of fielding new systems to enhance Army capabilities. The brigade was the first unit to field the Land Warrior, a digital, man portable system that enhances soldier communications, tracking of friendly forces, and improves overall situational awareness.
Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09
In April 2007, the brigade deployed to Iraq as part of President George W. Bush’s “surge” strategy and became the first Stryker Brigade to deploy with all ten variants of the Stryker combat vehicle. During more than thirteen months of continuous, full-spectrum operations, the Raider Brigade successfully conducted nine brigade-level operations and more than 550 battalion- and company-sized operations throughout the Baghdad Northern Belt and in Diyala Province. The brigade’s actions, in conjunction with Iraqi Security Forces, defeated Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents in the brigade’s battle space, suppressed Shia extremist militias, bolstered Iraqi civil government and security force capabilities, and protected critical infrastructure. These efforts provided space and time for the Iraqi people to take control of their own destiny and begin the process of reconciliation, rebuilding, and self- government.
Initially, the brigade Headquarters, as well as 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 202nd Brigade Support Battalion, and Brigade Troops Battalion operated out of Camp TAJI, north of Baghdad. The 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment remained under Brigade control but operated out of Forward Operating Base WARHORSE. The 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment were detached conducting operations in Baghdad and later in Baqubah. The Brigade area of responsibility included the city of Tarmiyah and the critical Main Supply Route TAMPA, the densely populated Sadr City suburb of Husayniyah, and the Khan Bani Sa’ad and canal regions of Diyala Province. Upon the Raider Brigade’s assumption of this battle space, Al Qaeda in Iraq basically controlled both Tarmiyah and Khan Bani Sa’ad. In Tarmiyah, insurgents had driven out the local police and destroyed the police station. Militant elements affiliated with Jaysh Al Mahdi strongly influenced Husayniyah to include the Iraqi Police. Safe travel on even major routes required deliberate route clearance because of the scope of the improvised explosive device threat.
From mid-May 2007 through January 2008, the brigade destroyed Al Qaeda affiliated insurgent cells in Baghdad’s Northern Belt while keeping Shia extremists under control. Fully utilizing the robust intelligence collection and analysis capabilities organic to the Stryker Brigade, Raider Brigade soldiers targeted and dismantled terrorist cells throughout the battle space. Simultaneously, the brigade used sensor-to-shooter operations to conduct surveillance on known IED hotspots and kill the IED emplacement teams.
Operation Raider Isolation
The brigade also conducted major operations to take control of key terrain across the Northern Belt. During OPERATION RAIDER ISOLATION in June 2007, the Brigade, spearheaded by 2–1 Cavalry, prevented the exfiltration of Al Qaeda fighters from the critical city of Baqubah. These efforts contributed to the success of 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division’s clearance of Baqubah in OPERATION ARROWHEAD RIPPER. In July 2007, 2–12 Field Artillery put down a Shia extremist uprising in Husayniyah, effectively quarantining the city and ending the uprising with minimal bloodshed.
Operation Raider Riviera
Finally, in September 2007, 4–9 Infantry spearheaded OPERATION RAIDER RIVIERA, the deliberate clearing of Tarmiyah, which eliminated Al Qaeda’s stranglehold on this city and allowed the establishment of long-term security.
By the time the Raider Brigade transferred control of Tarmiyah and Husayniyah in December 2007, IED activity on Route TAMPA had decreased from eight incidents per day to less than three incidents per week. The city of Tarmiyah was clear of terrorists and Al Qaeda’s influence on Khan Bani Sa’ad was significantly reduced. The brigade had detained more than five hundred persons, removing insurgents from the region and giving Iraqis a chance to solidify civilian government and security infrastructure. With this mission accomplished, the Brigade shifted its focus to Diyala Province.
As the brigade assumed responsibility for all of Diyala Province, it regained control of 1–38 Infantry and 2–23 Infantry and had attached the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and eventually the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. In assuming a province, the brigade had to take a much greater role in transitioning Iraqi Security Forces and partnering with the Government of Iraq. Despite these added responsibilities, the brigade continued to keep the pressure on the enemy, replicating the same intelligence-driven targeting methodology that had proven so successful previously.
Operation Raider Reaper and Harvest
Additionally, the brigade followed up on previous clearing operations in the Baqubah region by seizing additional areas from Al Qaeda’s control. In December 2007, elements of 2–1 Cavalry, 1–38 Infantry and the 5th Iraqi Army Division executed OPERATION RAIDER REAPER in the “Iron Triangle” region northwest of Baqubah. This operation freed several villages from Al Qaeda control and allowed for the standup of Sons of Iraq groups. The Brigade then shifted focus to the “Bread Basket” area of the Diyala River Valley between the major cities of Dali Abbas and Muqdadiyah. The deliberate clearing of the “Bread Basket” – OPERATION RAIDER HARVEST – saw 2–23 Infantry and 2/3 Armored Cavalry conducting shaping operations while 3/2 Stryker Cavalry and 5th Iraqi Army Division assets conducted clearing. This operation drove Al Qaeda from the area and freed dozens of villages from terrorist control. The Brigade followed up the success of OPERATION RAIDER HARVEST with additional operations to clear the regions south of Buhriz and in the Turki region south of the city of Balad Ruz. The Brigade further supported Iraqi Army operations to open Route VANESSA in between Baqubah and Khan Bani Sa’ad, a route that had been utterly impassable to security forces.
Return to Fort Lewis, Wa.
On 1 June 2008, the Raider Brigade completed its mission in Iraq and transferred authority of Diyala Province. During more than thirteen months of continuous combat operations in Baghdad’s Northern Belt and then in Diyala Province, the brigade defeated Al Qaeda and kept extremists militias in check. Brigade operations resulted in 1,700 personnel detained and more than 600 insurgents killed or wounded. The brigade’s intelligence-driven raids devastated insurgent networks by removing more than 200 high-value individuals from the battlefield. Brigade route clearance operations resulted in more than 11,250 kilometers of routes being cleared and the discovery and reduction of 1,295 IEDs. Brigade soldiers found and reduced more than 550 enemy weapons caches to include the largest explosively formed projectile cache discovered to date in Iraq. The Brigade removed terrorists and their weaponry from the battlefield and gave the Iraqi people and local governments the breathing room required to establish permanent security and governance. Both Baghdad’s Northern Belt and the Diyala Province are better governed and more secure regions due to the accomplishments and sacrifices of the soldiers of the Raider Brigade.
Upon return from Iraq in June 2008, the Raider Brigade began an intense RESET period that lasted six months. The Brigade began repairing, replacing and fielding new equipment in preparation for their next deployment.
On 1 March 2009 Col. John Norris announced that the brigade would be accelerated and deployed to Iraq in the Fall of 2009. This acceleration was in response to President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan policy which diverted 5/2 SBCT from Iraq to Afghanistan. The Raider Brigade is no stranger to accelerations, having gone through one for its last deployment. General Odierno and his staff had identified the need for a Stryker brigade to facilitate the responsible drawdown of American combat forces from Iraq and to leave Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) trained, equipped and capable to protect their people.
Once notified that it was selected to deploy nine months earlier than expected, the Raiders started an intensified training program starting at the individual soldier level and culminating with a highly successful company-focused JRTC rotation in June 2009.
Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009–2010
After ten-days of training in Kuwait in September 2009, units continued movement north into Iraq. On 28 Sept. 2009, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division transferred authority of western Baghdad to 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (4/2 SBCT). Raider Soldiers, conducting operations since mid-September, completed familiarization of their new operational environment and Iraqi partners. 4th Brigade's Task Force Viking (consisting of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment reinforced by "F" Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment) partnered with the 6th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions, the 6th Brigade, 2nd Federal Police Division, local Iraqi Police, and the Sons of Iraq in an area often considered Iraq’s “Center of Gravity”. TF Viking's AO stretched from the Baghdad International Airport (FOB Victory/Liberty) in the west to the Tigris River in the east (excluding "The Green Zone"), and from Route Irish in the south to the merging of routes Senators and Vernon into Route 1 just outside the town of Taji. This area, in-and-around the contentious Abu Ghraib Qada – previously the “home” of the insurgency – contained more than 2.5 million people (comparable to the city of Baltimore), and contained 18 important Iraqi government buildings (including the Iraqi Parliament) as well as 23 international embassies (to include that of the United States).
Iraqi national election
The 7 March national elections demonstrated that ISF could create and execute a comprehensive security plan. With 4/2 SBCT merely helping to facilitate ISF security operations, 62% of Iraqis turned-out to vote despite early morning violence, a testament to the determined will of the Iraqi people.
Responsible reduction of forces
As part of the Responsible Drawdown of Forces the brigade transferred five joint security stations to the Iraqi government and downsized two others. To accomplish this mission, units moved concrete barriers, dismantled motor pools and cooking areas, removed gravel and hazardous materials and packed up equipment. Local governments began to build the necessary relationships to bring GOI projects and other help to their areas. ISF began meeting regularly with the tribal sheikhs and local governmental officials to discuss security in their areas. The work of this brigade included more than missions outside the base. After seven years of war, the Raiders were the last combat unit to depart Iraq. The brigade inherited two brigades worth of equipment ranging from MRAPs to printers. For nine months, soldiers fixed and cleaned equipment and turned it in for redistribution to units in Iraq, Afghanistan or the United States.
Reconstruction- "non-lethal operations"
For the past year, the Raiders, with two embedded provincial reconstruction teams, USAID and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), developed reconstruction projects in western Baghdad, Abu Ghraib, Taji, and Tarmiyah. Local governments, Iraqi ministries and tribal leaders identified these projects and, working closely with these groups, the brigade prioritized projects based on the needs of the people. These included repairs of medical clinics and schools, solar lights for neighborhood streets, drinking water pumps and filtration systems, electrical projects, sewage treatment plants, agribusiness and local business grants. In total the brigade completed 83 projects totaling 14.5 million dollars. Combined with US Department of State and USACE funds US taxpayers collectively spent over $400 million for the betterment of Iraq and its citizens and greatly assisted the reconstruction of Iraq.
The brigade refurbished 11 schools and provided 23 humanitarian assistance drops of school supplies, clothing and food, helping local under privileged families, children, orphans and teachers with the resources needed for basic education. 4/2 units distributed micro-grants totaling $230,000 to stimulate local businesses in an attempt to improve the local economy. American forces and external agencies focused on Agriculture and Agribusiness revitalization because this is an important aspect of the Abu Ghraib and Taji areas. The campaign slogan “Grow Crops instead of Terrorists”, coined by a local sheikh, helped employ local military-aged males and widows, giving them new employment alternatives to making money through aiding the insurgency. Money dedicated to this “Brown to Green” initiative helped train farmers on new agricultural technologies like greenhouse farming and irrigation techniques that help conserve water. Contractors established demonstration farms, facilitating this training and providing hands on experience to local farmers. Nearly 300 farmers received greenhouses with drip irrigation systems, seed and fertilizers providing them with the tools they needed to be successful. The desired endstate of these efforts was to decrease Iraq’s dependence on foreign produce by helping Iraqis provide for Iraq.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad University Agricultural College, Baghdad Veterinary College and several agricultural cooperatives received new equipment to teach students and farmers modern farming techniques. They received animals such as cows for teaching proper care and feeding techniques, further building a cooperative relationship in the community.
In order to meet the President's 1 September deadline of 50,000 troops in Iraq, preparation for the brigade's redeployment began shortly after the elections. The brigade executed its redeployment in a way that ensured senior US commanders on the ground had additional combat flexibility for as long as possible.
While roughly half of the brigade flew home from Iraq, approximately 2,000 Raiders departed via a tactical road march (TRM) from Victory Base Complex and Camp Taji in mid-August.
Dubbed “The Last Patrol”, the soldiers drove a total of 360 vehicles, including 320 Strykers, 360 miles from Baghdad to Kuwait, similar to how units first entered Iraq more than seven years prior.
The TRM from Baghdad began early on the morning of 15 August with the final element crossing the Kuwaiti border 19 August. Several major media outlets covered the movement extensively, including NBC, FOX, Al Jazeera English, 60 Minutes, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and The LA Times, CNN, CBS, and the AFP. Representatives from several outlets also rode with the brigade’s soldiers as they moved south. After almost eight hours of driving, all units stopped at Camp Adder, Iraq to rest and refit and prepare for the final four-hour leg of the road march and the crossing of the brigade into Kuwait.
The brigade designated the operational name of the Iraq-Kuwait border to be “PL Lakewood”, symbolic of the brigade’s return home and the many contributions of our community partners. The Raider Brigade’s departure from Iraq reduced the total number of forces to 52,000, representing the symbolic end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the beginning of Operation New Dawn on 1 September 2010.
Upon arrival at the final destination in Camp Virginia, Kuwait, soldiers stripped their Strykers and prepared them for the wash-racks. At the site, soldiers and civilian contractors spent approximately 32 hours per vehicle, completely cleaning them both inside and out.
On 21 August, the brigade cased its colors in Kuwait for movement back to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, officially uncasing them on 7 October 2010.
The Raiders lost no time renewing a rigorous training cycle, with an eye towards full-spectrum readiness: the brigade would prepare for future missions of any size and scope, including offensive, defensive, and stability operations.
Through the summer and fall of 2011, the 4th Brigade took part in and supported a variety of training missions both here and overseas. Most notably, the Raiders played a key role in the execution of ROTC’s Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), or “Operation Warrior Forge,” the central, culminating training event for more than 6,500 senior ROTC cadets across the nation. The Raiders provided both behind-the-scenes support and out-front leadership; they set up and maintained training sites, provided logistic support, executed live-fire demonstrations, and helped train the cadets.
At the same time, the brigade sent units overseas to take part in joint training exercises with Pacific partners Australia and Singapore.
The brigade, as a whole, deployed to Yakima Training Center in Central Washington for training exercises, “Raider Fusion” in October 2011 and “Raider Focus” in February 2012, conducting a series of battalion exercises and also supporting a joint US-Japanese exercise, “Rising Thunder,” during the same period. The training events focused on preparing the brigade for diverse, full-spectrum combat operations.
The brigade deployed to Afghanistan for its third deployment. The brigade returned in August of 2013. It was announced in 2013 that the 4th Stryker Brigade will be deactivated.
- Col. John Lehr/CSM John Wayne Troxel from 1 June 2006 – 8 August 2008
- Col. John Norris/CSM Jeffrey Huggins from 8 August 2008 – 30 November 2010
- Col. Michael A. Getchell/CSM Paul D. Balmforth from 30 November 2010 – 4 June 2012
- Col. Michael A. Getchell/CSM Oscar L. Vinson from 4 June 2012 - 16 OCT 2013
- Col. Jody Miller/CSM Oscar L. Vinson from 16 OCT 2013 - Present
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