4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division

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4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) 25th Infantry Division
4th BCT (ABN) 25th ID SSI.png
4th BCT(A), 25th ID shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 2005 – present
Country United States United States of America
Branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg U.S. Army
Type Airborne
Part of United States Army Alaska
Garrison/HQ Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska
Nickname(s) Spartans
Motto(s) "Sparta Lives"
Engagements Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Joint Guardian
Commanders
Current
commander
COL Paul Larson
Insignia
Brigade flash
US Army 4th Bde-25th ID Flash.png
Brigade background trimming
US Army 4th Bde-25th ID Trimming.png

The 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division is an airborne infantry brigade combat team of the United States Army. The unit is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska and is the only airborne brigade combat team in the Pacific Theater. It is also the newest airborne brigade combat team and one of only five in the United States Army; the others are the three brigade combat teams of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

United States Army Alaska is the brigade's next higher command, not the 25th Infantry Division which is headquartered in Hawaii. The brigade, along with 1st Brigade Combat Team (Stryker), 25th Infantry Division, which is also stationed in Alaska, share in the history of the 25th Infantry Division, but are not subordinate to the division; the chain of command goes direct from United States Army Alaska to United States Army Pacific.

History[edit]

The 4th Brigade was first organized in December 1969, to replace the 29th Infantry Brigade, a Hawaii Army National Guard unit that was being released from active duty. After barely a year, the brigade was inactivated and reflagged as the 1st Brigade when that unit returned from Vietnam.[1][2]

In 2004, the United States Army announced the Army Modernization Plan, intended to restructure the U.S. Army by creating new modular brigade combat teams. A new airborne brigade combat team at Fort Richardson, Alaska was included as part of the restructuring.[3] The new brigade was established as the fourth brigade under the lineage of the 25th Infantry Division and the first new U.S. airborne unit created since the end of World War II.[4] The 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment (Airborne) then operating as a battalion task force and located at Fort Richardson was consolidated with the new brigade. The battalion served as a flagship unit, providing senior personnel and a training cadre for the other units of the brigade. On 14 July 2005 the brigade was officially constituted at the athletic fields of Buckner Field House, with COL Michael X. Garrett becoming the first brigade commander.[5] At the ceremony, he officially christened the "Spartan Brigade" with the new motto "Sparta Lives."

The brigade spent the remainder of 2005 and 2006 achieving full personnel strength and conducting training for future combat deployment. The first major training exercise was conducted at Fort Greely, Alaska in April 2006 and was followed by pre-deployment certification at the US Army Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana in August of the same year. During the same month the fall deployment of the brigade to Iraq was announced.

Operation Iraqi Freedom[edit]

In late September and early October the brigade began deployment in support Operation Iraqi Freedom V for a 12-month rotational deployment. Initially, the brigade was subordinate to Multi-National Division-Baghdad under the 1st Cavalry Division and was responsible for an area of operations comprising north Babil Governorate, Karbala Governorate and Najaf Governorate.[4] However, in January 2007, a battalion task force headed by 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) was detached for service in Anbar Governorate with the II Marine Expeditionary Force. The unit would not return to brigade control until June 2007. In March 2007, the brigade deployment was extended for a period of 90 days and the brigade was placed under the divisional command of the then new Multi-National Division-Central under the command of 3rd Infantry Division. During this period, the geographic disparity of 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment located just eight miles south of Baghdad brought about their detachment from the brigade and attachment to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division for the duration of the deployment.

Over 14 months of combat and civil operations in the brigade area of operations resulted in improvement of the security situation, a period that coincided with the Iraq Surge and Sons of Iraq movement. Although the brigade had trained in conventional and direct action missions prior to deployment, the brigade conducted many traditionally unconventional operations, specifically the training of foreign internal defense forces and the support and utilization of irregular forces in combat and intelligence operations. The brigade also boasted the highest rate of re-enlistment of any brigade in the US Army during fiscal year 2007.[6]

Under Multi-National Division-Central, the brigade took part in several major operations including Black Eagle, Gecko, Geronimo Strike III, Marne Avalanche, Marne Torch, LaGuardia, and Washing Machine. The brigade also successfully returned Karbala Governorate to Iraqi provincial control.[7] Elements of the brigade took part in the search for downed F-16 pilot MAJ Troy Gilbert and the soldiers abducted in the May 2007 ambush of a patrol from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, successfully recovering the remains of PFC Joseph Anzack. Soldiers from the brigade were also involved in the 20 January 2007 Karbala provincial headquarters raid. During the 15-month deployment, the brigade lost 53 soldiers who are commemorated on a black stone memorial at Pershing Field on Fort Richardson.[8]

The brigade began redeployment to Fort Richardson beginning in November 2007 and was completely redeployed by December. The brigade conducted a redeployment ceremony attended by Governor Sarah Palin and other dignitaries on 19 December 2007 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.[9] In June 2008, COL Michael Garrett relinquished command to LTC Stephen Hughes as the unit began the process of undergoing rest and refit in advance of future deployments.[10]

Operation Enduring Freedom IX-X[edit]

COL Michael L. Howard assumed command in July 2008. With the brigade already identified for deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom IX-X, COL Howard led a rapid train-up including a month-long rotation at the National Training Center in October–November 2008.

In February 2009, just 14 months after returning from its 15-month deployment to Iraq, the brigade deployed to eastern Afghanistan as a part of Regional Command East, International Security Assistance Force. The brigade's area of combat operations included Khost, Paktia, and Paktika provinces, all on the border with Pakistan; brigade headquarters was at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost. Known as Task Force Yukon, the brigade was augmented with eight battalion-sized units: a military police battalion from United States Army Europe augmented with an infantry company (Company B, 2nd Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment from the Indiana Army National Guard), an infantry battalion (1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment)from the Georgia Army National Guard, an aviation battalion from the 101st Airborne Division (replaced mid-tour with an aviation battalion from the 3rd Infantry Division), three Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and two Army National Guard Agri-Business Development Teams. Total task force strength was approximately 5,500 personnel. Serving under the 101st Airborne Division, then the 82nd Airborne Division, the brigade conducted counter-insurgency operations for 12 months in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces and supervised governance, development, and agriculture projects in coordination with the Afghan government.

The brigade redeployed to Fort Richardson in February–March 2010. The welcome home ceremony was held on 25 March 2010 at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage with Alaska Governor Sean Parnell in attendance. Thirteen brigade Soldiers were killed in action during the deployment; they are honored with a black granite memorial located in front of the brigade headquarters at Fort Richardson. SPC Bowe Bergdahl, assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment (Airborne), was held captive by the Taliban from June 2009 to June 2014.[11]

On 1 July 2010, COL Howard relinquished command to LTC Shanon Mosakowski, the brigade's deputy commander. MG William Troy, commanding general of United States Army Alaska, hosted the change of command ceremony, which included a traditional pass and review with the brigade's six battalions represented by large formations on the field. COL Howard's next assignment was with NATO headquarters in Belgium. LTC Mosakowski served as commander until August 2010 when COL Morris T. Goins assumed command.

Operation Enduring Freedom XII-XIII[edit]

COL Morris T. Goins assumed command in August 2010 with the brigade once again identified for deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XII-XIII, COL Goins led a rapid retrofit and train-up prior to the deployment.

In December 2011, the brigade deployed again to eastern Afghanistan as a part of Regional Command East, International Security Assistance Force. The brigade's area of combat operations included Khost, Paktia, and Paktika provinces, all on the border with Pakistan. The brigade headquarters was at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost. Known as Task Force Spartan, the brigade was augmented with two battalion-sized units: the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, an aviation battalion from the 82nd Airborne Division, two Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and two Army National Guard Agri-Business Development Teams. Total task force strength was approximately 4,500 personnel. Serving under the 1st Cavalry Division, then the 1st Infantry Division, the brigade conducted counter-insurgency operations for 10 months in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces and supervised governance, development, and agriculture projects in coordination with the Afghan government. The brigade redeployed to Fort Richardson in October 2012. Eight brigade Soldiers were killed in action during the deployment.[12]

Col. Morris T. Goins relinquished command of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division to Col. Matthew W. McFarlane in December 2012

Operation Joint Guardian[edit]

Upon its return home in early May 2014 from a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation, the brigade was given short notice to prepare for a deployment to Kosovo in September in support of Operation Joint Guardian, the U.S. Army's contribution to NATO's Kosovo Force mission. On 28 September 2014 approximately half of the brigade's headquarters staff along with the brigade's 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment deployed from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Nuremberg, Germany and was transported to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels for a two-week validation exercise prior to onward movement to Kosovo.[13] While in Germany the brigade was augmented by individuals and smaller units primarily from the Army National Guard's 35th Infantry Division and the active duty Army's 62nd Medical Brigade. Its exercise complete, the brigade and its complement arrived in Kosovo on 16 October where it assumed command of Multinational Battle Group-East in Ferizaj at Camp Bondsteel on 24 October, while 1-40 CAV found itself based at Camp Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny just south of Mitrovica. Commanding MNBG-E was Colonel Clint Baker, who previously served as U.S. Army Alaska's operations officer; Col. Baker's senior enlisted advisor was Command Sergeant Major Mitchell Rucker followed by Idelfonso Barraza.[14] For the next nine months MNBG-E (or KFOR-19 as it was known in NATO lingo) conducted various mounted, dismounted and airborne operations throughout its sector in order to maintain a safe and secure environment with the majority of its operations conducted alongside the Kosovo Police, Kosovo Border Patrol and Kosovo Security Force.[15][16][17] After nine months of sustained operations the brigade and its attachments were relieved in place by the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team on 9 July 2015.[18]

Lineage & Honors[edit]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 6 December 1969 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division and activated at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
  • Inactivated 15 December 1970 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
  • Headquarters, 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, redesignated 16 July 2005 as Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Richardson, Alaska (Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division - hereafter separate lineage)[19]

Campaign Participation Credit[edit]

  • War on Terrorism: Campaigns to be determined[19]
    • Afghanistan: Consolidation II, Consolidation III, Transition I
    • Iraq: National Resolution, Iraqi Surge[20]

Note: The published US Army lineage lists "Campaigns to be determined" as of 14 December 2011. Comparison of the BCT's deployment dates with War on Terrorism campaigns shows that the BCT is entitled to the 5 campaigns listed.

Decorations[edit]

  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered AFGHANISTAN 2009-2010[19]
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered AFGHANISTAN 2011-2012[21]
  • Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered KOSOVO 2014-2015

Note: official published lineage as of 14 December 2011 lists only a single MUC. DA General Orders 2014-64, published 22 August 2014, awards a second MUC. Streamer embroidering is an estimate.

Past Commanders[edit]

  • COL Michael X. Garrett 2005–08
  • COL Michael L. Howard 2008–10
  • COL Morris T. Goins 2010-12
  • COL Matthew W. McFarlane 2012–14
  • COL Scott A. Green 2014–2017
  • COL Paul L. Larson 2017-Present

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, John B. (1999). Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. Government Printing Office. pp. 343–344. 
  2. ^ "A Brief History of the 25th Infantry Division". 25th Infantry Division Association. n.d. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Reorganization of the 25th Infantry Division". 25th Infantry Division Association. n.d. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) History". U.S. Army Alaska. n.d. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division". GlobalSecurity.org. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "4th BCT's re-enlistment rate leads Army". Army Times. 19 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Forces to Hand Control of Karbala Over to Iraqis on Monday". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 27 October 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "Memorial unveiled at Fort Richardson". KTUU. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Bittersweet return: The 4th Brigade Airborne". Anchorage Daily News. 19 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  10. ^ "Brigade leadership changes hands". KTUU. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Taliban video thought to show captured spc.". Army Times. 10 December 2010. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  12. ^ U.S. Army. (2016, April 22). 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne). Retrieved from U.S. Army: https://www.army.mil
  13. ^ Ragin, Sgt. Brian (25 September 2014). "Spartan ceremony formally honors unit for deployment to Kosovo". U.S. Army. U.S. Army. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  14. ^ Parrish, Sgt. Melissa (25 October 2014). "Kosovo Force 19 begins their mission". Defense Video Imagery Distribution System. Multinational Battle Group-East (KFOR). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  15. ^ Casey, Staff Sgt. Shawn (10 January 2015). "Soldiers and cadets build relationships through medical training event". Defense Video Imagery Distribution System. Multinational Battle Group-East (KFOR). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  16. ^ Parrish, Sgt. Melissa (26 February 2015). "Paratroopers jump in Northern Kosovo". Defense Video Imagery Distribution System. Multinational Battle Group-East (KFOR). Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  17. ^ Parrish, Sgt. Melissa (27 March 2015). "MNBG-E and Kosovo first responders come together for Operation Stonewall II". Defense Video Imagery Distribution System. Multinational Battle Group-East. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  18. ^ "KFOR Multinational Battle Group-East". Facebook. Retrieved 27 December 2016. 
  19. ^ a b c "Lineage and Honors Information: Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Sparta Brigade Combat Team)". United States Army Center for Military History. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  20. ^ The Adjutant General Directorate (TAGD) (6 August 2015). "Afghanistan Campaign Medal or Iraq Campaign Medal". United States Army Human Resources Command. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  21. ^ Headquarters, Department of the Army (22 August 2014). "General Orders 2014-64" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2015. 

External links[edit]