Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (United States)

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The Special Troops Battalion, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was a support battalion created on 16 September 2004[1] as part of the U.S. Army's brigade realignment plan to transform brigades into units of action (UA). One former member recalled that the battalion "was almost like a cult in every sense."[2]

The battalion mottoes "Rak Solid Rakkasans" and "Belong to the Warrior" were statements of the battalion's support and loyalty to the 187th Infantry Regiment, which had its 1st, 2d and 3d Battalions assigned to the battalion.


The Special Troops Battalion comprised the following companies:

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company – HHC provides staff support; a Support Platoon including fuelers, mechanics, medics, cooks, and security; a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) "Recce" Platoon, and a Military Police platoon for the STB.
  • Alpha Company – Providing Combat Engineer support to the brigade. The company was named "The Zone" for its extensive and exceptional service in the combat zones of World War II, and Vietnam. The Zone has continued to earn its reputation with multiple deployments to the combat zones of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Bravo Company – Providing Military Intelligence assets.
  • Charlie Company – Providing Military communications support to the 3d BCT.


The Special Troops Battalion was initially formed at Fort Collins, Colorado in December 2004.[1] Companies from the 326th Engineer Battalion, 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, 501st Signal Battalion, and the 3d Platoon of the 101st Military Police Company were pulled together to form the STB. The integration of one or more support battalions into each brigade allows brigades to be self-sustaining and they no longer need to deploy with the entire division in order to utilize division assets.

The Special Troops Battalion headed to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in early February 2005 for training maneuvers with the Rakkasans. Upon redeployment to Fort Campbell, the unit spent the next six months training and preparing for a deployment to Iraq. In late September 2005, the STB deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV. After staging in Kuwait for additional training and awaiting movement to Iraq, the elements of the STB moved in country to begin a year-long tour. After relieving the Tennessee National Guard and training and awaiting equipment, the unit headed to Bayji, Iraq and conducted operations in that area of operations (AO).

In late December 2005, the STB split up, with Alpha Company heading to Samarra to support 3d Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment. Bravo, Charlie, and HHC headed to the Tikrit AO to support the 101st Airborne Division elements stationed there. In early September 2006, the STB regrouped in Kuwait and redeployed to Fort Campbell, completing their year-long deployment to Iraq. After extensive predeployment training and a second JRTC rotation, the battalion headed to theater in late September 2007 to begin their second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were deployed to Baghdad,Iraq for 15 months.

The battalion inactivated on April 15, 2014 and was reorganized and reflagged as the 21st Engineer Battalion.[3]

Chain of command[edit]

As of August 2011, the STB was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Walter Smiley with Command Sergeant Major Carlos Simmons as battalion Command Sergeant Major.[citation needed]

The battalion's final commander was Zachary Miller.[4]


  1. ^ a b "4th Infantry Division". Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2017-12-20. 
  2. ^ Courtney Waid (2015). "All The Things I Didn't Know". In Cory Wallace. The Strong Gray Line: War-time Reflections from the West Point Class of 2004. p. 212. ISBN 1442249765. 
  3. ^ "3rd Special Troops Battalion changes flags". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2017-12-20. 
  4. ^ Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado (2014-04-03). "Rakkasans welcome 21st Engineer Battalion". Fort Campbell Courier. Retrieved 2017-12-20.