172nd Infantry Brigade (United States)


172nd Infantry Brigade (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=172d Infantry Brigade


caption=172d Infantry Brigade shoulder sleeve insignia
nickname="Blackhawk Brigade"
motto="Caveat" - "Let Him Beware"
colors=Black and Bronze
march=
ceremonial_chief=
type=Infantry Brigade
branch=United States Army
dates= *August 5, 1917 - April 15, 1986
*April 17, 1998 - December 15, 2006
*March 17, 2008 - present
country=United States
allegiance=Active duty
command_structure=V Corps
size= Brigade
specialization=Mechanized Infantry
current_commander=COL Jeffrey A. Sinclair
garrison=Grafenwoehr, Germany
battles=World War II Operation Iraqi Freedom
notable_commanders=
anniversaries=
identification_symbol_2=
identification_symbol_2_label=

The 172d Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate) is an infantry brigade of the United States Army headquartered at Schweinfurt, Germany. An Active duty separate brigade, it is part of United States Army Europe and currently one of only two active duty, separate combat brigades in the U.S. Army.

First activated in 1917, the brigade was deployed to France during World War I and used to reinfoce front line units. The brigade's actions in France during that time are not completely clear. It would later be converted to a reconnisance unit that was deployed during World War II and saw a several months of combat in the European Theater. Most recently, the brigade has served a tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 until 2006. Its infamous 16 month deployment was one of the longest deployments for a unit serving in that campaign, and the most time deployed for any U.S. unit since the Vietnam War.

The unit has been activated and deactivated numerous times, and has also seen several redesignations, serving as one of the first Brigade Combat Teams before it was deactivated in 2006. Reactivated in 2008 from another reflagged unit, the brigade is again in the process of transforming into a Brigade Combat Team, while preparing for another tour of duty in Iraq.

Organization

The brigade is a separate unit, not reporting to a higher division-level headquarters, but instead reporting directly to V Corps of United States Army Europe. [ [http://www.vcorps.army.mil/organization/default.htm V Corps Home Page: Organization] , United States Army. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] It consists of six battalions and four companies. [http://www.2bct.1id.army.mil/Primary%20Sites/index.htm 172nd Infantry "Blackhawk Brigade": Blackhawk Organization] . 172d Infantry Brigade Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] These components include two infantry battalions, one armor battalion, one field artillery battalion, a combat engineer battalion and a support services battalion. It also contains a headquarters company, a Signal company, a military intelligence company, and an armored cavalry company for reconnaissance.

The Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the unit is located at Grafenwoehr, Germany. [http://www.172infantry.army.mil/#history 172nd Infantry.army.mil] , 172d Infantry Brigade Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] The Unit also contains the 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry, [ [http://www.1-18in.2bct.1id.army.mil/ 1-2 Infantry Homepage] , 1-2 Infantry Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry, [ [http://www.1-26in.2bct.1id.army.mil/ 2-28 Infantry Homepage] , 2-28 Infantry Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] the 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery, [ [http://www.schweinfurt.army.mil/sites/17/ 1-77 Field Artillery Homepage] , 1-77 Field Artillery Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] the 9th Engineer Battalion, [ [http://www.9en.2bct.1id.army.mil/index.htm 9th Engineer Battalion Homepage] , 9th Engineer Battalion Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008] , the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor, [ [http://www.1-77ar.2bct.1id.army.mil/ 3-66 Armor Homepage] , 3-66 Armor Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] , and the 172nd Forward Support Battalion. [ [https://portal.eur.army.mil/sites/172ndSB/default.aspx 172nd Support Battalion Homepage] , 172nd Support Battalion Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] In addition, the brigade contains four independent companies; 504th Military Intelligence Company (Cobras), [ [http://www.c-101mi.2bct.1id.army.mil/ C/504th Military Intelligence Battalion Homepage] , C/504 Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] , Echo Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment, the 57th Signal Company, [ [http://www.57sig.2bct.1id.army.mil/ 57th Signal Company Homepage] , 57th Signal Company Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] and the 2-1 Military Police. All of these subordinate units are currently located in Grafenwoehr. [http://www4.army.mil/news/standto.php?dte=2008-03-17 "Today's Focus" 17 Mar 2008 Edition] , "Stand To!" Magazine. Retrieved 06-27-2008.]

History

World War I

The 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate), officially titled the "172d Infantry Brigade", was first constituted on August 5, 1917 in the National Army as the 172nd Infantry Brigade. [http://www.2bct.1id.army.mil/Primary%20Sites/index.htm 172nd Blackhawk Brigade History] , United States Army. Retrieved 06-07-2008.] It was organized on the 25th of that month at Camp Grant, in Rockford, Illinois and assigned to the 86th Infantry Division.Little, John G., Jr. "The Official History of the 86th Division". Chicago: States Publications Society, 1921.] The brigade was assigned to the 86th Division and deployed to Europe for duty during World War I. It arrived in Bordeaux, France, in September 1918 The combat record of the unit during its World War I service is not clear, but it is known that the 86th Division was depleted when much of its force was used to reinforce other units already on the front lines. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/172inbde.htm 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) "Snow Hawks"] , GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] Thus, the brigade received a World War I campaign streamer without an inscription, as it was not known to have fought in any engagements. After a cease fire was signed in 1918, the Brigade returned to the United States. it was demobilized in January 1919 at Camp Grant, and the camp itself was abandoned in 1921.

On June 24, 1921 the unit was reconstituted in the Organized Reserves as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 172nd Infantry Brigade, and again assigned to the 86th Division. It was organized in January 1922 at Springfield, Illinois and went through several redesignations, including on March 23, 1925 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 172nd Brigade, and August 24, 1936 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 172nd Infantry Brigade.

World War II

The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 172nd Infantry Brigade was converted and redesignated the 3rd Platoon, 86th Reconnaissance Troop, and assigned to the 86th Infantry Division on March 31, 1942, while the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 171st Infantry Brigade, became the remainder of the 86th Reconnaissance Troop. On December 15, 1942 the troop was mobilized and reorganized at Camp Howze, in Gainesville, Texas, as the 86th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, only to be reorganized and redesignated again on August 5, 1943 as the "86th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized". For the majority of the US involvement in World War II it remained stateside, participating in the Third Army #5 Louisiana Maneuvers in 1943, among other exercises until finally staging at Camp Miles Standish, at Boston, Massachusetts on February 5, 1945 and shipping out from the Boston on February 19, 1945.

The 86th Reconnaissance Troop arrived in France on March 1, 1945, acclimated and trained, and then moved to Koln, Germany, and participated in the relief of the 8th Infantry Division in defensive positions near Weiden (which is now part of Lindenthal on March 28 -29, 1945. During its few months of combat duty in Europe, the troop participated in amphibious assaults across was Danube, Bigge, Altmuhl, Isar, Inn, Mittel-Isar and Salzach rivers in Germany and Austria. It was assigned to First, Third, Seventh, and Fifteenth US Armies. The unit was at Salzburg on May 7, 1945 (V-E Day). It was then sent back stateside to prepare for operation in the Pacific, arriving back in New York City on June 17, 1945, and proceeded to Fort Gruber in Braggs, Oklahoma before staging at Camp Stoneman at Pittsburg, California, on August 14, 1945.The unit shipped out from San Francisco on August 21, 1945 and arrived in the Philippines on September 7, 1945, five days after the Japanese surrender.

The Cold War

On October 10, 1945 the 86th Reconnaissance Troop, Mechanized was again redesignated the "86th Mechanized Reconnaissance Troop" before finally being inactivated on December 30, 1946 while still stationed in the Philippines. However the 86th Mechanized Reconnaissance Troop was reactivated again on July 9, 1952 as part of the Army Reserve. It continued serving within the Army Reserve for some years.

The conversion of the Troop into the 172nd Infantry Brigade was the result of the Army's changeover from the Pentomic structure to the Reorganization Objective Army Division (ROAD) organization. On May 20, 1963 the 3rd Platoon, 86th Reconnaissance Troop was converted and redesignated as the 172nd Infantry Brigade, relieved from assignment to the 86th Infantry Division, and was allotted to the Regular Army. The other two platoons of the troop had a separate lineage from that point. [Dacus, David M. "The Last Frontier." "Infantry" 64 (July-August 1974):48-52.]

Activation of the brigade with its new structure took place on 1 July 1963 at Fort Richardson, Alaska. The new structure included one Light Infantry Battalion; one Mechanized Infantry Battalion; and one Tank Company. [Paternostro, Anthony. "The Alaska Brigade: Arctic Intelligence and Some Strategic Considerations." "Military Intelligence" 6 (October-December 1980):47-50.] Its shoulder sleeve insignia was authorized for use on August 28, 1963 [http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Inf/172InfantryBde.htm The Institute of Heraldry: 172nd Infantry Brigade] , The US Army Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] and its distinctive unit insignia was authorized on June 8, 1966. [Meiners, Theodore J. "They Climb the Crags." "Army Digest" 22 (April 1967):36-38.] The Brigade was reorganized from Mechanized Infantry to Light Infantry on June 30, 1969, with a reduction to two mechanized infantry battalions. [Bender, John A. "Dynamic Training Arctic Style: A Report from Alaska." "Infantry" 62 (November-December 1972):36-37.] In 1974 the 172nd Infantry Brigade was reorganized again to include three light infantry battalions, [Boatner, James G. "Rugged Training on the 'Last Frontier.' Supersoldiers of the North." "Army" 26 (November 1976):27-30.] It was again reorganized in 1978 to a structure that included one infantry battalion, [Kiernan, David R. "Winter Training in Alaska." "Infantry" 70 (November-December 1980):10-12.] one mechanized infantry battalion, and one tank battalion [Simone, Michael R. "Where 'Teary Eyes Freeze Shut."' "Army" 31 (February 1981):32-33.] The brigade was again deactivated on April 15, 1986 at Fort Richardson, Alaska, being reflagged as part of the newly reformed 6th Infantry Division.

On April 17, 1998, the U.S. Army reactivated the "172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate)" and reflagged the 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division as that unit was headquartered at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Transformation

In July 2001 the US Army announced that the 172nd Infantry Brigade was to become one of the Army's new Interim Brigade Combat Teams, later to be known as Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCTs). [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=2428 172nd Stryker Brigade Legacy to Live on as Unit ‘Reflags,’ Gets New Commanders] , Donna Miles, "American Forces Press Service". Retrieved 06-28-2008.] Changes to the brigade included the addition of some 300 Stryker vehicles, and several Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. [ [http://www.epa.gov/EPA-IMPACT/2002/March/Day-04/i5085.htm Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Force Transformation of the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) and Mission Sustainment in Alaska] , Federal Register Environmental Documents, US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] The transformation was intended to increase the brigade's mobility in operations as well as reduce its logistical footprint. [ [http://www.cemml.colostate.edu/AlaskaEIS/ Transformation EIS] , Calvin Bagley, Colorado State University. Retrieved 08-13-2008.] The project entailed around $1.2 billion in construction costs for training facilities, motor pools, and other buildings. [http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-816910/A-stryking-endeavor-preparation-for.html A Stryking endeavour: preparation for third Stryker brigade underway in Alaska] , "Alaska Business Monthly". Retrieved 08-13-2008.] This transformation was completed when the unit was formally redesignated on October 16, 2003. [ [http://www.afcea.org/signal/articles/templates/SIGNAL_Article_Template.asp?articleid=1214&zoneid=30 Pacific Army Forces Push Readiness] Robert K. Ackerman, "Signal Online AFCEA Magazine". Retrieved 08-14-2008.] After the transformation was complete, the 172nd became the third Stryker brigade in the US Army, with a force of 3,500 soldiers. In 2005, the new Brigade Commander changed the motto of the infantry brigade from "Snow Hawks" to "Arctic Wolves". In early 2005, the brigade was alerted that it would be deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom for the first time. To prepare, it participated in several large exercises at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. The 220th Military Police Brigade, a reserve unit, provided additional soldiers to assist the brigade in the exercises during their final preparations for deployment. [ [http://www.wood.army.mil/mpbulletin/pdfs/Oct%2005/Arnold.pdf Military Police Support for the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team] , Robert Arnold, Jr.. Retrieved 08-13-2008.]

Operation Iraqi Freedom

In August 2005, the 172nd Infantry Brigade deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit deployed to Mosul, Iraq. Duties of the unit during deployment included numerous patrol operations, searches for weapons caches, and counterinsurgency operations. [ [http://www4.army.mil/armyimages/armyimage.php?photo=11489 Army.mil Featured Image] , United States Army Homepage. Retrieved 08-10-2008.] Its tour was to have ended on July 27, 2006, but the U.S. Army unexpectedly extended its deployment until the end of November 2006. During the extension, the unit was sent to Baghdad to quell growing sectarian violence concerns. The infamous extension of the deployment had happened after some of the units of the Brigade were already touched down at their home base of Fort Wainwright, forcing them to fly back to staging areas in Iraq. The extension occurred after the unit's regular 12-month tour was complete, making the deployment last for a total of 16 months. No other Battalion, Brigade, or Division served as long a consecutive tour of duty as the 172nd Stryker Brigade since Vietnam. As a result of the unit's action in Iraq, the brigade was awarded the Valorous Unit Award. [ [http://www.army.mil/-newsreleases/2008/05/19/9262-army-prepares-for-fall-2008-active-duty-rotations-in-iraq/ Army Prepares for Fall 2008 Active-duty Rotations in Iraq] , United States Army. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] The citation, signed by General George W. Casey, Jr., reads as follows:

"The 172D STRYKER BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM distinguished itself by extraordinary heroism while engaged in military operations between 16 August 2005 to 3 December 2006 during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM III in both the Ninewah Province and Baghdad Iraq. Beginning with deployment operations and continuing through an accelerated RIP/TOA process at a time when some of the heaviest fighting was taking place in Northern Iraq, the Brigade valiantly fought the enemy using lethal and non-lethal means which created a safe environment for the October 2005 constitutional referendum and 2005 National Elections. The security provided by the Brigade created a higher turnout by percentage between the three elections and culminating in the transition of battlespace to the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police. The 172D Stryker Brigade controlled almost 50,000 square kilometers, leveraging the full spectrum of assets from Brigade to National level in order to engage the populace and neutralize the enemy. The 172D Stryker Brigade Combat Team was chosen by the President of the United States to extend their year-long deployment for an additional 120 days to support operations in Baghdad. Their warrior spirit and professionalism quickly made an impact in the Baghdad area of operations. The men and women of the 172D STRYKER BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM displayed extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty which were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect distinct credit upon them and the Armed Forces of the United States."

During this action, 26 soldiers of the brigade were killed in action, and another 350 were wounded. [http://www.defenselink.mil/News/NewsArticle.aspx?id=2402 Stryker Brigade Ceremony Focuses on Accomplishments, Sacrifices] , Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] Ten additional soldiers in units attached to the brigade were killed. [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=2407&42407=20061213 ‘Arctic Wolves’ Dedicate Wall Honoring Fallen Comrades] , Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service. Retrieved 06-28-2008.]

Reflagging to 1st SBCT of the 25th Infantry Division

Having returned from its extended tour in Baghdad, Iraq, the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team was officially redesignated as the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division on December 14th, 2006. [ [http://www.army.mil/-links/2006/12/19/1032-172nd-reflagged/ 172nd Reflagged] , SRTV, United States Army. Retrieved on 06-27-2008.] The brigade's six battalions and four separate companies were redesignated as part of the change. [http://www.wainwright.army.mil/1_25_SBCT/units.htm 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Homepage: Units] . 25th Infantry Division Staff. Retrieved 06-27-2008.] The redesignations included:
* 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment.
* 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment to 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment.
* 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment to 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment.
* 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment to 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment.
* 4th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment to 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment.
* 172nd Brigade Support Battalion to 25th Brigade Support Battalion.
* A Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment to D Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment.
* 572nd Military Intelligence Company to 184th Military Intelligence Company.
* 562nd Engineer Company to 73rd Engineer Company.
* 21st Signal Company to 176th Signal Company.

Reactivation in Germany

As part of the Grow the Army Plan announced 19 Dec 2007, the Army will activate and retain two Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT) in Germany until 2012 and 2013. On March 6, 2008, it was announced that the 172nd Infantry Brigade would be activated as the first of these brigades, with the other being the 170th Infantry Brigade. On March 17, the 172nd Infantry Brigade was formally activated in Schweinfurt, Germany by reflagging the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd (Dagger) Brigade, which relocated to Ft. Riley, KS. [http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=60777&archive=true Big Red One relocating to Grafenwöhr with new name] , Matt Millham, "Stars and Stripes". Retrieved 06-28-2008.] The 172nd Infantry Brigade will relocate to Grafenwoehr, Germany later in 2008 and convert to a modular Heavy Brigade Combat Team. The unit it was activated from, the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division had recently completed its own tour of duty in Iraq. Four soldiers of the brigade faced trial in the apparent abuse of Iraqi detainees, they were redesignated the 172nd along with the rest of the brigade. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080731/ap_on_re_mi_ea/germany_us_iraq_deaths US troops charged in Iraq deaths to face tribunal] , David Rising, "Associated Press". Retrieved 08-13-2008.] The 172nd Infantry Brigade was activated with the following unit redesignations: [http://www.hqusareur.army.mil/news/releases/2008-03-06_02_RELEASE20080202%20_2_.pdf Army Announces Next Steps in USAREUR Transformation] , US Army Europs Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved 06-27-2008]
* Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 172nd Infantry Brigade (formed from HHC, 2-1 ID)
* 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry (reflagged from 1-26 Infantry)
* 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry (reflagged from 1-18 Infantry)
* 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor (reflagged from 1-77 Armor)
* Troop E, 5th Cavalry (reflagged from Troop E, 4th Cavalry)
* 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery (reflagged from 1-7 Field Artillery)
* 172nd Support Battalion (reflagged from 299th Support Battalion)
* 57th Signal Company, 9th Engineer Battalion and 504th Military Intelligence Company remain attached to 172nd but were not reflagged. When the brigade converts to a modular design, the Brigade Special Troops Battalion will have organic, unnumbered signal, engineer and military intelligence companies.

Since its activation, the brigade has been in the process of moving its components from Schweinfurt to Grafenwoehr, Germany, as part of the Grow the Army plan. [ [http://www.2bct.1id.army.mil/Primary%20Sites/messages/09JAN08_1630.jpgOfficial 2BCT Message] , United States Army. Retrieved 08-10-2008.] Simultaneously, the brigade is converting to a modular structure and will become a Brigade Combat Team upon completion. [ [http://www.2bct.1id.army.mil/Primary%20Sites/index.htm Dagger 6 Note 03-08] , COL Jeffry Sinclair, United States Army. Retrieved 08-10-2008.] In May 2008, the brigade was alerted that it would be returning to Iraq in the fall of that year. [http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/05/army_deployments_051908w/ 25,000 headed to war later this year] , Michelle Tan, "Army Times" News. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] [ [http://www.army.mil/-news/2008/05/20/9271-usareur-unit-tapped-for-deployment-to-iraq/ USAREUR unit tapped for deployment to Iraq] , Seventh Army Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] The deployment will last 12 months, and will start after the unit's 12 month out-of-action cycle ends on November 2008. [ [http://www.172infantry.army.mil/Blackhawk6Notes/BlackHawk6Notes_2008-08.pdf Blackhawk 6 Note 08-08] , COL Jeffry Sinclair, United States Army. Retrieved 06-28-2008.] [ [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08141/883224-84.stm W.Pa. Guard brigade headed for Iraq] Nancy A. Youssef, "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Retrieved 08-14-2008.] This will be the brigade's third tour to Iraq, [ [http://democrats.senate.gov/journal/entry.cfm?id=298057 With Troops Strained from Multiple Extended Deployments, They Deserve a GI Bill Worthy of Their Sacrifice] , "Democratic Party" Caucus Senate Journal. Retrieved 08-13-2008.] as it completed a tour of duty in Iraq shortly before being redesignated from the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. The brigade has been training for its deployment to the country since receiving orders for deployment. German military officers have been training with the brigade during this preparation. [ [http://www.army.mil/-images/2008/07/22/19677/ Army.mil Image] , United States Army Homepage. Retrieved 08-10-2008.] The soldiers of the brigade are part of a 40,000-soldier troop rotation into Iraq and Afghanistan, intended to maintain previous troop levels in both countries until late 2009. [ [http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/world/iraq/bal-te.troops20may20,0,6573372.story 40,000 troops told of fall deployment] , David Wood, "Baltimore Sun". Retrieved 08-13-2008.] The unit is also scheduled to be relocated to Fort Bliss, Texas in 2012.

Honors

Unit decorations

Campaign streamers

References

External links

* [http://www.2bct.1id.army.mil/Primary%20Sites/index.htm 172nd Infantry Brigade Homepage]
* [http://www.172infantry.army.mil/#history 172nd Infantry.army.mil]


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