Soldiers from Zone 1, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, visit Observation Point 12 on Jan. 22 with their Afghan counterparts from the Afghan Border Police.

Deployed in late 2012, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, began the year with nearly half the brigade in eastern Afghanistan, while the greater part of the brigade remained at Fort Campbell.

In January, Combined Team Bastogne Soldiers occupied 13 bases throughout Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, while the rear detachment began executing a training program to ensure a capable, ready reserve was prepared to deploy in support of operations downrange.

Combined Team Bastogne, numbering more than 1,900 Soldiers, was tasked with advising and assisting two brigades of Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan National Civil Order Police, Afghan Border Police and a variety of other agencies that make up the Afghan National Security Force.

The partnership between CT Bastogne and ANSF units was immediately strengthened as ANSF units were able to plan and execute an intricate resupply mission into the Pech River valley in Kunar province, Afghanistan.

With assistance from CT Bastogne, the ANSF not only conducted resupply missions in the Pech River valley, but also began to defend the region against insurgents. The ANSF ability to effectively defend the region against insurgents and conduct numerous resupply operations was just the beginning.

As the deployment progressed, ANSF units continued to develop with CT Bastogne in support. Each month saw CT Bastogne take a less-active role in operations in the region as ANSF executed a majority of the combat operations with limited Coalition involvement.

Nearing redeployment, CT Bastogne would witness the Afghan National Army plan, facilitate and execute the largest Afghan Air Assault mission in history into the Hezerak district of Nangarhar province.

The mission was conducted using only Afghan army and air force assets. The successful Air Assault mission was a significant milestone for the ANSF and validated the effectiveness of the Bastogne advisory mission.

Throughout the deployment, Bastogne Soldiers also assisted in the downsizing of the Coalition footprint in Afghanistan. Within the region, CT Bastogne witnessed the final rotation of Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces.

Combined Team Bastogne also successfully closed or transferred 10 of 13 U.S. Forward Operating Bases and Combat Outposts to the ANA and retrograded more than 4,000 20-foot equivalent-units out of Afghanistan.

By July, the brigade began redeploying from Afghanistan with the final main body returning to Fort Campbell in August.

Just as the brigade had witnessed a significant transition within the ANSF, the brigade itself would soon be facing its own series of transitions.

Following reintegration training and block leave, the brigade conducted several changes of commands and changes of responsibilities to welcome new leaders.

Second Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 426th Brigade Support Battalion, and 1st Special Troops Battalion all saw changes in unit leadership.

Colonel Robert Campbell and Command Sgt. Major William Forro became the new command team of the brigade in early October.

The transition occurred as a series of significant changes began to take place in the brigade to enhance its combat effectiveness.

As part of the Army's reorganization of units, 101st Abn. Div. and 1st BCT welcomed the 326th Engineer Battalion back into the division during a repatching ceremony. The engineer battalion will serve as a Brigade Engineer Battalion.

October also marked a period where Bastogne leadership invested a great amount of time on leader/Soldier development and enhancing individual skills.

This allowed Bastogne Soldiers to become proficient in their individual skills and compete in events such as Expert Infantryman Badge and the Expert Field Medical Badge testing, while others attended Air Assault School, Bastogne Key Leader University and other professional development programs.

Bastogne ended 2013 by successfully completing individual training requirements, promoting Family readiness programs and connecting with strategic partners in the greater Fort Campbell area.

The new year will find Bastogne shifting its training focus to collective training at the team and squad level, implementing Capability Set-2014 and reorganizing the brigade footprint.

Collective training at team and squad levels will focus on offensive, defensive and stability operations while simultaneously implementing CS-14, which will significantly improve the communication and network capabilities of the brigade.

The training required to effectively upgrade, properly utilize and successfully integrate communications platforms associated with CS-14 will be a significant focus for the brigade all while reorganizing its force structure.

Creative and innovative training conducted during 2014 will culminate with Bastogne's Mission Readiness Exercise and late summer rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La.

The brigade's keys to success for 2014 are the abilities to execute an intense training plan, implement CS-14 and effectively reorganize 1st BCT while maintaining an appropriate balance between work and Family for the Bastogne Soldiers.

Page last updated Tue January 7th, 2014 at 00:00