Storied 'Currahees' prepare to inactivate
May 1, 2014
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (May 1, 2014) -- Ever since the 506th Infantry Regiment reactivated, Sept. 15, 2005, providing regimental designation for the newly established 4th Brigade Combat team "Currahee," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the brigade's Soldiers have lived up to the Currahee name.
In the brigade's relatively short history, it has deployed to combat four times. First to Iraq for a year, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005-2007, then three tours to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 2008-2009, 2010-2011 and 2013-2014.
As a close to this brief chapter, the Soldiers with the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion; the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment; the 801st Brigade Support Battalion; the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment; and the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); cased their colors during an inactivation ceremony, April 25, here.
As part of the BCT 2020 model, the U.S. Army made the decision to inactivate 10 brigade combat teams, or BCTs, one of those being the 4th BCT.
"All of the other nine brigades have reputations, unit history and pride, just as much as we do, although ours might be just a little bit more," said Lt. Col Lance Oskey, deputy commanding officer of the 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "We have the better part of a 3,500-man organization that is going through, in most cases, normal reassignment processes."
Being reassigned to a new unit is commonplace for any active-duty Soldier; but for the Currahees it is a bittersweet event, moving forward from great memories.
"For the past 28 months, I have been granted the honor and privilege to command some of America's finest and it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Lt. Col. Gavin A. Lawrence, commander of 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "This Friday, the "Maintainer" colors will fly one last time before they are cased for the foreseeable future and I cannot think of a better group of Soldiers to write the last chapter in this battalion's great lineage and history."
While the 801st Battalion is casing its colors, two of the Currahee battalions will realign within the 101st Abn. Div.
"One of the silver linings in this whole process is that we were able to maintain the Currahees, one of the first members of the 101st," said Oskey. "Their [the 506th Infantry Regiment] colors will remain in active duty here at Fort Campbell."
"The 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion will realign with 1st Brigade and 3rd Brigade," continued Oskey. "So their colors, battalion commanders, battalion formations, unit history and unit name Currahee will continue to exist here in the 101st."
Ever since World War II, the 506th has earned their reputation as a fit, disciplined and tactically proficient infantry. However, an infantry unit is only as good as the support it receives.
"For almost 72 years, the 801st has prided itself in providing responsive sustainment support to our nation's warfighters," said Lawrence. "From the beaches of Normandy, to the jungles of Vietnam, to the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq, on to the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, when asked, the 801st has answered our nation's call."
"We have met the missions that have been assigned to us and now we are meeting the last mission," said Oskey. "Which is, in good order and discipline, to conduct this inactivation process."