New Long Knives wear hearts on sleeves: First Team unit lives the legend in Louisiana swamps
March 20, 2008
FORT POLK, La. - The newest brigade in the 1st Cavalry Division now carries the traditions dating back from the mid-1800's, through the jungles of Vietnam and the urban warfare of Iraq on their sleeves.
First Team's 4th Brigade "Long Knives" Combat Team also carries the history that includes the unit's battles in support of Task Force Eagle in Bosnia to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"We're big men, doing big things," said Pfc. John Nast, a forward observer in the brigade headquarters. "We're just living the legend."
They are now living that legend in Fort Polk, La., at the Joint Readiness Training Center after being re-flagged from the 4th Inf. Div. to the 1st Cav. Div. - a unit known for wearing the traditional black Cavalry hat, a Stetson, along with the 1st Cav.'s shoulder sleeve insignia.
Despite the uniform change, the brigade's mission for the scheduled deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom has not changed.
"It's the same unit, but we wear a different patch now," said Sgt. Will Daniels, a forward observer in the brigade's personal security detachment.
Most of the Soldiers in the newly re-flagged Long Knife Brigade completed a training rotation at Fort Irwin's National Training Center in November, but a third of the Soldiers currently in the brigade entered the unit after that training rotation. Now every Soldier will be receiving additional training.
"The training at the JRTC is mentally preparing me for what will happen in Iraq," said Pfc. Jennifer Ramage, a human resources specialist in the 4th Special Troops Battalion headquarters. "This is more about what we're going to do in Iraq."
"I think it's kind of cool that I get to wear the 1st Cav. patch," Ramage continued. "One of my in-laws wore this patch in 1999, and said they would give me one of theirs to wear."
"It's a great honor to be a part of two incredible units with great histories," said Pfc. Oliver Park, a combat medic in the brigade headquarters troop.
As the Soldiers now sport one of the Army's most recognizable unit patches, they know the world is still watching them. The 4th Brigade will train at Ft Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center until April 3 to prepare for their scheduled deployment to Iraq in June.