Pfc. Jonathon Carter, a tanker assigned to Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, serves as gunner during a raid on simulated Iraqi criminals during their Joint Readiness Training Center rotation in Fort Polk, La., March 29.

FORT HOOD, Texas - The 1st Cavalry Division's newest unit just returned home from the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., and is preparing for its upcoming summer deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 4th Brigade Combat Team, also called the Long Knife Brigade, spent almost a month at Louisiana's light infantry training center learning how to operate as small teams.

"The training at JRTC was spectacular and we had a great rotation," said Col. Philip Battaglia, the 4th BCT commander. "Overall, it was a magnificent rotation. The most critical part was that the new Soldiers learned to operate as a team."

The Long Knife Brigade is putting the final touches on its deployment schedule integrating new equipment and preparing their Soldiers for the combat zone.

The unit is scheduled to receive new vehicles and equipment, including the mine resistant ambush protected vehicles in addition to new weapons for individual Soldiers.

"We will field the MRAP during our deployment," Battaglia added. "We're also preparing to conduct M-4 (carbine) fielding. The M-4 is a shorter weapon that is more (compatible for) military operations in urban terrain environments."

Conversely, the Long Knives are scheduled to transfer unarmored vehicles and older equipment to Fort Hood units.

The month-long training rotation at Fort Polk, La., allowed Long Knife Soldiers to operate in a tactical environment with the team they will fight alongside with in Iraq.

April will be a busy month as the brigade gets closer to their deployment. However, Battaglia stressed the importance of providing Soldiers with downtime with their families prior to departing.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16