In a ceremony near the Battalion Headquarters Capt. Nathaniel Drake and 1st Sgt. Aaron Russell activated Charlie Company, a rifle company with pathfinder capabilities. At the same time Capt. Andrew Tresch and 1st Sgt. Neil Lamont uncased the colors of Easy Company, a forward support company.
"We will have the ability to jump in and certify a landing zone or drop zone for future operations," Capt. Drake said of his new command. "You can then bring in additional personnel and supplies, it is an important capability in the Army and in the training of rotational units."
A late summer afternoon in Louisiana is appropriate for a ceremony steeped in tradition for a unit that can trace its origins to the original Airborne Infantry with the first operations in North Africa during World War II.
"We are a forward support company providing the logistical support and reception of personnel that come in and support the battalion during the rotation," Capt. Tresch remarked when asked about Easy Company. "This is the only forward support company actually assigned to an Infantry Battalion."
Today the mission of 1-509 is the permanent opposing force at the Joint Readiness Training Center. As the opposing force, the Geronimos play the role of enemy forces to provide training and situations to light infantry and special operation forces while operating in combat conditions.
"This will give us the ability to replicate a brigade size element during the training rotations here at the Joint Readiness Training Center," Maj. Brant Auge, Battalion Operations Officer explained. "This matches the Geronimo's up with the way the Army is organized, a standard infantry battalion organization."
"This has been a long process, a lot of work by a lot of people to make this happen," Lt. Col. Matthew Tackett, Commander 1-509 Infantry said. "This expands the battalion to three rifle companies, our headquarters will expand to a reconnaissance and mortar company but also have the ability to bring engineers and air defense artillery to the fight and a forward support company to support the battalion but better replicate the logistical warfighting function for the rotational unit to train against."
Realistic, rigorous, and relevant are the watchwords for the training at the JRTC.
"Charlie Company will return to give us an added rifle company," Maj. Auge continued in explaining the changes. "Easy Company will be our dedicated support company that will give the training units a specific organization to target as they would in a real situation."