Over the last decade, the Spartans of 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Drum, N.Y., and the Patriots of 4th Brigade Combat Team at Fort Polk, La., served separately as part of the 10th Mountain Division (LI). They share a legacy of being born in response to the nation's global war on terrorism.
Although the Spartans have completed their service at Fort Drum, the 3rd BCT name and legacy will join with and live on through the Patriots at Fort Polk.
As the Soldiers prepare to write the next pages of their history as the Patriots of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, we pause to remember the service that both brigades have contributed to the Army and the nation.
3rd Brigade Combat Team Spartans
After nearly 10 years of history-making service, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), was inactivated during a ceremony Aug. 14 on Sexton Field at Fort Drum.
The six subordinate battalions were first brought together in September 2004 with a specific mission: to support Operation Enduring Freedom, which they would go on to do with four deployments to Afghanistan that would ultimately play a significant part in helping its people chart a course for a brighter future.
The 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment; 4th Battalion, 25th Artillery Regiment; 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment; 710th Brigade Support Battalion; and 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion were brought together to form the Spartans of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI). They served in both the Regional Command East and the Regional Command South areas of responsibility, an area of Afghanistan encompassing roughly 124,000 square miles.
They first deployed to Afghanistan in the winter of 2006, in support of OEF VII and VIII, where they hit the ground running, taking on the Taliban in the mountainous terrain of the Afghan- Pakistani border. Through their efforts, they broke the hold the enemy had on the Afghan people.
During this deployment, Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, earned the Medal of Honor while protecting his Soldiers from an overwhelming Taliban attack on his unit's position.
When the Spartan Brigade redeployed to Fort Drum after 16 grueling months, their heroic efforts helped them forge a lasting relationship with the Afghan people, who came to call them "the Tribe of the Crossed Swords."
In January 2009, the Spartan Brigade deployed again to Afghan-istan, returning to RC-East, where they were tasked with providing security for the Logar and Wardak provinces as well as the southern entrance to the country's capital. Through their counterinsurgency operations, they eliminated the Taliban's pressure on Kabul and established effective security in both provinces.
This deployment resulted in another Spartan Brigade Soldier, Capt. William D. Swenson, being awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant actions during an intense, six-hour-long battle with insurgents.
The Spartan Brigade once again found itself being called upon to deploy to Afghanistan in March 2011 when they were sent to Kandahar Province -- birthplace of the Taliban -- in the RC-East area of responsibility.
Spartan Soldiers set about conducting lethal and nonlethal missions to break the insurgents' grip on the province. The missions maintained continuous pressure on the enemy, eventually driving them out of their place of inception. In doing so, the Spartan Brigade advanced farther south than any of the previous coalition forces before their arrival.
Spartan Soldiers also established themselves as a force for positive change by opening 22 schools and three medical clinics, as well as securing and refurbishing more than 50 kilometers of Highway 1, the national highway for southern Afghanistan.
In October 2013, the Spartan Brigade embarked on its final deployment to Afghanistan. The 3rd BCT deployed once again to RC-East, but this time, as a newly configured security force advise and assist brigade.
As an SFAAB, the Spartans deployed with fewer personnel and made use of several, highly specialized security force advise and assist teams, or SFAATs. Although they deployed as a smaller contingent, the Spartans assumed responsibility for most of the provinces in the region -- among them Wardak, Logar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktia and Paktika -- thus relieving a division-size element. Once again, the Spartan Brigade was more than up to the challenge.
The Spartans partnered with the Afghan National Army's 203rd Corps, sharing their expertise, helping them to grow their capabilities as they continue to assume responsibility for the security of their nation and its people. Through the Spartans' leadership and mentoring skills, the Afghans were able to hold a grand council of leaders as well as the Ghazni Islamic festival, which was attended by dignitaries and followers from around the world.
The brigade also guided the Afghan security forces as they conducted their national presidential election, along with the ensuing run-off election. Attempts made by what remained of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network terrorists to disrupt the elections were unsuccessful, a testament to what the Spartan Brigade had accomplished during their four deployments.
With their departure from Af-ghanistan in July, the brigade had achieved what no other unit had been able to accomplish to date -- defeating the Taliban insurgency and leading the Afghan security forces to victory in the southeast region of their country.
The Spartan Brigade leaves behind a legacy of service and sacrifice that will be remembered by generations of people both here and abroad. The Soldiers accomplished every mission asked of them and more, regardless of the hardships or sacrifices it demanded.
The Spartans' motto of "With your shield or on it" was one they derived from their namesakes, the ancient warriors of Sparta. It meant Soldiers coming back from battle had only two ways to do so with their honor intact: either on their feet with their shield in hand or upon their shield, as a casualty. The legacy the Spartan Brigade leaves behind clearly shows they have more than lived up to their motto, "With your shield or on it."
4th Brigade Combat Team Patriots
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), including its five battalions and one squadron, officially stood up as a brigade during an activation ceremony Jan. 19, 2005, on Honor Field at Fort Polk, La. Then-Maj. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commanding general, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum, N.Y., served as the reviewing officer for the ceremony. Austin unveiled the battalion and squadron flags and handed over the brigade colors to Col. A. Kent Schweikert.
The 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment; 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment; 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment; 94th Brigade Support Battalion; and 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion were brought together to form the Patriots of the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
At its inception, the brigade included just a few hundred Soldiers. However, the brigade's leadership immediately set to work to rapidly build combat power and capabilities in anticipation of deploying to support the global war on terrorism.
Schweikert's vision for 4th BCT included establishing an exceptionally well-trained, combat-ready, capability-based, adaptive combined-arms brigade that consistently fosters and achieves mission excellence with an objective of being a trained and ready combat team that can rapidly deploy, conduct operations and win. The initial priority for the brigade was to build combat power with immediate focus in three key areas: integrating leaders and Soldiers, obtaining needed equipment and establishing property accountability.
In the midst of preparing for deployment, elements across the brigade provided disaster response and relief within Louisiana to help mitigate the devastating effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita during the fall of 2005. The brigade deployed more than 300 Soldiers to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and supported local relief-and-recovery efforts in Fort Polk communities following Hurricane Rita.
Since January 2006, the brigade has deployed more than 6,000 Soldiers to the front lines of freedom. Throughout 2006 and 2007, several formations within the brigade deployed and operated in Afghan-istan. The brigade command and headquarters established the first U.S. national command element in Kandahar to facilitate the transfer of authority of combat operations to NATO-led coalition allies.
In May 2007, 4th BCT received orders to prepare for a deployment to Iraq. In November, the Patriots embarked on what would become a 14-month deployment. The brigade operated from two forward operating bases and 22 joint security stations and combat outposts. Task Force Patriot assumed responsibility for eastern Baghdad -- a heavily urbanized area encompassing 80 square miles and more than 2 million citizens.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team deployed to eastern Afghanistan's Logar and Wardak provinces in October 2010. Their mission was to conduct population-centric, combined-action counterinsurgency operations, building Afghan National Security Force capability and enhancing the effectiveness of provincial governments to create a more stable environment for transition and to defeat insurgency.
Task Force Patriot once again deployed to Afghanistan in July 2013 when it assumed responsibility for the Train, Advise and Assist mission for the seven provinces of Regional Command - East, north of Kabul from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. Task Force Patriot saw the ANSF defeat the enemies of Afghanistan during the first fighting season where they were entirely in the lead to secure the people of Afghanistan.
After the fighting season, Soldiers of Task Force Patriot focused on building sustainable systems in the ANSF that would allow them to be a professional force that is capable of supplying, training and maintaining itself with Afghan processes and solutions.
The brigade's contributions at home and around the world exemplify the patriotism and dedication of the men and women who wear the uniform and bear the 10th Mountain Division Patch. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) is equipped, trained and prepared for upcoming combat operations, as their motto exemplifies the fact that this unit was "Forged for War."
History important to future fighting force
As 10th Mountain Division (LI) brigades, the 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Teams have gone through changes as part of the Army's postwar drawdown. Some may think the history that was forged through war will stay in the mountains of Afghanistan or throughout the cities of Iraq.
Yet, what will actually happen is the opposite. The lineage and honors will continue to live on through the Soldiers who served in those storied regiments, as well as the Family Members and friends who supported their Soldiers when they were in far-off lands.
Both the 3rd and 4th BCTs were formed more than a decade ago as rapid-deployment forces to fight in the global war on terrorism, and both have served the division and the country with distinction and honor. Their histories were hard-earned through blood, sweat and tears, and we will continue to honor their Soldiers' sacrifices. Both have deployed multiple times in the global war on terrorism during the last 10 years.
Throughout both southern and eastern provinces such as Nuristan, Kunar, Wardak, Logar, Khost and Paktika, the Afghans would refer to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team Spartans as the "Tribe with the Crossed Swords." The Spartans would lose nearly 100 of its Soldiers.
In their final deployment as a Train, Advise, Assist Command-Southeast unit, the Spartans helped Afghan soldiers in the Afghan National Security Forces.
Upon its return from Afghan-istan last year, 3rd BCT was inactivated, but the unit designation will continue to live on through the 4th BCT "Patriots."
The Patriots, with their appropriate motto, "Forged for War," deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Through parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan, it earned its place in 10th Mountain Division history through both tough fighting and its ability to train the ANSF. Through its deployment to eastern Baghdad, Iraq, the Patriots distinguished themselves through tough house-to-house fighting during the Iraq surge.
In their last deployment, the Patriots were a part of the TAAC-Northeast in areas of Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Nuristan, Ka-pisa, Parwan and Panjshir pro-vinces. The Soldiers were there to continue to provide mentorship to the ANSF.
Ninety percent of the former Spartan Soldiers have found new homes at other brigades throughout the division. At Fort Drum, the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, was realigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, and 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment to 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Elements of the 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, and 710th Bri-gade Support Battalion were given to 1st BCT and 2nd BCT.
Meanwhile, the 1st BCT's 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment has been reflagged as 3rd Squad-ron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, and the former 4th BCT's 94th Brigade Support Battalion has been reflagged as 710th BSB.
As the newly named 3rd BCT Patriots go forth into a future with new global threats to national security, its newest members, those who may not have known either history, will not only inherit the rich lineage that both units have fought to write, but will write their own passages.
3Rd BCT, 4th BCT and 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs