By Lt. Col. Cindi KingNovember 1, 2019
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION -- "We have been training for this mission and we are ready to execute it," said Army Col. Robert Bumgardner, commander of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard.
The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, nicknamed Old Hickory, recently provided M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to support Operation Inherent Resolve and the coalition's mission to protect critical infrastructure against ISIS.
The unit was mobilized to support the 38th Infantry Division's Task Force Spartan in August 2019, training at Fort Bliss, Texas, before arriving in Kuwait. Their mission in Operation Spartan Shield is part of a rotational armored brigade combat team to help partnered nations train and provide stability in the region.
"We are here as American Soldiers, one team, to do what our nation needs us to do," said Bumgardner. "We didn't come here to sit at watch. We came here to be part of the fight. They needed heavy vehicles to reassure our friends and deter our foes, so that is where we are."
Old Hickory is designed to be self-sufficient on the battlefield, with more than 4,000 Soldiers headquartered in National Guard armories across North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. Its major equipment includes the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the 155-Millimeter Self-Propelled Paladin Howitzer.
Recent combat deployments are nothing new to Old Hickory, with this being the third deployment as an entire brigade since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Their previous deployments were in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq in 2004 and 2009.
"We have a true combined arms force on the ground in support of direct operations," said Bumgardner. We as a National Guard ABCT are part of the Army's operational force and we are answering that call."
"Adding mechanized forces provides infantry, maneuverability, and firepower. All Coalition military operations are de-conflicted with other forces operating in the region, through pre-existing channels and interlocutors in order to reduce the risk of interference, miscalculation, or unintended escalation of military operations," said Army Col. Myles B. Caggins III, coalition military spokesman.
Old Hickory is replacing the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, which assumed authority of the armored brigade combat team mission in Kuwait in March 2019.