By Sgt. Liane HatchNovember 25, 2019
Mere hours after arriving back in the United States themselves, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division leaders Col. Grant S. Fawcett and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian D. Haydt uncased the "Iron Brigade" colors at Fort Carson's William "Bill Reed Special Event Center on Wednesday, November 20, marking the official end of the unit's 9-month rotation to Kuwait, and signifying the return of the 3ABCT command to Fort Carson.
The ceremony also celebrated the return of approximately 300 more Soldiers from the region - the last large bulk of Iron Brigade Soldiers redeploying to Fort Carson.
The brigade began sending Soldiers to Camp Buehring, Kuwait in February 2019, and in March, former commander Col. Michael J. Simmering assumed authority of the armored brigade combat team mission as part of Task Force Spartan. Soldiers began redeploying to Fort Carson in early October.
Though the brigade was headquartered in Kuwait, Soldiers from the 3ABCT supported multiple missions in 23 locations across eight countries, and traveled on temporary duty outside the area of operation in order to compete in Army-wide competitions and qualifications. From February to November, more than 4,000 "Iron Brigade" Soldiers supported the Task Force Spartan mission to deter aggression and reassure regional allies.
"We're very proud of the work the 'Iron Brigade' has done in support of Operation Spartan Shield," said Fawcett. "Our job over there was really to ensure stability and to deter aggression there in the Middle East," he said. "We were in a lot of countries all over the Middle East."
During the brigade's transfer of authority to the North Carolina National Guard's 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, Maj. Gen. Gordon L. Ellis, commander of Task Force Spartan and the commanding general of the Indiana National Guard's 38th Infantry Division, lauded the 3ABCT's hard work and dedication to the mission over the past nine months.
"To the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, in everything you were asked to do, you executed with strength, dedication and honor," said Ellis. "As you depart, know that we are proud of you and we appreciate your service, and although you leave, you will always be in our thoughts," he said.
During their time in the region, "Iron Brigade" Soldiers conducted multiple iterations of gunnery qualifications, hosted Expert Infantryman Badge testing, qualified Soldiers as "spur holders" and Excellence in Armor recipients, and participated as the main ground element in the U.S. Army Central Command's largest multinational exercise, Eager Lion, along with participants from 29 other nations.
"These Soldiers have worked hard and it's a great feeling to be coming back to Colorado. We're going to have pretty much the entire brigade back home in time for Thanksgiving, with only a few still back in country, but we'll have the entire brigade back for Christmas. It's a fantastic time to be redeploying," Fawcett said.
During the redeployment and uncasing ceremony, 4th Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, thanked the Soldiers and the Family Members who supported them.
"To the Soldiers of the Iron Brigade, thank you for your service and sacrifice over the past nine months," he said. "We look forward to having you back home at the Mountain Post and living a good life with you."