Putting their ‘dukes’ up:
Brigade set for Afghanistan deployment
The Army is known for its military traditions and pageantry.
Another military tradition was conducted Dec. 9 as 3,444 soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, otherwise known as the “Duke Brigade,” held their deployment ceremony.
The brigade consists of six separate units, including the Brandenburg-adopted 1-6 Field Artillery Battalion.
Brigade soldiers are scheduled to deploy in early winter to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their mission will be to assist Afghan national security forces in protecting the Afghan people, neutralize the insurgency, and set the conditions necessary for successful transition of regional control to the Afghan government.
“The Army is the most potent lethal force in America,” said Lt. Gen. and Commanding Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley in his remarks to the soldiers during the sunlit – but cold – ceremony at the Brooks Field Court of Honor.
“This ceremony will mark their year-long deployment to Afghanistan, where they’ll participate in combat operatons in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and serve with the Afghan national security forces,” he said.
Freakley said the brigade has a long history of service, dating back to its creation on May 24, 1917.
The unit fought in both world wars and also proceeded to Vietnam where it saw six years of combat, earning 13 streamers and citations for its actions.
After Vietnam, the unit moved to its new home station in Germany, where it remained until it was deployed to Saudi Arabia to participate in the defense of that country and in the liberation and defense of the Kuwaiti Campaigns. They also deployed to Bosnia for Operation Joint Guard; served in the Balkans and Kosovo, and Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
For its distinguished service, the brigade earned the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Valorous Unit Award.
“These soldiers have a clear mission focus and they are tougher, but they are facing a tough enemy,” Freakley said.
“We know that you’re ready to win and that you’ll prevail and our family members will remain vigilant until you come home,” he said. “You are soldiers of the Duke Brigade and may God bless you and your families.”
One person who has lived through three previous deployments is Carolyn Tagalicud, the wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Walter Tagalicud of the 2-2 Infantry.
“Each of us deal with it a different way. I deal with it by not watching any news reports during the entire time he’s gone,” she said. “My televison news viewing decreases sharply.”
Her husband’s first deployment lasted 15 months and was attached to a training exercise, making it longer, she said.
“It’s going to be a rougher time now,” she admitted. “The kids are grown and it’s going to be getting a little lonely, but all you can do is the best you can.”
Since arriving at Fort Knox, soldiers have conducted training designed to prepare them for the rigors of combat, said Lt. Col. Alan Streeter, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment.
“The training program was exactly what they needed,” he said. “It was well designed. They’ve been through some tough training.”
In just over a year, the brigade has built their personnel strength to over 3,500 soldiers, organized and trained as combat-ready battalions to combat proficiency and integrated 9,000 separate types of military equipment.
The support of the community played a large part in making the deployment ceremony a success, Streeter said. He hoped they would continue to support the brigade once they deployed.
“We’re ready to go,” said 3rd Brigade Combat team Commander and Col. Christopher Toner. “We are at that stage now.
They know the terrain and the culture they are stepping into, and the Army has been mindful to incorporate linguistics and cultural training into their overall preparedness so they can effectively communicate and interact with the Afghan people.”
“These guys and gals are ready to go,” he summarized.
Along with the ceremony, military displays featuring the new version of the Army’s night vision goggles, which will be used for the first time, and various weapons systems – including Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters – were featured.
The units deploying include:
• 2-2 Infantry Battalion.
• 6-4 Cavalry Squadron.
• 1-6 Field Artillery.
• 3-1 Special Troop Battalion.
• 201st Brigade Support Battalion, and
• 1-26 Infantry Battalion.