3rd Brigade, 1st ID ends with final casing of colors

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 4, 2006

VILSECK, Germany — The 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division cased its colors Wednesday but will reactivate as a light infantry brigade combat team at Fort Knox, Ky., said Maj. Gen. Kenneth W. Hunzeker.

The 1st ID commander announced the plans to several hundred 3rd Brigade soldiers gathered for the inactivation ceremony. That ended a decade-long mission in Germany that included deployments to Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq.

Several battalions assigned to 3rd Brigade also inactivated Wednesday including: the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment; the 201st Forward Support Battalion; 1st Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment; and 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment.

Hunzeker said the 2-2 and the 201st would follow the 3rd Brigade to Fort Knox while the 1-63 would join 1st ID’s 1st Brigade Combat Team at Fort Riley, Kan.

There are no immediate plans to reactivate 2-63, said the 3rd Brigade commander, Lt. Col. Michael A. Todd.

Capt. Aaron Lummer, 3rd Brigade personnel officer, said the brigade would convert from an armored brigade with two tank battalions and a heavy infantry battalion to a unit with three light infantry battalions.

The 2-2 will swap its Bradley fighting vehicles for Humvees and be joined by two more light infantry battalions within the brigade. The extra light infantry battalions had yet to be announced, but it was likely that two units with historical ties to 1st ID would be reactivated, he said.

Hunzeker told the 3rd Brigade soldiers that since returning from a yearlong deployment to Iraq last March, they had worked hard to reduce forces, prepare to move and be ready to receive the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment, which begins arriving in Vilseck this month.

About 300 3rd Brigade soldiers will stay at Vilseck until September to help the new arrivals from 2nd Cavalry, Lummer said.

Hunzeker said the 3rd Brigade turned in 30,000 pieces of equipment and helped more than 2,500 soldiers and their families through reassignment.

“This brigade has been the vanguard for the rest of the U.S. Army in Europe with regards to drawing down and accepting a change of mission. The lessons learned that you continue to provide the rest of the force will ensure that subsequent units will conduct even smoother transitions,” he said, referring to plans to move members of both the 1st ID and the 1st Armored Division to the U.S. over the next few years.

Lummer, 27, of Camp Point, Ill., said he is headed to the Infantry Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning, Ga., after five years at Vilseck.

The highlights of his time here included missions to Kosovo where he got to interact with Kosovo civilians as a deputy camp mayor, and to Iraq where he worked with Iraqi soldiers as 2-2’s personnel officer.

Another 3rd Brigade soldier at the inactivation ceremony — Sgt. Jeffrey Clemins, 30, of San Diego — said he served as a mechanic with 1st Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment at Vilseck for four years.

Clemins said he was one of 15 3rd Brigade soldiers who would move to 2nd Cav.

“I’m staying on with the Strykers. I have never worked on a Stryker but I’m going to learn now,” he said.

Lt. Col. Michael A. Todd, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory L. Baugh case the brigade colors at Vilseck on Wednesday. The unit’s colors flew for the last time at Vilseck on Wednesday. The brigade is inactivating, but will reactivate as a light brigade combat team in Fort Knox, Ky.

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