After five-month delay, Dagger Brigade arrives in Iraq
It may have been months later than planned, but the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team has finally made it to Baghdad.
The unit, known as the Dagger Brigade, is taking over U.S. operations in Baghdad from its fellow Germany-based 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division.
The move was five months in the making. In May, the 1st ID soldiers were told their deployment to Iraq was being delayed indefinitely because military leaders had concluded that the conditions on the ground had improved.
The 2nd BCT finally got the call to head downrange in August, about the same time 2,000 1st AD soldiers were sent to the Iraqi capital to take part in the second phase of an operation to secure Baghdad from violence.
The Dagger Brigade first moved into Kuwait, where it was training and fulfilling the role of Theater Reserve Brigade, said Master Sgt. Eric Lobsinger, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Multi-National Division-Baghdad public affairs office.
Making the move into Iraq during the second and third weeks in October, the Dagger Brigade was “piecemealed out where it was needed, a company going here, a company going there,” said Maj. Wayne Marotto, public affairs officer, 1st Armored Division.
One of those units, the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, has already been hit hard by the move into Iraq. The 1-26 moved into Baghdad before the majority of the brigade, and has lost six soldiers since the beginning of September. The unit has a memorial scheduled Thursday in Schweinfurt for Sgt. Willsun M. Mock, who was killed by a roadside bomb on Oct. 22.
But leaders are confident that the Dagger Brigade is ready for its new duties.
“The Dagger Brigade is the finest trained organization I have ever been apart of. We are represented by well-trained warriors and leaders,” Col. J. B. Burton, commander, 2nd BCT, said in a news release. “We are well equipped and competent to complete the mission.”
That mission will include transition training of Iraqi Security Forces, providing security in their region and performing other missions as needed, much as 1st Armored Division’s “Iron Brigade,” stationed in Baumholder, Germany, did before them, Marotto said.
“Our maintaining the relationship that 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, has established is important,” explained Burton. “(We must) continue to show pride, discipline and dignity … in everything we do as a brigade combat team.”
More than 100 1st AD soldiers have already returned to Germany, and Marotto said that “within the next couple of weeks, more and more will be coming back.”