Army’s newest brigade of combat advisers activated in Texas at Fort Hood
By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 16, 2019
AUSTIN, Texas — A third brigade tasked with training forces in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan to provide better security in those nations was activated Tuesday during a ceremony at Fort Hood, Texas.
It is the third unit activated of five Security Force Assistance Brigades that the Army announced last year it would create. Though the concept is only a little more than a year old, service officials have credited the new brigades as offering better advisers to partner nations and allowing traditional brigade combat teams to concentrate on readiness.
The 3rd SFAB has about 820 soldiers who have been specially selected, trained and equipped as professional combat advisers to work with foreign security forces, according to a statement from the unit. The brigades are training foreign forces to fight common enemies, not specifically terrorism, though the deployments of the first two SFABs have been to help forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The brigade represents a permanent solution to our force structure to provide a professional advising force to improve the effectiveness of our partners and achieve regional stability,” according to the statement.
Brig. Gen. Charles J. Masaracchia is the 3rd SFAB commander. He previously commanded the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bliss, Texas. The brigade’s top noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond S. Harris, comes to Fort Hood after holding the same title with the 165th Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, S.C.
The Fort Hood unit, which was announced in May 2018, falls under the Security Force Assistance Command within U.S. Army Forces Command. It joins the 1st SFAB, activated at Fort Benning, Ga., in February 2018, and the 2nd SFAB at Fort Bragg, N.C. It activated in November 2018 and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in February. The 1st SFAB completed its first deployment to the same region in November 2018.
The next two assistance brigades are scheduled to be activated at Fort Carson, Colo. and Fort Lewis, Wash. The 4th SFAB is scheduled to activate at Fort Carson by April 2020 and the 5th SFAB by December 2020, according to information from the Security Force Assistance Command
These latest three bases were selected for SFABs based on strategic considerations, including projected time to activate and train a SFAB, presence of senior-grade personnel to assign to the unit and required facility costs, the Army said when the three new units were announced last year.
No deployments are scheduled for 3rd SFAB, but soldiers will travel to Fort Polk, La., in the summer for a training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center.