The first portion of Dagger Brigade to deploy in the present rotation in Iraq has made it to Baghdad.

The “Blue Spaders,” or 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, left Schweinfurt, Germany, as the lead unit from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and arrived in Kuwait in early August.

In Kuwait, the Spaders were given up-armored vehicles and crew-served weapons, along with logistical and medical equipment. According to a press release from Multi-National Force-Iraq, it marked the first time a unit drew prepositioned equipment since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“They … were able to leave for Iraq before their equipment from Germany even arrived,” said Capt. Jacob E. White, the rear detachment commander. White did not know whether the 1-26 will continue to use the prepositioned equipment for the remainder of the deployment.

After the more than 800 soldiers went through mandatory gunnery skills training, they began moving into Iraq in mid-August to support Iraqi Security Forces operations.

The decision to send the 1-26 before the rest of the Dagger Brigade was made partly to ensure that the Army has the capability to rapidly deploy units from their home stations to Iraq on short notice, the release said. Another first for the Spaders, it was the first test of the rapid deployment process in Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the release.

“They’re kicking butt out there,” White said of his unit. “So far, they’ve met and surpassed all their expectations. … We’re not a quick reaction force like the 101st or 82nd (airborne divisions). We’re a heavy brigade … not designed to move quickly, but we’ve been able to.”

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