New Combat Unit Formed in Third ID - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/26/04

New Combat Unit Formed in Third ID

Brigade commander Col. Ed Cardon. Brigade commander Col. Ed Cardon.

They led the war in Iraq, and now the Third Infantry Division is leading the Army in a different way. The division is shifting its troops to try a new structure for future combat. At Fort Stewart today, the division created one new brigade but said goodbye to another.

After a ceremony of salutes and marches, Col. Ed Cardon is now commanding what didn't exist an hour before. He is the first commander of Third Infantry's Fourth Brigade. "I'm just proud to be a part of this change in the Army and proud to be commander of the newest brigade combat team in the Army," he said.

The new brigade or unit of action is part of a plan to shift soldiers of different jobs to balance the skills of each brigade and make each ready to deploy and stand alone. "We'd take pieces and parts, form a team then deploy the team," said Col. Cardon. "This will give you a more rapidly deployable timeline, cause the team is always together."

One of those pieces was the old engineering brigade. Its soldiers will divide among the other units. The Army hopes to increase its number of brigades by 25 percent. Fort Stewart has already seen some growth.

"We've got about 3,000 more soldiers now than when we started," said division commander Maj. Gen. William Webster. "That could grow. That could shrink as the reorganization spreads across other pieces of the Army."

Webster says the new units of action will lengthen a soldier's time between deployments. Cardon says his soldiers will be ready whenever they're called.

Army leaders at the Pentagon notified the Third Infantry they'd be the test division in September.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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