The Third Infantry Division is making Army history. They led the charge into Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now they're at the forefront again. This time, as the model for the Army's reorganization plan. Under it, the soldiers who fight together will also train together as a team. The military says, in a time of limited resources, the reorganization will make them more effective and efficient warriors.
"This has been a wonderful opportunity for us," explained Major General William Webster, commander of the Third Infantry Division. "It's been challenging, but it's been rewarding."
In a ceremony at Fort Stewart on Thursday morning, three units were activated: the 1-76 Field Artillery, the 6th Squadron, 8th U.S. Cavalry and the 4th Brigade Troop Battalion. Together, they'll all work in the new Fourth Brigade. What makes this brigade different is it contains all the elements they'll need on the battlefield.
"I think there's a huge increase in capabilities in terms of additional combat power, better communications, better intelligence, better strike assets," explained Colonel Edward Cardon, the Fourth Brigade's Commander.
Soldiers train for the conflicts they fight in, like the Iraq War, but with this reorganization, the Army is looking at the bigger picture: how to best fight the war on terror. "We think this global war on terrorism will last a long time," said General Webster, "These are very determined enemies we're facing and they would really like to see the U.S. dry up and blow away."
The Army is determined to make sure that won't happen by making the best use of their resources. Soldiers have been training at Fort Irwin, California and Fort Polk, Louisiana since their return from Iraq.
Specialist Jorge Hernandez, with the 1-76 Field Artillery, says they're ready to fight in their reorganized brigade unit of action. "If you look at it, we're really like a mini-Army," he explained. "We have a lot of fighting power, a lot of intelligence a lot of the stuff that we need to go and conquer the enemy. I think that's what we're going to do and we're going to do that very efficiently now."
By fall, the entire Third I.D. will be reorganized. The reorganization will double the size of their aviation and support battalions.