2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion History & Insignia
The 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion was constituted in October of 1985 with a Headquarters and Headquarters Company in Fort Benning, GA. On September 16, 2005 the organization was reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry).
The 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion was activated on September 16, 2004 under the command of LTC Valerie T. Jircitano-Torres. The battalion formed from the inactivated 10th Signal Battalion. The Battalion consists of four companies; the brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, as well as Alpha Company, a Combat Engineer company, Bravo Company, a Military Intelligence company, Charlie Company, a Signal company, and a generic Military Police platoon. These companies provide services for the other battalions of the Brigade Combat Team.
LTC Jeffrey S. Harrison assumed command of the battalion on June 10, 2005. Shortly thereafter, the Signal and Military Intelligence companies redeployed from Operation Iraqi Freedom with 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division and reflagged as part of 2d BSTB. The Battalion deployed to the National Training Center in March 2006, where it set a new standards for BSTBs to follow. The battalion received acclaim for its outstanding counter-IED measures and record-setting number of UAV flights.
After a successful NTC Rotation the Gladiator battalion deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08 in August 2006. Its primary missions in Iraq were route clearance, intelligence collection, communications, EOD escort and detainee management. The Battalion operations took them on a new journey lasting 15 months. During the battalion’s deployment, the Engineer Company cleared 17,000km of roadway and discovered 320 IEDs throughout the Commando Brigade’s area of operations. In addition, the Engineers built 42 battle positions and 5 patrol bases. The UAV platoon flew the Shadow UAS over 7,500 hours in support of 2d BCT’s operations. The Signal Intelligence platoon processed over 2,000 intercepts per day and the Human Intelligence teams developed 817 sources. The Signal Company enabled Internet connectivity down to the company level across the brigade with a 99.7% reliability rating. It also maintained 9 line of sight retransmission sites to support communications throughout the brigade’s area of operations. The Military Police platoon facilitated the reduction of 850 IEDs and 20 VBIEDs. The battalion also processed over 800 detainees and recruited 6,485 Iraqis for the local police force. Through all the success in the deployment several Gladiators made the ultimate sacrifice. The Battalion redeployed in November of 2007, where it began to reorganize and reset itself for upcoming operations.
The Battalion also went through two rotations at the Joint Readiness Training Center preparing for its upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-10. The 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion (BSTB) began movement for its current deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-10 with the Torch party leaving Fort Drum, NY on 05 October 2009 and arriving at Camp Buehring, Kuwait on 7 October. The entire battalion had boots on ground in Kuwait by 15 October 2010, ready to begin final preparations and training prior to moving north. The Gladiators completed over two weeks of theater-specific training at Camp Buehring, including advanced first-responder treatment classes, a course on the newly implemented electronic warfare systems, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle familiarization and multiple zero ranges and live fire exercises. By November of 2009, the entire 2nd BSTB had moved to East Baghdad, with forward deployed elements in Forward Operating Bases (FOB), Joint Security Stations (JSS) and Combat Outposts (COP) all across the Commando Operational Environment (OE). The Gladiators were poised to complete their enabler-mission, ready to provide digital connectivity, all-source intelligence collection, Military Police, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear reconnaissance and combat engineer capabilities in support of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team full spectrum counterinsurgency fight.
The 2nd BSTB established its Headquarters at JSS Loyalty, a central location where it was able to support 2nd BCT operations in the Mada’in Nahia regions. Due to the complex nature of the conflict, the Gladiator mission set quickly expanded to encompass Command, Control, Computers, Communication and Information (C4I) architecture for the Brigade, Military Working Dogs (MWD), Foreign Ordnance Exploitation Team, managing interpreters for the Brigade, controlling the Base Defense Operations Cell (BDOC) for JSS Loyalty.
Throughout the next few months, the 2nd BSTB was extremely busy with each of its support assets functioning at full capacity. The A Co Engineers conducted over 200 Route Clearance Patrols clearing over 17,000 kilometers of roads in the Commando OE, ensuring freedom of maneuver for the 2nd BCT and Coalition Forces. While the Combat Engineers primarily handled route clearance, the Light Equipment (LE) section focused on facilitating the draw down and base closure within the Commando OE conducting over 15 separate missions totaling over 150 blade hours spanning across the entire Brigade OE. The main focus was to clean up environmental hazards and removed barriers continuously throughout Commando Brigade transition to base closures. These missions included critical force protection improvements by creating or improving entry control points at several Combat Outposts as well as constructing protective barriers around critical fuel storage locations.
The Brigade Military Intelligence Company (MICO) aggressively targeted insurgent groups in the area, completing over 30% of all HUMINT reporting for the Division and received the highest number of Report evaluations, being rated of moderate to high value compared to any other HUMINT Team in Baghdad. In addition, the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) Platoon provided over 21 daily flight hours of aerial surveillance, supporting time sensitive targeting missions, allowing commanders to visualize the battlefield and providing intelligence collection in Named Areas of Interest. The MICO’s Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) specialists also conducted over 80 SIGINT Terminal Guidance (STG) missions and interrupted over 100,000 voice incepts.
Charlie Company, the Brigade Signal Company, had an immeasurable impact on the 2nd BCT’s functionality. C Company Soldiers erected and maintained the largest tactical communications network in the Iraqi theater of operations, supporting over 1,750 users for the 2nd BCT Tactical Operations Center, six maneuver battalions, connectivity to a division and brigade headquarters, Military Transition Teams, JSSs and over 30 patrol bases during combat operations. Additionally, the Brigade Signal Company engineered numerous High Capacity Line-of-Sight links to maneuver battalions and established three critical Frequency Modulation Retransmission (FM RETRANS) communication stations allowing maneuver, support and route clearance units to maintain command and control in hotly contested areas of the battlefield.
The 2nd BSTB Headquarters Company played an integral role in the base defense and transition process of JSS Loyalty into a more Iraqi focused JSS. The Military Police (MP) Platoon and CBRN Platoon of HHC maintained constant watch and surveillance for JSS Loyalty’s security in towers and ECP. The BDOC, staffed by security contractors under control of the BSTB S-3, oversaw internal and external video surveillance of the base, as well as controlled the Entry Control Points (ECPs). The company also developed a strong partnership with the JSS Loyalty Iraqi National Police unit, a relationship that strengthened force protection of the base and facilitated the transition process by creating trust between the two units. HHC also played an integral role in the recent 2010 Iraqi National Elections; civilians were able to travel to the many designated election sites to cast their votes. The number of significant events during electing day was far less than previous years. This could not have all happened without the dedication and excellent work performed by HHC.
The 2nd BSTB redeployed home in July 2010 and is currently going through ARFORGEN.
Information about the 2nd BSTB Distinctive Unit Insignia can be found here.