The 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team
The 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Spartans, was activated at Fort Drum, New York on 24 September, 2004. Assigned to the legendary 10th Mountain Division, the Soldiers of the BCT reflected their Spartan namesakes and Mountain Warriors from the Italian Campaign in World War-II, as they participated in the most demanding Light Infantry training within the US Army in the challenging conditions of the North Country.
The Spartan namesake is an appropriate one for 3BCT, one that embodies the US Army Warrior Ethos and its four tenets: Always place the mission first, Never accept defeat, Never quit, and Never leave a fallen comrade behind. The BCT motto of “With your shield, or on it!” was a directive by Spartan women to their Soldier to face the enemy honorably and either come back with their honor, body, and shield intact, or else be carried back as a casualty on the shield. If a Spartan came back without his shield, it was assumed he had dropped it and run away, casting away his honor and also exposing his comrades to danger. The Soldiers of 3BCT epitomize the combined spirit of the legendary Spartans of ancient Greece and the courageous 10th Mountain veterans of World War-II.
3BCT consists of six subordinate battalions; two Infantry battalions, the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment. The 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment provides reconnaissance services to the BCT, while the 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment provides field artillery support. The 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion provides multiple combat support functions for the BCT, specifically a company of engineers, military intelligence personnel, and communications specialists. Sustainment operations for the BCT are provided by the 710th Brigade Support Battalion.
In the winter of 2006, the Spartan BCT conducted its first combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VII & VIII. The BCT was assigned to the Regional Command-East in Afghanistan, fighting a determined Taliban enemy along the challenging mountainous terrain of the Pakistani border. The Spartans truly were “The Tip of the Spear,” moving into territory that had been in control of the enemy; but through professional, disciplined, offensive operations – the Soldiers of 3BCT dramatically reduced the violence within the region and enhanced stability. During the Spartan BCT deployment; SFC Jared C. Monti, a member of 3-71 CAV, earned the Medal of Honor for his combat leadership and selfless service, while protecting the Soldiers in his patrol from an overwhelming Taliban force. The Spartans redeployed to Fort Drum having established an enduring relationship with the Afghan people and the “Tribe of the Crossed Swords” – a special recognition of the 10th Mountain Division shoulder patch and the Warrior Ethos.
In January 2009, the Spartan BCT again deployed to Afghanistan. The BCT was assigned the demanding mission of providing security in the Logar and Wardak provinces in Regional Command-East. Spartan Soldiers and their Afghan National Security Force partners were responsible for protecting the southern gates of Kabul and for eliminating Taliban pressure on the capitol. Employing Counter-Insurgency Operations (COIN) principals, the Spartan BCT established security in the provinces by employing a “Village to Village” approach.
The Spartan Brigade deployed in March, 2011, to the birthplace of the Taliban – Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, and began immediate offensive operations taking the fight to the enemy. Spartan Soldiers conducted three key operations – “To the River,” “To the Core,” and “To the Summit” – each focusing on a different theme of lethal and non-lethal operations, while keeping the tempo on the enemy. Soldiers advanced the farthest south in the region of any previous coalition forces’ unit, effectively pushing the Taliban to the Arghandab River, and keeping them there. On the non-lethal side, the brigade opened 22 schools, three medical clinics, and refurbished 50 kilometers of Highway-1, the national highway for southern Afghanistan. Deploying in support of Regional Command South, the Spartan Brigade also partnered with Afghan security forces and government leaders to bring noticeably increased security and governance to an area that had been at war for 30 years. Spartan Soldiers redeployed to Fort Drum in March, 2012, after having their victories recorded on the battlefields of southern Afghanistan.
Standing Spartan BCT Order: Spartans Never Break Contact...With the Enemy or With Each Other!