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53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States)

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Active  1968 – present
Branch  United States Army
Size  Brigade
Country  United States
Type  Infantry
Nickname(s)  gator brigade
53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States)

The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is a infantry brigade combat team of the Florida Army National Guard. The 53rd Infantry Brigade is the largest National Guard unit in the state of Florida. The brigade was one of fifteen enhanced readiness brigades, designed and trained to support active duty divisions. The brigade includes 32 units in Florida with 4,166 authorized personnel.



The 53rd Infantry Brigade was originally part of the 27th Infantry Division, from November 1917 to 1919.

When the 48th Armored Division was disbanded in 1968, its units in Florida became part of the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate). The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the non-color bearing units of the 53d Armored Brigade on 9 January 1967. It was redesignated for the 53d Infantry Brigade on 25 July 1968.

The brigade participated in hurricane relief operations in 1992 in response to Hurricane Andrew whereby the brigade was deployed for nearly two months to Miami.

The Florida Army National Guard 53rd Infantry Brigade was the first of 15 Army National Guard enhanced readiness brigades to rotate through the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, 10–26 June 1995. The U.S. Army has since done away with the program of directly augmenting active duty units with National Guard units. Participating in the training were 65 per cent of the Florida Army National Guard. A convoy of 1,000 vehicles traveled from Miami to Panama City, Florida to be loaded on barges and shipped to Fort Polk for the National Guard Brigade training. The brigade also has a training relationship with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Florida National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve officials joined U.S. Representative C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., 1 December 2001, in announcing plans for a new joint training center that will be the future home of more than 1,700 military reservists. The 216,424-square-foot (20,106.4 m2) facility to be built at Gateway Center in Pinellas Park will replace three existing outdated and overcrowded facilities including Tampa's Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, the JF Campbell National Guard Armory in Clearwater and the Lovejoy U.S. Army Reserve Center in Tampa. Construction of the new $53.5 million project began in 2002, and was expected to be completed by the spring of 2003. The House Appropriations Committee originally allocated $45 million for the project. Rep. Young, the committee's chairman, was crucial in securing the funds for the facility's construction. The National Guard units expected to be located at the new training center include the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Sep) Headquarters, Headquarters and Headquarters Company – 53rd Infantry Brigade, the 253rd Military Intelligence Company, as well as Companies A and B of the 53rd Support Battalion.

Iraq 2002-03

The brigade's three infantry battalions were activated in late December 2002. They were sent to Fort Stewart, Georgia for training.

Following training at Fort Stewart, Georgia, the three infantry battalions (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions, 124th Infantry Regiment) deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom., assumed a physical security mission on the Jordan-Iraq border. Following thirty-eight days of pre-mobilization training at Fort Stewart, GA, the Miami-based 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hector Mirable deployed to Jordan where it initially served as the security force at Prince Hassan Air Base, a forward operating base for U.S. Special Operations Forces and A-10 aircraft of the United States Air Force.

In late April 2003, the battalion was attached to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and deployed into Iraq by air and ground assault convoy. After consolidation at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, it moved to Ar Ramadi, the provincial capital of Al Anbar Province, where it was assigned an area of operation consisting of approximately 2,400 square kilometers and more than 350,000 Sunni Iraqi inhabitants.

While there, they provided local security and assisted in the reestablishment of the Iraqi Police and Ministerial Guard forces. The unit also conducted cordon and search operations. During one of these sweeps through the outskirts of Ar Ramadi on August 20, 2003, members of the 1-124 Infantry captured Salem Musa Ijly. Also known as Abu Inas, Ijly was a Jordanian national and member of al-Qaida, who was facilitating weapons smuggling through Iraq into Jordan and maintaining weapons stockpiles in Ar Ramadi. He was also linked to a plot to assassinate Jordanian King Hussein.

During its deployment, the battalion captured 511 enemy combatants; recovered 2,399 small arms, 221 mortar tubes, 4,258 mortar round and 43 RPG launchers; captured, defused or engaged 715 improvised explosive devices; processed 7,422 detainees; and, disbursed more than $1.3 million in aid for repair or construction of numerous buildings, to include two hospitals, 67 schools and 52 mosques.

The 1-124 Infantry received the Valorous Unit Award for extraordinary heroism in operations. Soldiers of the unit were presented 65 Bronze Stars (two with “V” device), 379 Army Commendation Medals (13 with “V” device), and 63 Purple Hearts. Despite serving 291 continuous days in combat operations, the unit brought home every Soldier who deployed with it.

The Orlando-based 2nd Battalion, 124th infantry Regiment deployed along the southern Iraq border and Delta-Company 2-124th was the first coalition unit into Iraq, providing security and quick-reaction force for Special Forces. During their brief stay at the Jordanian Air Base, the unit conducted security operations, physical fitness training, and honed their combat skills.

Afghanistan - 2005-06

In 2005, more than 2,400 soldiers from the 53rd Infantry Brigade deployed to Afghanistan as part of the international coalition’s Joint Task Force Phoenix, where they helped train the Afghan National Army.

During their deployment, the task force saw 11 Afghan kandaks (battalions) graduate from Kabul Military Training Center, adding more than 7,000 soldiers to the Afghan National Army.

Iraq 2006

In June 2006, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry deployed to Mosul, Iraq for a one-year tour conducting stability operations and combat patrols. The unit worked in conjunction with elements of the 25th Infantry Division, United States Special Forces, and Company H, 121st LRRS. John Wolven, creator of the popular, but fictitious, motocross legend and journalist Johnny O'Hannah, served as a platoon leader during this deployment.

Iraq 2010

In January 2010, the 53rd Infantry Brigade was activated for service in Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade mobilized at Fort Hood, Texas, and beginning in late February, began deploying to Kuwait. Although originally scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan in 2009, in 2008, the brigade learned that their mission had shifted from Infantry operations in Afghanistan to convoy security in Iraq.

The brigade's primary mission was to provide convoy security for logistical convoys moving in and out of Iraq. The 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry - the Hurricane Battalion - conducted medium and long haul missions from their base in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, while the 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry - the Seminole Battalion - conducted short haul missions from their base in Camp Virginia, Kuwait. The 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry "Darkhorse" conducted security force missions in Northern Kuwait at Camps Buehring and Virginia as well as at Khabari Crossing in Kuwait. Bravo Troop, 1-153rd Cavalry was stationed at Camp As-Sayliyah, Qatar. The brigade headquarters element conducted administrative operations from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team consists of the following elements:

  • 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion
  • 124th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion
  • 124th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion
  • 167th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion
  • 153rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Squadron (Reconnaissance, Surveillance & Target Acquisition)
  • 116th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion
  • 53rd Brigade Support Battalion
  • References

    53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States) Wikipedia

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