The 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart said farewell Monday morning to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and welcomed back the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which had been inactivated earlier this year.
The 3rd ID band played before the ceremony. Children attended, turning the traditional military event into a family affair.
Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, the 3rd ID’s commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin greeted the audience from Afghanistan on a large video display. Murray said he was “exceptionally proud” of the members of Vanguard brigade and wished they could be there in person to celebrate the occasion.
“It has been a pleasure watching the Vanguard BCT continue to be out front for the Marne Division and the United States of America — always ready to answer any call and perform any mission our nation asks of you,” Murray said.
Brig. Gen. James Blackburn, the Task Force Marne commander, spoke about the division’s changes as an operational asset and not a reluctant goodbye.
“These changes in our division will increase the combat capabilities and effectiveness of our two remaining Fort Stewart brigade combat teams,” said Blackburn. “Better preparing them to perform across a spectrum of operations and to support our regional combatant commanders to prevent conflict, shape their security environments and decisively win in battle if called.
“This brigade combat team may have changed the name of their brigade today, but it’s their soldiers that make the difference, and those soldiers haven’t changed one bit,” he added.
Col. Thomas Gukeisen, 2nd Brigade commander, officiated the ceremony and helped uncase the colors of 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment and 9th Engineer Battalion. The ceremony ended with the newly activated brigade and attendees singing the Dog Faced Soldier song, bringing the brigade back into the fold.
Afterward, Lt. Col. Beth Behn, the 3rd Infantry Division’s logistics officer and a former battalion commander in the 2nd Brigade, said it was rewarding to see the brigade’s colors uncased again after having witnessed their casing four months ago.
“Today it was really rewarding, and I think for all of us who are former Spartans, and probably all Dog Faced Soldiers, to see that case come off and see those colors raised again,” Behn said.
The 2nd Brigade is preparing for a rotation that will begin in mid-August at the Joint Readiness Training Center on Fort Polk, Louisiana, according to Lt. Col. Michael Biankowski, the commander of the 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. After that, the unit will take on the Regionally Aligned Forces Mission for African Command.