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4th brigade hangs up armor, become light infantry
Unit's command also changes hands
4-64 Armor Regiment turns into 3-15th Infantry
Troops with the 4-64 Armor Regiment hold a ceremony to celebrate becoming the 3-15th Infantry. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
With a trumpet signaling every change in its ranks, the 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, officially became the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment on Monday.
During a change-of command and re-flagging ceremony on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field, outgoing 4-64th commander, Lt. Col. Johnnie Johnson, and 4-64th command sergeant major, CSM Rodney Greene, cased the battalion’s old Tusker flag and uncased the new battalion flag, ceremoniously making the battalion the “can do” regiment of the 3-15th.
As each soldier in the battalion’s five companies stood at parade rest with their new battalion flag in front of them, the brigade’s commander, Col. Todd James, enthusiastically marked the end of the Tusker’s 66-year journey.
“The significance of today’s ceremony cannot be understated, not only do we change battalion command teams, but we deactivate 4-64th as a combined arms battalion and re-activate the 3-15th as a light infantry battalion to set the stage with the conversion of the vanguard brigade from a heavy brigade to a light infantry brigade,” James said.
Until the 5th BCT arrives in April 2010, the 4th brigade will be the only infantry brigade combat team serving the 3rd ID at Fort Stewart, allowing the division to be what Fort Stewart officials have said will be a more “mobile, modular” force.
Over the next few weeks, the battalion will undergo major restructuring.
More than 800 soldiers will be reclassified — either sent to new brigades or relocating to new duty stations — and the brigade will trade in its heavy armored Abrams tanks and Bradleys for a team of marksmen and Humvees.

A change in leadership

With the change in regiments, also came a change in the battalion’s chain-of-command.
During Monday’s ceremony, the Vanguard Brigade said goodbye to Tusker commander, Lt. Col. Johnnie Johnson and welcomed the battalion’s new commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Shoemaker.
Johnson served as the battalion’s commander for nearly three years, leading the soldiers of 4-64 Armor through a 14-month deployment to Iraq.
Brigade commander Col. Todd James said Johnson and his wife, Melissa, would be greatly missed by the brigade.
“Their dedication to the mission, commitment to soldiers and the welfare of their families, is what held this organization together during the successful reformation of a combat deployment,” Vanguard six said.
Shoemaker joins the brigade after serving as an operations officer on the Army’s Joint Staff in the Joint Staff J-3.
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