3ABCT History


3abct.pngThe 3rd Brigade was constituted Nov. 19, 1917, in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 8th Infantry Brigade, as an element of the 4th Infantry Division. It was organized in December 1917 at Camp Greene, N.C. The Brigade has been reorganized and redesignated several times over the years. Finally, on Dec. 15, 1970, it was activated at Fort Carson, Colo., as 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

When the Division Headquarters moved to Fort Hood, Texas in 1995, the brigade remained at Fort Carson and was redesignated as the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (3rd BCT). In May 2006 the brigade completed its transformation to the Army's modular design.

The brigade has received numerous campaign participation credits, including Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne During World War I; Counteroffensive, Phases II-VI, and Tet Counteroffensive in Vietnam; and Operation Iraqi Freedom I of the War on Terrorism to name a few. A few of its more prestigious decorations include the Presidential Unit Citation, the Valorous Unit Award, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class.

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team is comprised of nearly 4,400 Soldiers including: 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment; the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment; the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment; the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment; the 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment; the 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion; and 64th Brigade Support Battalion.

The 3rd BCT has deployed four times in a span of seven years in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; from 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008 and later, Operation New Dawn from 2010-2011. In Iraq, the brigade's mission included several key areas: neutralizing the anti-Iraqi forces, building a capable Iraqi Security Force, legitimizing a responsive government, and putting Iraqis in the lead. During the latter half of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the beginning of Operation New Dawn, from March 2010-2011, the 3rd BCT had the mission to serve as an advise and assist brigade responsible for advising, training, and assisting Iraqi Security Forces. During that deployment, they provided training and assistance to Iraqi security forces, while simultaneously assisting the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in helping the Iraqi government rebuild its civil capacity and infrastructure. While there, the brigade fell under the command of the 1st Infantry Division and the 36th Infantry Division in the southern four provinces of Iraq.

Along with its organic elements, the brigade partnered with two Iraqi Army Divisions, 10th IA Division and 14th IA Division; 4th Region DBE with the 9th, 10th, and 14th Brigades; three ports of entry one each at Safwan, Al Sheeb, and Shalamcheh; one Federal Police Brigade; the Iraqi Highway Police in Dhi Qar Province; and Iraqi police with four separate provincial directors of police. The brigade also partnered with four PRT, responsible for securing movement, assessing projects and managing commanders' emergency response funds.

The brigade's units worked with their partners diligently; training, mentoring and providing enablers when needed to assist the Iraqis to develop an effective and lethal security force capable of defeating the anti-Iraqi forces and supporting the elected government. The 3rd BCT returned to Fort Carson in March 2011.

The 3rd BCT sent more than 300 of its officers and senior noncommissioned officers in April and May of 2012, on a nine-month deployment to the southern provinces of Afghanistan to help mentor and train current Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). While supporting their deployed leadership, the remaining “Iron Brigade” Soldiers, NCO's and officers continue to train and prepare to maintain combat readiness to fulfill any future mission requirements.

In 2014, the brigade deployed to Kuwait as part of Operation Spartan Shield, a mission aimed at maintaining stability and deterring potential threats in the Middle East region. During this deployment, the 3rd ABCT conducted training exercises with partner nations, built relationships with regional allies, and remained prepared for any contingencies.

The brigade deployed to Europe as part of the United States' commitment to NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence in 2016. The 3rd ABCT, stationed in Poland, played a crucial role in deterring potential aggression and reassuring NATO allies in the region. They conducted joint exercises and training with partner nations, showcasing their commitment to collective defense.

In 2019, the 3rd ABCT deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the multinational effort to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). During this deployment, the brigade provided critical support to coalition forces, conducting security operations, training and advising partner forces in their fight against ISIS.

Most recently, the brigade was once again called to action Europe in support of Operation Assure, Deter and Reinforce from March to November 2022. The brigade executed a historic long-range movement from Zagan, Poland, to Pabrade Training Area, Lithuania, including two wet gap crossings across the Vistula and Narew Rivers. The brigade also created and initiated the Polish Tank Academy aimed at training the Polish Armed Forces in maintenance and operations of the M1A2 Abrams. On top of multinational live-fire exercises with Poland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria, the 3rd ABCT was also selected to represent the U.S. Army as the first armored force to integrate with Finnish Armed Forces.

Upon the brigade's return to Fort Carson in December 2022, the brigade trained and generated combat power at its home station. The brigade executed platform gunnery across its seven battalions and conducted a successful rotation to The National Training Center in October 2023 before deploying back into the European theater in March 2024 in support of Operation Assure Deter and Reinforce.