Published: April 6, 2014
The unit has called Fort Carson home longer than any other brigade. Now the 3rd Brigade Combat Team is being rebuilt for the long haul with an extra battalion of tanks and a new engineer unit.
The change was made official during a March 27 ceremony to welcome the new battalion's 1,200 soldiers and redesignate the unit's special troops battalion to engineers after more than a decade.
Col. Gregory Sierra, 3rd Brigade commander, walked the line of seven battalion flags that make up his nearly 5,000-soldier brigade, stopping first to uncase the yellow streamer of the newcomers from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment.
"I am blessed to have a great team, and with all the additional combat power we have with the addition of this combined arms team, we definitely have the ability to fight and win if we are called upon," Sierra said.
The Army originally planned to disband the brigade, which moved to Fort Carson after service in Vietnam. Commanders changed those plans and will now fold the post's 2nd Brigade while giving the 3rd Brigade more tanks and troops.
Lt. Col. Jack Chaffin and Command Sgt. Maj. Dexter Robinson changed flags for the brigade's 3rd Special Troops Battalion, unveiling its scarlet and white flag of the 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion - the new designation of the seven-company multifunction battalion.
The restructuring and strengthening of the brigade is part of an Armywide transformation that all brigade combat teams will eventually go through, Sierra said.
"Army senior leaders have looked at the mission set we might have to accomplish, and these are the capabilities they believe needed to be resident in the brigade combat teams," he said.
The changes come as the Army downsizes, disbanding 10 brigades in a move to cut 120,000 soldiers.
The brigade's renamed special troops battalion retains its military intelligence, signal and chemical detection capabilities and gains more engineers, said Col. R.J. Muraski, deputy division commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division.
Muraski was battalion commander for the 588th Engineer Battalion when the unit was inactivated at Fort Hood in 2004. He gave the new commander numbered lapel buttons worn by previous commanders of the battalion for 35 years.
An Army logistician his entire career, Chaffin said he is happy for the change.
"I have supported maneuver commanders in infantry, armor and engineers my whole career, and to be one now is absolutely humbling. It's a tremendous honor," Chaffin said.
The new structure of the brigade will be tested in the coming months as the unit begins training for a fall rotation to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.