Written by Capt. Charles Emmons
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Laghman Province, Afghanistan – The 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans,” 101st Airborne Division, uncased their colors recently during a ceremony at Tactical Base Gamberi, recognizing their new role within Train Advise Assist Command-East February 15th, 2015.
As the Rakkasans unfurled their colors, the Soldiers of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment “Brave Rifles,” cased their colors in advance of the unit’s return to Fort Hood after a nine month deployment conducting various missions throughout eastern Afghanistan.Following the completion of the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the end of 2014, a new, follow-on NATO-led mission called Resolute Support was launched on January 1st, 2015 to provide further training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces and institutions.
“Our two regiments, storied regiments in the United States Army, all of those campaign streamers and colors represent a lot of history on separate battle fields and the same battle fields,” said 3rd BCT commander, Col. J.B. Vowell. “Though our missions are different now, our story and our history continues.”
The recent arrival of 3rd BCT was the culmination of months of training and preparation that included a rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, LA, in late July, as well as the Rakkasan Combat Advisor Academy earlier this year.
The brigade is reuniting with Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division, working with many of the same personnel they trained with during their rotation at JRTC.
“Today, we continue what began six months ago,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Bentley, the commander of TAAC-E. “Welcome back, Task Force Rakkasan.”
3rd BCT’s primary mission will be advising the Afghan National Security Forces of the 201st and 203rd Afghan National Army Corps, as well as Afghan police forces in eastern Afghanistan. Other 3rd BCT units will provide security at Bagram Air Base and serve as global response forces in the region.
“We are here to support and advise our partners; to help them see and understand, and grow themselves,” said Vowell.
The ceremony recognized the seventh deployment for 3rd BCT since 2001, and their fourth deployment to Afghanistan. The Rakkasans were the first conventional brigade in Afghanistan and have conducted numerous missions and campaigns throughout the country over the last 14 years.
“Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan has always been strong,” said Vowell. “We have the best NCOs, the best Soldiers, and the attitude to win that will allow us all to be successful with our Afghan partners.”