Nashville, TN – Under the U.S. Army’s new division alignment training plan, the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Knoxville, will be aligning with Texas’ 36th Infantry Division for training and possible future deployments starting this October.
The purpose of this change is to better prepare National Guard units to deploy and fight in large-scale ground combat operations at the division level. Eight division headquarters across the United States are aligning with subordinate brigades to improve the National Guard’s readiness. Tennessee is aligning with the 36th Infantry Division headquartered in Austin, Texas.
“This is a great opportunity for the 278th to train with fellow guardsmen from our sister states and operate at a level not normally afforded our units,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General. “It will improve our lethality and better prepare us to fight our nation’s adversaries.”
Units participating in the division alignment will coordinate and cooperate with one another to make decisions about training and provide new and challenging leadership opportunities for Soldiers.
The 36th will be comprised of eight brigades from Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee, and will provide guidance to coordinate and prepare Soldiers to fight together. But each state, including Tennessee, will maintain the responsibility to organize, train, and equip their units.
Even though the 278th is named an Armored Cavalry Regiment, its roughly 3,000 members are organized and staffed as a Heavy Brigade Combat Team and will make up one of the eight brigades in the division.
Also, high performing leaders from all-three states will also have the opportunity to cross train and be assigned to division staff and other units. This will better develop them for positions of higher responsibility and allow them opportunities that may not be available in their state.
“Training and talent management is the main focus of this alignment, and it will help develop leaders that will better serve our state,” said Holmes.
Even though the 278th will be aligned with the 36th for training, there will be no other changes to the unit’s structure, organization, command, or heraldry.
“The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment has a proud history in Tennessee, serving in both World Wars and deploying twice to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. They take their heritage from the Overmountain men who fought in the Revolutionary War at King’s Mountain,” said Holmes. “Nothing about that will change and they will always wear their historic right shoulder patch that represents their East Tennessee heritage.”
This is also not the first time that the Tennessee National Guard has been aligned with a division headquarters from a nearby state. During World War I, Tennessee National Guard units, along with units from North and South Carolina, created the 30th Division which was headquartered in North Carolina.
By World War II, the 30th Infantry Division was headquartered in Macon, Georgia, and made up of units from Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Tennessee was removed from the division in 1954 when it stood up the 30th Armored Division which was manned just by Tennesseans until it was disbanded in 1973.