Brigade Update

It’s my pleasure to inform you of the many day-to-day, mission, and organizational highlights the Rakkasans have made the first half of 2021.

As we maintain first class leadership throughout the division, Rakkasan leaders continue to educate Soldiers on the facts about the COVID vaccine, we have prioritized education about the virus and herd immunity through vaccination. Our fully vaccinated population greatly increases weekly as our Soldiers learn more about the positive effectiveness of the vaccine and the importance of protecting the force from the virus all while maintaining our rigorous training schedule.

Starting off our update the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment “Leader Rakkasans” who executed their platoon live-fire exercises (LFXs), and a Secure, Mobile, Anti-Jam, Reliable, and Tactical-Terminal (SMART-T) validation during the first quarter. The platoon LFX’s were executed while integrating combat engineers and battalion level indirect fires to integrate real life scenarios into the training. During the LFX, the battalion staff also leveraged the opportunity to establish the battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC), validate the layout, and stress mission command platforms.

Leader also conducted a challenging and realistic training event structured on a European Area of Responsibility Defense Against the Enemy (AOR DATE) scenario. The event initiated with the staff’s execution of a 96-hour Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) effort; successfully integrated an Air Mission Coordination Meeting (AMCM), Air Mission Brief, and Cold Load Training as parallel planning events. This event allowed Leader to coordinate planning with other tenant units to on Fort Campbell, gaining valuable Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (CUAS) training with the new Drone Defender and Drone Buster. Additionally, Leader took the time to congratulate Alexandra Cavanaugh for being recognized as a nominee for Volunteer of the Year after recording 399 volunteer hours over the past year.

The 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment “Iron Rakkasans” conducted Squad Live Fires II, an Iron Machine Gun Leaders Course, and a Platoon level Walk and Shoot as part of their training to maintain readiness. One Iron Soldier, Pfc. Colin Braun from Iron’s Scout Platoon distinguished himself early this quarter by graduating from Ranger School; an incredible performance by this young man. Iron also took the opportunity to invite Dave Reiley, who is a peer-to-peer counselor for veterans and active-duty service members, to their battalion footprint to introduce himself and outline the assistance he can provide for Soldiers and their families. Furthermore, Iron’s Headhunter Company conducted a community service event by packaging and handing out 225 boxes of an assortment of food which fed a total of 360 families in need of support in Montgomery County. This quarter also resulted in a total of 12 certified and lethal infantry companies in preparation for the unit’s future missions. The battalion hosted Command Sgt. Maj.(R) Rory Malloy as a guest speaker during the third installation of the unit’s Spiritual Fitness PT and Prayer breakfast. Malloy spoke about relying on training and a solid foundation in faith to sustain the unit throughout training and combat operations while also maintaining a servant leader attitude throughout.

Top of Currahee Mountain

2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment “White Currahee” executed a platoon situational training exercise, Emergency First Responder (EFR) training, rehearsed and validated battalion staff systems for a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) this quarter. The unit’s Soldier and Family Readiness Group (SFRG) took the time to host Easter events for families within their battalion. The unit gained valuable training with the Soldier Born Sensor, and was able to aid in leader decisions during both day and night execution during the CALFEX. In addition to this, Currahee was able to take 110 Rakkasans to Toccoa, Georgia, for a morale building event in which they toured the local museum and raced up Currahee Mountain (“Three miles up, three miles down!”).

1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment “War Rakkasans” also conducted frequent platoon Situational Training Exercise (STX), team and section LFXs, and closed out training week (TW) 28 with a motivating Spur Ride. 89 War Rakkasans distinguished themselves by earning their silver spurs during the TW 32 Spur Ride. War leaders also conducted Operation War Story, a staff ride focused on cavalry operations during the Battle of Chickamauga at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. It should be noted, along with that, an outstanding squad from Apache Troop, War Rakkasans, took first place in the 101st Division Gainey Cup, in the Best Scout Squad competition.

Subsequently, War Rakkasans began their Mortar Training and Evaluation Program in TW 36 along with individual and crew served weapons qualifications that included M4, M2, AT4, and M3 ranges to continue preparation for JRTC 21-10.

The 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment “Red Knights” conducted final preparations for their Field Artillery Table XV during this time and led a company Fire Coordination Exercise. The unit provided fire support and observation for the brigade combat team (BCT) fire coordination exercise (FCX) and also participated in Division Artillery (DIVARTY) Top Gun and DIVARTY Best of the Best competitions, earning top M777A2 howitzer section and best Artillery Battalion in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Job well done Red Knights!

They also concluded their support of the CALFEX, firing over 1100 105mm and 155mm rounds over a three-week time frame, all accurately and within 1000 meters of Rakkasan troops on the final objective which enabled 12 maneuver companies to progress through their live-fire proficiency gates. Red Knights worked with the Brigade Fires to execute sensor to shooter validations with War Rakkasans, Army attack aviation, Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS), the Radio Aerial Detection and Ranging system (RADARs). The validation included providing an inject at the sensor and processing the mission to the howitzers for a live mission.

Task Force Assurgam, 626th Brigade Support Battalion, continued to perform their Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission as a Type II (Small) Vaccination Support Team (VST) in Orlando, Florida, focusing on the safe and efficient vaccination of Floridians. Those deployed continued to work with the Florida Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase the efficiency of the vaccination process in Orlando. To date the VST has vaccinated over 200,000 citizens of Florida.