215th Brigade Support Battalion
"No Task Too Tough"

Vietnam War, 1971 - 1972

Although 26 March 1971 officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the 1st Cavalry Division, President Nixon's program of "Vietnamization" required the continued presence of a strong US fighting force to remain "in country". On 30 April, a 3rd Brigade (Separate) was organized and activated to carry out the continuing mission of the 1st Cavalry Division. The mission of the unit, composed of experienced, specialized fighting units, was to continue the interdiction of enemy infiltration and supply routes in War Zone D, known as "Cav" Country.

On 30 June 1971, the 215th Composite Service Battalion (Support) was constituted in the Regular Army and assigned to the 3rd Brigade (Special), 1st Cavalry Division and activated in the Republic of Vietnam. Support included, but not limited to administrative services, supply distribution, medical and maintenance support. To provide these services, the battalion was comprised of the following units: Headquarters, Headquarters and Band Support Command, Administrative Company, Supply and Transport Company, Medical Company and Headquarters and Maintenance Support Company.

3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Separate)
Regimental Units
   2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment
   1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment
   2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment
   1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
Brigade Aviation Units
   1st Aviation Platoon
   "F" Troop, 9th Cavalry (Air)
   229th Aviation Battalion
   362nd Aviation Company
Brigade Artillery Units
   1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery
   "F" Battery, 26th Artillery (Prov)
   "F" Battery, 77th Artillery, Aviation
   "F" Battery, 79th Artillery (ARA) "Blue Max"
Brigade Support Units
   14th Military History Detachment
   26th Chemical Detachment
   215th Support Battalion
   501st Engineer Company
   525th Signal Company
Temporary Duty Unit
   2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry
Attached Units
   34th Inf Platoon, (Scout Dog Patrol)
   62nd Inf Platoon, (Combat Trackers)
   75th Infantry Rangers, "H" Company
   191st Military Intelligence Company
   405th Radio Receiver Detachment
   483nd Military Police Platoon
   Radio Research Detachment (Prov)

The 215th Composite Service Battalion demonstrated new concepts, efficiency and dedication of support to the 3rd Brigade through the use of personnel contact teams, brigade, aviation assets and aerial delivery techniques. The 215th participated in four campaigns, including Counter Offensive Phase VII, Consolidation I and II and Cease Fire. In addition to the support of the brigade, the Medical Company also participated in a significant civil action program involving support missions to the civil population of Vietnam. As a result of the dedication and professionalism of the troopers assigned to the battalion, the unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

By 31 March 1972, only 96,000 U.S. troops were involved in the Vietnam combat operations. In less than two months later, the last of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 3rd Brigade, along with the 215th Composite Service Battalion, began its "Stand Down" in a phased withdrawal and was bought back to the United States, completing the division recall on 26 June 1972, which had started over a year earlier on 05 May 1971. The 1st Cavalry Division had been the first army division to go to Vietnam and the last to leave. On 30 June 1972, the 215th Composite Service Battalion was inactivated at Oakland, California.

Force Restructuring, 1991 - 1995

On 16 December 1991, the 215th Composite Support Battalion was reactivated as the 215 Support Battalion (FWD) at Ft. Hood, Texas. In January and February 1992, the battalion participated in the Army Field Tests of the single channel Ground-Airborne System (SINCGARS). During this test the "Blacksmiths" established a high standard of excellence, achieving a 98.9 percent diagnosis rate for the tested radios. In December, the battalion went to the National Training Center to support the 3rd Brigade. The "Blacksmith" troopers set records for spare parts supply accountability and helped the brigade achieve the highest turn-in operational readiness rate experienced in over 100 National Training Center rotations.

Within 20 days of returning from the National Training Center, the battalion deployed a Logistic Task Force to Kuwait in support of Task Force 3-41 Infantry during Operation Intrinsic Action, where the they provided the full spectrum of combat service support. In January 1993, the battalion returned to Kuwait in support of Task Force 1-9 Cavalry during Operation Iris Gold.

Throughout 1993, the 215th participated in the Army's field testing of the M1A2 tank, helping to prove the viability of new diagnostic test sets for the hull and turret electronic components, as well as proving the suitability for the overall maintainability of the tank.

In July 1993 and in October 1944, the 215th again deployed to the National Training Center, at Fort Irwin, California in support of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. In December 1955, upon returning from the National Training Center, the battalion deployed logistic elements to Panama to provide the 8th Engineer Battalion with medical and maintenance support following the riots at the Cuban refugee camps.

By 2004 the 215th Forward Support Battalion had been reorganized to include 5 companies and a headquarters distribution company. The Battalion provided the "life blood" of the the 3rd Brigade Combat Team: Food, fuel, maintenance, transportation and repair parts. The Headquarters Distribution Company (HDC) consisted of all battalion-level command and staff personnel. The HDC provided food service to the three base companies (HDC, "D", and "E" Companies), battalion communications support, and a support operations section. Additionally it was the supply and service company in the Battalion, and provided petroleum supply, ration support, transportation, maintenance parts support, and general supply to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Iraqi Freedom II, 2003 - 2005

April 2004, the 215th Forward Support Battalion deployed, conducted additional training in Kuwait that ended with a road march to Baghdad. Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II. The soldiers were challenged daily by the environment, weather, and security conditions. The unit provided direct and area logistics support to the 3BCT in the International Zone in Baghdad. The 215th FSB also supported offensives operations in Fallujah.

Modular Forces, 2005

On 15 July 2005, following its return from Iraq and as part of the transformation of the US Army towards a modular force, the 215th Forward Support Battalion was inactivated, along with the 1st Cavalry Division Support Command (DISCOM). As part of the modular transformation, assets previously held at the division level, but habitually attached to brigades during operations were made organic to reorganized and redesignated brigade combat teams. The Battalion was reactivated later in 2005 as the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, the organic spport battalion for the reorganized and redesignated 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Today, the "Blacksmiths" of the 215th Support Battalion stand ready to serve and everyday continue to live up to the Battalion motto "No Task To Tough".

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 18 Sep '11 SpellChecked