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The Drive For Closure


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UN Security Assistance Force Locationss
Recently the Obama administration indicated that it might withdraw all toops in Afghanistan after December 2014, an option that defies the present view of the Pentagon that thousands of troops may be needed to contain al-Qaida and to strengthen Afghan forces.

The US now has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of about 100,000 as recently as 2010. The US and its NATO allies agreed in November 2010 that they would withdraw all their combat troops by the end of 2014, but they have yet to decide what future missions will be necessary and how many troops they would require.

At stake is the risk of Afghanistan's collapse and a return to the chaos of the 1990s that enabled the Taliban to seize power and provide a haven for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. Fewer than 100 al-Qaida fighters are believed to remain in Afghanistan, although a larger number are just across the border in Pakistani sanctuaries.

Administration officials in recent days have indicated that they are considering a range of options for a residual US troop presence of as few as 3,000 and as many as 15,000, with the number linked to a specific set of military-related missions like hunting down terrorists.

Recent Deployment Activity

On 02 October 2012, the Department of Defense announced the deployment of roughly 1,390 Troopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan in November, this year, for a nine month tour. Units of the 4th Brigade Combat Team that will participate are: 2nd Battalion. 7th Regiment; 1st Squadron, 9th Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 12th Regiment, 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery; 27th Brigade Support Battalion; and the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The 4th Brigade Combat Team will field about 16 security force assistance advisory teams composed primarily of officers and senior noncommissioned officers to advise, assist and enable the Afghan National Security Forces.

Since the staffing level of the Brigade is approximately 3,700, not all of the Brigade Combat Team will be deploying. Soldiers not deploying will be reorganized into other elements of the Division, while others will serve in the Brigade Rear Detachment. During deployment, the rear detachment. in addition to their liaison duties, will be responsible for maintaining vehicles.

Long Knives Next Stop: Afghanistan
On 26 October 2012, the 4th Brigade Combat Team ( Long Knives), 1st Cavalry Division held a color casing at Cooper Field. Over the next few weeks, soldiers of the "Long Knife" brigade and its six subordinate battalions will leave for a nine-month mission in Afghanistan. This will be the fifth deployment for the Long Knife Brigade since 11 September, 2001, but the first to Afghanistan. The unit returned from a yearlong deployment to Iraq in September 2011.

Soldiers of the Brigade have completed several months of training including a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk as a final training event leading up to this deployment. The Long Knife Brigade will join Regional Command-East to conduct an important new mission in Afghanistan operating out of Laghman and Kapisa provinces as a security force Advisory and Assistance Brigade, replacing the 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado. These new teams are a critical element in the continuing efforts to improve the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Force and will help them take more responsibility for the security of their country.

Just under half of the 3,800 Long Knife soldiers staff will deploy. The remaining soldiers will fill the rear detachment staff functions; or otherwise be transferred to the command of other units in the Division.

On 12 November 2012, the last party of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Long Knife), with a short but rich history of service to the Nation, deployed to Afghanistan. This staging completed the deployment of the Brigade, which began on 30 October.

The brigade will initially be stationed at Laghman Province, Afghanistan with the current mission of serving as a Security Force Advisory and Assistance Brigade in the Regional Command- East of Afghanistan. Though this mission is new to Afghanistan, it is not new to the Long Knife Brigade. The Brigade has served in an advise and assist role in Iraq in previous deployments.

"Long Knives" Uncase Their Colors
On 25 November, Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are assuming the role of the first Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) in the Army and in Afghanistan during a historic transfer of responsibility ceremony at Forward Operating Base Gamberi. Even as the first SFAB, the advisement mission that members of the "Long Knife" brigade has taken on is not new to them or the Army.

The SFAB is composed of multiple security force advise and assist teams, who will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the 201st Afghan National Army Corps and other components of Afghan National Security Forces across the provinces of Laghman and Kapisa in eastern Afghanistan.

With this new mission comes new challenges and hurdles to overcome. The brigade left nearly 60 percent of its combat power at its home station of Fort Hood, Texas. The Soldiers who have deployed to Regional Command East were specifically chosen for this mission and many are wearing multiple hats during the deployment.

With four deployments in six years, including serving as an advise and assist brigade in the closing days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coupled with numerous field exercises, training events and an intense, but successful, rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA., there is no doubt that Long Knife is ready to act as a larger-scale Baron von Steuben to its Afghan counterparts.

FOB Gamberi Decorates For Christmas
On 24 December, Forward Operating Base Gamberi units from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalty Division, brought in Christmas cheer through decorations and song. Though they may miss having their ordinary holiday celebrations with their famalies, they were here making history by helping Afghanistan stand on its own, the way the US was helped during the Revolutionary War,

During the last few weeks, care packages have poured in at the FOB, containing cards, ornaments, lights, Santa hats and other assorted decorations along with the care and support of their senders. Stockings containing candy, cookies and other tasty snacks were passed out to the troops. The stockings were then hung around many an office.

More than 75 Soldiers from various religious faiths were able to rotate their duty assignments so that they could participate in a Christmas Eve candlelight service put on by the Brigade Unit Ministry Team.

"Gray Eagle" - Operational Proven UAV
22 March 2013, "F" Co, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, returned to Ft. Hood marking the end of a historic mission in Afghanistan.

Stationed at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar Province, Afghanistan, the "Nomads" provided Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance(ISR) support to Regional Command-East via the use of the Gray Eagle, an unmanned aerial system designed for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, as well as strike missions. During their deployment, the only company in the Army who has executed Gray Eagle combat missions, operated 12 Gray Eagle aircraft and flew ove 10,000 hours.

The operation marked the first time in the Army a company completed warfare missions with Gray Eagles, as it deployed 117 Soldiers last March and redeployed the entire company without loss of life over the course of the year.

12 Brigade Combat Teams Cut By 2017
Announced on 27 June as part of the Force Restructuring Budget Control Act, the Army will reduce its number of Brigade Combat Teams from 45 to 33 by the end of fiscal year 2017. In addition - General. Ray Odierno, Chief Of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference, the Army will shrink its active component end strength by 14 percent, or 80,000 Soldiers, to 490,000, down from a wartime high of 570,000 troops.

In all, 12 Brigade Combat Teams will be inactivated, including two Brigade Combat teams, stationed at Baumholder and Grafenwoehr, Germany, Two Brigade Combat Teams will remain in Europe to fulfill strategic commitments. One Brigade Combat Team will be inactivated at each of the following installations: Fort Hood; Fort Bliss; Fort Bragg; Fort Campbell; Fort Carson; Fort Drum; Fort Knox; Fort Riley Fort Stewart and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Army led an exhaustive review before deciding where and how to cut, - looking at the Geographic Distribution, Environmental and Socioeconomic mpacts of the reductions. The final decision was based on a number of criteria, including the ability to train, provide for Soldiers and Families and the ability to expand and regenerate forces.

The changes will reduce the overall number of headquarters while sustaining as much combat capability as possible, with the reinvestment of the Soldiers, equipment and support personnel into the remaining Brigade Combat Teams.

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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 27 Jun '13 SpellChecked