For 50 years, the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, aka the “Iron Brigade,” has guarded the line between North Korea and South Korea. On the 2nd of July 2015, the unit was inactivated. It has now been replaced by a rotational brigade combat team, the first to be used in this area of deployment. A ceremony was held at Camp Casey. The first unit to rotate into the area is the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, based out of Fort Hood, Texas. They will be on a 9-month deployment.
The reason for changing the policy is that the military brass believes that rotating entire units to the area will better serve the mission than rotating individual soldiers. In the past, individual soldiers would be assigned to South Korea for a 1-to-2 year tour of duty. Now, entire units will go to the country en masse for a set period of time to be replaced by another combat arms unit.
General Theodore Martin, Commander 2ID, said that changing the policy will mean better protection at the DMZ and elsewhere within S. Korea as he will now have few turnovers of troops. The old policy accounted for a turnover of about 10% of his troops per month.
The Iron Brigade was first stationed in the country back in 1965, and has seen continuous duty there ever since. As part of the transition, the Brigade will leave its heavy equipment (armored personnel carriers and other vehicles) for the new unit.
The transition has seen its share of problems, however. One of the most pressing issues is being able to find enough housing for both units as they work through the changing of the guard. The new arrivals have also been given extensive training on the unique mission they are to encounter as it pertains to North Korea and the many troops that they will face on the other side of the DMZ.
The list of units that were inactivated included: 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry (Mechanized); 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment; the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion; the 302nd Brigade Support Battalion; and the 4th Squadron, 7th Calvary. For the above units, the colors were cased.
In addition, the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company also cased its colors. These colors, however, will be un-cased later this year in Fort Lewis, Washington.
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