In 2020 3rd Brigade Combat Team was assigned to multiple missions that spanned two continents.
The Soldiers trained hard to prepare for missions and executed them in a fashion that only the Rakkasans can – with professionalism and success.
“We [always] focus on building readiness,” said Col. Brandon Teague, commander of 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Before 2020 began we prepared for the year by planning for two missions that we knew we would be deeply involved in at the beginning of the year.”
The Rakkasans successfully completed a yearlong deployment in support of the Regionally Aligned Forces in Africa. They also completed other operations within the United States hosted in multiple locations that spanned an area of more than 2,000 square miles.
In preparation for the RAF mission, White Currahee Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, conducted a squad live-fire exercise in order to build toward a platoon live-fire designed to certify their platoons to conduct emergency deployment operations in support of contingency operations in Africa.
“This year White Currahee was tasked to support the U.S. Army’s Regionally Aligned Forces mission in Africa and other missions within the United States,” said Lt. Col. Vincent Thomas, commander of 2-506th Inf. Regt. “However, in doing so, we remained diligent in our training. We never wavered from that.”
White Currahee’s Fox Company conducted multiple team building exercises, sustained readiness, and maintained their physical fitness by conducting a diagnostic Army Combat Fitness Test while carrying out the RAF mission in Africa.
The team invited members of the Cameroonian 301st Air Base to observe and participate in the ACFT testing.
Whiskey Company Soldiers supported the Bizerte United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command team with unconventional military operations as they sent out high-explosive munitions and up armored vehicles through their airfield.
The team also accomplished instruction for the first Tunisian Air Assault School that lasted eight days. The course graduated 28 Tunisian Ground Force Special Soldiers who were the first Air Assault Soldiers in the Tunisian Army. When the mission was complete the Rakkasans welcomed this outstanding White Currahee team of 15 back home with Family and friends attending the ceremony.
“I’m truly humbled and honored to be the command sergeant major of the Rakkasans,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Eddie L. Brewer, command sergeant major for the 3rd BCT. “The Soldiers have all thoroughly impressed me with their professionalism, dedication, and esprit de corps throughout this challenging year.”
Leader Rakkasans prepared for African Lion 20 with equipment and vehicle out load, unfortunately, this multinational exercise was reduced in size because of the pandemic. In addition, the War Rakkasans lead the effort in M9 qualifications for more than 60 late deployers across the brigade in order to support our multiple missions through the year.
Bushmaster Soldiers assigned to 526th Brigade Support Battalion, executed chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training. All while we maintained our focus in supporting ad-hoc tasks as part of the White Cycle.
Furthermore, the leadership of the 21st Brigade Engineer Battalion supported the battalion commander assessment program in Fort Knox, Kentucky, from January until mid-February. While a team of mechanics participated in the M160, an improvised explosive device/mine clearing equipment system, field-level maintenance new equipment training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, so they could be trained on the unique maintenance requirements of the system.
The tactical unmanned aircraft system platoon established flight operations on Fort Campbell’s Range 75 where they validated flight systems and completed a 24-hour flight operations to maintain a positive training progression for the operators and crew teams. The focus of the flights was to increase flight hours for the reporting period, operator currencies, and to maintain support for the brigade across the country mid-year. The intelligence community platoon maintained support operations sustaining reach back efforts in support of RAF and the many missions throughout the country.
The Red Knights along with the brigade fire support element, and leader fire support team conducted final preparations for the brigade-led fire control exercise. The Red Knights Alpha Battery focused on initializing and operating the advanced field artillery tactical data system to include tasks such as building units, creating target list worksheets, FM processing, and troubleshooting procedures. The gun line personnel re-focused on basic Soldier tasks such as battery defense, crew-served weapon systems, and initial military training. Bravo Battery Soldiers and leaders continued to conduct classes on filling out records of fire and fire mission tracking. In addition, leaders conducted hands-on training with the aiming circles in preparation for Big 3 testing. Dog Company completed a 12-mile ruck testing, conducted individual-level physical training and both instructed and trained on small arms tactics.
Additionally, the brigade placed additional Soldiers from within the brigade on our multiple support missions across the U.S. with a safe link up with the select battalions at their perspective locations throughout the year and supported the battalion commander assessment program on Fort Knox.
Despite the challenges in 2020, the Rakkasans remained a disciplined, combat-ready, unit that will execute any given mission with patience and a positive attitude.
“All Rakkasans are proud to be a part of the organization,” Teague said. “We must never forget we have a rendezvous with destiny as Rakkasans. Let Valor Not Fail.”