FORT STEWART, Ga. - The last mechanized company yet to complete the Table VI crew level gunnery for the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat team, 3rd Infantry Division, finished their gunnery here, Dec. 12, in a flourish of success.
Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, "Desert Rogues," 2nd ABCT, completed their Table VI Tank Crew-Level Gunnery, and in turn scored so well that they had the highest scoring crew and platoon of the battalion and were also designated the highest-scoring company of the battalion.
However the story of the day wasn’t just the superior performance of the “Cyclone” company.
With the upcoming deactivation of the 2nd ABCT “Spartans," slated to take place in early 2015, this could make it the last time a tank fires under the Spartan colors.
“Currently, while nothing is yet finalized, the plan is for the Brigade to case its colors in January 2015,” said Col. Scott Jackson “Spartan 6," commander, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “Prior to that date, we plan to begin movement of equipment and selected personnel to other units within the 3rd ID and the rest of the Army. The goal remains to minimize turbulence on families and soldiers - wherever possible, we will keep Dogface soldiers here at Fort Stewart.”
The 2nd Brigade has had a storied history dating back to its origins in World War I, however many today are more than familiar with it’s more recent history and the pivotal role it’s played in the last 12 years of conflict in the middle east.
Many times in recent history the Spartans Armor was the spearhead for the 3rd ID - the division who in turn was often the spearhead for the Army and the U.S. military might abroad.
Sgt. 1st Class James Jones, current 1st sergeant and senior enlisted leader of the Cyclones, is well acquainted with Armored Brigade’s many achievements, as he has had a long personal history with the brigade.
Jones was with the 4-64th Armor Battalion, 2nd ABCT, before and during Operation Iraqi Freedom I, and participated in the taking of Baghdad in the lighting quick "Thunder Run." After that he continued his career elsewhere, yet made it back to the Spartans in time to deploy with them on the first Spartan deployment to Afghanistan.
“Those were two big events for this Brigade, and I am glad to have been a part of them - they will go down in history,” Jones said.
Now Jones also has the distinction of having lead his company to success in what could be the final time a Spartan tank ever fires.
“I’m just glad [the Cyclones] did so well, so that our company can be seen to be doing very well for the 2nd Brigade in it’s last gunnery,” Jones said.
Spartan 6 is not so sure it will be the last time a tank fires under the flag of the 2nd Brigade.
“I would not say it is definitely the last time,” Jackson said. “As our brigade history shows, this brigade has activated, deactivated, and transformed many times since it was first formed in 1917 - You never know what the future may hold.”
Jackson also spoke about how the legacy of the Spartan will continue, alluding to the time later in 2015 that the current 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, is slated to pick up the Spartans flag and re-designate itself the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“Change is a natural thing, and more importantly, it is our mission, and we will execute it better than any other armored brigade combat team in the Army,” Jackson said. “Additionally, I am confident that this will not be the last chapter of the 2nd BCT because when the flag transitions to 4th Brigade in the summer of 2015, as it is scheduled to do, the story of the Spartans will continue.”
For Jones part as a Tanker, it seems it will be a sad parting for him, leaving the Spartans.
“Anytime I think of Fort Stewart, I think of 2nd Brigade, and I’ll always think of 2nd Brigade as being the best brigade in 3rd ID,” said Jones.
“It’s sad,” Jones said. “But I guess that’s what you do when you have an all-star team; you take the best, split them up, and you hope it makes all the gaining units that much better.”