101st Airborne Todays Troops

4th Brigade inherits name, legacy of historical 506th

Newest unit will be known as 'Currahee Brigade'



The Leaf-Chronicle





Chantal Escoto/The Leaf-Chronicle



First Battalion soldiers climb down the "Tough One" rope ladder during the Currahee Mile run at the 4th Brigade air assault obstacle course Wednesday. The exercise is a new tradition for the newly formed brigade. Fourth Brigade will be known as the Currahee Brigade, with its 1st and 2nd battalions gaining the 506th Infantry Regiment affiliation. Currahee was the hill where Easy Company of "Band of Brothers" fame trained.





The soldiers from 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, try their luck with the "Weaver." The exercise blends teamwork and physical exercise to ready them for Iraq.




The 101st Airborne Division's newest brigade now has a legacy with its first and second battalions taking on the 506th Infantry Regiment's name and history.


During World War II, the 506th included the storied Easy Company, depicted in the HBO series "Band of Brothers."


The affiliation took effect July 1, according to officials, although it has not been formally announced and details are being worked out. The 4th Brigade will be known as the "Currahee" brigade, in honor of the hill the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment trained on before jumping into Normandy on June 6, 1944.


"It's a huge motivator," said 1st battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Catterton. "What the (506th affiliation) will do is tie this unit to the honor and tradition of that unit. There's a history with this unit. It will allow us to bring in the old with the new."


The 101st is expected to deploy again for a year to Iraq within the next few months.


To celebrate the new affiliation after coming back from a two-week vacation, 800 soldiers with the 1st battalion took to the air assault course with a competitive fervor for the Currahee Mile.


The Currahee Mile is a tradition that the 101st hopes will keep soldiers mentally and physically prepared for any mission because of the unknowns of a different course each time.


"This is our second one. We do it upon return from block leave," said battalion commander Lt. Col. Ronald Clark of the rigorous physical training. "It's a team competition, and it keeps the soldiers' minds right while they're on leave because they know they'll be coming back to this."


After the soldiers finished the obstacle course and helped each other through the various stations, they were covered in sweat and sand.


Some even sported their own "red badges" of bloody knees and elbows from the low crawl under barbed wire and falling from the wooden equipment.


Spc. John Miller, 22, took his training as seriously as any combat mission and did well on the timed event. His biggest challenge was high rope climb called the "Tough One."


"It's not that hard, but it just takes the most amount of time," Miller said, indicating the time is secondary behind the team. "You never leave a man behind. You never want to leave a soldier in combat so we don't want to leave them here."


For 2nd Lt. Deatae Allen, 23, it's about leading by example and being in the front.


"It helps motivate them and build teamwork," Allen said. "The key thing I was focusing on is staying together as a team, conquering the obstacles and finishing as a team.


"For me as a leader, I look to complete it as a platoon."




506th RCT holds breach course at Craig Village

By: Pfc. Paul David Ondik, 4th BCT Public Affairs

In an urban environment, anything can happen at any time. There are walls, windows, doors and, most importantly, people everywhere. To be a successful unit of action, Soldiers must be trained to read and react and be given the tools and training to find and engage the enemy.

October 19-20, the 506th Regimental Combat Team held the field portion of the Assault Breacher Course at the Craig Village training sight on post.

“Division sent down guidance to start this program to train assault breachers within the RCT’s battalions,†said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Walnoha, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the brigade engineer cell. The participants were all junior leaders who operate as team leaders or above in their units.

“We have representatives from all the battalions,†Walnoha said. “They have learned to employ five different methods, including explosives and ballistic breaching with a 12-gauge shotgun, as well as mechanized breaching,†he said.

“It is very tactically sound the way the brigades have changed into independent units of action,†Walnoha said.

The training consists of two different phases.

The first phase involves equipment familiarization, safety and classroom instruction.

The second phase is the field phase, consisting of practical exercises at the Craig Village range. The troops worked in two platoons broken down into squad elements. Over the course of the two days the platoons alternated, with one conducting explosive door charges, while the other practiced explosive window charges, ballistic and mechanical door breaching techniques.

“The most important part is that they can actually get right out there, hands-on, and deal with live demo,†said Sgt. Robert K. Marsh, reconnaissance NCO.

The students were familiarized with the Black Hawk Dynamic Entry Breaching Toolkit. The kits, which include a battering ram, are the primary option used for mechanical breaching.

The course, which is held once a year, certifies its participants as assault breachers, who can then take their knowledge back down to the platoon and squad level.

“It gives the infantry the ability to breach themselves, rather than have to wait for the engineers,†Walnoha said.

In theatre these skills will provide a framework for dealing with real world obstacles in real time combat.

“It will help these Soldiers defeat doors and obstacles they might not know how to deal with,†Marsh said. “They can pull out a book and look up a certain type of door and know that this is how to use the equipment to gain entry.â€


101st Airborne Division Unit Takes Control of Baghdad Sector

American Forces Press Service



WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2005 – The 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division formally took control of the southwestern Baghdad area of operations from the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team on Oct. 31.


Army Col. Todd Ebel (left) commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and Army Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team, stand before their brigades during the transfer of authority Oct. 31. Rodeheaver's brigade turned authority of the security of southwestern Baghdad over to Ebel's brigade. Photo by Pfc. Kelly K. McDowell, USA (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.


Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver, 48th BCT commander, and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. James Nelson cased the unit's colors, representing the end of their mission and responsibility for this area.


Shortly after the 48th's guidon was cased, Army Col. Todd Ebel, commander of 2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Division, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall, the brigade's senior enlisted soldier, uncased the colors of the "Strike Brigade." This action symbolized the 101st's acceptance of responsibility for the area and the support and security missions it entails.


In his remarks to the assembled troops, Rodeheaver expressed his pride in his soldiers and the job they have done since June. He also wished the soldiers of the 101st luck and thanked them for their professionalism during the transitional period.


Following the general's address, Ebel said, "This ceremony is not about us, but about Iraq and what we will give to Iraq."


He also spoke of the importance of the unit's mission, which is to help bring peace to people who have not enjoyed peace in their history.


The colonel praised the 48th for providing a smooth transition. He then wished them well on their next mission as the theater security force for all of Iraq.


Elsewhere in Iraq, Task Force Baghdad soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, assisted a 9-year-old boy with severe burns in a rural area of Abu Ghraib.


The soldiers were on a routine patrol when a family asked for their help. The 9-year-old boy had burned himself with boiling cooking water, resulting in second-degree burns over 6 percent of his body, Army 1st Lt. John Shea, convoy commander for the mission, said. The child had been rushed to a local hospital in the area but was not treated for unknown reasons.


"When we originally spoke to the mother, the boy was not present but we did promise to return that evening to treat the boy's wounds," Shea said.


"He was very tough putting up with the pain, which is a trend of all the Iraqi kids," said Army Spc. Bernard John, the unit's medic who treated the boy with bandages and ointment.


Shea said his patrol plans to visit the boy again to monitor his recovery.


(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)DOD


Two 101st soldiers killed in Iraq


The Leaf-Chronicle



Two soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq were killed Friday in separate incidents, bringing to nine the number of those killed since the division's latest deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


A remembrance ceremony for all the soldiers killed in Iraq will be held Wednesday on Fort Campbell. All of the division soldiers killed in Iraq during this deployment have been assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team.




Sgt. 1st Class James F. Hayes, 48, of Barstow, Calif., died in Taji after a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee while he was on a mission to deliver toys to children.


Hayes was assigned to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment.


Staff Sgt. Jason A. Fegler, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., was killed during combat operations in Baghdad. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. The circumstances surrounding Fegler's death are being investigated as a possible friendly fire incident, according to the Department of Defense.


Fegler is the eighth soldier of the 502nd to be killed in Iraq since the division deployed in September.


Sgt. 1st Class Hayes

Hayes' family gathered in Clarksville to console one another Monday evening and all agreed he died doing what he loved — helping others.


"His men were everything to him. He treated them like they were his own sons," said Peggy Writtenhause, James Hayes' sister, who lives in Indianapolis, Ind.


Sgt. 1st Class Hayes had 22 years in the Army, and this was his second tour in Iraq. He was also a Gulf War veteran.


"He lived for (the Army). He loved what he did," Writtenhause said. "Instead of resting, he and (other soldiers) went to help the children. That's him in a nutshell. The only comfort is knowing he died what he believed in. That's what he did, and he just really cared for people."


Writtenhause — whose late father was a Marine who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and whose other brother is in the Navy — said she is familiar with the sacrifices military families make. She said she knew her brother had a dangerous job — looking for roadside bombs.


"He could have gotten out (of the Army) and he didn't," she said. "He's in a better place and hopefully we'll get to see him again."


Hayes was a cannon crew member and entered the Army in November 1984.


He arrived at Fort Campbell in March 2003. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and three daughters, 21, 12 and 10, of Clarksville; a daughter, 28, in Barstow, Calif.; a son, 26, of Louisville, Ky., and a granddaughter, 5.


Staff Sgt. Fegler

Fegler was an infantryman. He entered the Army in July 2000 and arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2005. He is survived by his wife, Shianne Fegler, and 2-year-old son, Aiden, of Virginia Beach. Calls to the Fegler residence were not immediately returned Monday night.


Friday's deaths brings to 79 the total number of Fort Campbell troops killed during combat in the Middle East since March 2003.


Chantal Escotocovers military affairs and can be reached at 245-0216 or by e-mail at chantalescoto@theleafchronicle.com.



Originally published November 8, 2005





Attack kills 4 101st troops

By: Fort Campbell Public Affairs

Four 101st Airborne Division Soldiers died Monday in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an Improvised Explosive Device exploded near the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle they were traveling in while conducting a patrol near Al Mahmudiyah.

The Soldiers were all Infantrymen assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. The Soldiers are identified as: Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Tessar, Spc. William J. Byler, Pfc. David J. Martin, and Pfc. Adam R. Johnson.

Tessar, 35, is a native of Simi Valley, Calif. He entered the Army in February 1987, and arrived at Fort Campbell in July 2004. He is survived by his wife, Nancy and three children.

Byler, 23, is a native of Ballinger, Texas. He entered the Army in August 2002, and arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2003. He is survived by his parents, William and Karen Byler in Ballinger, Texas.

Martin, 21, is a native of Edmond, Okla. He entered the Army in October 2004, and arrived at Fort Campbell in February 2005. He is survived by his parents, Richard and Janet Martin, of Edmond, Okla.

Johnson, 22, is a native of Clayton, Ohio. He entered the Army in January 2005, and arrived at Fort Campbell in May 2005. He is survived by his father, Randall Johnson of Clayton, Ohio, and his mother, Frances Johnson of Brookville, Ohio.

A statement from Nancy Tessar, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Tessar, follows:

“The Tessar family would like to extend our thanks to everyone for the sincere expressions of support and sympathy as we grieve for the loss of a devoted husband, loving father and dedicated Soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Tessar.

“We sincerely appreciate the nation’s interest in Jonathan’s service to his country, but ask that the media respect our privacy and allow us time to grieve.

“Jonathan dreamed of being a Soldier from the time he was 5 years old and dedicated over 18 years of his live to the service of the nation that he loved so much.

“His family was more important to him than anything, but his love and loyalty to the Army and to his Soldiers was unwavering.

“Our thoughts and support go out to the men and women who continue to serve and their families back home. We pray for all of our Soldiers’ safe return.â€

Memorial services for the fallen Soldiers will be held in Iraq. Fort Campbell holds a monthly Eagle Remembrance Ceremony the second Wednesday of each month. The first ceremony will be held Wednesday.Ft Campbell Courier


Band of Brothers’ takes control in Iraq

TIKRIT, Iraq -- Task Force Band of Brothers, run by the 101st Airborne Division, took command of the north central Iraq area of operations in a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Danger Tuesday.

During the ceremony, Task Force Liberty, run by the 42nd Infantry Division, a National Guard unit from New York, handed authority to the Screaming Eagles in front of regional and Coalition Force leaders.

This marks the second deployment of the 101st to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The division was part of the initial ground war in 2003 that toppled the Saddam Hussein regime.

For the current deployment, the 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade are deployed with the division, while the 2nd and 4th BCTs are attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. The 159th CAB and the 101st Sustainment Brigade are filling roles with the XVIII Airborne Corps at various locations throughout Iraq.

Task Force Band of Brothers also includes the 1st and 3rd BCTs, 3rd Inf. Div., Fort Stewart, Ga.; 18th Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.; and 555th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Lewis, Wash. The 3rd Inf. Div. units are scheduled to rotate out in the new year and will be replaced by other units not yet confirmed.

While in Iraq, Task Force Liberty trained and worked with Soldiers from the Iraqi army and security forces.

Because of the training’s success, the 42nd handed over control of the As Sulayminayah Province and 10 forward operating bases, including FOB Danger, to Iraqi police and soldiers, said Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, commander, 42nd Inf. Div. and Task Force Liberty.

“Today’s ceremony has some additional symbolic meaning. It marks the last time that coalition forces will host an event on these palace grounds,†Taluto said. “Soon this place that was for only an elite few will be the place for the Iraqi people. Instead of representing how one man used Iraq’s wealth, it now represents how Iraq’s wealth can serve the people.â€

The 101st will continue the work Task Force Liberty began in the region by continuing to train the Iraqi Army and Iraqi security forces and assisting them as they protect their country from terrorist elements and insurgents. TF Band of Brothers is dedicated to preserving the evolving, democratically elected government of Iraq, and ensuring the safety of its people.

“We look forward to working with the security forces of Iraq; the Iraqi army and Maj. Gen. Ahmed, commanding general of the Iraqi 5th Division in Dyiala Province, and Lt. Gen. Aziz, commanding general of the 4th Iraqi army in Sad, Kirkuk and Sulayminayah Province,†said Maj. Gen. Thomas Turner, commander, 101st Airborne Division and Task Force Band of Brothers. “The soldiers that these gentlemen command are in the fight everyday, risking not only their lives, but those of their families as they attempt to destroy the insurgency and provide the secure environment that will allow this democracy to flourish.â€


P.S. Dusty is in the 3rd Brigade....


Believe it or not, I answered this the other day, but the computer was giving me fits and ate my response. :banghead::banghead:


Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to keep us up to speed. Great articles! :pdt34: I wasn't aware of all of this and it's wonderful that I can just take a look at my forum and go, "Ahh, more news to catch up on."


I appreciate your efforts, and I'm sure others do too.



Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Thanks sis ..I miss ya tons


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