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The 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion is a special troops battalion of the United States Army headquartered at Fort Drum, New Yorkmarker. It is the organization for the command elements of the 10th Mountain Division. The battalion contains the division's senior command structure, including its Headquarters and Headquarters Company, as well as communication and support elements, which provide services to any units assigned to the headquarters at a time.

Activated to oversee division elements prior to World War II, the battalion fought in Italymarker for a year. After the war it served as the command element for the 10th when it was a training unit. Due to reorganizations in the Army, the Special Troops Battalion was not reactivated with the 10th Mountain Division in 1985, and instead remained inactive while the division served in numerous contingencies throughout the 1990s. Reactivated during another reorganization in 2004, the Special Troops Battalion supported the 10th Mountain Division command elements when they deployed to both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistanmarker and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraqmarker. During this service, it has received several commendations for its multiple deployments. In October of 2009, the Special Troops Battalion was redesignated to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountail Division (LI).

Organization

The 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion (STB) is subordinate to the 10th Mountain Division, and is a permanent formation of the division, as the 10th Mountain Division's command elements are all contained within the STB. It is organized under the same uniform structure that all Special Troops Battalions in the United States Army conform to.

The battalion consists of four companies; the division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, as well as A Company, a Combat Engineer company, B Company, a Military Intelligence company, C Company, a Signal company, and a generic Military Police platoon. These companies provide services for the other elements under the 10th Mountain Division's command. As such, all of the formations are mountain warfare qualified.

History

The Special Troops Battalion was activated on November 6, 1944, as an organizational structure for the command elements of the 10th Mountain Division. It was activated at Camp Swift, Texasmarker, while the division was staging in preparation for deployment to Europe during World War II.

World War II

The 10th Light Division (Alpine) was constituted on July 10, 1943, and activated two days later at Camp Hale, Coloradomarker. The division was centered around regimental commands; the 85th Infantry Regiment, 86th Infantry Regiment, and 87th Infantry Regiment. Also assigned to the division were the 604th, 605th, and 616th Field Artillery battalions, the 110th Signal Company, the 710th Ordanance Companay, the 10th Quartermaster Company, the 10th Reconnaissance Troop, the 126th Engineer Battalion, the 10th Medical Battalion, and the 10th Counter-Intelligence Detachment. The 10th Light Division was unique in that it was the only division in the Army with three field artillery battalions instead of four.

The division trained for one year at the 9,200-foot-high Camp Hale. Soldiers trained to fight and survive under the most brutal mountain conditions, traveling on skis and show shoes, and sleeping in the snow without tents. On June 22, 1944, the division was shipped to Camp Swift, Texas to prepare for maneuvers in Louisianamarker, which were later canceled. A period of acclimation to a low altitude and hot climate was necessary to prepare for this training. On November 6, 1944, the 10th Division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division. It was at this point that the Special Troops Battalion was activated. That same month the blue and white "Mountain" tab was authorized for the division's new shoulder sleeve insignia.

Italy

The division advancing in Italy, April 1945


The battalion and its division sailed for Italymarker in late 1944, arriving in Italy on January 6, 1945. It was the last US Army Division to enter combat in World War II.

The battalion provided command for the division as it immediately entered combat near Cutiglianomarker and Orsignamarker. Preliminary defensive actions were followed on February 19, 1945 by Battle of Monte Castello in conjunction with troops of a Brazilian Expeditionary Force.

The unit made concerted attacks on the Monte Della Torraccia-Mount Belvedere sector, and the peaks were cleared after several days of heavy fighting. In early March the division fought its way north of Canolle and moved to within of Bolognamarker. Maintaining defensive positions for the next three weeks, the division jumped off again in April, captured Mongiorgiomarker on April 20, and entered the Po Valleymarker, seizing the strategic points Pradalbino and Bomportomarker. The 10th crossed the Po Rivermarker on April 23, reaching Veronamarker on April 25, and ran into heavy opposition at Torbole and Nagomarker. After an amphibious crossing of Lake Gardamarker, it secured Gargnanomarker and Porto di Tremosinemarker on April 30, as German resistance in Italy ended. After the German surrender in Italy on May 2, 1945, the division went on security duty, receiving the surrender of various German units and screening the areas of occupation near Triestemarker, Kobaridmarker, Bovecmarker and Log pod Mangartommarker, Sloveniamarker until V-E Day, the end of the war in Europe.

Demobilization

Originally, the battalion and division were to be sent to the Pacific theater to take part in Operation Downfall, the invasion of mainland Japanmarker. However, Japan surrendered in August 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The division returned to the US two days after the surrender. All of its combat elements, as well as the Special Troops Battalion, were demobilized and deactivated on November 30, 1945, at Camp Carson, Colorado.

Cold War

In June 1948, the division was rebuilt and activated at Fort Rileymarker, Kansasmarker to serve as a training division. Without its "Mountain" tab, the division served at the 10th Infantry Division for the next ten years. The battalion was also rebuilt and delegated to commanding the training units. The division was charged with processing and training replacements in large numbers. This mission was expanded with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. By 1953, the division had trained 123,000 new Army recruits at Fort Riley.

In 1954, the division was converted to a combat division once again, though it did not regain its "Mountain" status. Using equipment from the deactivating 37th Infantry Division, the 10th Infantry Division was deployed to Germany, replacing the 1st Infantry Division at Wurzburgmarker, serving as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizationmarker defensive force. The division served in Germany for four years, until it was rotated out and replaced by the 3rd Infantry Division. On July 1, 1957, the battalion was redesignated as the 10th Administration Company. However, the company moved with the division to Fort Benning, Georgiamarker, and was deactivated on June 14, 1958.

Reactivation

In 1985, when the 10th Mountain Division was reactivated again, the Special Troops Battalion was not made a part of the organizational structure, in accordance with the new format of US Army Divisions per the 1963 Reorganization Objective Army Divisions plan.

Upon the return of the division headquarters and 1st Brigade from Afghanistanmarker after supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the 10th Mountain Division began the process of transformation into a modular division. On September 16, 2004, the division headquarters finished its transformation, which returned the Special Troops Battalion to active service. The 1st Brigade became the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, while the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was activated for the first time. In January 2005, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was activated at Fort Polkmarker, Louisianamarker. 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division would not be transformed until September 2005, pending a deployment to Iraqmarker. Around that time, the Special Troops Battalion received its heraldry, including a coat of arms and a distinctive unit insignia.

The division headquarters and 3rd Brigade Combat Team redeployed to Afghanistan in 2006, staying in the country until 2007. The division and brigade served in the eastern region of the country, along the border with Pakistanmarker, fulfilling a similar role as it did during its previous deployment. During this time, the deployment of the brigade was extended along with that of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, however, it was eventually replaced by the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team which was rerouted from Iraq.

After a one-year rest, the headquarters of the 10th Mountain Division was deployed to Iraq for the first time in April 2008, along with the 4th Brigade Combat Team. The division headquarters served as the command element for southern Baghdad, while the 4th BCT operated in North Baghdad. The 10th Mountain participated in larger scale operations such as Operation Phantom Phoenix.

Honors

The 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion was awarded two campaign streamers in World War II and four campaign streamers in the War on Terrorism for a total of six campaign streamers and two unit decorations in its operational history. Some of the division's brigades received more or fewer decorations depending on their individual deployments.

Unit decorations

Ribbon Award Year Notes
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2001–2002 for service in Central Asia
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2003–2004 for service in Afghanistan
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) 2008–2009 for service in Iraq


Campaign streamers

Conflict Streamer Year(s)
World War II North Apennines 1945
World War II Po Valley 1945
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan 2001—2002
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan 2003—2004
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan 2006—2007
Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraq 2008—2009


References

  1. Field Manual (FM) 3-0, "Operations." Headquarters, Department of the Army, February 2008.
  2. Almanac, p. 592.
  3. Almanac, p. 590.
  4. Alamanc, p. 591.


Sources



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