173rd Airborne Brigade becomes a brigade combat team
By Sgt. Brandon Aird
173rd Airborne Brigade Public Affairs
BAMBERG, Germany (Army News Service, Sept. 18, 2006) – As part of the Army’s continuing transformation efforts, the 173rd Airborne Brigade of Vicenza, Italy, became the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team Sept. 15 in a ceremony at Warner Barracks.
“The 173rd Airborne Brigade is rich in history, honor, determination, heroism and end-mission success,” said Maj. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commander of Southern European Task Force.
The change makes the 173rd the Army’s newest and only separate airborne brigade combat team, a modular, self-sustaining unit.
The 173rd is the European Command’s only conventional airborne unit and is EUCOM’s rapid response force.
The reorganization process included the standing up or re-flagging and assumption of three battalion sized elements, replacing three company sized elements. The brigade was formerly stationed solely in Vicenza, but now has elements north and south of the Alps to include Bamberg and Schweinfurt, Germany.
The 173rd ABCT now includes the following units:
• 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne)
• 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne)
• 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne)
• 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
• 173rd Support Battalion (Airborne)
• 173rd Special Troops Battalion (Airborne)
• Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Over the next year the 173rd ABCT will focus on filling its ranks with paratroopers, acquiring new equipment and training so that the combat team will be ready for future combat operation or contingency mission.
“Our primary focus is to get ready for combat,” said Col. Charles Preysler, brigade commander.