Ironhorse Brigade Takes the Lead from Spartan Brigade in Zagan, Poland
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Col. Christopher M. Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and Command Sgt. Maj. David N. Harris, command sergeant major of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, uncase their colors during a transfer of authority ceremony June 5, 2024, in Zagan, Poland. The 1st Cavalry Division’s mission in Europe is to engage in multinational training and exercises across the continent, working alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces to V Corps, America’s forward-deployed corps in Europe. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Jasmine McCarthy)

ZAGAN, Poland – June 5, 2024 – In a formal ceremony in Zagan, Poland, the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “Ironhorse,” 1st Cavalry Division, officially assumed authority from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Spartan,” 3rd Infantry Division. The transition marks a significant milestone in the ongoing U.S. military presence in Europe, aimed at bolstering NATO alliances and regional security.

The Ironhorse Brigade, one of three armored brigade combat teams under the 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Cavazos, Texas, has a storied history of participating in Operation Atlantic Resolve. This transfer of authority with the Spartan Brigade echoes a similar transition in 2020.

The 1st Cavalry Division’s European mission encompasses engaging in multinational training and exercises across the continent. These activities are designed to strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and regional security partners, thereby providing ready and capable forces to V Corps, America’s forward-deployed corps in Europe.

Brig. Gen. Chad C. Chalfont, deputy commanding general of maneuver of the 1st Cavalry Division, led the ceremony with a speech that acknowledged the efforts of both the departing Spartan Brigade and the incoming Ironhorse Brigade.

“To our Polish partners at the 11th Armored Cavalry Division, dzień dobry (good day in Polish). Thank you for your support to the mission and the Spartan brigade over these past nine months and thank you for being here to welcome our Ironhorse,” said Chalfont. “The troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division are ready to serve alongside your formations to train hard and to drive readiness to deepen our partnership between the Polish and American forces.”

The Spartan Brigade’s nine-month rotation was marked by numerous exercises alongside NATO allies in Lithuania, Poland, and Germany as part of Operation Assure, Deter, and Reassure. Among their notable achievements were creating the first-ever Artillery Table XVIII in the Baltics and executing a NATO Wet Gap Crossing over the Vistula River using military ferries from Germany, France, and Poland.

“Over the past nine months, we trained alongside friends and allies across Europe,” said Col. Ethan J. Diven, commander of the departing 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “Our purpose was simple: forge new partnerships, build readiness, increase interoperability, and enhance the bonds between allied and partnered militaries in full view of our adversaries to ensure the message is clear.”

Following Diven’s speech, Col. Christopher M. Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, expressed gratitude for the Spartan Brigade’s efforts during their rotation.

“To the entire Spartan organization, a personal thank you for everything you have done over the last nine months in training to a high state of readiness, partnering with our allies, and interacting with our local communities,” said Dempsey. “Thank you for creating an environment for a successful transition as we take responsibility for living up to the high standard you have set.”

Dempsey concluded his remarks with an inspiring message to his brigade.

“To the Ironhorse Troopers, you are ready for this mission, and I am proud to serve alongside you. You fight hard, you train hard, and you represent the best of the 1st Cavalry Division,” said Dempsey. “We will make this mission matter, and we will never stop improving. First Team, Ironhorse Never Quits!”

As the Ironhorse Brigade steps into its new role, the U.S. commitment to European security and NATO partnerships remains steadfast, underscoring the strategic importance of these rotations in maintaining regional stability and readiness.

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