Light Armored Unit activated in the 82nd Airborne Division
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division hosted a ceremony at the Hall of Heroes activating its first light armored unit within the division on Oct. 26, 2018, as reported by Sgt. Gin-Sophie De Bellotte, 82nd Airborne.
1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division celebrated the activation of Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment in the Hall of Heroes on Fort Bragg, N.C. on Oct. 26, 2018. 4-68 Armor carries a storied history, back to World War I. It last cased it's colors on February 15th, 1984. (Photo: U.S. Army / Sgt. Jesse Ledger)
The activation of the light armored unit is something the Army has been working on after realizing the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) needs something that packs more power on the battlefield. “We now have the capability to counter light armored threats on the battlefield with something more than missile systems,” said Cpt. Aram M. Hatfield, company commander of the newly activated 4th Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment in the division.
IBCTs constitute the Army’s “light” ground forces and are an important part of the nation’s ability to project forces overseas. They can get there fast with low logistics demand and they can work in severely restricted terrain. “There’s nothing in the division right now with that amount of firepower and speed,” said Hatfield.
In conjunction, Lt. Col. Steven G. Dobbins, commander of 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division said, he believes the activation of this light armored unit will provide more support to protect the light forces. “This gives us the advantage to suppress the enemy as they come up with vehicles that are larger than ours by providing a support by fire element,” said Dobbins. As a result of this, Dobbins said the new unit brings even more esprit de corps to the division and hopes his Paratroopers can see the pride of the older veterans who attended the activation of the unit and respect the history behind everything going forward.
The 4-68 Armor can trace their roots back to the First World War. The unit was organized in France on 7 June 1918 as Company C, 327th Battalion, Tank Corps, American Expeditionary Force. “This is a big deal!” said Hatfield. “This is a capability the Army had gotten rid of and now we’re starting to bring it back.” Having a background in working on armored vehicles and doing light and airborne reconnaissance, Hatfield said he’s extremely excited to be able to work and help the Army in that capacity. “As the unit’s first commander I hope to get the unit equipped and train the Paratroopers on the vehicles and equipment we’ve received,” said Hatfield. “The vast majority of them have never been on an armored vehicle before.”
More importantly, Hatfield said he has one Paratrooper who was a former Marine who has some experience with the equipment and vehicle which will be an asset with the training his Paratroopers will receive in the upcoming months. “I would like these guys to be experts on these vehicles and experts on the doctrine that we are going to develop,” said Hatfield.