Rakkasans past and present –
My name is John Cogbill, the new Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team ‘Rakkasans’ and I would like to introduce myself and update you on the state of the Regiment. Before coming to Fort Campbell, I served with the 82nd Airborne, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 501st PIR, USMA, the 1st Cavalry Division and III Corps. I have served in Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. As I stated in my change of command speech, I have never had the privilege to serve in the Rakkasans before, but I have served beside the Rakkasans, in combat, shoulder to shoulder, in places like Tikrit, Iraq and Nangarhar, Helmand and Kunduz in Afghanistan. Your valor, professionalism and competence is an inspiration to those around you, and I am truly honored to be a member of this team. My wife, Jenny, and I look forward to getting to know the rest of the Rakkasan family.
This team has been busy since I’ve arrived. In September, we sent elements of our Rakkasans to assist with a War Fighter Exercise up at Fort Drum, New York, helping the 101st and the Army remain ready to fight tonight in any location we could be called. Soldiers from White Currahee Rakkasans conducted squad live fires and mortar gunneries, War Rakkasans hosted Leader Academies to prepare their junior leaders for the next steps forward. October kept up the pace of our training as Iron and Leader headed out to the field to conduct live-fire exercises, with Assurgam validating their Role 2 Medical capabilities out at our Combat Medical Training site. And in November, White Currahee and Rak Solid headed out from Fort Campbell, taking over the training ranges at Fort Knox, Kentucky to test their joint capabilities at the platoon level with two weeks of live-fire exercises. And as we approach the Holiday season, we have a lot more training to do, including more live-fire exercises, Operation Clean Eagle, and White Currahee’s part in the Eagle Guard mission. Once the holidays end, we’ll be right back into the battle rhythm as another War Fighter exercise kicks off on Fort Campbell followed by an aggressive collective training progression to prepare us for our next Rendezvous with Destiny.
Since taking command, I got to see first-hand the fitness of our Soldiers with a Brigade Run around the Rakkasan footprint, followed with the return of the Iron Rakkasan Fitness Challenge at the end of October, where the battalion climbed 3,187 steps at Austin Peay University’s football stadium. We’ve also been keeping our officers sharp with Heroes PT, remembering the sacrifices of those 27 who came before and building our esprit-de-corps in the staff. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with dozens of former Rakkasans who still live in the area, who continue to support our Soldiers to this day, with a breakfast after the stair-climb at the local Torii chapter VFW building. Speaking with the veterans and hearing their stories about serving with the Rakkasans demonstrated how strong the bond is in the Rakkasan family, both past and present.
Thank you for your continued support and invaluable contributions to our families, Veterans, community partners, and our Rakkasan Soldiers!
Let Valor Not Fail!
COL John Cogbill