Fellow Rakkasans –
I want to provide a brief update to all on your Rakkasan BCT. Since January, 2016, the Rakkasans have been hard at work preparing for our next mission. From January to April, your Rakkasan Soldiers spent a great deal of time in the training areas of Forts Knox and Campbell preparing for our decisive action rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center. Training events conducted include but were not limited to team and squad live fires, platoon live fires, a BCT field training exercise, company combined arms live fires and battalion (-) live fires. Additionally, as many of you are aware, we celebrated the 73rd Anniversary of the founding of the 187th Infantry Regiment. This was a particularly important event this year because it also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm. The BCT was honored to host many of the Brigade’s leaders from Desert Storm. It was a wonderful opportunity as those Leaders were able to engage with our current Rakkasans and conduct a Leader Professional Development session with all of the BCTs Leaders. It was a great event.
The BCT was selected to be the first Army BCT in sixteen years to execute a Sea Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise as part of our deployment to JRTC. The BCT loaded approximately 900 pieces of equipment on rail cars which travelled to the port of Jacksonville, FL. At Jacksonville, our Soldiers downloaded the rail and uploaded all of the equipment on the USNS Benavides (LMSR). The ship departed Jacksonville and arrived at Port Arthur, TX, where the ship was downloaded and all equipment was convoyed to Fort Polk, LA. Your Soldiers accomplished all of this while still conducting live fires at Fort Campbell.
During May, the BCT conducted its first full decisive action rotation at the JRTC. During the rotation, your Rakkasans conducted multiple battalion and company air assault missions and battalion live fires for all of the infantry battalions. It was a great training event, where every Soldier and system within the BCT was stressed. The BCT executed a wide array of missions to include a joint forcible air assault entry into the box, area security operations, a hasty defense and culminated with a deliberate attack.
Currently, the BCT is recovering from JRTC and is preparing for a well-earned opportunity leave period. Once leave is complete, the BCT will transition to training and preparing for its assigned missions in theater. Almost all of the battalions in the BCT will deploy in the fall. 2-506 will deploy late summer, approximately 2.5 months ahead of the rest of the BCT. The remainder of the BCT will culminate with a second rotation at JRTC in September to validate we are prepared to deploy.
Mark your calendars for 20 October. On that day the BCT will conduct a Distinguished/Honorary Member of the Regiment Ceremony at the pylon at 1000; RAK Sale in the BCT conference room from 1100-1400; veteran’s lunch from 1130-1300; and finally conduct a BCT color casing ceremony at 1400. All of you are invited to join us if you are available.
As always, if you find yourself in the Fort Campbell area, please come see us.
Best to all of you. Thank you for your service to the Rakkasans, our Army and our nation. Am extremely proud to serve in your Rakkasan BCT.
COL Larry Burris
3 BCT, 101 ABN DIV (AASLT)