Province Reassignment Moves Two 4ID Battallions to 101st Airborne Control

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By Spc. Lee Elder, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BALAD, Iraq – Two battalions based at Fort Carson, Colo., are being moved from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

As of Aug. 9, both 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, and 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, now fall under the operational control of 3rd Brigade which is headquartered at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit. Leaders in 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, also known as “Task Force Pacesetter” said the move will have little impact on their day-to-day operations.

“It’s a pretty transparent move,” said Capt. John Sacksteder, who serves as Task Force Pacesetter’s adjutant.

Spc. Brian Koerner applies an IV to a mock patient during medical training
BALAD, Iraq Spc. Brian Koerner applies an IV to a mock patient during medical training. Koerner, a medic from Mesquite, Texas, is a member of the Task Force Pacesetter’s medical platoon.

Sacksteder, who hails from Fostoria, Ohio, said his task force would still route its awards, evaluations, casualty reports and rest and relaxation leaves through its former parent unit. He predicted the move would not impact his office at all.

The operational channels also don’t foresee too much of a change to their daily routine.

“It doesn’t impact us very much at all operationally,” said Master Sgt. Todd Venema, who serves as Task Force Pacesetter’s operations sergeant. “They have not task organized us under anything other than what we’re currently operating under. Our mission still remains the same, just the formatting has changed.”

Venema said the changes would be mostly clerical.

Our office uses different formats now to file daily reports. It also has different times when conference calls are conducted with its new higher headquarters, Venema explained.

“It’s been a very minimal change for us,” Venema said. “It’s very cosmetic.”

The change was made to the battalions as part of a realignment of U.S. forces in northern Iraq. So far, the transition has gone well.

Spc. Kyle Climo stitches up a simulated patient wound under the watchful eye of Capt. Paul Ruchalski Jr.
BALAD, Iraq Spc. Kyle Climo stitches up a simulated patient’s wound under the watchful eye of Capt. Paul Ruchalski Jr., his physician’s assistant. Climo, a medic from Binghamton, N.Y., is a member of the Task Force Pacesetter’s medical platoon.

“They are trying to break everything into province alignment,” Venema said.

The battalions have both been under the 3rd HBCT since they began preparations to deploy here last year. Both are currently scheduled to leave Iraq this fall.

“You never want to lose your parent unit,” Venema said. “You grow up with your parent unit and you adapt to them. You know most of the people that are in 3rd Brigade, 4th ID, because they have been with us since 2003 when we first deployed here.”

The 3rd HBCT deployed to this area during OIF I. It returned in December of last year.

Task Force Pacesetter is headquartered at Logistical Support Area Anaconda and has units at Forward Operating Bases Normandy, Warhorse and Paliwoda. The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry is headquartered at FOB Paliwoda and has its Company D at FOB O’Ryan.

Photos of 1-8 Operations

Spc. Dustyn Mitchell uncovers a rocket buried in an orchard on Jabouri Peninsula
JABOURI PENINSULA, Iraq Spc. Dustyn Mitchell, a team leader with Company A, 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion, uncovers a rocket that had been buried in an orchard on the Jabouri Peninsula. Soldiers from Company A, 1-8 CAB made these finds during Operation Cowpens. They serve with 3rd Heavy Brigade Heavy Team, 4th Infantry Division. Mitchell hails from San Diego.
Soldiers from Company A, 1 8 Combined Arms Battalion, and Iraqi army uncover a barrel buried in an orchard on Jabouri Peninsula
JABOURI PENINSULA, Iraq Soldiers from Company A, 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion, and the Iraqi army uncover a barrel that had been buried in an orchard on the Jabouri Peninsula. They serve with 3rd Heavy Brigade Heavy Team, 4th Infantry Division. The barrels were used by insurgents to hide weapons.
1st Lt. Sean Craig swims a 15 meter distance in his interceptor body armor system
1st Lt. Sean Craig, native of Chicago, platoon leader, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, swims a 15meter distance in his interceptor body armor system during a drown proofing class at the pool in Logistical Support Area Anaconda near Balad, Iraq.
Sgt. Justin Folts, shows Staff Sgt. Derrick Gwin how to breathe using an oxygen tank
Sgt. Justin Folts, native of Billings, Mont., treatment NCO, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, shows Staff Sgt. Derrick Gwin, native of Thomasville, Ala., gunnery sergeant, Battery B, 3rd Bn., 29th FA, how to breathe using an oxygen tank during a drown proofing class at the pool in Logistical Support Area Anaconda near Balad, Iraq.

Specialist Lee Elder is a photographer and writer with the 133d Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, based in Iraq.