Welcome to the Raider Brigade Combat Team!
We are a team of Soldiers, Families, and Civilians of all backgrounds, skills, and experiences working together to accomplish any mission our country asks of us. We are very fortunate to live and work at Fort Stewart in the Coastal Georgia area. Fort Stewart is a remarkable Army Post. We are only minutes from historic Savannah as well as a short drive from Hilton Head, South Carolina to the north and Jacksonville, Florida to the south. There are plenty of beaches close by to offer relief from the summer sun but rest assured our hot summers are balanced by mild winters. This is a great place to be!
Our primary mission is to be ready to fight our nation's wars and win. There is no easy way to prepare for this. Discipline, along with tough, realistic training and top-notch physical fitness are all requirements to be successful while in harm's way. Currently, most of the Brigade Combat Team is deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While most of us are conducting security force assistance in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, many more from our combined arms battalions are in provinces across the theater involved in village stability operations. Upon our return, we will complete reintegration, reset our families, and begin training for our next mission.
Families are a vital component to the success of the Raider Brigade. Life in the military is challenging and we strongly encourage our families to support us by being involved in the unit and building relationships with other family members. We keep families informed not only through family readiness groups but also through an interactive Facebook page that is accessible to all. There you can find pictures and stories of our activities, as well as announcements of a number of events happening on Fort Stewart, Afghanistan, and in the local community so “like” our page today! I even maintain a Twitter account that allows me to post pictures and short observations of what I see around the Brigade each day. If you don't follow Twitter, you can still see these postings on our Facebook page too by clicking the “Raider 6 Tweets” button.
You matter. Citizens who volunteer to serve our Nation while we are at war places them and their family in a very exclusive category. Whether this is your first assignment or if you have moved a number of times, we are glad you are here. People are not in the Army, they ARE the Army. So, welcome to the Raider Brigade and Fort Stewart!
- COL Jim Crider
- 1st ABCT, 3rd Infantry Division
FORWARD OPERATING BASE APACHE, Afghanistan - The Arghandab Mountains, a beautiful range with peaks that reach as high as the clouds, stand as guardians of a geographical area long ravaged by wars, armed conflicts and civil unrest. The mountains have borne witness to much over the years.
Nestled in the shadows of the mountains are the service members of Combined Task Force Raider on Forward Operating Base Apache. While some Soldiers may have lived in horrible, downright disgusting places during past deployments, much has changed since those days. Soldiers assigned to the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, Combined Task Force Raider are reaping the rewards of this change with grateful attitudes and big smiles
“Life here is pretty good,” said a smiling Cpt. Matthew Goncalves, company commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st ABCT, Third Infantry Division, CTF- R. “Soldiers here have hot water, a good dining facility, gym, laundry service, mailroom and a great Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center.”
One reason for the FOB’s condition is that the noncommissioned officers are doing their part to enforce standards and keep it running as a safe, clean and sanitized base.
“The company first sergeant and noncommissioned officers are doing a great job making sure soldiers follow all prescribed safety standards, like washing hands before eating, showering daily, and picking up litter around the FOB,” said Ray Williams, a civilian safety officer assigned to 1st ABCT, Third Infantry Division, CTF-R.
“Safety Ray,” as he is affectionately called by soldiers around the task force, added, “Soldiers still need to make sure they are wearing a reflective belt at night and have situational awareness at all times, watch choke and pinch points between moving vehicles, and have a light source at night.”
While life on the FOB is good, soldiers have work to do which includes training for patrols, keeping in shape and preparing for the smooth transition of authority back to the Afghanistan government.
“Our squad leader makes us clean our weapons daily, conduct preventive maintenance checks and services, and constantly drills us for an insider threat on the base or any other host of contingencies which may happen,” said Pfc. David Rieger, a cavalry scout assigned to HHC, 1st ABCT, Third Infantry Division, CTF-R. “We’re ready to help the Afghan people in any way they need.”
A simple piece of real estate tucked in the shadow of the Arghandab Mountain range will be free and secure during the coming months, thanks to the positive attitudes, diligence, and watchful eyes of the tactically and technically proficient dog-faced soldiers charged with its care.
FORT STEWART, Ga.— They stood almost three hours in the chilly, foggy morning air for the gates to be opened. The line stretched out for almost half a mile, most had coffee in hand, some even brought lawn chairs- and it wasn't even Black Friday. They were waiting to get a Christmas tree.
For seven years, a program called "Trees for Troops" has been providing military members and their families free, farm-grown Christmas trees each holiday season and this year was no different.
The first person in line outside Newman Fitness Center on Dec. 8 was Sgt. 1st Class Deon Spence, a maintenance motor sergeant with the 92nd Chemical Company.
"The thrill of being the first to pick a tree is an awesome feeling," said Sgt. 1st Class Spence. "It is a good opportunity, it saves you some funds that you can now use for other things, like the kid's presents."
There to officially present the first tree of the morning was Ft. Stewart and Hunter Army Air Field Garrison commander Col. Kevin Gregory and Command Sgt. Maj. Louis C. Felicioni.
"The 'Trees for Troops' organization has really made a difference in our soldiers' lives," said Col. Gregory. "[This large of a turnout] really shows the families getting into the Christmas spirit, giving a bit of their time and receiving a little something as well, for the sacrifices they have made over the years for our country."
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Air Field are two of 62 military bases that received trees this year, and each received more than 500 trees. To date, more than 103,000 trees have been provided to military service men and women and their families.
"I had never seen the 'Trees for Troops' program before," said Staff Sgt. Robert Freeman, the Ear, Nose and Throat noncommissioned officer in charge with the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity for Fort Stewart. "In Germany, we paid roughly $80 for a tree, so getting one for free is wonderful!"
Helping carry the trees to their vehicles were volunteers from the Fort Stewart "Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers" program.
"I am a part of the BOSS program, so I volunteered to help out today," said Spc. Miles Mogilnicky, an intelligence analyst with the 385th Military Police Battalion. "There is a lot to do during the holidays so if I can help someone by carrying a tree, I am glad to do it."
Helping soldiers and their families is the core goal the "Trees for Troops" program was founded on, and as one-by-one the trees vanished from the lot, there was no question the program, and the thousands of American citizens who donated to make this a reality, did just that.