You may have known this site as readyfirst.com, but it has now been incorporated into the Association of 3d Armored Division Veterans website as we work to better tell the story of the Spearhead Division.
This portion of 3ad.org was created to document over time the history and soldiers of the First Brigade Ready First Combat Team (RFCT) of the 3d Armored Division (SPEARHEAD). Eventually we will expand the scope of this site to include the entire 3d Armored Division as it served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
If you were a member of the RFCT or have knowledge of RFCT actions, we want your input. If you have photos of RFCT soldiers or units and would like to see them posted on this site, e-mail them to us in whatever format and resolution you can (at higher scan quality and resolution if possible). If you do not have access to a scanner but can send us a print, we will scan your image and return it to you. We will take whatever help we can get to further develop this site. Eventually, We would like to put the entire division in a similar form on the web. So, if you don't see your unit yet, keep coming back. We will eventually coordinate it…
If you are a veteran of the 3d Armored Division, but of an era earlier than Desert Storm (Cold War and World War II), please continue to read on. If the history of the U.S. Army in the Persian Gulf interests you, you will find this website to be unique.
This site is based on unit rosters (with soldiers' photographs and e-mail links), general photographs, narrative summaries of unit actions, and other relevant information. To get a better idea of how this site will develop over time, take a look at the 4-34 Armor Fire Support Element (FSE) roster on the 2-3 FA roster page. This roster has links to photographs of every soldier in the FSE. In addition, it has some e-mail addresses linked.
The Basics of 1st Brigade in Operation Desert Storm
The RFCT, then stationed at Ayers Kaserne (the "Rock") in the Federal Republic of Germany under the command of Colonel William Lafayette Nash (later to command the 1st Armored Division in Bosnia as a Major General), deployed to Southwest Asia in January 1991 with the 3d Armored Division as a part of the United States VII Corps. RFCT participation during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm can be divided into several distinct phases:
- Deployment to Southwest Asia
- Staging and preparing for combat
- Participation in Ground War combat operations
- Ceasefire Zone border security in southern Iraq
- Significant refugee support in the Safwan, Iraq area
- Redeployment and inactivation of some assigned units
- Initial garrisoning of Camp ThunderRock (now known as Camp Doha) west of Kuwait City as the first U.S. postwar presence in theater (At this point, several units of the former 3d "Thunder" Brigade (2-67 AR, 4-67 AR, and 54th FSB), 3d Armored Division joined the RFCT, thus the name "ThunderRock". 4-32 AR, 5-5 CAV, and 503d FSB did not remain as part of RFCT; they redeployed to Germany for inactivation.)
- Relief by the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse) and redeployment to Germany
Units assigned or attached to the Ready First Combat Team during combat operations included the following:
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division (Ready First)
- 4th Battalion, 32d Armor (Red Lions)
- 4th Battalion, 34th Armor (Centurions) (attached from 8th ID)
- 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2d Battalion, 32d Armor (Turtle Platoon)
- 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry (actually an infantry battalion) (Black Knights) (known as 2-36 Infantry prior to 1988)
- 5th Battalion, 5th Cavalry (actually an infantry battalion) (Bayonets) (known as 3-36 Infantry prior to 1988)
- 2d Battalion, 3d Field Artillery (Gunners) (Direct Support)
- 2d Battalion, 29th Field Artillery (Pathfinders) (Reinforcing) (from 8th ID)
- Alpha Battery, 5th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery (attached from 8th ID) (distinctive name not known) – no info currently available
- 12th Engineer Battalion (Dual Primed) (also includes TF 33d Engineers [provisional]) ("Semper Gumby") (attached from 8th ID)
- B Company, 23d Engineer Battalion ("unofficially" DS to 3-5 CAV) – coming soon…
- 503d Forward Support Battalion (Lifeline)
- 1st Platoon, 503d Military Police Company (distinctive name not known) – no info currently available
- Small Extension Node (SEN) (MSE), 143d Signal Battalion (Voice of Iron) – (this was the Mobile Subscribers Equipment Node supporting RFCT). For more information follow these links: SEN41 and SEN42. Links provided courtesy of Dan Ortiz. Dan is the webmaster of a great site, http://voiceofiron.com
Note that rosters for some units are not located under 1st Brigade. For organizational and technical reasons, units are organized under their garrison "peacetime" headquarters. Thus, field artillery units are under "Division Artillery", support units are under "Division Support Command", engineer units are under "Division Engineers", etc.
Area (TAA) Henry, Saudi Arabia during training for combat – taken in February 1991)