15th Support Battalion
The 15th Brigade Support Battalion was constituted on 23 March 1925 as the 1st Medical Squadron in the Regular Army and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. In June 1926, the unit was organized and activated at Fort Bliss, Texas. The distinctive insignia coat of arms and motto, “Standing By” were adopted in July 1928.
In February 1943, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for assignment as a dismounted unit in the Southwest Pacific Theater. In June 1943, the division departed Fort Bliss for Australia. In February 1944, after six months of training, Task Force Brewer from the 1st Cavalry Division departed for Japanese occupied territory with elements of the 1st Medical Squadron in its formation. The 1st Medical Squadron would engage in combat operations continually until February 1945, when it, as part of a combined arms task force, seized the town of Manila, ending fighting in the Philippines. For its service in the Second World War, the squadron was awarded four campaign streamers and the three Meritorious Unit Commendations.
On 25 March 1949, the 1st Medical Squadron was re-assigned the 15th Medical Battalion. On July 1950, again as part of the 1st Cavalry Division, was ordered to Korea. The North Koreans were 25 miles away when the 1st Cavalry Division swept ashore to execute the first amphibious landing of the Korean War. The division, with the 15th Medical Battalion in its ranks, would fight in seven campaigns over the next 18 months until it redeployed to Japan in January 1952.
In June 1965 the 15th Medical Battalion began its rotation back to the United States. On 3 July 1965, at Fort Benning, GA the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were moved onto the field. As part of the reorganization, the 11th Medical Battalion, 11th Air Assault DISCOM was re-designated as the 15th Medical Battalion, 1st Cavalry DISCOM.
The 15th Medical Battalion would take on a new role as the United States Army’s first Aero Medical Evacuation Battalion. On 12 September 1965, the 15th Medical Battalion accompanied the Division Support Command when it deployed to the Republic of Vietnam.
The battalion headquarters was set up at Ah Khe, as the companies were assigned to forward areas. Throughout the division’s operations in the mountainous jungles of the central Vietnamese highlands, the persona devotion to duty and bravery of the men of the battalion became written in the history of warfare as examples for all to follow.
On the night of 6 June 1967, B Company distinguished itself when its base came under a heavy mortar attack. Enemy mortars landed in the ammunition storage area, which contained 1,250 tons of explosives. The medical personnel repeatedly evacuated patients and personnel from the area, resulting in no loss of life. The company was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation for its actions.
The 15th Medical Battalion build a hospital in Ah Khe to support civil action programs which supported the 70,000 people of the An Tuc District in Binh Dinh Province. Thousands of patients were treated and hundreds of babies were delivered in this hospital.
In 1968 the division moved to the III Corps areas and the battalion’s headquarters moved to Phuoc Vinh.
The 15th Medical Battalion’s participation in Vietnam ended on 29 April 1971, when it, along with the Division Support Command, departed Vietnam for Fort Hood, Texas. For its participation in Vietnam, the battalion would earn thirteen campaign streamers, a Presidential Unit Citation, two Valorous Unit Commendations, and three Meritorious Unit Commendations.
On 1 May 1987, the 15th Medical Battalion was re-designated the 15th Forward Support Battalion. The 15th FSB was truly multifunctional with a supply and transportation company, maintenance company, medical company and headquarters detachment. In October 1990, the 15th FSB deployed to Southwest Asia as part of the coalition participating in Operation Desert Shield. The battalion provided critical logistical support to the Black Jack Brigade when it launched the first ground strike into Iraq. The battalion provided all logistics support to the brigade for six months until it joined the assembled division on the plain of the Wadi al Batin. In April 1991, the division brought all its Soldiers safely home to Fort Hood, Texas. The battalion earned two campaign streamers and its seventh Meritorious Unit Commendation.
In November 2001, as a response to terrorist attacks on the United States, the battalion conducted a notice deployment as part of Task Force Black Jack to northwestern Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In January 2004, the battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For 14 months, the battalion conducted combat serviced support operations in Baghdad, An Najaf, and Fallujah. In February 2005, the Gamblers returned from Iraq having lost no Troopers.
On 16 August 2005, the battalion was re-designated as the 15th Brigade Support Battalion and assigned as a permanent member of the 2nd Black Jack Brigade Combat Team. In September 2005, the battalion deployed to New Orleans in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. During “Operation Southern Bell” the battalion supported the 2nd Brigade out of the Algiers Naval Base providing excellent food, water, supplies, fuel, maintenance support, and medical care.
In October 2006, the battalion deployed again to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where it again distinguished itself in the streets of Baghdad during 15 months of continuous operations.
In January 2009, the Gamblers deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq in support of the Black Jack Brigade. During its yearlong tour, the Battalion provided seamless sustainment to the Brigade. Additionally, the Battalion fulfilled a non-doctrinal role by providing secured ground escort to the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
In May 2011, the Gamblers deployed in support of the Black Jack Brigade during Operation New Dawn. The Battalion played a critical role in the Brigade’s efforts to transition authority of the Salah ad Din and Diyala provinces back to the Government of Iraq. The Battalion redeployed in November 2011 and continues to provide world class logistics support to the Black Jack Brigade.
In 2015 the Gamblers deployed with the rest of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Korea to serve for nine months protecting South Korea along the DMZ.
Today the most decorated support battalion in the United States Army is standing by to provide unequal combat service support as part of the 2nd Black Jack Brigade Combat Team.