53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States)

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53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team
53rd Infantry Brigade SSI.svg
Shoulder sleeve insignia
Active1968 – present
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Army
Typelight infantry/air assault
Nickname(s)"Gator Brigade"

The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is an infantry brigade combat team of the Florida Army National Guard. The 53rd Infantry Brigade is the largest National Guard unit in the state of Florida. The brigade was one of fifteen enhanced readiness brigades, designed and trained to support active duty divisions. The brigade includes 32 units in Florida and Alabama with 4,166 authorized personnel.


Cold War and 1990s[edit]

When the 48th Armored Division was disbanded in 1968, its units in Florida became part of the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate). The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the non-color bearing units of the 53d Armored Brigade on 9 January 1967. It was redesignated for the 53d Infantry Brigade on 25 July 1968.

The brigade participated in hurricane relief operations in 1992 in response to Hurricane Andrew whereby the brigade was deployed for nearly two months to Miami.

The Florida Army National Guard 53rd Infantry Brigade was the first of 15 Army National Guard enhanced readiness brigades to rotate through the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, 10–26 June 1995. The U.S. Army has since done away with the program of directly augmenting active duty units with Army National Guard units. Participating in the training were 65 per cent of the Florida Army National Guard. A convoy of 1,000 vehicles traveled from Miami to Panama City, Florida to be loaded on barges and shipped to Fort Polk for the National Guard Brigade training. The brigade also has a training relationship with the 82nd Airborne Division.

War on Terror[edit]

Iraq 2003[edit]

The brigade's three infantry battalions were activated in late December 2002 and sent to Fort Stewart, Georgia for training.

Following training at Fort Stewart, the three infantry battalions (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions, 124th Infantry Regiment) deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, assumed a physical security mission on the Jordan-Iraq border. Following thirty-eight days of pre-mobilization training at Fort Stewart, GA, the Miami-based 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hector Mirable deployed to Jordan where it initially served as the security force at Prince Hassan Air Base, a forward operating base for U.S. Special Operations Forces and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft of the United States Air Force.

In late April 2003, the battalion was attached to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and deployed into Iraq by air and ground assault convoy. After consolidation at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, it moved to Ar Ramadi, the provincial capital of Al Anbar Province, where it was assigned an area of operation consisting of approximately 2,400 square kilometers and more than 350,000 Sunni Iraqi inhabitants.

While there, they provided local security and assisted in the reestablishment of the Iraqi Police and Ministerial Guard forces. The unit also conducted cordon and search operations. During one of these sweeps through the outskirts of Ar Ramadi on August 20, 2003, members of the 1-124 Infantry captured Salem Musa Ijly. Also known as Abu Inas, Ijly was a Jordanian national and member of al-Qaida, who was facilitating weapons smuggling through Iraq into Jordan and maintaining weapons stockpiles in Ar Ramadi. He was also linked to a plot to assassinate King Abdullah II of Jordan.

During its deployment, the battalion captured 511 enemy combatants; recovered 2,399 small arms, 221 mortar tubes, 4,258 mortar round and 43 RPG launchers; captured, defused or engaged 715 improvised explosive devices; processed 7,422 detainees; and, disbursed more than $1.3 million in aid for repair or construction of numerous buildings, to include two hospitals, 67 schools and 52 mosques.

The 1-124 Infantry received the Valorous Unit Award for extraordinary heroism in operations. Soldiers of the unit were presented 65 Bronze Stars (two with “V” device), 379 Army Commendation Medals (13 with “V” device), and 63 Purple Hearts. Despite serving 291 continuous days in combat operations, the unit brought home every Soldier who deployed with it.

The Orlando-based 2nd Battalion, 124th infantry Regiment deployed along the southern Iraq border and a 20-man detachment from Charlie Company, 2-124th was the first coalition unit into Iraq, providing security and quick-reaction force for Special Forces. During their brief stay at the Jordanian Air Base, the unit conducted security operations, physical fitness training, and honed their combat skills.[1]

Afghanistan 2005–2006 and Iraq 2006–2007[edit]

In 2005, more than 2,400 soldiers from the 53rd Infantry Brigade deployed to Afghanistan as part of the international coalition’s Joint Task Force Phoenix, where they helped train the Afghan National Army. During their deployment, the task force saw eleven Afghan kandaks (battalions) graduate from Kabul Military Training Center, adding more than 7,000 soldiers to the Afghan National Army.[2]

In June 2006, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry deployed to Mosul, Iraq for a one-year tour conducting stability operations and combat patrols. The unit worked in conjunction with elements of the 25th Infantry Division, United States Special Forces, and Company H, 121st LRRS.

Kuwait and Iraq 2010[edit]

In January 2010, the 53rd Infantry Brigade was activated for service in Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade mobilized at Fort Hood, Texas, and beginning in late February, began deploying to Kuwait. Although originally scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan in 2009,[3] in 2008, the brigade learned that their mission had shifted from Infantry operations in Afghanistan to convoy security in Iraq.

The 53rd IBCT standing in formation just before deployment to Kuwait and Iraq

The brigade's primary mission was to provide convoy security for logistical convoys moving in and out of Iraq. The 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry - the Hurricane Battalion - conducted medium and long haul missions from their base in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, while the 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry - the Seminole Battalion - conducted short haul missions from their base in Camp Virginia, Kuwait. The 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry "Darkhorse" conducted security force missions in Northern Kuwait at Camps Buehring and Virginia as well as at Khabari Crossing in Kuwait. Bravo Troop, 1-153rd Cavalry was stationed at Camp As-Sayliyah, Qatar.[4] The brigade headquarters element conducted administrative operations from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

In a ceremony on 5 November 2016, the 1st Battalion, 167th Infantry Regiment of the Alabama Army National Guard was re-patched to denote its attachment to the 53rd IBCT.[5]

Order of battle[edit]

The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is headquartered at the C. W. "Bill" Young Armed Forces Reserve Center in Pinellas Park, Florida and consists of the following elements which are located in both Florida and Alabama: There are two Battalions for the 124th infantry regiment, one Battalion for the 164th infantry regiment, one Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition Cavalry squadron for the 153rd Cavalry regiment, one Battalion for the 116th Field Artillery Regiment, one Brigade Engineer Battalion and one Brigade Support Battalion.

Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) - Miramar, FL
Company A - Ft. Pierce, FL
Company B - Cocoa, FL
Company C - Miami, FL
Company D - West Palm Beach, FL
  • 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment (2-124th IR)
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) - Orlando, FL
Company A - Leesburg, FL
Company B - Sanford, FL
Company C - Ocala, FL
Company D - Eustis, FL
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) - Talladega, AL
Company A - Centreville, AL
Company B - Pelham, AL
Company C - Cullman, AL
Company D - Calera, AL
Forward Support Company (FSC) - Oxford, AL
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT) - Panama City, FL
Troop A - Bonifay, FL
Troop B - Pensacola, FL
Troop C - Tallahassee, FL
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) - Lakeland, FL
Battery A - Bartow, FL
Battery B - Winter Haven, FL
Battery C - Ocala, FL
  • 753rd Brigade Engineer Battalion (753rd BEB)
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) - Tallahassee, FL
Company A (Engineer) - Lake City, FL
Company B (Engineer) - Quincy, FL
Company C (Signal Network Support) - Pinellas Park, FL
Company D (Military Intelligence) - Pinellas Park, FL
Detachment 1, Company D (UAS) - Camp Blanding, FL
  • 53rd Brigade Support Battalion (53rd BSB)
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) - St. Petersburg, FL
Company A (Distribution) - Pinellas Park, FL
Company B (Maintenance) - Tampa, FL
Company C (Medical) - Pinellas Park, FL
Company D (Forward Support - Cavalry Squadron) - Chipley, FL
Company E (Forward Support - Engineer Battalion) - Quincy, FL
Company F (Forward Support - Field Artillery Battalion) - Bartow, FL
Company G (Forward Support - 1/124th Infantry Battalion) - Miramar, FL
Company H (Forward Support - 2/124th Infantry Battalion) - Haines City, FL


The following officers commanded the 53rd Armored Brigade:

  • Brigadier General William P. Simmons (15 February 1963–5 January 1966)
  • Brigadier General Charles J. Kaniss (5 January 1966–4 February 1968)

The following officers commanded the 53rd Infantry Brigade:

  • Colonel Ralph Davis (4 February 1968–1 August 1969)
  • Brigadier General George H. Dale (1 August 1969–9 February 1970)
  • Brigadier General Kennedy C. Bullard (9 February 1970–13 August 1975)
  • Brigadier General Jean Beem (13 August 1975–1980)
  • Brigadier General Robert F. Ensslin (1980–31 December 1981)
  • Brigadier General Robert L. Howell (31 December 1981–1 September 1984)
  • Brigadier General Richard G. Weinberg (1 September 1984– March 1989)

The following officers commanded the 53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate):

  • Brigadier General Ronald O. Harrison (March 1989–March 1992)[6]
  • Brigadier General James F. Campbell (1 March 1992–7 August 1993)
  • Brigadier General Frederick J. Raymond (7 August 1993–July 1998)[7]
  • Brigadier General David C. Godwin (July 1998–October 2003)[8]
  • Brigadier General John M. Perryman (October 2003–6 April 2008)[9]

The following officers commanded the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team:

  • Colonel Richard J. Gallant (6 April 2008–15 May 2011)
  • Colonel Thad W. Hill (15 May 2011–1 December 2012)
  • Colonel Mike Canzoneri (1 December 2012–10 January 2015)
  • Colonel Rafael Ribas (10 January 2015–10 February 2016)[10][11]
  • Colonel John D. Haas (10 February 2016–2018)[11]
  • Lieutenant Colonel Julio Acosta (2018 - present)


  1. ^ Mejia, Camilo (2007). Road From Ar Ramadi. 38 Greene Street, NY 10013: The New Press. pp. 19–36. ISBN 978-1-59558-052-8.
  2. ^ "New commander to lead Florida's 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team". Florida National Guard Public Affairs Office. 3 April 2008. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  3. ^ House, Billy (3 December 2007). "Florida Guard Headed to Afghanistan in 2009". Media General News Service. Archived from the original on 27 May 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  4. ^ Senger, Dustin (26 April 2010). "153rd Cavalry Soldiers shift to Qatar mission". Area Support Group Qatar Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b Bryant, Aaron (5 November 2016). "Alabama National Guard battalion re-patched under 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team". DVIDS. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Major General Ronald O. Harrison". National Guard Bureau General Officer Management Office. November 2001. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Major General Frederick J. Raymond". National Guard Bureau General Officer Management Office. February 2001. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Brigadier General David C. Godwin". National Guard Bureau General Officer Management Office. February 2001. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Brigadier General John M. Perryman". National Guard Bureau General Officer Management Office. July 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Brigadier General Rafael A. Ribas". National Guard Bureau General Officer Management Office. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b Baez, Aidana (2 February 2016). "'Gator Brigade' welcomes new commander". DVIDS. Retrieved 25 February 2018.

External links[edit]