'Lava Brigade' returns from duty in Iraq
Troops recovered weapons, detained suspects and helped form councils
SOLDIERS of Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team came marching home early today to its armory in Kalaeloa, ending the first combat assignment for the 100th Battalion since the Vietnam War.
The "Lava Brigade" was mobilized on Aug. 15, 2004, and deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with its three infantry, one field artillery and one support battalions assigned to other Army units: The 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, worked under the control of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division out of Logistics Support Area Anaconda north of Balad, Iraq. It has been nominated for the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
The "Lava Brigade" was mobilized on Aug. 15, 2004, and deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with its three infantry, one field artillery and one support battalions assigned to other Army units.
The reasons for the commendation are: The 100th Battalion detained 66 suspected insurgents. It also recovered weapons and munitions from dozens of caches including 650 artillery rounds and rockets, 206 rifles and pistols, 16 mortar tubes and large amounts of materials, including blasting caps, explosives and mines, that could have been used for homemade bombs. The battalion also helped to establish a local grass-roots town council in several villages.
» The 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry, with 870 soldiers from California, served under command of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division and operated in Baghdad.
» The 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry, normally stationed in Hilo, was under the command of the 18th Airborne Corps and served as a security force at Camp Victory in Baghdad and the Radwaniyah Palace Complex as well as other areas near Baghdad International Airport.
» The 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery, which returned home in early December, had been under the command of Area Support Group Kuwait. They provided security for Kuwait Naval Base and Seaport of Debarkation.
» The 29th Support Battalion manned the base entry control points and some of the guard towers at LSA Anaconda.
The Lava Brigade, made up of Reserve and National Guard soldiers, will be replaced by soldiers from the 48th Brigade Combat Team from Georgia. Eighty-three soldiers from the Lava Brigade have been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.
Sixteen 29th Brigade Combat Team soldiers were killed. Of the 16 soldiers, Sgt. Deyson "Dice" Cariaga, 20, was the only one from Hawaii to die in Iraq. He was killed by a roadside bomb on July 8.
According to the Hawaii Army National Guard, some of the Lava Brigade's accomplishments include:
» Screening 127,725 nationals who entered the base at Logistical Support Area Anaconda.
» Treating 16,339 patients at Anaconda while combat medics treated 1,299 people, many of them local Iraqis at the medical clinic.
» Conducting 325 intelligence collection missions with the Air Force which resulted in detaining 19 insurgents.
» Performing more than 1,200 missions, including handing out more than 2,000 pairs of children's shoes.