Colonel Peter A. Newell will soon deploy his Brigade Combat Team, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division “Highlander” to Southern Iraq. The 4,000 soldiers of the Highlander Brigade will deploy with a new mission. They will be the first Advice and Assist Brigade deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Newell is no stranger to Iraq. In 2004, he commanded 2-2 Infantry, a mechanized infantry battalion that led the attack into Fallujah during Operation Phantom Fury. His soldiers also patrolled one of Northern Iraq’s most violent cities. Now, the Highlander Brigade will deploy with an entirely new mission. Undoubtedly, Newell’s soldiers will be trained and equipped to protect themselves and conduct combat operations, but their intent is to assist the government and people of Southern Iraq in building a stable environment for peace and prosperity.
The brigade will collaborate with Provincial Reconstruction Teams, Military Transition Teams, and Police Training Teams to marry diplomatic, information, economic, and military power. This will enable the Iraqi provincial governments to progress and establish a solid foundation for long-term security and peace.
LTC Peter Newell in Camp Fallujah, December, 2004
The brigade’s focus is security force assistance—“the unified action of the joint, inter-agency, intergovernmental and multinational community to generate, employ, sustain and assist host nation or regional security forces in support of a legitimate authority,” according to the Defense Department’s Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance.
“The key to success is harnessing the exceptional capacity of the American Soldier to adapt to different environments,” said Newell. “More than ever the opinion of the young sergeant counts; what he experiences while interfacing with the local populace effects my decision making as a brigade commander.”
Training for this new mission was unique and included exercises with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the City Management Offices of Austin and El Paso, Texas, the U.S. Border Patrol, and participation in the Leadership Development and Education for Sustained Peace Program sponsored by the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California.
“Our training with government agencies stateside — State Department, Cities of Austin and El Paso, the U.S. Border Patrol and others — will enable us to efficiently collaborate with Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq,” said Newell. “The brigade’s Soldiers are prepared to assist the Government of Iraq to continue to establish a strong and stable government that serves the Iraqi people.”
“The Advise and Assist mission is the way forward to meet the conditions of the U.S. and Iraq Security Agreement,” said Newell. “We will leave Iraq a better place and in about one year will return to our families in the El Paso community.”
This mission is as important as the combat missions of past years. Thank you Highlander for your service – wishing you good luck, Godspeed and a safe return home.
You can follow the Highlander soldiers’ deployment during the next year on: