The 15th Sustainment Brigade

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History of the 15th Sustainment Brigade

On 6 July 2005, the Division Support Command (DISCOM) of the 1st Cavalry Division was inactivated and redesignated the 15th Sustainment Brigade.  DISCOM’s previously subordinate Forward Support Battalions were redesignated Brigade Support Battalions and task organized under their supported maneuver brigade. 

The 15th Sustainment Brigade was the first element of the 1st Cavalry Division to return to Iraq and assumed control for logistics in the Baghdad area of operations in early September, 2006.  The Brigade provided command and control for numerous units not normally associated with the 1st Cavalry Division.  

The historical 15th Sustainment Brigade was originally constituted on 4 May 1966 in the Regular Army as a Headquarters and Headquarters Company.  It was first activated on 1 July 1966. 

On 20 October 1967, the Brigade was inactivated after providing support to units in Vietnam, only to be reactivated on 21 September 1968 at Fort Lewis, Washington.   

The Brigade later inactivated at Fort Lewis on 21 March 1973 having received campaign credits for its support for Counteroffensive Operations (Phase II and III) in Vietnam.

As aforementioned above, the 15th Sustainment Brigade replaced the “Division Support Command” of the 1st Cavalry Division.  The history of the organization can be traced back to 1919 when one of its present units, the 15th Forward Support Battalion, existed as the 615th Motor Transport Company. The Division Support Command (DISCOM) thus predates the 1st Cavalry Division itself, which was not established until 1921.

In pre-World War II years, most units of the 1st Cavalry Division not assigned to the major subordinate maneuver commands were under control of the Headquarters, Division Special Troops. These included service and supports elements of the division. After World War II, however, the Special Troops Headquarters was reorganized under the Pentomic concept and the immediate forerunner of the DISCOM, Headquarters, Division Trains, was activated 1 November 1957 in Korea. Although a new organization, Division Trains employed concepts similar to those of a U.S. armored division trains that were originated in World War I.

On 1 September 1963, Headquarters, Division Trains was reorganized under the ROAD (Reorganization of the Army Divisions) concept and redesignated as Headquarters, Headquarters Company and Band, 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Cavalry Division Support Command. Accompanying the division to Vietnam in August 1965, the Support Command participated in all major campaigns and distinguished itself in battle. It received the Presidential Unit Citation for action in Pleiku Province and the Valorous Unit Award for action in the “Fish Hook” area of Cambodia. In addition, Support Command received three Meritorious Unit Commendations and four Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry awards.

On 15 May 1971, the DISCOM was reorganized and designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Cavalry Division Support Command. Most major subordinate units of the DISCOM had returned from Vietnam in 1971 and were stationed at Fort Hood. By the end of June 1971, the DISCOM was a large command comprised of HHC, Support Command, 15th Adjutant General Company/Band, 15th Medical Battalion, 15th Supply and Transport Battalion, 27th Maintenance Battalion, 8th Engineer Battalion, 315th Composite Support Battalion, 15th Finance Company (the latter two units had been transferred from the 1st Armored Division), and the 15th Data Processing Unit.

During the early 1980s, the DISCOM consisted of a Headquarters Company, a Division Materiel Management Center, a Division Data Center, the 15th Medical Battalion, 15th Adjutant General Battalion, 15th Finance Company, 15th Supply and Transport Battalion, 27th Maintenance Battalion and the 68th Chemical Company. In October 1984, the 1st and 2nd Forward Support Battalions were activated from elements of the three functional battalions. The following year saw the Army of Excellence Reorganization (AOE) transform the remaining elements of the three functional battalions (maintenance, medical, and supply and transport) into the 4th Main Support Battalion. The AOE reorganization also added the 493rd Transportation Aircraft Maintenance Company to the Division Support Command. The forward and main support battalions, along with the Aviation Maintenance Company, were redesignated in 1987, becoming the 15th and 115th Forward Support Battalions, 27th Main Support Battalion, and 227th Transportation Aviation Maintenance Company.

On 28 September 1990, the Division Support Command deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield. In January 1991, Division Support Command provided support throughout Operation Desert Storm, leading to a quick liberation of Kuwait.

On 16 December 1991, the 215th Forward Support Battalion was activated at Fort Hood bringing the number of active duty forward support battalions to three.

On 8 July 1996, the 615th Aviation Support Battalion was provisionally organized. The battalion was formally activated on 17 September 1996.

The mission of the former Division Support Command was to provide command control for all logistical support battalions in the 1st Cavalry Division.

In July 2006, the 15th Sustainment Brigade deployed to Camp Taji, Iraq, in support of the 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, Multi-National Division - Central, and the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The brigade supported 13 Brigade Combat Teams totaling more than 100,000 Soldiers during "The Surge" of 2007.

The brigade redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas, in October 2007.

On 15 February 2008, the 15th Sustainment Brigade was reassigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) from the 1st Cavalry Division. The brigade provided logistics support to 40,000 Soldiers at Fort Hood while simultaneously training for deployment.

In September 2009, the brigade once again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On 5 October 2009, the 15th Sustainment Brigade assumed the sustainment mission for Multi-National Division-North at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Iraq. During the deployment, the brigade would provide sustainment support for United States Division – North and United States Division – Center, swelling to command and control nearly 7,000 Soldiers and replacing three sustainment brigades. In addition, the brigade managed human resources and finance operations for the entire country of Iraq.   When the brigade departed they were scheduled for a 12-month tour but came home in May and June of 2010.

The 15th Sustainment Brigade relocated to Fort Bliss, Texas from Fort Hood on 30 November 2010. 


Shoulder Sleeve Insignia


15th Sustainment Brigade SSI

Description: On a yellow rectangular shaped device arced at top and pointed at base 3 inches (7.62 cm) in height and 2 inches (5.08 cm) in width overall, a bowed black bend and a bowed black bend-sinister saltirewise charged with five yellow mullets, in chief a black horse’s head; all within a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) black border.

Symbolism: lack and yellow reflect the colors of the unit’s lineage.  The arches, symbols of support, indicate the vital support provided by the brigade.  The stars highlight the five principle support functions of the brigade, namely:  Supply, Maintenance, Transportation, Field Services and Human Resources.  Together, the arches that form a stylized Roman numeral ten and the five stars represent the numerical designation (15) of the organization.  The horse’s head symbolizes the long history of the unit tracing back to the days of the horse cavalry.

Background: The shoulder sleeve insignia was approved on 13 January 2006.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-881)

Distinctive Unit Insignia


15th Sustainment Brigade DUI

Description:   A gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches (3.02 cm) in height overall consisting of a gold shield bearing a bowed black bend and a bowed black bend-sinister saltirewise charged with five yellow mullets, in chief a black horse’s head.  Issuing from the top of shield is a gold rayed demi-disc surmounted by a gold covered wagon.  Around the bottom of the shield is a black scroll inscribed with “SUPPORT THE ACTION” in gold letters. 

Symbolism:   The covered wagon, adapted from the Brigade’s original patch, brings to mind the wagon masters of our Western expansion.  This mode of transport signifies determination, fortitude and the “can do” spirit.  The rayed disc or sun on the horizon, suggests optimism, vision and growth.  Black and yellow (gold) reflect the colors from the unit’s history.  The arches, symbols of support, indicate the vital support provided by the brigade.  The stars highlight the five principle support functions of the brigade, namely:  Supply, Maintenance, Transportation, Field Services and Human Resources.  Together, the arches that form a stylized Roman numeral ten and the five stars represent the numerical designation (15) of the organization.  The horse’s head symbolizes the long history of the unit tracing back to the days of the horse cavalry.

Background:   The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 13 January 2006. 

Combat Service Identification Badge


15th Sustainment Brigade CSIB

Description: A gold color metal and enamel device 2 inches (5.08 cm) in height consisting of a design similar to the shoulder sleeve insignia.