4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Lou Lartigue, the first armored officer to command an infantry brigade in the Army’s modular era, passed command Thursday to Col. Kimo Gallahue on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.
The 4th Brigade transformed from heavy armor to light infantry in March 2009, just days after Lartigue took command, 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams said.
“(The transition) required a cultural change and a mindset change,” Abrams said.
The Vanguard Brigade was activated May 26, 2004; it was the first new brigade formed under the Army’s modularity transformation initiative, according to 4th IBCT public affairs. The brigade deployed three times to Iraq – as a heavy armor brigade in 2005 and again in 2007, and as a light infantry brigade in July 2010.
After redeploying to Fort Stewart this summer, the 4th Brigade moved into its new $306 million complex off Hwy. 144 on Fort Stewart.
The 4th IBCT was responsible for advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in all of Al Anbar Province during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, according to Abrams.
Al Anbar Province covers 53,000 square miles and contains two cities infamous for violence, Fallujah and Ramadi, the general said He added that the province is bordered by the strategic countries of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
“Col. Lartigue was out front,” Abrams said, referring to the colonel’s and brigade’s success in gaining the Iraqis’ trust and forming solid relationships with them. The general said the 4th IBCT set the standard for “advising, training and assisting.”
“Our mission was to partner with and strengthen Iraqi security forces,” Lartigue said. “I am proud to report we accomplished that mission.”
The colonel insisted he played a small part in the 4th Brigade’s success during his 30 months of command, preferring to praise his troops.
“You didn’t just get the job done, you did it above the standard and with pride in service,” he said.
Read more in the Sept. 3 edition of the News.