Many accomplishments of 4ID, Carson

By Aleah M. Castrejon,
Mountaineer editor       
Jan 13, 2019

FORT CARSON, Colo. — This past year has been a whirlwind for the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson with changes to leadership throughout the post, visits from distinguished guests, deployments, redeployments and the announcement of major changes to the structure of the division. In September the Department of the Army announced the conversion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which will occur in the spring of 2020.

The Fort Carson garrison team welcomed new leadership as well in July: U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Brian K. Wortinger and Command Sgt. Maj. Kenyatta L. Mack took over and the post said farewell to Col. Ronald P. Fitch Jr. and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. David Burton.

Among the many leadership changes, the post welcomed distinguished visitors to the post throughout the year.

Guests included Command Sergeant Major Michael A. Grinston, U.S. Army Forces Command; and the Pence family visited and signed copies of their new book. Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence returned to Fort Carson in September spreading cheer with gifts to the children of deployed troops. Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark T. Esper visited the post in October and endured a grueling physical fitness session in wintery conditions with the Soldiers.

Early winter conditions were only a small fraction of what the post underwent this year. Fort Carson Firefighters worked to put out major fires and controlled others using Bambi buckets and enlisting the help of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. in early March. It didn’t stop there either; the post experienced a major hailstorm causing a devastating amount of damage in August.

“This storm was like an artillery strike on the installation,” Wortinger said.

But the hailstorm didn’t slow down the Ivy Division, as it celebrated with Ivy Week 2018 shortly after the golf ball and baseball-sized hail hit the post. The troops continued to compete in the annual event. Ivy Week 2018 happened to fall on the same week the Division celebrated the 100-year anniversary of participation in the largest military offensive in U.S. history, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Fort Carson continued competing in various events and training to remain ready.

The entire post participated in a full-scale exercise called Mountain Guardian 18 in April, where it responded to and practiced recovering from a hazardous material spill.

The accomplishments of the Soldiers from the “Best Hometown in the Army; Home of America’s Best” are too many to name, but include:

  • Army World Class Athlete Program Soldiers achieved many accomplishments from competing in the USA National Boxing Championship, winning titles in Track and Field, and competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics bobsled event.
  • A 1st Space Brigade Soldier won a gold medal in the Modern Pentathlon Masters World Championship in Germany.
  • Soldiers competed in the three-day Armed Forces Combatives Tournament, placing second overall.
  • The Liscum Bowl made its way back to the 4th Inf. Div. Museum in April.
  • 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Berets earned valor awards.
  • Thousands tackled the Spartan Race in early May.
  • 3rd ABCT conducted a combined arms live-fire exercise.
  • Division Artillery, 4th Inf. Div., commemorated D-Day in Montebourg, France in early June
  • A former Green Beret competed in the 2018 DOD Warrior Games
  • A new fitness test was announced to be implemented in 2020.
  • The Warrant Officers Cohort celebrated 100 years.
  • Evans Army Community Hospital opened a sleep center.
  • Females in the military made a huge leap in the past year, as they transitioned into career fields that, until recently, were specifically only for male Soldiers.
  • 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) received new equipment including a new modernized X-ray machine that ultimately saves time and lives. They also received a new improved robot that can remove explosives without harming Soldiers.
  • In March, Soldiers won top honors in a competition for culinary arts, taking Armed Forces Chef of the Year and Culinary Arts Team awards.
  • Soldiers also had the opportunity to participate in a program working with local chefs in the community, bringing new skills back to Fort Carson.
  • Air assault training was conducted for future operations, and the 4th CAB hit the ground running with a brigade-level exercise in February at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS).

The Soldiers completed many training events in preparation for deployments, including National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, PCMS and on Fort Carson.

“The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division has a proud deployment history in support of operations in Afghanistan,” said Col. David Zinn, commander, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “Our War Horse Soldiers are trained, ready, and are honored that the Army has selected our unit for the deployment.”

The 2nd IBCT deployed in March, the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team wasn’t far behind when it’s Soldiers deployed in May, followed by the 4th CAB’s deployment in June.

“The 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., is trained and ready for any mission in the Army,” said Col. Monté L. Rone, commander of the 1st SBCT. “Our formation of Soldiers are fit, inspired, disciplined and trained. We couldn’t do this without our Families and owe special thanks for their willingness to stand by our most precious resource — The American Soldier.”

While the 3rd ABCT did not deploy this year, it was busy conducting its own large-scale training events to ensure preparedness. Iron Strike 2018 was a success as the troops were able to complete the field exercise before heading to NTC. All of the training keeps them prepared for any mission, but in October, the Department of the Army announced the 3rd ABCT
will deploy in the spring.

“The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team is an expert team of professional Soldiers ready to support and defend our nation’s interests — wherever and whenever we receive the call,” said Col. Michael J. Simmering, commander of the 3rd ABCT.

Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, visited troops earlier this year in Afghanistan before heading out on a deployment with the 4th Inf. Div. in December.

“The 4th Infantry Division has a legacy of answering the nation’s call and serving with distinction for more than 100 years,” George said. “Throughout our proud history, one thing that has not changed is the heart and courage of our Soldiers. Ivy Soldiers are highly trained and ready to answer the call to fight and win our nation’s wars and to support this important mission in Afghanistan.”

Around the same time the division left, 2nd IBCT uncased its colors signifying the return of the entire “War Horse” Brigade in early December.

“This chapter (in the brigade) was marked by discipline … by excellence in accomplishing assigned missions and conducted with dignity and honor,” Zinn said.

Many new Soldiers have found themselves a home at Fort Carson, and others were promoted into leadership positions, while the post said farewell to the numerous troops who “hung up their boots” throughout the year.

Captions for pictures featured in this story

(1) KRIVOLAK TRAINING AREA, Republic of Macedonia — Cavalry Scouts 1st Lt. Daniel D. Groleau, left, and Sgt. Guy A. Rouelle with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd IBCT, 4th Inf. Div., fire an AT-4 rocket during a Table VI crew qualification at the Krivolak Training Area in the Republic of Macedonia Aug. 3. (Photo by Sgt. Casey Hustin)

(2) FORT CARSON, Colo. — An Armored Breaching Vehicle commander with 588th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, communicates with other team members using his headset Aug. 27, during exercise Iron Strike 18 for the decisive-action training rotation at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. (Photo by 1st Lt. Dan Lee)

(3) KRIVOLAK TRAINING AREA, Republic of Macedonia – Mortarmen with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fire a 120mm mortar system at the Krivolak Training Area in the Republic of Macedonia, Aug. 2. (Photo by Sgt. Casey Hustin)

(4) KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, presents 1st Lt. Kyle J. Barry, platoon leader, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., with a coin Sept. 19 during his visit to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Leaders from 2nd IBCT conducted briefings during George’s visit to discuss the brigade’s mission in the Kandahar province. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield)