Soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas, returned from a deployment to Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait, in February 60 combat badges richer.
Regiment Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash told reporters on Wednesday that roughly 30 Combat Action Badges and 30 Combat Infantry Badges were given to "Brave Rifles" soldiers.
The CABs primarily went to the artillerymen whose squadron fired more than 5,000 rounds from M777 Howitzers at enemy fighters during the course of the deployment.
"They may have been engaged several times, by either direct or indirect fire, and it's different for each one of the troopers that was awarded a CAB," Nash said. "It was a great time to be an artillerymen in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment."
The 3CR originally deployed Iraq in May 2018 in an advise-and-assist capacity, regiment commander, but several "Brave Rifles" elements operating in Syria to provide force protection were engaged with the enemy "pretty much the entire time," Lt. Col. Kent Park said.
"We were in a area, specifically our squadron, near the border, and we were able to provide fire support as required across the border into ISIS-held territory during that time," Park told reporters on Wednesday, adding that coalition allies were also engaged in fire support.
While CIBs went to 3CR soldiers who went on on patrols, Nash noted that there were "very few kinetic activities that our troopers were involved in," a testament to the effectiveness of the advise-and-assist mission in building up the capacity of Iraqi security forces.
The 3CR did engage in combat activities, he added, though the mission "is very different now from what it was previously."
"We are doing everything by, with, and through our security partners," Park said. "[The Iraqis] are a battle-hardened force that had gone through a pretty significant experience in their fight against ISIS."
Park added that the Iraqi forces are different from what he remembered in his 2005-2006 deployment, as far as their "willingness to be out there in the lead and taking the fight to the enemy."
"They were motivated, and they wanted to get out there and fight," he said."
Image: U.S. Army