The “Spartan Brigade,” 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, completed modernization on Sept. 27 at 10:10 p.m. when a modernized M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank crew fired its last rounds to complete operator new equipment training at Fort Stewart. Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT, was the last company in the brigade to conduct modernization OPNET, concluding the modernization process that began with divesting the older vehicle platforms in spring of 2021 as part of the Army’s new Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM. The “Panther Battalion,” 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, not only was the last battalion to execute tank modernization, but it also executed final operational test and evaluation for the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle this past July.
“It’s humbling to close out modernization for the Spartan Brigade,” said Lt. Col. Timothy W. Decker, commander of the 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “We feel lucky and honored to be a part of the Army modernization story. From completing the final test and evaluation of the AMPV to completing Bradley and tank modernization, the Panthers continue to write history and strengthen the legacy of the 69th Armor Regiment.”
“The Spartan Brigade is grateful for the opportunity to be the first modernized brigade in the Army,” said Col. Ethan J. Diven, commander of the 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “We have been blessed with the people, equipment and resources to modernize, and we are now focused on demonstrating our capabilities at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, in late winter next year. We will be disciplined, aggressive and lethal.”
“Modernization really makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself and when you get out there and execute flawlessly, it just makes you that much better of a Soldier. At the end of the day, it’s just all about lessons learned, taking that forward, failing with a positive attitude and succeeding with humility,” said Staff Sgt. Tanner Latta, a tank commander assigned to the 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID.
“I’m really proud of my Soldiers. The amount of preparation we put into this before we even got the tanks was just impressive to see, couldn’t be prouder of them,” said 1st Lt. William Bolton, a tank platoon leader assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT.
“I mean we were right there, pretty close to getting distinguished, but I’m really proud of myself and our crew. I’ve been on [the older A1 tank models] pretty much my whole career and being thrown on the brand new M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank is a big change,” said Spc. Padriac Smith, a tank gunner assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT.
For modernized combat and combat support vehicle platforms, the Spartan Brigade has received the M109A7 Paladin howitzer, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, M2A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Joint Assault Bridge and the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank and completed field-level maintenance new equipment training and OPNET for each. Alpha Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, was the last company in the brigade to finish modernization with the new Abrams tanks. The final tank OPNETs were conducted simultaneously between Alpha and Bravo Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, each over 17 days and culminating with a final after-action review. The table qualification is a rigorous exercise for the company’s tank crews and logistics and support systems. The Spartan Brigade is now the Army’s first brigade to complete modernization in accordance with the ReARMM and is on glide path to execute a rotation at NTC to validate its readiness and proficiency to deploy, fight and win wherever and whenever the nation calls.