Lt. Col. Julio Acosta - Commander, 53rd IBCT
Command Sgt. Maj. Virgil Robinson - CSM, 53rd IBCT
To conduct combat operations as an infantry brigade combat team. The 53rd IBCT is an essential component of the reserve structure that serves as a strategic hedge in the scenario of two major regional conflicts. It can perform a variety of functions – reinforcement, backfill, or augmentation of active component combat formations.
The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is the largest unit in Florida.
The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team is comprised of the following units: Special Troops Battalion;1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment (Seminole Battalion); 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment; 53rd Brigade Support Battalion.
Year in Review - 2017
The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) had another exceptional year supporting the state of Florida and nation. The 53rd IBCT executed its state mission as the main effort for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), mobilizing the entirety of the brigade in response to Hurricane Irma. The 53rd IBCT also executed a federal mission overseas, with the 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment returning home after deploying in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.
Over the past year, the 53rd IBCT focused on refining readiness levels; unit transformations and force development redesigns; Sustainable Readiness Model; multiple equipment modernization and fielding efforts; and provided direct support to a division-level warfighter exercise. The 39th Chief of Staff of the Army directed “READINESS” as the Army’s top priority, and the 53rd IBCT responded. The brigade ranked #1 of 28 BCTs and had the nation’s highest percentage of deployable Soldiers throughout the entire Army National Guard. We also had the distinct honor of representing both the Soldier and Non- Commissioned Officer categories at the regional Best Warrior competition.
The 53rd IBCT effectively conducted multiple unit transformations, beginning with transition of the 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion to the 753rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, which relocated to Tallahassee. We also transformed our field artillery battalion with the formation of a new firing battery located in Ocala, and the consolidation of all fire support elements from within the 53rd IBCT’s meneuver battalions. The 2nd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment transitioned from an exclusive light Howitzer Field Artillery battalion to a Composite Field Artillery battalion, with digital upgrades to the new M119A3 light Howitzer and the introduction of the M777A2, a medium Howitzer. Transformation continued with the inclusion of the brigade’s third maneuver battalion, the 1st Battalion, 167th Infantry Regiment, Alabama Army National Guard.
The 53rd IBCT executed a substantial number of new equipment fieldings with these unit transformations. We executed a brigade-wide upgrade, shifting from the legacy Blue Force Tracker system to the advanced Joint Battle Command – Platform, and fielded the Common Remote Operating Weapon System for the Engineer and Maneuver battalions. The field artillery battalion acquired the upgraded M119A3 and the new M777A2 Howitzer platforms, in addition to the new Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar, while the brigade’s cavalry squadron and maneuver battalions upgraded to the Improved Target Acquisition System.
Throughout the year, 53rd IBCT units contributed to various exercises, to include Operation-Tradewinds, Barbados, and partnering with the Secret Service during the 58th Presidential Inauguration. Additionally, we participated in the 40th Infantry Division’s Warfighter Exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and provided a higher command response cell to the 1st Battalion, 167th Infantry Regiment’s own Command Post Exercise at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Both exercises served as preparative events for a fast approaching warfighter.
The 53rd IBCT was able to meet and exceed the Department of the Army’s goal for readiness and ability to deploy, proven through exercises, transformations, training shifts, and DSCA missions. We delivered on all tasks and missions this year, both planned and unplanned, and continue to stand ready to respond and answer the state and nation’s call in a complex and dynamic global environment.