Lt. Col. Julio Acosta - Commander, 53rd IBCT
Command Sgt. Maj. Virgil Robinson - CSM, 53rd IBCT
Year in Review - 2018
The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) provides military units and personnel to support national security objectives, protect the citizens of Florida and support programs and initiatives that add value to our state and nation. The IBCT has established itself as a premier major command that embodies a winning spirit throughout all of its successful missions and operations. The brigade remains committed to serving Florida’s citizens, and is always ready to heed our nation’s call.
The year began and ended for the 53rd IBCT similar to recent years by closing out relief efforts following Hurricane Irma in September 2017, and preparing for relief efforts in anticipation of Hurricane Michael in October 2018. In addition to these vital relief efforts, the 53rd IBCT was called upon for yet another national disaster. In order to execute potential state missions for Defense Support of Civil Authorities, the brigade was tasked to provide ground firefighting teams to assist civil authorities with the protection of life and property during wildfire season, which normally runs from December to June.
This training year focused on building and sustaining decisive action readiness by prioritizing key individual and collective training tasks, with a special emphasis on long-term planning through the Sustainable Readiness Model. Annual training gave units of the 53rd IBCT the opportunity to conduct Individual-Crew-Team-Squad-Section validation and platoon-level collective training at both Camp Blanding Joint Training Center in Starke and at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi.
In May, the 53rd IBCT participated in a Warfighter Exercise at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, during which the 53rd IBCT planned and executed notional missions in a simulated exercise. Soldiers received a detailed description of an operational environment in fictional countries using the Decisive Action Training Environment.
Throughout the year, 53rd IBCT units contributed to Operation Anzio Strike by providing challenging, realistic scenarios to support the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment training objectives at the Avon Park Bombing Range. Units of the 53rd IBCT also provided teams of opposition forces that performed basic infantryman tasks set forth by the Ranger Regiment.
The 53rd IBCT also began the process of organizing the 2nd Battalion (Infantry) and 3rd Battalion(Cavalry) of the 54th Security Force Assistance Brigade at their new headquarters in Pinellas Park and Gainesville. These units are the U.S. Army’s latest and most direct solution to provide dedicated and highly trained personnel to relieve Brigade Combat Teams still performing combat advisory missions overseas. Of particular praise, the first National Guardsman to graduate from the newly implemented Combat Advisor’s Training Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, was a member of the 53rd IBCT.