3AD Unit Awards
Valorous Unit Award – 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division “Ready First”
If you were with the Ready First Combat Team in Desert Storm, there’s an excellent chance that nobody bothered to tell you that the Brigade was awarded the Valorous Unit Award (VUA – see the graphic above) for combat actions during Operation Desert Storm. In fact, if you were a member of any unit in the 3d Armored Division, chances are that your unit was awarded either the VUA or the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) (see below further information regarding these other units).
The Brigade’s VUA was awarded on 5 March 1996, and published in Department of the Army General Order No. 14 of 11 April 1997. Units included in the order are:
- HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division (10 JAN – 19 APR 91)
- 2d Battalion, 3d Field Artillery (Gunners) (6 JAN – 16 JUN 91)
- 4th Battalion, 32d Armor (Red Lions) (5 JAN – 20 MAY 91)
- 4th Battalion, 34th Armor (Centurions) (4 JAN – 20 MAY 91)
- 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry (Black Knights) (3 JAN – 15 JUN 91)
- 5th Battalion, 5th Cavalry (Bayonets) (4 JAN – 15 JUN 91)
- 2d Battalion, 29th Field Artillery (Pathfinders) (2 JAN – 20 JUL 91)
- 12th Engineer Battalion (Castle) (19 JAN – 19 MAY 91)
- 503d Forward Support Battalion (Lifeline) (1 JAN – 20 MAY 91)
- A Battery, 5th Battalion, 3d Air Defense Artillery (3 JAN – 19 MAY 91)
NOTE: in addition to the VUA orders for 1st Brigade, I have also included downloads for the DA General Orders for the VUA’s for 2d and 3d Brigades and the MUC orders for DIVARTY, DISCOM, and Division HHC. Note the following “twists” to follow in looking for your 3d Armored Division unit award:
- 503d FSB and 45 FSB fall under their respective maneuver Brigade VUA’s.
- 54th FSB falls under the DISCOM MUC.
- 2-3 FA, 2-82 FA, and 4-82 FA fall under their respective maneuver Brigade VUA’s.
- 22d Chemical Co. and 2d Chemical Battalion fall under the DISCOM VUA.
The citation reads as follows:
By Direction of the Secretary of the Army, the Valorous Unit Award is awarded to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division and Participating Units for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division distinguished themselves by gallantry in action during the period 10 January 1991 to 19 April 1991, in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. Initially encountering light resistance, HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division captured small groups of prisoners and destroyed armored vehicles. Gaining full contact, HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division engaged enemy forces in a large bunker complex with direct and indirect fires. HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division’s overwhelming direct and indirect fires completely destroyed the 9th Brigade, Tawakalna Division of the Republican Guard. HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division’s attack transitioned into a 100 kilometer exploitation. HHC, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division’s battle formation sliced through successive enemy defensive belts, detroying armored vehicles with marching fires and capturing hundreds of prisoners. The extraordinary heroism displayed by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division reflects great credit upon themselves and the United States Army.
There was at least one 1st Brigade unit that was forgotten on these orders. 1st Platoon (Ninja Turtles), Bravo Company, 2d Battalion, 32d Armor deployed to Southwest Asia on 14 February 1991, and soon after joined the Brigade. This platoon subsequently took part in the Brigade’s combat operations. The unique part about this is that this platoon was the only part of 2-32 Armor to deploy for Desert Storm. When the VUA orders were cut, these guys somehow slipped through the cracks. If you happen to be reading this and work at the PERSCOM awards branch, let us know how we might right this omission…