3rd Bn., 156th Inf. Regt. accepts new mission in Iraq

Story and photos by Sgt. Nathaniel Orphey
256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team public affairs
13th Sustainment Brigade (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) will accept a new mission during their deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The “Bayou Bandits,” headquartered in Lake Charles, La., were originally tasked with providing security to convoys transporting equipment and supplies to assist in the upcoming responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq.

In their new mission with the 3rd Sustainment Brigade out of Ft. Stewart, Ga., The battalion will continue to provide convoy security teams and will also provide quick reaction forces and security for contracted vehicle recovery teams.  In addition, B Company has been tasked with providing support for special operations units located throughout Iraq.

“Our mission hasn’t really changed,” said Master Sgt. Orise Cormier, operations sergeant with 3rd Bn., 156th Inf. Regt. and a Jennings, La., native. “It’s grown. The main change is that we are going to be running a lot more missions to more places than we were while at Al Asad.”

The new mission requires the battalion to take charge of what was formerly a brigade-size mission.

“This will be a challenging new task for us,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Hickman, command sergeant major of 3rd Bn., 156th Inf. Regt. and a DeQuincy, La., native. “But our Soldiers have trained hard and are more than capable of accomplishing the mission that has been given to us.”

To help support its new missions, the “Bandits” have been assigned an additional company from the 256th.

G Company, 199th Brigade Support Battalion, permanently attached to 1st Bn., 141st Field Artillery Regiment, will relocate to provide additional convoy security forces.  The companies of 3rd Bn., 156th Inf. Regt. will be conducting their new missions from different bases across Iraq.

 “Having units work out of multiple locations is not a new experience for us.” said Lt. Col. David Gooch, commander of 3rd Bn., 156th Inf. Regt. and a Katy, Texas, native. “Our battalion is made up of units located at nine different cities across western Louisiana and we have quite a bit of experience operating out of separate communities in support of state missions.”


news photo
Soldiers with A Company, 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) mount lights on a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt Nathaniel P. Orphey)