By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Miller
Maj. Gen. Victor J. Braden, commanding general, 35th Infantry Division, assumed command of Task Force Spartan from Maj. Gen. Blake Ortner, commanding general, 29th Infantry Division, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, July 13. The transfer of authority ceremony was presided over by Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general, U.S. Army Central.
TF Spartan’s mission in the Middle East is to support the United States’ global strategic plan, provide regional stability, security, and maintain a land-ready operational force, said Braden.
“It’s a challenge we accept,” said Braden. “We will build upon the success of the 29th and expand Gulf Cooperation Council partnerships.”
Task Force Spartan is a multicomponent organization made up of active Army and National Guard units rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units.
“In this role, they will perform the critical task of mission command for Operation Spartan Shield, an operation ongoing since 2011,” said, Garrett, “Now in its sixth year, OSS is U.S. Central Command’s effort to deter regional aggression and malign influence in the region.”
Operation Spartan Shield is U.S. Central Command’s means to deter regional aggression and stabilize countries within the region. From Egypt to Pakistan, Kazakhstan to Yemen, the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility is strategically important as well as volatile.
“We remain indebted to the National Guard Bureau, and the Director of the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve Command for all they have done to ensure we can continue this important mission here in the Central Command AOR,” Garrett said.
The two divisions also have a storied past with shared experiences since World War I. Both divisions fought in Europe during World War I and World War II, including 1918’s Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the battle for Saint-Lo in July 1944.
Now, the unit once known as “The Infantry Spearhead” of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, the 35th ID is part of the Third Army again to assume the mission of Task Force Spartan.
The 35th “Santa Fe” Division deployed to Kuwait to accept the responsibility of Task Force Spartan and oversight of Operation Spartan Shield.
“The Santa Fe Division looks forward to building and maintaining a ready land force that supports our nation’s goals of regional stability and security,” said Braden. “We relish the challenge before us.”