Nicknamed the “Gator Brigade” in honor of its home state of Florida, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team was selected in 1996 as one of 15 Army National Guard units to become a ARNG Enhanced Brigade. The program, which provided selected brigades with a package of training, planning, and equipment to enable them to mobilize more quickly and effectively, classified either as eSB (enhanced separate brigade or eHSB (enhanced heavy separate brigade). The ultimate goal of the program was to ensure that any Enhanced Brigade could be mobilized and ready for combat in a period between 90 and 120 days.

To further improve the readiness of Reserve and National Guard units, the Army merged regionally based active Army agencies called Readiness Groups with Army Reserve exercise divisions to create Training Support divisions. Enhanced Brigades not assigned to a specific division were given a training association status with specified active component units and were also assisted by Training Support Divisions. Classified as an esb, the 53rd Infantry Brigade was not assigned to an integrated division.

Although the Enhanced Brigade program eventually was superseded by the development of  Brigade Combat Teams—the 53rd became an Infantry BCT in 2006—the program did enable many Brigades and/or their subordinate units to mobilize and deploy in very short periods of time. The 53rd’s 1st Battalion, for instance, was able to deploy to Jordan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom after less than 40 days of training. And elements of the Brigade’s 2nd Battalion became some of the first Coalition troops to enter Iraq in early March 2003.

Since the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 53rd or major components of the Brigade have been deployed in the Global War on Terrorism on several occasions. In 2015, the 2nd Battalion was deployed to the Horn of Africa to ensure stability in the region.

Customers purchasing this unit crest may wish to add the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team CSIB (Combat Service ID Badge) and Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (unit patch) to their shopping carts.

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