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4 Current Units
5 External links
The 39th Infantry Brigade is one of 15 National Guard brigades designated as "Enhanced". Brigades with this designation receive higher levels of training, more advanced equipment, and higher troop levels than normal National Guard brigades. The 39th Infantry Brigade is the largest National Guard command in Arkansas with approximately 5,000 soldiers. It is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas and is part of the US 7th Infantry Division based in Fort Carson, Colorado.
The units insignia consists of a Bowie knife (or "Arkansas Toothpick") over a diamond. The Bowie knife symbolizes the state of Arkansas where the Bowie knife originated and close hand-to-hand fighting which is the specialty of the light infantry. The diamond is a reference to a unique aspect of the state of Arkansas which has the only diamond field in North America. The red and blue colors are the colors of the Arkansas flag.
The history of the unit goes back to 1917 with the creation of the US 39th Infantry Division which consisted of troops from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The unit served as a training division for troops that would be reassigned to other units for duty overseas during World War I and was demobilized after the war.
In World War II the unit was never activated and its troops were instead parceled out to other fighting units. Many soldiers from the 39th volunteered to fight with the US 3rd Armored Division. In 1947 the 39th was transferred to Arkansas and the Lousiana troops were assigned their own command. The unit was briefly federalized in 1957 during the Little Rock Integration Crisis.
In 1994 the 39th was again reorganized and gained its designation as an "Enhanced" brigade under the Army Integrated Division concept which pairs National Guard and Reserve brigades with active duty headquarters and support units. At this time the 39th became part of the 7th Infantry Division.
In the fall of 2003 the brigade received orders to deploy to Iraq for a period of up to 18 months. While in Iraq the brigade will be attached to the US 1st Cavalry Division. The 39th is currently commanded by Brigadier General Ronald S. Chastain.
* This unit is part of the Illinois National Guard