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56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team
US28th Infantry Division.svg
56th SBCT / 28th Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1747 – present
Country United States
Allegiance Army National Guard
Branch U.S. Army
Type Infantry Brigade
Role Stryker Infantry
Size 4,000
Part of 28th Infantry Division
Garrison/HQ Horsham Air Guard Station
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Nickname(s) "Independence Brigade"
Engagements American Civil War
World War I
World War II
Operation Iraqi Freedom
George C. Rickards
Combat service identification badge US28th Infantry Division.svg

The 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, also known as the Independence Brigade, is a brigade combat team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. The 56th SBCT is one of nine Stryker Brigade Combat Teams in the United States Army and one of five brigades of the 28th Infantry Division. It is the only reserve component stryker unit in the Army and provides light infantry land assets for both federal and state active duty missions. The federal mission is to deploy on short notice as part of the 28th Infantry Division and destroy, capture, or repel enemy forces using maneuver and shock effect. The state mission of the brigade is to serve the Governor and the citizens of the Commonwealth as needed in times of natural disaster or civil unrest. The 56th SBCT headquarters is located at Horsham Air Guard Station in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.


The 56th SBCT is composed of some of the oldest units in the United States Armed Forces. Units of the 111th Infantry trace their lineage back to 1747, when Benjamin Franklin first established his famed "Associators" in Philadelphia. The battalions, as well as the brigade, carry battle streamers from nearly every conflict throughout American history.[1]

The 56th Infantry Brigade was formed in September 1917 as part of the 28th Division. The brigade initially included the 111th and 112th Infantry Regiments).[2] During World War I it was involved in the Meuse-Argonne, Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys (FA) operations. During the war, the 28th Infantry Division took a total of 14,139 casualties (KIA-2,165 ; WIA-11,974).

The brigade was again part of the 28th Division from 1921 to 1941.

The current brigade traces its origins (though not its heraldic antecedants, due to the arcane lineage system of the United States Army) to the Reorganization Objective Army Division reorganization of the 28th Infantry Division from regiments to brigades in 1963.[3] That year, it was formed as the 1st Brigade, 28th Infantry Division. In 1968, as part of the McNamara-inspired reorganization of the Army National Guard, it was reassigned to the 42nd Infantry Division as the 56th Brigade, 42nd Infantry Division. From 1975 it has again been assigned to the 28th Infantry Division.

The brigade was called to active duty during the Blizzard of 1996, when flood emergencies were declared by the Governors of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. During the blizzard in Philadelphia, the 56th Brigade won credit in saving over 70 lives by providing emergency medical transportation during the duration of the Governor's proclamation.[1]

In December 2000, the United States Army proposed a new reorganization. The following year, the 56th Brigade was selected as the only reserve component Stryker Brigade out of seven in the entire United States Army. The brigade was reflagged the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team on 24 October 2004 at Fort Indiantown Gap's Muir Field.[4]

On 1 September 2005 the entire Brigade Combat Team was mobilized to deploy to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, the sixth strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, slammed into the Gulf Coast. The 56th SBCT was stationed in and around New Orleans to support the relief effort for nearly a month and a half. This included a subsequent deployment to the areas damaged by Hurricane Rita, which made land fall near the Louisiana-Texas border.[1]

Iraq deployment

56th Stryker Brigade soldiers train in Iraq.

The brigade trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi from 19 September 2008 until November 2008 when it moved to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk, Louisiana until December 2008. The brigade continued training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in December 2008 and moved to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in January 2009 awaiting movement into Iraq. The 56th SBCT, based at Camp Taji, Iraq, conducted operations in the northern Baghdad Governorate, as part of Multi-National Division – Baghdad, from January to September 2009, before redeploying to Kuwait and returning home at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

56th Stryker Brigade – OIF composition


US Army Stryker Brigade Combat Team Organizational Chart

The brigade is composed of the following additional units:


  • Organized 1800-05-01 at Philadelphia as the Weccacoe Fire Company of the Philadelphia City Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Reorganized as Company B, 72nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Fire Zouave Regiment), and mustered into federal service 1861-08-10 at Philadelphia;
  • Mustered out 1864-08-24 at Philadelphia.
  • Reorganized 1867-09-17 in the Pennsylvania Militia at Philadelphia as Company A, Weccacoe Legion.
  • Re-designated 1868-03-06 as Company A, Keystone Guards.
  • Disbanded 1868-09-30 at Philadelphia (Weccacoe Fire Company remained in service as a separate organization).
  • Pennsylvania Militia re-designated 1870-04-07 as the Pennsylvania National Guard.
  • Weccacoe Legion reorganized 1870-04-29 in the Pennsylvania National Guard at Philadelphia as a company.
  • Expanded 1878-10-22 – 1878-10-26 as a battalion.
  • Former Company A, Keystone Guards, reorganized 1878-10-30 as Company A, Weccacoe Legion.
  • Re-designated 1879-07-31 as Company E, 3rd Infantry Regiment.
  • Re-designated 1880-10-31 as Company A, 3rd Infantry Regiment.
  • Mustered into federal service 1898-05-11 at Mount Gretna, as Company A, 3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry;
  • Mustered out 1898-10-22 at Philadelphia.
  • Reorganized 1899-02-01 at Philadelphia as Company A, 3rd Infantry Regiment.
  • Mustered into federal service 1916-07-01 at Philadelphia;
  • Mustered out 1916-10-18.
  • Mustered into federal service 1917-03-28 at Philadelphia;
  • Drafted into federal service 1917-08-05.
  • Consolidated 1917-10-11 with Company A, 10th Infantry Regiment (organized in 1869), and consolidated unit reorganized and re-designated as Company A, 110th Infantry, an element of the 28th Division.
  • Demobilized 1919-05-24 at Camp Dix, New Jersey.
  • Former Company A, 3rd Infantry Regiment, reorganized 1920-08-02 in the Pennsylvania National Guard at Philadelphia as Company A, 3rd Infantry;
  • Federally recognized 1920-08-07.
  • Reorganized and re-designated 1921-04-01 as the Howitzer Company, 111th Infantry, an element of the 28th Division.
  • Consolidated 1939-10-01 with Headquarters Company, 111th Infantry (see Headquarters Company, 6th Infantry Below), and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters Company, 111th Infantry.
  • Inducted into federal service 1941-02-17 at Philadelphia.
  • 111th Infantry relieved 1942-02-17 from assignment to the 28th Division.
  • Inactivated 1945-11-22 at Camp Anza, California.
  • Reorganized and federally recognized 1947-02-27 at Philadelphia.
  • Consolidated 1959-06-01 with the Medical Company, 111th Infantry (see Medical Company, 111th Infantry Below), and consolidated unit reorganized and re-designated as Headquarters Company, 1st Battle Group, 111th Infantry, an element of the 28th Infantry Division.
  • Reorganized and re-designated 1963-04-01 as HHC, 1st Brigade, 28th Infantry Division.
  • Re-designated 1968-02-17 as HHC, 56th Brigade, 42d Infantry Division.
  • Re-designated 1975-04-01 as HHC, 56th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division.
  • Re-designated 2004-10-04 as HHC, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division.


Unit decorations

Ribbon Award Year Notes
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation 2009 for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Campaign streamers

  1. Peninsula[5]
  2. Antietam[5]
  3. Fredericksburg[5]
  4. Chancellorsville[5]
  5. Gettysburg[5]
  6. Wilderness[5]
  7. Spotsylvania[5]
  8. Cold Harbor[5]
  9. Petersburg[5]
  10. Virginia 1863[5]
  1. Meuse-Argonne
  2. Champagne-Marne
  3. Aisne-Marne
  4. Oise-Aisne
  5. Ypres-Lys
  1. Central Pacific[5]
  2. Eastern Mandates[5]
  3. Western Pacific[5]
  1. Iraq[5]


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