January marked Col. Johnnie L. Johnson Jr.’s first year of command of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.
Johnson said his first year represented a lot of hard work.
“It’s been a very busy year for the brigade,” Johnson said. “We were in the Army Force Generation process when I got here, and we continued resetting equipment for the first quarter.” Army Force Generation is the structured progression of increased unit readiness over time, which produces trained, ready and cohesive units.
Johnson’s brigade received new tanks, Bradley Fighting vehicles and an array of new equipment following their most recent deployment to Iraq, to prepare for future combat missions. With the brigade reset, it was time to get down to business.
“We started the heavy-duty training,” he said. “Ranges, both individual and squad level. Our Soldiers are motivated and prepared to complete their mission.”
Beyond military tasks and drills, Johnson values the Brigade’s connection to the community. The Sledgehammer Brigade partners with several counties and schools in the area.
“It’s important that we stay connected in the community,” Johnson said. “No matter how busy we are on Kelley Hill, spending time building relationships remains important.”
Johnson said the brigade’s time at Kelley Hill is focused on building stronger Soldiers.
“One thing we have to continue to focus on is resiliency,” he said. “This year we have been able to take a close look at the Soldiers’ mental and physical health.”
The first year of Johnson’s leadership saw the brigade train on increasingly difficult tasks and conditions, culminating with the brigade wide Hammer Focus during November.
“Hammer Focus centered on the company, troop and battery level,” he said. “It integrated all of the training up to that point, to include enablers. At the end we all left with a much higher level of readiness.”
With one year in the rear-view, he said readiness is what it’s all about.
“Our mission is to be trained and prepared to deploy,” said Johnson. “I am so very proud. Our Soldiers are ready to do their jobs anywhere and anytime.”