Within the headquarters of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), is the command-element Headquarters & Headquarters Troop (HHT). The 3rd ABCT HHT is a company-sized element whose service rivals that of their parent unit, the 3rd ABCT, and recently the HHT completed their nine-month deployment overseas. While these soldiers represent various Military Occupation Specialties (MOS), together they provide the brigade Commander and soldiers with the resources needed to continue their representative missions.
Evolving with the changes within the historic 3rd ABCT, the HHT represents a company-sized military unit, often found at the battalion level and higher, and is responsible for the operations, planning, and support of the 3rd ABCT missions. While a line company is often comprised of three or four platoons, the HHT is singular and consists of the headquarters staff and support personnel required for that level of command. Typically the average size of a HHT or Headquarters Company is approximately 200 personnel.
Depending on the role and mission assigned to the HHT, extra support personnel will be drawn on to complete the required mission. While headquarters staff typically rounds out the S1 (Admin), S2 (Intel), S3 (Operations), S4 (Logistics), and S6 (Signal) offices there also can be members from the Public Affairs Office, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Chaplain’s Office, and Medical that are included as “special staff”. In the instance of the 3rd ABCT HHT, those officers leading the various staff offices serve as the principle advisors to the 3rd ABCT Commander, while the unit’s senior enlisted Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) advise the brigade’s Command Sergeant Major on enlisted issues.
Between February and March 2013, the 3rd ABCT HHT returned from its recent nine-month deployment overseas, Operation SPARTAN SHIELD, as part of the Global War On Terrorism. The operation required extensive training by the HHT prior to deployment at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. There, then First Sergeant (1SG), Davis, the unit’s senior NCO, described the training as a vital component to the unit’s training in full spectrum operations.  During Operation SPARTAN SHIELD the HHT was led by CPT Ramos whom assumed command on 10 May 2012 shortly before the unit’s departure overseas.
Leading the soldiers of the 3rd ABCT HHT during their 2012-2013 deployment was CPT Ruben Ramos, whom today serves as the 3rd ABCT Brigade Fires section of the S3 office. When presenting his unit’s distinctive deployment challenge coin, CPT Ramos commented on the military values he felt were imparted to the individual when presenting these unique awards;
“In this case Duty, Selfless Service, and Personal Courage come to mind. In support of the Brigade’s mission, these Soldiers left their lives and families behind while on the nine-month deployment overseas. For a lot of these men and women, this was their first deployment. Not knowing what to expect, many missed the births of children and birthdays of others. This selfless service and fortitude allowed for a successful deployment. The challenge coin reflects the spirit of the Soldiers who keep this Brigade and the Army strong.
When reflecting back to Operation SPARTAN SHIELD, CPT Ramos further explained his motivations stating;
“I wanted to let the Soldiers know what a great job they did throughout the deployment. Although during the deployment, we as leaders let them know how proud we are of them and what a great job they are doing, a challenge coin is a great way to capture that pride and memorialize both individual and group success. In the future, each Soldier can display the challenge coin and people may ask them about it. They’ll remember the commitment and sacrifices they made, the pride at the moment it was presented to them and how proud they, and their families are, to have taken part in this successful deployment. And hopefully they will have a good story to share about a fond memory in the desert far from home.
Assisting CPT Ramos during Operation SPARTAN SHIELD was the 3rd ABCT HHT’s senior enlisted NCO, Master Sergeant (MSG) Anthony T. Davis who, during the deployment, served in the lateral rank of the HHT’s 1SG. Born in Mobile, Alabama MSG Davis enlisted in the United States Army on 29 July 1991 and completed both Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina where he was awarded the Military Occupation Specialty 31-K Combat Signaler (25U Signal Support Systems Specialist) in December 1991.
Master Sergeant Davis’ overseas assignments include Baulmholder, Germany, Camp Bonifas, Korea, Camp, Casey, Korea, and Camp Humphreys, Korea. His stateside assignments all consist of the Army’s instillations in Georgia; Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart, and Fort Benning. As 1SG Davis, he has deployed to Bosnia as a member of Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR), and as Master Sergeant Davis also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. He has also served in a myriad of duty positions including Retransmission Team Chief, COMSEC Custodian, Communications Shop Foreman, Communications NCOIC and Communications Chief.
When asked about the unit’s unique challenge coin MSG Davis said;
“When I present a challenge coin I am letting that soldier know that I appreciate something they did, either that day or over a period of time. Challenge coins are not something handed out frivolously, and should be valued by those who receive them. As a senior NCO I value presenting these coins because it is one of the few awards that I can present personally without requiring higher approval for an official award. Weather I choose to recognize the soldier individually or in front of their assembled peers, these coins acknowledges their accomplishments and contributions to the unit, the mission, and the military”.
The HHT’s Operation SPARTAN SHIELD Deployment Challenge Coin was a unique development born from within the unit. Designed and approved from the command, the HHT deployment challenge coin was the principle design of SPC Derrick Ramey, whom stated;
“My first sergeant and commander got wind I had been doing some posters, coin designs, etc. for the brigade whilst overseas, and asked if I wouldn’t mind sparing some free time to design the unit’s coin. I agreed and we went through designing a few drafts of the coin, making alterations here and there. Eventually SGT Curtis Johnson and myself settled on this design, which everyone liked and submitted it to be made into our coin. We wanted something that was aesthetically intriguing while not being too cluttered, which was the inspiration for “Ike” alone on the back without text or symbols. As First Sergeant put it, “He speaks for himself. I enjoyed working on the coin and it’s always exciting to see an idea conceptualized into its final state.”
Of the 150-soldier unit, the HHT commissioned a run of 200 deployment challenge coins to commemorate the unit, its Commander and 1SG, and the experience of serving overseas in Operation SPARTAN SHIELD.
On a field of black and a petal edging, the Obverse of the HHT’s Operation SPARTAN SHIELD challenge coin incorporates a number of distinctive unit and divisional symbols. Regarding the Obverse’s design SPC Ramey, the coin’s principle designer, stated;
“After several revisions of the coin’s design, Sgt. Johnson came to me with the idea of incorporating the Spartan shield into the image. At the center of the coin is the Spartan shield in red, black and gold, with the Brigade’s iconic red-handled “Sledgehammer” through its center with the 3rd Infantry Division unit patch at the hammer’s head. The designation of “HHT” is outlined in black on the center of the shield, creating a type of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop crest. On either side of the shield is the rank and last name of HHT’s Company Commander CPT Ramos (left) and 1SG Davis (right). HHT Soldiers are known as “Hell Raisers” which is arched across the top with “Operation Spartan Shield” arched along the bottom.
Continuing the HHT’s “Hellraiser” theme, the Reverse is simplistic in its design to create a clean representation of the unit’s ethos. A silk-screen image of the unit’s devilish two horned-mascot “Ike” is pictured escaping through a crack amid a background of smoke and flame in his continual effort of “Raising Hell” – the unit’s unofficial catch phrase. Enclosing the Reverse is an epoxy coat to ensure the image and colors are protected. As with the Obverse, the Reverse also features the same petal edging.
1. Davis, 1SG Anthony, interview by SPC Derrick Ramey. “HHT Senior NCO.” Sledgehammer Brigade Rolls Out to “The Box”. Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, (March 9, 2012).
Contributions provided by CPT Ruben Ramos, 1SG Anthony T. Davis, and SPC Derrick Ramey, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and MAJ Ellis Gales and SGT Holzer, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 3rd Infantry Division.