US Army’s “Spartan Brigade,” 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, has completed their transition to the newest M1A2 SEPv3 variant of the Abrams tank.
The milestone was achieved on September 27, when a SEPv3 tank crew fired its last rounds to complete operator new equipment training (OPNET) at Fort Stewart.
Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT, was the last company in the brigade to conduct training on the modernized platform, concluding the modernization process that began with divesting the older vehicle platforms in spring of 2021 as part of the Army’s new Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM.
“The Spartan Brigade is grateful for the opportunity to be the first modernized brigade in the Army,” said Col. Ethan J. Diven, commander of the 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “We have been blessed with the people, equipment and resources to modernize, and we are now focused on demonstrating our capabilities at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, in late winter next year. We will be disciplined, aggressive and lethal.”
The “Panther Battalion,” 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID, not only was the last battalion to execute tank modernization, but it also executed final operational test and evaluation for the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle this past July.
“It’s humbling to close out modernization for the Spartan Brigade,” said Lt. Col. Timothy W. Decker, commander of the 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “We feel lucky and honored to be a part of the Army modernization story. From completing the final test and evaluation of the AMPV to completing Bradley and tank modernization, the Panthers continue to write history and strengthen the legacy of the 69th Armor Regiment.”
For modernized combat and combat support vehicle platforms, the Spartan Brigade has received the M109A7 Paladin howitzer, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, M2A4 Bradley fighting vehicle, the Joint Assault Bridge and the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank and completed field-level maintenance new equipment training and OPNET for each. Alpha Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, was the last company in the brigade to finish modernization with the new Abrams tanks.
“I’m really proud of my Soldiers,” said 1st Lt. William Bolton, a tank platoon leader assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT. “The amount of preparation we put into this before we even got the tanks was just impressive to see, couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The final tank OPNETs were conducted simultaneously between Alpha and Bravo Company, 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, each over 17 days and culminating with a final after-action review.
“Modernization really makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself and when you get out there and execute flawlessly, it just makes you that much better of a soldier,” said Staff Sgt. Tanner Latta, a tank commander assigned to the 2nd Bn., 69th AR, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “At the end of the day, it’s just all about lessons learned, taking that forward, failing with a positive attitude and succeeding with humility.”
The Spartan Brigade is now the Army’s first brigade to complete modernization in accordance with the ReARMM and is on glide path to execute a rotation at NTC to validate its readiness and proficiency to deploy.
Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 (System Enhancement Program Version 3) is an upgrade to the US Army’s current main battle tank. The latest variant includes multiple upgrades to improve power generation, network compatibility, survivability and other vulnerability reduction measures to reduce the tank’s vulnerability to IEDs.