This past Sunday at Ceremony, Major John LaFlash announced the reopening of Third Squad “Spartans”.
The history of Third Squad goes back to June, 2013, when it opened in support of 3ID’s Arma 2 operations. Its first Squad Leader was Sergeant Brad Ahles, who is currently our unit’s Executive Officer. A number of other former Spartans Squad Leaders also rose through the ranks, including Sergeant Day, Staff Sergeant Theriault, Staff Sergeant Giancarlo Tucci (now returning as Fireteam Leader), and Staff Sergeant Kalin Grigorov.
Today, the following Soldiers have assumed leadership of the newly reopened squad:
Corporal Eric Abel - Squad Leader
Specialist Abel has been promoted to Corporal. He now takes charge of Third Squad “Spartans” as Squad Leader.
Enlisting earlier this year, he has steadily risen through the ranks, serving as a Fireteam Leader in Second Squad prior to his current assignment. An experienced veteran of Operation Thin Ice, Corporal Abel has earned a number of awards and qualifications, such as the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Basic Parachute Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge, and others.
Asked about his history with the unit, Corporal Abel said, “My experience in the 3ID has been an amazing one! This has been my first and only milsim unit.”
Speaking of the challenges of reopening Third Squad, he stated, “Although I have some experience leading my previous fireteam and a little less leading a squad, I think my biggest priority will be making sure everyone is combat ready and that all of their unit info is up to date as soon as possible.”
Corporal Abel closed with this: “I'm looking forward to being able to lay down some heavy cover fire and blowing up some big vehicles with our heavy weapons. I want Spartans to be a force to be reckoned with when we're called up for battle.”
Specialist Luke VanDenburgh - Squad Medic
Private First Class VanDenburgh has been promoted to Specialist. He assumes the position of Spartans Squad Medic.
A recent 3ID enlistee, he served as a Fireteam Member in Second Squad. A veteran of Operation Thin Ice, Specialist VanDenburgh has earned the Combat Infantry Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Expert Marksmanship Badge.
When asked about his future in Spartans, Specialist VanDenburgh said, “I am ready and willing to take on the challenge of being squad medic for Spartans. [I am] looking forward to getting us a dedicated Weapons Squad, and possibly getting to fire some cool new weapons (i.e. Javelin).
But as Squad Medic, he tempers his enthusiasm with caution. He closed, “I think our biggest priority will be instructing weapons safety, which I have already brought up with our Squad Leader. That Javelin has a huge backblast range and radius, and it can be really dangerous to both us and the enemy when in our hands.”
Corporal Giancarlo Tucci - Alpha Fireteam Leader
Now into his first re-enlistment, Corporal Tucci joins Third Squad as Alpha Fireteam Leader.
Starting in 2015 as a Fireteam Member in Third Squad, Corporal Tucci rose through the ranks to take over as Squad Leader. He is a battle-hardened veteran of Operations Swarmer II, Bronze Fire, Red Leopard, Bright Star, and Thin Ice. He has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, 3rd Infantry Division Unit Patch, Combat Infantry Badge (Stage 3), Basic Parachute Badge (with 2 Combat Jump Devices), Air Assault Badge, and Expert Marksmanship Badge.
Speaking of his time in 3ID, he related, “My experience with the unit was always great. I'm really excited to be a part of the reopening of Spartans as it was once my baby. Now I get to help Corporal Abel start Spartans back from the ground up. There's going to be a few challenges, I think the main one is figuring out how we want the Squad to function. It's starting back up and now we have to decide what to do.”
Specialist Brendan Moose - Bravo Fireteam Leader
Private First Class Moose has been promoted to Specialist. He now serves as Spartans Bravo Fireteam Leader.
Beginning his enlistment in the midst of Operation Thin Ice, he has significant combat experience. Before bringing his fireteam to Third Squad, he was an accomplished Fireteam Leader in Scorpions. His awards and decorations include the Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Air Assault Badge, and Expert Marksmanship Badge.
Discussing the future of Third Squad, Specialist Moose said, “I’m excited to work with Corporal Abel and Corporal Tucci. I think Abel is going to be a super-effective leader. My fireteam works well together. We just need to train on the Javelin so we can get up to speed.”
In closing, Major LaFlash stated, "We have an extremely solid leadership team from the top. I feel Spartans is going to get off to a good start."