5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team

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Part of the U.S. Army, the 5th Stryker Brigade is a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, under the 2nd Infantry Division (U.S.) at Fort Lewis, Washington. It was the first Stryker unit deployed in the Afghanistan War.


Activated in 2007, its units were:[1]

  • Brigade headquarters
  • 5th Brigade Special Troops Battalion
  • 2-1st Infantry Battalion
  • 1-17th Infantry Battalion
  • 4-23rd Infantry Battalion
  • 8-1st Cavalry Squadron
  • 3-17th Field Artillery (M777 howitzer)
  • 402nd Brigade Support Battalion


Army public affairs reporting in 2009 declared the unit well-qualified and eager for deployment. Retired General Barry McCaffery was quoted as saying that new road construction would make the Stryker brigade, which uses wheeled combat vehicles, especially effective. "I'm thrilled they're sending Stryker(s) to Afghanistan. We've finally got the Ring Road (linking Kabul, Kandahar and Herat) three-fourths done. We're starting a $10-billion program to build roads to the provincial capital and the district capitals. We've got to be able to move around that country at high speeds and on occasion, there are going to be 100 to 400 Taliban on the ground when we get there. We needed armor. Stryker can move on those emergent road networks."[2] In July 2010, however, it was inactivated, and most of its resources redesignated the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. [1]

Even before the issues of possible war crimes by Brigade members, the Army was closely monitoring the unit, after its return, for stress. [3] On 27 August 2010, a soldier, who had deserted the unit, died in a shootout with police in Salt Lake City. After the deployment, however, other views were revealed. As a result of a murder trial of a 5 SBCT soldier, Jeremy Morlock for murder in Afghanistan, there has been testimony that it was questionably ready for deployment, the most relevant being concerns about the brigade commander, Colonel Harry Tunnell. According to Texas A&M sociology professor Stjepan Mestrovic, who testified on behalf of Morlock and has had access to an otherwise classified investigator report by Brigadier General Stephen Twitty, Twitty said the brigade was "dysfunctional", and Tunnell had a body count emphasis at odds with the counterinsurgency doctrine espoused by the then-US commander in Afghanistan: General Stanley McChrystal. “You were good in Col. Tunnell’s eyes if you were aggressive and the body count was high." Mestrovic also said that the unit nearly failed its pre-deployment exercises at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division: "Strike, Destroy", Globalsecurity
  2. Don Kramer (6 July 2009), Fort Lewis Stryker brigade 'trained and ready', U.S. Army
  3. Craig Whitlock (18 September 2010), "Army monitored Stryker brigade, hit hard in Afghanistan, for signs of stress", Washington Post
  4. Adam Ashton (24 February 2011), "5th Brigade dysfunctional, report says", News-Tribune (Tacoma, Washington)