The 1st Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) is a combat engineer regiment of the Australian Army. Based in the Northern Territory and attached to 1st Brigade, it is a Regular Army unit of the Royal Australian Engineers and is tasked with providing mobility and counter mobility support.
1st Combat Engineer Regiment
1st Field Squadron
9th Field Squadron
23rd Support Squadron
Operational Support Squadron
1 CER was raised on 1 March 1993 around the 1st Field Squadron RAE, itself raised from 1 Field Engineer Regiment (1FER) in July 1981 at Holsworthy Barracks, in Sydney. The regiment moved from Sydney in late 1999 to Darwin. 2 Troop, 1 Field Squadron was deployed to East Timor during this time as part of INTERFET. In April 2000, 1 Troop, 1 Field Squadron replaced 2 Troop and began its six-month deployment in support of 6 RAR. During this time the pro-Indonesian Militia re grouped, re-armed and returned to harass the peace keeping operations. 1 Troop conducted road repairs, water purification, and constructed strong points throughout the Australian AO. In October 2000, 1 Troop was relieved by 3 Troop, 9th Field Squadron.
In late 2002, 73 personnel were used to form a Battalion Engineer Group to attach to 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment for a deployment to East Timor as part of the United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor (UNMISET). Among the duties performed by the engineers, above aiding 5th/7th Battalion, included the provision of humanitarian aid, construction of infrastructure for the East Timorese law enforcement agencies, and provision of supplementary infantry patrols.
From April to August 2003, elements from 1 CER were deployed as part of Operation Relex II. The sappers alternated between land-based training and periods embarked on Royal Australian Navy vessels assigned to Relex, where they aided Navy personnel in boarding and searching Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEVs), boat handling, and other duties. During this deployment, personnel from 1 CER were involved in boarding and detaining SIEV 13, and the subsequent transfer of those aboard to the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre.
Also in 2003, 1 CER was granted approval to use the Sand Goanna (Varanus Panoptes) as a mascot.
From late 2006 to mid-2007, a third of 1 CER was deployed to Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, as the 1st Reconstruction Task Force, the Australian contribution to a Dutch-led Provincial Reconstruction Team. During this deployment, the remainder of 1 CER carried out a heavy training schedule.
In late 2008, personnel from 1st Field Squadron and 23rd Support Squadron were sent to Afghanistan on an eight-month deployment as part of the 1st Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force, during which Corporal Michael Anthony Cole was awarded the Order of Australia Medal. The rest of the regiment was involved in training and trials of the PackBot military robot (the Scout and Explorer variants) for Australian use.
In July 2009, 1 CER and 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment served as the opposing force during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2009.
In October 2009, the 1st Field Squadron Group provided Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Support in response to the magnitude 7.6 earthquake that struck off Western Sumatra on 30 September 2009.