Girish Mahajan (Editor)

1st Engineer Battalion (United States)

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Covid-19
Active  1846–present
Branch  Army
Part of  1st Infantry Division
Country  United States
Type  Engineer
Garrison/HQ  Fort Riley
1st Engineer Battalion (United States)

The 1st Engineer Battalion is an engineer battalion in the United States Army.

Contents

Current units

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • A Company (Engineer)
  • B Company (Engineer)
  • C Company (Signal)
  • D Company (Military Intelligence)
  • E Company (Forward Support Company)
  • Attached units

  • 41st Engineer Company (Route Clearance Company, Parent HQ, 4th Engineer Battalion
  • Transformation

    With the Army Structure (ARSTRUC) announcement, 1st Engineer Battalion re-aligned into the Brigade Engineer Battalion formation while retaining its heraldry and name, aligned under the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. To accomplish this, 72nd MAC deactivated in September 2014 and 41st Clearance Company became an echelons above Brigade asset in October 2014. In addition, the battalion reflagged 111th Sapper Company to their historic roots as A/1st EN and welcomed three new companies (formerly of the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion):

  • A/1-1 BSTB (MICO) became D/1st EN
  • B/1-1 BSTB (Signal) became C/1st EN
  • C/1-1 BSTB (Combat Engineer Mechanized) became B/1st EN
  • 19th century

    The battalion's history can be traced back to 15 May 1846 when a company of miners, sappers, and pontoniers was formed at West Point, New York. Alpha Company, 1st Engineer Battalion is that company's direct descendant. The battalion has received 67 decorations and campaign streamers and eight foreign awards. Alpha Company served during the Mexican–American War of 1846, participating in the Veracruz campaign and charging up the heights of Chapultepec in Mexico City. During the war, three future Civil War generals, George McClellan and P.G.T. Beauregard served as lieutenants in Alpha Company, and the company worked closely with Captain Robert E. Lee, an engineer aide to General Winfield Scott.

    The Company was expanded into the Battalion of Engineer Troops during the American Civil War and was assigned to the Union Army of the Potomac. The battalion earned ten campaign streamers. The battalion fought at Antietam, bridged the Rappahannock River six times at Fredericksburg, breached fortifications at Petersburg and was present at the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox. The battalion's first Sergeant Major, Frederick W. Gerber, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his 25 years of service to the battalion, which included the Mexican–American and American Civil War.

    During the Spanish–American War, Charlie and Echo companies of the battalion were sent to Cuba where they fought in the campaign to take the city of Santiago. The remainder of the battalion was sent to the Philippines where they provided engineer support during the battles for Manila and Cavite. Alpha Company remained in the Philippines and conducted pacification operations during the Philippine Insurrection.

    World War I

    With the start of World War I, the battalion was expanded to the 1st Engineer Regiment and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division. The regiment fought as part of the "Big Red One" and participated in the Lorraine and Meuse-Argonne campaigns and was awarded the French Fourragère and two awards of the Croix de guerre for valorous service. Sergeant Wilbur E. Colyer of Alpha Company received the Medal of Honor for advancing under fire and destroying a series of enemy machine gun positions near Verdun, France in 1918.

    Depression era

    In May 1922, the 1st Engineer Regiment arrived at Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Delaware, and garrisoned the army post until 1941. In 1931 and 1933 the unit was responsible for floating six sets of officer quarters from Fort Mott in Pennsville, N.J., just across the Delaware River. From 1934 to 1936, the unit was commanded by Col. Ulysses S. Grant III, the grandson of the former general and president. The unit oversaw the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration programs while in Delaware. At Fort DuPont, the First Engineers along with these civilian workers, constructed four identical sets of brick duplexes and a 398-seat movie theatre, all of which still stand today.

    World War II

    Prior to the start of World War II, the 1st Engineer Regiment was reorganized as the 1st Engineer Combat Battalion and again assigned to fight as part of the 1st Infantry Division. In 1942, the battalion landed with the initial forces in the North Africa invasion. In 1943, the battalion cleared underwater obstacles and destroyed enemy pillboxes during the landings on Sicily. During the Normandy landings at Omaha Beach in 1944, the battalion led the assault forces, breaching gaps in the extensive enemy mine and wire obstacles and clearing the combat trails leading off the beaches. The battalion received the Presidential Unit Citation for actions at Gafsa, at Tunisia, and at Omaha Beach. The battalion fought as part of the 1st Infantry Division during the remainder of the war in the European Theater and after 10 years of occupation duty moved to Fort Riley, Kansas.

    Vietnam

    On 2 May 1965 the battalion, under the command of Lt. Colonel Howard L. Sargent, Jr., deployed to South Vietnam as part of the 1st Infantry Division. For five years the battalion cleared obstacles, built roads, airfields, basecamps and bridges in support of numerous combat operations including Junction City I and II and the Tet Offensive of 1968. The battalion's DieHard Tunnel Rat section cleared the extensive Vietcong tunnel systems with little more than small arms and demolitions. The battalion received four Meritorious Unit Commendations for actions during the Vietnam War.

    Desert Shield and Desert Storm

    During the next 20 years at Fort Riley, the battalion took part in numerous training exercises, NTC rotations, and REFORGER deployments. In December 1990, the battalion deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The battalion breached and cleared lanes through Iraqi obstacle belts that allowed the passage of two divisions. Elements of the battalion destroyed 58 Iraqi tanks, 41 anti-aircraft artillery pieces, and other large quantities of ammunition and war material. The battalion returned to Fort Riley in 1991 and received the Valorous Unit Citation for actions in Southwest Asia.

    Since 1991, the battalion participated in many NTC and JRTC rotations, fought fires in the Northwestern United States, and supported anti-drug operations as part of JTF-6. In 1995, the 1st Engineer Battalion was awarded the Superior Unit Award for performance during the Engineer Restructuring Initiative on Fort Riley.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    On 30 August 1999 the battalion deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina in support of SFOR. Units redeploying on 12 December 1999, the battalion helped provide a stable and secure environment in the area. To this end, the battalion conducted reconnaissance of over 1,230 kilometers of routes and 298 bridges; destroyed 116,000 anti-personnel land mines; constructed 30 kilometers of roads and 5 bridges; supervised Entity Armed Forces' clearance of more than 43,000 square miles (110,000 km2) of minefields; and distributed toys, clothing, and humanitarian aid to Bosnian children and homeless families. Upon completing their task the unit received the NATO Ribbon as well as the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

    Global war on terror

    On 8 September 2003, the 1st Engineer Battalion deployed to Iraq as part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In one year the battalion exploited over 370 enemy caches consisting of 28 tons of munitions and weapons, found and destroyed over 150 improvised devices, fortified 21 government buildings and coalition camps in the Al Anbar Province, cleared several hundred kilometers of roads, supported six battalions in the Ar Ramadi and Habbaniyah areas with combat engineer operations for six other camps in the Ar Ramadi area. The battalion returned to Fort Riley in October 2004. For actions in Al Anbar, the battalion earned a second Valorous Unit Award.

    The battalion restructured its companies in 2006 as part of the Corps of Engineers restructuring plan for engineer forces Army-wide. A part of this restructuring made the battalion a separate, echelon above brigade unit and assigned training and readiness authority to the 555th Engineer Brigade and briefly to the 36th Engineer Brigade.

    The battalion deployed to Iraq again in the fall of 2006 for a 15-month deployment, conducting route clearance operations in Multinational Division-North. Working as Task Force Trailblazer, the battalion earned a third Valorous Unit Award for combat action.

    In July 2009 the 41st Clearance Company deployed to the RC-East Area of Operations in Afghanistan as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The company headquarters was located at FOB Fenty, with the four clearance platoons separated, relocating numerous times, to provide route clearance assets for three separate brigade combat teams and the Polish Battle Group. The 41st CC redeployed in July 2010.

    In November 2009 the 1st Engineer Battalion deployed in support of OIF IX-X. The 1st Engineer Battalion(-), composed of HHC, FSC, 111th Sapper Company, and 72nd Mobility Augmentation Company, conducted engineer operations in United States Division - North (USD-N) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 573rd Clearance Company out of White Sands Missile Range, NM was modularly deployed and assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion(-) to round out the battalion's clearance capabilities. The battalion conducted route clearance along assigned division routes while concurrently partnering with the 4th and 12th Iraqi Army Field Engineer Regiments in a modified advise and assist role in order to help these FERs become mission capable. HHC, FSC, and 111th redeployed in July 2010. The 72nd MAC remained in Iraq until their redeployment in November 2010. For actions in Iraq, the battalion was awarded its fifth Meritorious Unit Citation.

    In September 2012, the battalion deployed to Regional Command-East, Afghanistan. Once deployed, the 72d MAC and the 111th Sapper Companies were task organized to the 178th En Bn (SCANG) to provide route clearance in Paktiya and Paktika Provinces, while the 41st CC remained in the north with the battalion as Task Force Diehard. As Task Force Diehard, headquartered at FOB Shank, the battalion assumed control of all mobility, counter-mobility, survivability, general engineering, and engineer partnerships in the Logar, Wardak, Nangahar, Kunar, Laghman and Kapisa Provinces. Over the nine-month deployment, the battalion assumed responsibility for all engineer operations in RC-East; thus adding Kabul, Paktika, Paktiya, and Ghazni Provinces. By April 2013, the task force had 1,100 soldiers with six combat engineer and two construction companies. The battalion returned to Fort Riley in June 2013. For actions in Afghanistan, the battalion was awarded a sixth Meritorious Unit Citation.

    In November 2013, after 2162 days, the battalion was again reassigned back to the 1st Infantry Division.

    The battalion reorganized in October 2014 as a brigade engineer battalion under Devil Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

    References

    1st Engineer Battalion (United States) Wikipedia


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