2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment
"Second Tank / Second to None"
At the end of 2005, the 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment began preparations to inactivate, which subsequently happened. This was part of the reorganization of US Forces in Korea and the transformation of 2nd Infantry Division to the US Army's new modular force structure.
The 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor traced its lineage to January 1943 when Company B, 5th Armored Regiment was organized and immediately activated for battle on 15 July, 1943 at Camp Chafee, Arkansas. Assigned to the 16th Armored Division, it was redesignated as Company B, 717th Tank Battalion. In 1944 this unit deployed to Europe and raced across the fields of France in the last Great Crusade across Europe pursuing the Nazi foe. During the Battle of the Bulge and the assault into the heart of Germany, it fought and bled as an element of the 79th Infantry Division, in the steel, dust and smoke of the Rhineland and Central European Campaigns. Following a long year overseas this unit stood down, and its soldiers returned home to enjoy the hard won peace.
On 6 April 1948, the unit was reactivated at Fort Lewis, Washington as a heavy tank battalion, and in October 1948 the unit was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division. In 1950, as Company B, 72nd Tank Battalion, the unit once again entered battle and was forged in fire during the Korean War. For the units actions at the Naktong river line, it earned the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and added to its colors a streamer for overall superior performance.
In October 1950, while MacArthur landed at Inchon, the unit led the breakout from the Pusan perimeter, driving the enemy north. It distinguished itself at the battles of Hongchon, Yongsan, and Kapyong, earning 4 distinguished unit citations. After bloody retrograde battles the unit fought to a stalemate with the Chinese Army. Names such as Punch Bowl, Old Baldy, and Heartbreak Ridge still echo in its turrets.
In October 1954, the unit returned to Fort Lewis, Washington with the 2nd Infantry Division, and shortly thereafter moved to Camp Irwin, California. The unit was inactivated in 1958. On 25 January 1963, the unit was again called to service at Fort Stewart, Georgia and rejoined the 2nd Infantry Division. In July 1965 the unit returned to Korea, where only 15 years before its guns blazed in anger.
In 1974 the units colors were again cased and its tanks were idle until 1978 when the units colors were again unfurled in the Republic of Korea. The unit then continually prepared and trained for war in the Land of Morning Calm.
Along with 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment, the 2nd Battalion was a proud link in the regimental history. Tough and prepared, 2-72nd Armor stood silent and ready as one of the most forward deployed armor battalion in the Army. 2-72nd Armor was a vital link in deterring Communist Aggression in this part of the world.
US Army Capt. Chris Plekenpol, commander, A Troop, 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment and his men deployed from Korea to Iraq to support the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force September 2004 and participated in securing Fallujah in November 2004. They continued the dangerous work of security in their sector in preparation for the 30 January 2005 election. In February 2005, 88 US Army soldiers were stationed outside of Fallujah, Iraq and received hundreds of soccer balls to "help win the hearts and minds of Iraqi children," thanks to Virginia Cook Realtors' "Hearts United Campaign." Virginia Cook Realtors sent A Hearts United shipment of new and used soccer balls decorated with heart stickers directly to Capt. Chris Plekenpol.
In late 2005, the 2nd Battalion, 72nd Armor began preparations to inactivate in Korea. It subsequently inactivated, as part of a larger reorganization of US Forces in Korea and the transformation of the 2nd Infantry Division to the US Army's new modular force structure.
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