326th Engineer Battalion (Combat)
326th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Air Assault)
The 326th Engineer Battalion, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, consists of a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, organic Forward Support Company, and a number of engineer companies of varying types.
The 326th Engineer Battalion was first constituted in the National Army on 23 July 1918 as the 326th Engineers, an element of the 101st Division. The 101st Division was only partially organized October-November 1918. With the end of World War I, the Division and its subordinate elements were demobilized 11 December 1918.
The 101st Division was reconstituted on 24 June 1921. The 326th Engineers were reconstituted in the Organized Reserves on 24 June 1921 as the 326th Engineers, and assigned to the 101st Division. The 326th Engineers were organized in November 1921 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The 326th Engineers were broken up on 31 March 1942. The Regiment (less the 2nd Battalion) was reorganized and redesignated as the 326th Engineer Battalion and remained assigned to the 101st Division (later redesignated as the 101st Airborne Division). The 2nd Battalion, 326th Engineers was reoreganized and redesignated as the 890th Engineer Battalion, Aviation, which was later disbanded on 11 February 1943.
The 326th Engineer Battalion was withdrawn on 15 August 1942 from the Organized Reserves and allotted to the Army of the United States. It was concurrently redesignated as the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion and activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. After extensive training in the United States, the Battalion deployed to Europe where it participated in the airborne assault into Normandy. The Battalion also participated in the assault into Holland and the Screaming Eagles' heroic stand at Bastogne. For its outstanding accomplishments at Normandy and Bastogne, the Battalion was twice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. For its contribution to the success of the European War, the Battalion was awarded the French Croix de Guerre (with Palm), the Netherlands Orange Lanyard, and the Belgian Fourragere. The Battalion was inactivated on 30 November 1945 in France.
While inactive, the lineage and honors of the Battalion were consolidated on 18 June 1948 with the 49th Engineer Combat Battalion. The 49th Engineer Combat Battalion was first constituted on 5 May 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 49th Engineers and activated on 25 August 1942 at Camp Carson, Colorado. The 49th Engineers were broken up 1 April 1943 and its elements reorganized and redesignated. 1st Battalion, 49th Engineers was reorganized and redesignated as the 49th Engineer Combat Battalion. The Headquarters and Headquarters and Service Company was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1110th Engineer Combat Group; 2nd Battalion, 49th Engineers was reorganized and redesignated as the 37th Engineer Combat Battalion; and the 49th Engineers Band was reorganized and redesignated the 4th Army Ground Forces Band. All of these units thereafter had separate lineages. The 49th Engineer Combat Battalion was inactivated on 27 November 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, before being consolidated with the 326th Engineer Battalion. The consolidated unit was redesignated as the 49th Airborne Engineer Battalion, an element of the 101st Airborne Division.
The 49th Airborne Engineer Battalion was allotted on 25 June 1948 to the Regular Army and activated on 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. It was inactivated on 29 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. It was reactivated on 25 August 1950 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky and inactivated there on 1 December 1953.
The 49th Airborne Engineer Battalion was reactivated on 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was redesignated on 1 July 1956 as the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion. From 1956-1965 the Battalion was garrisoned at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where it supported the 101st Airborne Division and conducted training to maintain a combat ready status. During this period, the Battalion was redesignated on 25 April 1957 as the 326th Engineer Battalion.
On 6 July 1965, Company A, 326th Engineer Battalion deployed to South Vietnam as part of the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Task Force. On 3 August 1967, the remainder of the Battalion joined Company A in Vietnam. While in Southeast Asia, the 326th Engineer Battalion continued to support the Division. Most of the Battalion's effort was directed toward construction in the A Shau Valley and construction of facilities and roadways to support the South Vietnamese incursion into Laos. In January 1972, the Battalion received orders to stand down and return to CONUS. The Battalion had participated in 12 campaigns of the conflict in Vietnam: Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, and Consolidation II.
Upon its return to Fort Campbell, Kentucky in March 1972, the 173rd Airborne Engineer Company was redesignated Company C, 326th Engineer Battalion. From that nucleus, the Battalion was rebuilt and reorganized until it achieved full strength in August 1973. D Company was disbanded on 1 March 1987 and the 887th Engineer Company (Light Equipment) was attached to the Battalion to provide equipment support to the Division.
Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, the 326th Engineer Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Deploying B Company on 23 August 1990, the Battalion closed in Saudi Arabia on 18 September 1990. During Operation Desert Shield, the Battalion was instrumental in establishing the Corps Covering Force Area and the construction of the Division Base Camp: Camp Eagle II. On 24 February 1991 (G-Day), the Battalion assaulted into Iraq by air and ground establishing FOB's Cobra and Viper, constructing MSRs and performing counter-mobility operations along the Euphrates River. The Battalion was involved in every major Division operation during Operation Desert Storm. The Battalion redepoyed to Fort Campbell, Kentucky on 5 April 1991 to resume it's world wide rapid deployment mission.
By 2000, the 326th Engineer Battalion consisted of a Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3 line companies (A, B and C), and an attached Engineer Light Equipment Company (the 887th Engineer Company). The line companies were each tasked with support an infantry brigade of the 101st Airborne Division during operations, while Headquarters and Headquarters Company and 887th Engineer Company (Light Equipment) (Air Assault) were tasked with providing general support across the Division's Area of Responsibility during operations. The unit was designed specifically for air assault operations. Heavy drop and helicopter sling load missions are routine business.
On 15 September 2004 the unit was inactivated and relieved of its assignment to the 101st Airborne Division. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 326th Engineer Battalion (Combat) was reactivated on 19 October 2006 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and an organic support company was concurrently constituted and activated. Placed under the operational control of the 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in garrison, the unit was subordinate to the 20th Engineer Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which had administrative control and training and readiness oversight for the Battalion. The transformation was part of the overall transition of the 101st Airborne Division to the US Army's new modular force structure.
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