507th Engineer Battalion
The 507th Engineer Battalion is stationed in Wyoming, with units all over the Lower Peninsula: Headquarters Detachment in Wyoming; 1432nd (Medium Girder Bridge) split between Wyoming and Bay City; 1436th (Combat Support Equipment) a horizontal construction unit stationed in Montague; and several units that are stationed at Camp Grayling, 1438th Utilities Detachment and two fire fighting detachments 1439th and 1440th Engineer Detachments.
In addition to supporting a number of interesting construction mission the battalion has had units called out several times over the past year to meet both domestic emergencies and to support Federal missions.
In June 1996 battalion got the call to help with the tornado cleanup in Frankenmuth and the widespread Flooding in Lapeer county caused by the severe weather experienced by the East side of State last summer. They also had a fire fighting detachment deployed to Europe in support of the Bosnian mission, Operation Joint Endeavor. In April 1997, they got the call to deploy in support of the widespread flooding along the Ohio River. They responded again during the Summer of 1997 when severe storms ripped through the five county area of metropolitan Detroit.
All of these deployments show the versatility of our battalion and its readiness to deploy at a moments notice in support of our local communities and our viability in support of the active army in providing needed skills not available to them through other means.
Elements of the 507th Engineer Battalion got a call during their Annual Training period during June 1996. "Hey, a tornado just ripped through Frankenmuth and the State Headquarters wants to know what you can deploy to help with the cleanup." In less than 12 hours a task force made up of soldiers from four different units was headed East. Dozens of homes were damaged and several were totally destroyed. The guardsmen went to work along side the volunteers from the community and started the cleanup process. After a week of hard work and a lot of long days the debris had been cleared away and most people returned to their quiet lives. One guardsman when asked what was the most rewarding part of the mission, quipped, "The gratitude of the people in the town and smiles of the children made it worthwhile. The chicken dinners weren't bad either!"
The tremendous flooding experienced by the Ohio River Valley during the Spring of 1997 taxed the capabilities of the civilian relief agencies and Guard resources, as well for the affected States. They called Michigan to lend a hand and the Engineers stood ready to take up the call. Elements of the 507th Engr Bn deployed to support Ohio in their cleanup effort by delivering Engineer equipment needed for the cleanup on short notice. As the three mile long convoy rolled into Rickenbacher Air National Guard Base, near Columbus Ohio, an Ohio State Trooper asked another, "Where did all these trucks come from?" He answered, "These are the fellas from Michigan down here to give us a hand."
The storms that struck the Detroit area just prior to the 4th of July 1997 year were widespread and caused millions of dollars worth the damage. Engineer units from west Michigan were called to aid in the clean up effort. Fifty guardsmen gave up their holiday weekend to help those in need. Their efforts helped to speed the recovery effort. Over 600 dump truck loads (mostly loaded by hand) were removed from over 50 city blocks of Detroit and Highland Park. The gratitude and adulation of the residents gave the tired soldiers a deep sense of accomplishment; as they departed the area and the streets were lined with grateful citizens clapping and waving their hands.
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