63rd Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
The 63rd Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) is assigned to the 52nd Ordnance Group at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The unit is based at Fort Drum, New York.
The 63rd Ordnance Battalion was first constituted on 20 February 1942 in the Army of the United States as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 63rd Ordnance Battalion and activated on 18 March 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 1 August 1942 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 63rd Ordnance Ammunition Battalion and again on 15 February 1945 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 63rd Ordnance Battalion. Deployed to Italy during the Second World War, the Battalion participated in 3 campaigns: Sicily, Rome-Arno, and North Apennines. The Battalion was inactivated on 25 September 1945 in Italy.
The Battalion was reactivated on 1 June 1949 in Japan and allotted on 5 December 1951 to the Regular Army. It was inactivated on 28 March 1954 in Japan. Activated again on 24 March 1960 at Fort Lewis, Washington, the unit was subsequently deployed to Vietnam. There it was reorganized and redesignated on 20 July 1966 as Headquarters and Main Support Company, 63rd Maintenance Battalion. The Battalion participated in 16 campaigns in Vietnam: Defense, Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase II, 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, Consolidation II, and Cease-Fire. After returning from Vietnam, the Battalion was inactivated on 2 April 1972 at Fort Lewis, Washington.
The unit was redesignated on 16 June 1998 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 63rd Ordnance Battalion, and activated at Fort Dix, New Jersey. There it became a continental United States EOD battalion assigned to the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD). The 63rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD) was formed from what had been an EOD Control Team at Fort Dix. Headquartered at Doughboy Loop, the 63rd came to control 11 EOD companies scattered across the Northeast United States.
Over 20 soldiers of the 744th Ordnance Company (EOD) from the 63rd Ordnance Battalion departed their Fort Meade, Maryland home on 30 September 2001, and eventually began clearing unexploded ordnance from the area surrounding Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. They were given 10 days notice for the assignment and were not told when they would return. After 3 days working in an area across from the runway, the teams were finding rockets and fuses near the road. On the third day they went out to pick up the rockets. Staff Sergeant Matthew Hess lost his lower left leg, from mid-calf down, and sustained injuries to his left hand when he stepped on a land mine on 18 December 2001, while removing unexploded ordnance around Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He was evacuated to Uzbekistan, then Turkey and Landsthul, Germany, before arriving at Walter Reed on 22 December 2001.
With the activation of the 20th Support Command (CBRNE) in 2004, Active and Reserve EOD units were restructured. The 63rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD remained assigned to the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD). As part of the 2005 BRAC recommendations, the 63rd Ordnance Battalion was also relocated to Fort Drum, New York.
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