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1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment

The 63rd Armor Regiment was organized in 1942 as the 745th Tank Battalion at Camp Bowie, Texas. 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment traces its lineage to Company A, 745th Tank Battalion. The 745th Tank Battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 1 September 1942 as the 745th Tank Battalion, Medium. After training in Texas and Louisiana, the 745th Tank Battalion departed New York in the summer of 1943 and continued its training in England. The Battalion was reorganized and redesignated back to the 745th Tank Battalion on 2 December 1943

Landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, 6 June 1944, the 745th Tank Battalion supported the 1st Infantry Division during the Normandy Invasion. For its actions on the beachhead, the Battalion was awarded the French Croix de Guerre. After securing the Caumont, the Battalion continued its support of the "Big Red One" moving south through the breakthrough at Marigny and then west toward Coutances. Its assisted in closing the Argentan-Falaise gap in September, moved north to the Soissons area, and then advanced through France to the vicinity of Leige, Belgium.

In September 1944, the Battalion, along with the 1st Division, destroyed an enemy pocket at Mons, Belgium, capturing more the 5,000 prisoners, including the commander of the German 6th Airborne Division. The withdrawl of German forces enabled the 1st Infantry Division to move rapidly toward Aachen, Germany. The Division laid siege to the city taking it after a direct assault on 21 October 1944. The 1st Infantry Division then attacked east of Aachen through the Hurtgen Forest in the drive toward the Roer. After bitter fighting, it moved to a rest area in December 1944.

Later that month, the division fought on the northern flank of the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in the Ardennes in the area of Eupen-Malmedy, repulsing the enemy after heavy combat. After the German counterattacks were thwarted, the Division and its attached units pushed forward to reduce enemy pockets and throw the Germans out of the Belgian territory.

For its actions at Noms and at Eupen-Malmedy, the 745th Tank Battalion along with the 1st Infantry Division was awarded the Belgian Fourrangere. The Battalion supported the 1st Division's attack against the Siegfried Line through 7 February 1945, when the 1st was relieved by the 99th Infantry Division.

Following World War II, the 745th Tank Battalion was inactivated on 27 October 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Three years later, on 14 September 1948, the Battalion was redesignated as the 63rd Heavy Tank battalion and activated in Germany as an element of the 1st Infantry Division. Company A, 745th Tank Battalion became Company A, 63rd Heavy Tank Battalion. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 10 October 1950 as the 63rd Tank Battalion. The Battalion served in West Germany until 1955, when it, along with the 1st Infantry Division, moved to Fort Riley, Kansas as part of Operation Gyroscope. The Battalion was inactivated at Fort Riley on 15 February 1957 and relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division.

As part of ROAD (Reorganzied Objective Army Divisions), the Battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 25 January 1963 as the 63d Armor, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Company A was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 63rd Armor. The 1st Battalion was then assigned to the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 20 January 1964 as the 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor.

When the 1st Infantry Division deployed to Vietnam in 1965, the Battalion remained at Fort Riley. In 1969 it was posted to Fort Knox, Kentucky, returning to Fort Riley, Kansas in 1970, when the 1st Division came back from Vietnam. The Battalion was inactivated on 16 August 1987 and relieved from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division.

The unit was activated on 16 September 1987 at Fort Irwin, California and assigned 16 October 1991 to the 177th Armored Brigade. The 63rd Armor Regiment was reorganized under the US Army Regimental System with its home base at Fort Irwin, California. It was inactivated on 15 October 1994 at Fort Irwin, California, and relieved from assignment to the 177th Armored Brigade.

The unit was assigned on 16 February 1996 to the 1st Infantry Division and activated in Germany. The 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment continued to train in Germany, eventually becoming the 1st Infantry Division's immediate ready task force (IRTF).

In February 2003, the IRTF was attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Seperate) and became the first airborne-inserted armor Battalion, called to support the northern operation into Iraq to provide a credible threat to the Iraqi forces. The remainder of the Battalion flew in later in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, returning home in February of 2004.

Upon returning to Germany, the 1-63rd Armor again cased their colors to support the troop drawdown in Germany. On 16 March 2008, the colors were brought back to Fort Riley, Kansas. The 2-70th Combined Arms Battalion was reflagged as the 1-63rd Armor. The 1-63rd Combined Arms Battalion was slated to deploy sometime in late 2008.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:18:52 ZULU