121st Engineer Battalion (Corps) (Mech)
The 121st Engineer Battalion (Corps) (Mechanized) was first organized as the 5th Infantry Regiment, Washington, DC, in 1918 and was redesignated as the 121st Engineer Regiment, DC National Guard, in 1922. The regiment was inducted into Federal service on 3 February 1941.
The Battalion was activated as the 121st Engineer Battalion (CBT) as part of the 29th Infantry Division on 10 March 1942. The Battalion was briefly redesignated the 117th Engineer Battalion, organic to the 37th Infantry Division to serve as the Training Detachment at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, but was returned to the 29th Infantry Division on 8 July 1942.
In October of 1942, the Battalion traveled to Scotland for combat training until June 1944. From 1 January 1943 to 6 June 1944, the Battalion prepared for the invasion of the European continent. During the period, the Battalion was stationed at several installations in England.
From 6 June 1944 to 4 May 1945, the Battalion participated in a myriad of engineer and infantry operations in support of the invasion of Europe.
Two platoons of Company B, accompanied by the battalion commander, all of the 121st are recognized as the first American forces to land on Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944, with the balance of the Battalion following shortly thereafter, as part of the Normandy Invasion on D-Day. The time of the landing was 07:10, June 6, 1944, in advance of the 116th Infantry Combat Team. The 121st suffered great losses of personnel and equipment.
After regrouping, the Battalion continued fighting as part of the 29th ID through the capture of St. Lo. Battalion Bn later participated in the Siege of Brest, notably placing a 1,200 TNT charge in a tunnel leading to the fort of Brest. The blast caused the enemy to surrender. The 121st further participated in the attack on the Siegfried Line, the assault crossing of the Roehr River and the capture of Julich. During the actions, the Battalion earned 39 Silver Stars with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters and 135 Bronze Stars with 16 Oak Leaf Clusters.
On 1 December 1945, the unit commenced processing for redeployment to the United States. The 121st was deactivated at the close of World War II.
The Battalion was reactivated in 1948 as one of the largest Battalions in the Maryland Army National Guard. The Battalion was commended for its martial law role in civil disturbances in Maryland during 1963, 1964, and 1971. After Hurricane Agnes in 1972, the 121st supported rescue efforts, provided area security, and resstablished transportation by rebuilding the downtown bridge in Ellicott City, earning the Battalion a National Guard Bureau Citation.
The unit was also called to State Active Duty in 1996 in response to the Blizzard of that year.
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