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13th Signal Battalion

As part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force, the 13th Signal Battalion was inactivated at Fort Hood on 15 July 2005. This inactivation was part of the transformation of the 1st Cavalry Division. As part of the modular transformation, assets previously held at division level, but were habitually attached to brigades during operations were made organic to those brigades.

The 13th Signal Battalion was tasked with providing Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) and Enhanced Position Location Radio System (EPLRS) network support to Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS) including Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), All-Source Analysis System (ASAS), Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (FAAD C3I), and Combat Service Support Control System (CSSCS), in addition to providing Tactical Local Aera Network (TACLAN) services. The Battalion also provided routine support to the Division headquarters, the major subordinate commands and the separate battalions of the 1st Cavalry Division on many of their internal training events. In addition, it annually supported one joint exercise.

The mission of the 13th Signal Battalion was to, on orders, deploy to a designated contingency area of operations, conduct reception, staging, onward movement and integration. It would then, on order, establish C4 and Information Systems Network in support of 1st Cavalry Division combat operations and redeploy. Specified tasks included: Install, Operate, and Maintain (IOM) the communications network for the 1st Cavalry Division; be prepared to deploy in support of world wide contingency missions; and provide viable, effective family support to soldiers, civilians, and their families.

The 13th Signal Battalion was organized as the 7th Field Signal Battalion on 14 July 1917 at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. When the 1st Cavalry Division was activated in September 1921, the Battalion was reorganized as the 13th Signal Troop, a charter member of the 1st Cavalry Division. It was subsequently redesignated the 13th Signal Company when the 1st Cavalry Division dismounted and reorganized partly under cavalry and partly under infantry organizations.

The 13th Signal Company entered combat with the 1st Cavalry Division in February 1942. Lorengau and Mamote, in the Admiralty Islands, were among the first campaigns in which it participated. Then came the "Flying Column" movement through Luzon, Leyte, and Samar, and other actions leading to the Japanese surrender and the occupation of Japan.

In July 1950, the 13th Signal Company entered the Korean War by making an unopposed amphibious landing with the 1st Cavalry Division at Pohang and proceeded immediately to the front, where it served with distinction as the eyes and ears of the Division. The unit received 7 battle credits for actions during the conflict, as well as the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

The 13th Signal Company moved to Japan with the 1st Cavalry Division in December 1951. The Company returned to Korea having been redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Signal Battalion, with its organic elements concurrently activated. It stayed there with the 1st Cavalry Division from 1957 to 1965. While eye-to-eye with communist North Korea, the 13th Signal Battalion provided vital command and control communications as the 1st Cavalry division occupied positions along the demilitarized zone.

In July 1965, the 13th Signal Battalion left Korea for Fort Benning, Georgia, as the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) reflagged as the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The 1st Cavalry Division in Korea reflagged as the 2nd Infantry Division. The reorganized 1st Cavalry Division, including the 13th Signal Battalion, subsequently deployed South Vietnam. The 13th Signal Battalion provided essential communications during such campaigns as the Tet Counteroffensive. The 13th Signal Battalion further distinguished itself by receiving the Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1968, 1969, and 1970.

On 20 February 1975, when the 1st Cavalry Division was reorganized as an armored division, the 13th Signal Battalion relinquished its air mobile support capability and assumed the role of divisional signal battalion for that configuration. This new capability was exercised on maneuvers in West Germany during Return of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) 1979. On REFORGER 1983, 13th Signal Battalion reinforced its mission of providing fast reliable communications for the 1st Cavalry Division. In 1986, the 13th Signal Battalion participated in the highly successful Bold Eagle and Bold Shield exercises during which the Battalion set the standard for communications in support of joint readiness exercises.

In 1987, 13th Signal Battalion deployed to Germany to provide exceptional communications for the 1st Cavalry Division in support of REFORGER 1987. In October 1987, 13th Signal Battalion was chosen to test a new non-developmental procurement concept in tactical communications by field testing the new Army Communications System, Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE) during its fielding by the United States Army. This would normally have been accomplished by the contractor. In both testing and fielding, 13th Signal Battalion continued its tradition of excellence and ensured the acceptance by the Department of Defense of this state-of-the-art communications system. For its actions during the fielding and acceptance of MSE, 13th Signal Battalion was awarded 2 Superior Unit Awards.

In August 1990, the 13th Signal Battalion was once again called upon to provide communications for the 1st Cavalry Division on a foreign shore. In September 1990, the unit deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and later provided critical communications for the Division during Operation Desert Storm. The 13th Signal Battalion was the first unit in the US Army to deploy MSE into combat. Installing, operating, and maintaining communications equipment to support a vast communications network spanning over 280 kilometers, the 13th Signal Battalion again met the challenge of providing superior communications support for the 1st Cavalry Division.

In June 1992, 13th Signal Battalion soldiers continued to gain more technical knowledge of MSE through an OY 4 Retrofit. This provided the 1st Cavalry Division with packet switching capability for the first time. One short month later, 13th Signal Battalion was chosen to represent Army Corps and Division communications during the MEFEX Joint Exercise at 29 Palms, California. The Battalion established a packet switch network which interfaced with the Air Force, Navy and Marines packet switching networks.

There were several force structure changes to the Battalion from 1993 to 1995. In July 1993, the 13th Signal Battalion completed fielding a long-haul Multi-Channel Tactical Satellite platoon. The platoon provided the 1st Cavalry Division commander a capability to "reach back" from deployed locations to CONUS, while also providing a capability to integrate MSE nodes deployed throughout a theater area of operations. In October 1993, B Company, 127th Signal Battalion was inactivated at Fort Ord, California as part of the inactivation of the 7th Infantry Division (Light) and reflagged as C Company, 13th Signal Battalion. In 1994 the 13th Signal Battalion successfully executed the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation of the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS). The first EPLRS platoon in the Army was activated in 1995 joining D Company, 13th Signal Battalion. In 1996 the 1st Cavalry Division completed fielding of the initial 670 EPLRS to units throughout the Division, providing commanders and soldiers with situational awareness, position location, and a capability to exchange data messages.

The Battalion provided TACLAN service to over 200 subscribers in the 1st Cavalry Division during the March 1997 Warfighter exercise. The 13th Signal Battalion received 3 MSE software upgrades in 1996 and 1997, enabling the Battalion's MSE systems to be fully interoperable with Joint Forces, while simultaneously enhancing speed of service to voice and packet switch subscribers. The Battalion completed the EPLRS Very High Speed Integrated Circuits (VHSIC) upgrade in May 1997. Additionally, the 13th Signal Battalion fielded 137 M1097 heavy HMMWVs in 1996 and over 150 Tactical Quiet Generator Systems in 1996 and 1997. From October to December 1996, the 13th Signal Battalion was deployed in support of the 1st Cavalry Division's participation in the ATCCS test.

In 1998, the Battalion provided outstanding communications during a Warfighter exercise ramp-up. Just one month later, it was announced that the 1st Cavalry Division would succeed the 1st Armored Division as the Stabilization Force in Bosnia for a one year period beginning in September 1998. Immediately, the staff of the 13th Signal Battalion began its mission analysis and began to train for the peacekeeping mission. A Battalion Task Force of 260 personnel began Individual Readiness Training in June 1998. The next month the Task Force deployed to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana to undergo rigorous training and provide communications for the 1st Cavalry Division headquarters and the 1st Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team). In August 1998 the advanced party deployed to Bosnia, followed by the main body the following month.

On 15 July 2005, the 13th Signal Battalion was inactivated. This inactivation was part of the transformation of the 1st Cavalry Division to the US Army's modular force structure. As a part of the transformation, assets previously held at division level, but habitually assigned to brigades were made organic to those brigades. Signal elements were integrated into the special troops battalions of the modular brigade combat teams. C Company was reflagged as B Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. B Company was reflagged as B Company, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.




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