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20th Engineer Brigade
20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne)

The mission of the 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne) was to provide proactive, timely, and essential expeditionary engineer support to the XVIII Corps, the Army, and when directed, joint and special operations forces. As of 16 September 2009, the unit did not have jump status and had the "Airborne" tab deleted from its shoulder sleeve insignia.

The 20th Engineer Brigade was first organized on 31 December 1861 in the Regular Army at Washington, District of Columbia, from new and existing companies of engineers as a provisional engineer battalion. It was formally constituted on 28 July 1866 as the Battalion of Engineers.

The Battalion of Engineers was expanded between 14 March and 7 June 1901 to form the 1st Battalion of Engineers, which thereafter had a separate lineage, and the 2nd Battalion of Engineers. The 2nd Battalion of Engineers was expanded between 1 July and 1 August 1916 to form the 2nd Regiment of Engineers. The 2nd Regiment of Engineers was expanded between 21 May and 20 June 1917. This expansion included the expansion of Company C and Company D, and part of Headquarters on 21 May 1917 to form the 5th Regiment of Engineers. Companies A and B and part of Headquarters were expanded on 21 May 1917 to form the 2nd Regiment of Engineers, while Companies E and F and part of Headquarters were expanded between 4 and 20 June 1917 to form the 4th Regiment of Engineers, both of which thereafter had separate lineages.

The lineage and honors for the 5th Regiment of Engineers came from that of the unit as it had previously existed and the lineages and honors of C and D Companies, 2nd Regiment of Engineers. D Company had been first organized on 24 August 1916 in Mexico. C Company was first constituted on 3 August 1861 in the Regular Army as a company of engineers and organized in October 1861 at Boston, Massachusetts, as Company C, Corps of Engineers. C Company, Corps of Engineers was redesignated on 28 July 1866 as Company C, Battalion of Engineers, on 14 March 1901 as Company E, 2d Battalion of Engineers, and on 1 August 1916 as Company C, 2d Regiment of Engineers. The unit therefore claimed credit for participation in 10 campaigns of the American Civil War (Peninsula, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Appomattox, and Virginia 1863), one campaign in the War with Spain (Santiago), 2 campaigns during the suppression of the Philippine Insurrection (Tarlac and Mindanao), and one campaign of the expeditionary campaign in Mexico (Mexico 1916-1917).

The 5th Regiment of Engineers was redesignated on 29 August 1917 as the 5th Engineers and assigned on 6 December 1917 to the 7th Division. Subsequently deployed to Europe, the 5th Engineers participated in one campaign during World War I: Lorraine 1918. The 5th Engineers were inactivated on 27 September 1921 at Camp Humphreys, Virginia.

The 5th Engineers were relieved on 1 February 1936 from assignment to the 7th Division and activated at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The unit was redesignated on 1 August 1942 as the 5th Engineer Combat Regiment. The Regiment was broken up on 27 December 1943 and its elements reorganized and redesignated. Headquarters and Headquarters and Service Company, 5th Engineer Combat Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1128th Engineer Combat Group. 1st and 2nd Battalions, 5th Engineer Comabat Regiment were reorganized and redesignated as the 1277th and 1278th Engineer Combat Battalions, respectively, which thereafter had separate lineages. The 1128th Engineer Combat Group participated in 5 campaigns during the Second World War: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. After the end of the Second World War, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1128th Engineer Combat Group was inactivated 30 December 1946 in Germany.

The unit was redesignated on 16 August 1950 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Brigade and activated on 28 August 1950 at Camp Leonard Wood, Missouri. The Brigade deployed overseas to France in November 1952 and established headquarters in Croix Chapeau. Comprised of 2 battalions and 6 separate companies, the Brigade provided engineer construction support to the Base Section of the European COMMZ in southwestern France. In August 1954, it redeployed back to the United States and moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 10 September 1954. From that time until its inactivation on 12 December 1958, the Brigade provided engineer support to the XVIII Corps.

In response to the build up of US forces in the Republic of Vietnam, the Brigade Headquarters was reactivated on 1 May 1967 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and deployed to Vietnam in August 1967. During the Vietnam conflict, the Brigade numbered over 13,000 officers and enlisted men organized into 3 engineer groups, with 14 battalions and 31 separate companies and detachments. The Brigade provided all non-divisional engineer support in Military Regions III and IV through 11 campaigns. Units cleared more than 500,000 acres of jungle, paved 500 kilometers of highway, and constructed bridges totaling more than 6 miles in length. As US forces were withdrawing from Vietnam, the Brigade was inactivated there on 20 September 1971.

As the organization of the Army changed following Vietnam, the 20th Engineer Brigade was again reactivated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as an airborne engineer brigade on 21 June 1974. The 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne) was assigned as a subordinate command of the XVIII Corps, comprised of one airborne combat engineer battalion, a heavy construction battalion and 4 separate companies. The Brigade and its subordinate units supported the XVIII Corps, fulfilling critical combat engineer, construction, topographic, and bridging missions. As requirements and the engineer force structure changed, the Brigade inactivated the combat heavy battalion in 1987 and activated another combat airborne battalion. In 1989, the 30th Engineer Battalion (Topographic) (Airborne) was added to the Brigade.

On 2 August 1990, the Brigade was called to support the multinational response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Brigade grew to a 7,700 soldier force composed of 3 groups, 10 battalions, 4 separate companies, and 8 detachments in support of XVIII Corps during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Brigade completed 1,500 combat heavy battalions equivalent days of work constructing roads, airfields, heliports, ammunition/fuel/water storage points, life support areas and forward landing strips, distributed over 10 million maps, trained over 5,000 coalition engineers, and supported the French attack on Assalman airfield. During follow-on missions, the Brigade destroyed over 6,000 enemy bunkers and one million tons of munitions.

By 2000, the 20th Engineer Brigade's mission was to to maintain a crisis response engineer brigade capable of providing rapidly deployable engineer forces to XVIII Corps and other unified or specified commands as directed and be prepared to accomplish any engineer mission.

In November 2004, the Brigade Headquarters deployed to Camp Victory, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06. The Brigade grew to a 6,100 personnel force composed of 3 brigade headquarters, 7 battalions, 6 separate companies, and 9 detachments. The Brigade served as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) corps-level engineer headquarters for all echelon-above-division engineers in Iraq, providing command and control for general support combat and construction engineer missions across the country.

During the deployment, the 20th Engineer Brigade patrolled 57,950 kilometers of MSR Tampa for IEDs and UXOs; expanded 14 bases in support of the MNC-I basing plan; emplaced or maintained 16 bridges; expanded detention capacity for 6,000 detainees; trained over 53,000 coalition soldiers on explosives hazards awareness; reduced over 11,000 caches and over 80,000 tons of explosive munitions; and provided geospatial support with more than 20,000 map products and a nation-wide catalogued network of high-accuracy survey points.

Upon retun from Iraq, the 20th Engineer Brigade began to transform to a Future Force Engineer (FFE) functional engineer brigade, with the expectation that the transformation would be completed by 2010. This was to be coordinated with the XVIII Corps transformation and part of the transformation of the US Army as a whole to the modular force structure. The 27th and 37th Engineer Battalions were scheduled to transform to Combat Effects Battalions by 2010. The 30th Engineer Battalion was to transform several of its subordinate companies and transform the Battalion itself through 2010 to a Construction Effects Battalion. As part of the process, the Brigade could potentially command and control 2 or 3 additional engineer battalions stationed at other installations as they activated and transformed. The 20th Engineer Brigade was planning with US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) to potentially transform the Brigade and its subordinate battalions as soon as 2006-07.

In March 2006, the 20th Engineer Brigade recieved notification that it would assume administrative control and training and readiness oversight for the 19th Engineer Battalion to activate at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In October 2006, it assumed similar responsibilities for the 7th Engineer Battalion at Fort Drum, New York and the 326th Engineer Battalion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. These units remained under the operational control of the 10th and 10st Sustainment Brigades respectively.

By March 2009, the decision had been made to inactivate the 30th Engineer Battalion rather than convert it to a construction effects battalion, with the 100th Engineer Company (Topographic) (Airborne) being reassigned directly to the Brigade. The 20th Engineer Brigade also lost its airborne status during 2009, with the unit's shoulder sleeve insignia being modified effective 16 September 2009 to remove the airborne tab.

In September 2010, the 37th Engineer Battalion was inactivated and reflagged as the 307th Engineer Battalion, which remained assigned to the 20th Engineer Brigade.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:24:01 ZULU