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223rd Engineer Combat Battalion

The 223rd Engineer Battalion, with units in West Point, Aberdeen, Bruce, Clarksdale, Calhoun City, Charleston and Webb, is an engineering battalion with a troop strength of 668.

Task Force Esteli was part of Operation New Horizons which has been conducted for approximately ten years in various Central American countries. During the summer of 1999, various Army National Guard and Army Reserve Units were tasked to assist rebuilding efforts in certain Central American countries following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch. Majority of troops participating belong to the reserve components. These soldiers were tasked in providing humanitarian assistance which involved medical, engineering, and other types of support. Task Force Esteli was commanded by the 216th Engineers out of Ohio. The 223rd Engineer Battalion of the Mississippi National Guard provided the bulk of the engineers. Additional troops were deployed from other reserve units, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force. The mission of task force to build three schools, three medical clinics, and four latrines at three sites: Casa Blanca, Santa Teresa, and Platanares.

A score of olive drab bulldozers, graders and other heavy earthmoving machines were rumbling 13 hours a day as Mississippi National Guard engineers turned a stretch of hilly university terrain into a new campus entrance road. More than 50 members of Company C of the 223rd Engineer Combat Battalion spent their annual two-week summer training exercise building the roadbed base for what became a three-quarter mile main approach to the central campus. Earthmoving and maintenance platoons, along with a detachment from the headquarters platoon, represented about half of the Charleston-based company. They began working at the university on 13 June 1998. The company included men and women primarily from the area around Charleston, including the towns of Drew, Grenada, Water Valley, and Batesville. A few also come from West Point, home of the 223rd Battalion headquarters.

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