337th Engineer Battalion
In 2004, B Company, 337 Engineer Battalion was redesignated as the 856 Engineer Company. In this capacity, the Company serves as the Combat Engineer asset to the 56 SBCT.
The insignia was authorized on 19 December 1997, consisting of a shield blazoned: Gules, within an annulet of six mullets Argent, a keystone Azure fimbriated of the second and charged with a broadarrow point to chief of the like. Attached below the shield is a blue scroll inscribed "KEYSTONE ENGINEERS" in white. Scarlet and white (silver) are the colors traditionally used by Engineer units. The six stars, symbolizing achievement, represent the unit's participation in six wars, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the War with Spain, World War I and World War II. The keystone alludes to the state of Pennsylvania, the present home station of the organization. The arrowhead represents the battalion's assault landing at Naples-Foggia during World War II.
One of Pennsylvania's more historic units and one which has managed to retain a clear lineage trace is Company C, 337th Engineer Battalion. Its origins can be traced to a company organized in York by Captain Michael Doudels in 1775. This company was an element in Thompson's Rifle Battalion, one of the most famous of the Commonwealth's early units.
Doudels' company was employed early in the Revolutionary War, participating in the siege of Boston and serving as a part of the 2nd Continental Regiment, the 1st Continental Regiment and the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment. During the American Revolution the company received campaign recognition for numerous engagements, including Trenton-Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, the siege of Boston, the defense of Philadelphia and several actions in New Jersey.
The company became a part of the postwar Pennsylvania militia and was one of the Pennsylvania units that answered President Washington's call for militia to suppress the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. The York Rifles would also briefly play a role in the War of 1812. With British troops and ships threatening Baltimore, the York Rifles were called out in September 1814 to assist with the defense of that city.
Throughout the period that stretched from the end of the War of 1812 to the beginning of the Civil War, the York Rifles, like most units, went through several reorganizations, always maintaining a York identity in name and in geographical location. In the Civil War, however, the York unit served first as Company K, 2nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and later as Company K, 87th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
In the course of the Civil War this company participated in some of that war's most bitter campaigns, including Cold Harbor, Spotsylvania, the Wilderness and Petersburg. Following the end of the war, this unit, deservedly proud of its wartime service, took the name York Zouaves.
The York unit served in the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century (as Company A, 8th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry) and in the punitive expedition against Mexico in 1919. In World Wars I and II it served as a part of the 28th Infantry Division.
In the First World War, as Company A, 112th Infantry, the unit received credit for six campaigns, including the fierce action in the Meuse-Argonne Forest in 1918. Its record in World War II is equally proud; the York Rifles' lineal descendant, the 28th Quartermaster Company, received a total of five campaign credits, including service during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.
In some respects, what is most distinctive about the York Rifles is that they can claim credit for being a part of both the first and the last major U.S. military contingencies. They were organized in 1775 for the early stages of the American Revolution and participated in America's first battles. And just ten years ago, when National Guard elements were mobilized for Operation Desert Shield, the York unit was called up as Detachment 1, 131st Transportation Company. Its lineage now shows campaign credit for the Defense of Saudi Arabia and the Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.
The York unit remains one of Pennsylvania's most historic units and one which has served in the vast majority of the nation's wars. Members of what is today known as Company C, 337th Engineer Battalion can be deservedly proud of their unit and its distinguished lineage.
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