Military


478th Civil Affairs Battalion

The 478th Civil Affairs Battalion has a long and distinguished history of service in many areas throughout the world. Initially constituted in August 1945 as the 78th Military Government, Headquarters and Headquarters Company in California, the unit was inactivated in Japan in 1946.

The unit was reactivated as the 478th Civil Affairs and Military Government Company in 1955 in Miami, before becoming the 478th Civil Affairs Company. Members of the 478th Civil Affairs Company participated in Operation Just Cause in 1989 and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-1991. The following year, the unit provided humanitarian assistance activities in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. Also in 1992, the unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion (Foreign Internal Defense/Unconventional Warfare), with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated.

The distinctive unit insignia for the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion was approved on 26 January 1993. The colors purple and white were traditionally associated with Civil Affairs units. The sword and scroll were derived from the Civil Affairs insignia of branch and represent the military and civil functions of the unit. The interlocked sections of the pale potenty symbolized the process of transition and transfer of functions and the mission of the Battalion. Red stood for courage and resolution.

The coat of arms was a;sp approved on 26 January 1993. The colors purple and white were traditionally associated with Civil Affairs units. The sword and scroll were derived from the Civil Affairs insignia of branch and represent the military and civil functions of the unit. The interlocked sections of the pale potenty symbolized the process of transition and transfer of functions and the mission of the Battalion. Red stood for courage and resolution.

478th Civil Affairs Battalion personnel assisted in relief efforts in Central America following Hurricane Mitch in 1993. The unit also deployed soldiers to Bosnia and throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.

The 478th Civil Affairs Battalion was made up of highly trained Special Operations soldiers who were ready to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice in support of a variety of operations. The unit provided civil affairs support in the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of operations, where the Battalion participated in numerous medical and humanitarian missions. The unit was comprised of Spanish speakers and who are culturally oriented for SOUTHCOM missions.

After the events of 11 September 2001, members of the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in the Horn of Africa, where they conducted civil-military operations in concert with the local populace and international organizations working to enhance long-term stability of those regions.

In 2003, the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion was deployed to Djibouti in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). The Civic Action Team from C Company, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion, along with US Air Force and US Navy medical personnel was able to treat more than 390 patients at Damerjog, Djibouti on 5 July 2003. A Civil Affairs team traveled to the north of Djibouti on 7 July 2003 to assess the humanitarian needs of the residents and identified several potential project sites, such as the school in Obock and the Hospital in Tadjoura.

Also during the deployment, a Civil Affairs team from the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion deployed to Hurso, Ethiopia to conduct Civil Military Operations in the eastern portion of Ethiopia. The team completed numerous assessments including a water distribution facility, civilian supply sources, schools and clinics in the Dire Dawa and Hurso area. On 7 July 2003, the team conducted an assessment of the Dil Chora Hospital in Hurso, Ethiopia.

C Company, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion also conducted off-road ATV Training on 14 July 2003. The Civic Action Team from C Company, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion, along with US Air Force, US Navy, Djiboutian, French, and German Military medical personnel were able to treat 150 patients at As Ela, Djibouti on 19 July 2003.

By 2004, the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion was operating with the 1st Cavalry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well supporting missions in Haiti, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and in the SOUTHCOM area of operations. Boots on the ground for the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion out of Perrine, Florida on Iraqi soil was 2 February 2004. However, preparations for serving in Iraq began back in January 2003, when selected members of the Battalion were sent to Taszar, Hungary to serve as civil affairs instructors for the Free Iraqi Force composed of Iraqis living outside of their homeland. The Free Iraqi Force deployed with American troops into Iraq on day one of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant First Class David Garcia of Miami, Florida was one of the Free Iraqi Force instructors chosen for the mission. He was voted by the Free Iraqi Force members as the outstanding civil affairs instructor.

On 1 December 2003, the 478th Civial Affairs Battalion was ordered into active military service for support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 3 December 2003, the Battalion flew to Fort Hood, Texas to conduct further force protection training. This training included live firing during convoy operations and room clearing exercises. On 3 January 2004, Fort Bragg, North Carolina became the final training and testing ground for the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion before actual deployment. The unit was tested on a wide range of combat related skills and certified by Fort Bragg as having the required combat skills for deployment.




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