4th Engineer Battalion
The 4th Engineer Battalion, "Vanguard," was originally organized on 31 December, 1861 in the Regular Army at Washington, Distric of Columbia, from new and existing companies of engineers as a provisional engineer battalion. During the American Civil War it saw action in numerous campaigns including: Peninsula, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, Virginia 1863, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Appomattox. The unit was only formally constituted on 28 July 1866 as the Battalion of Engineers.
The Battalion was expanded between 14 March and 7 June 1901 to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions of Engineers, with the 1st Battalion of Engineers thereafter having a separate lineage. The 2nd Battalion of Engineers subsequently went on to fight in the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurrection.
The 2nd Battalion of Engineers was expanded, reorganized, and redesignated between 1 July and 1 August 1916 as the 2nd Regiment of Engineers. The 2nd Regiment of Engineers was expanded between 21 May and 20 June 1917 to form the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Regiments of Engineers, with 2nd and 5th Regiments of Engineers thereafter having separate lineages. The 4th Regiment of Engineers was redesignated on 29 August, 1917 as the 4th Engineers, and assigned on 1 January 1918, to the 4th Division. The 4th Engineer saw action during WWI in the following campaigns: Aisne Marne, Champagne 1918, Lorraine 1918, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. The unit was inactivated on 21 September 1921, at Camp Lewis, Washington.
Company A was separately activated on 24 July 1922, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 4th Engineers was relieved on 15 August 1927, from its assignment to the 4th Division and assigned to the 6th Division. Company A was inactivated on 30 September 1929. The 4th Engineers was relieved on 1 October 1933 from assignment to the 6th Division and assigned to the 4th Division (later redesignated as the 4th Infantry Division). Company A was concurrently activated at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 4th Engineers was redesignated on 19 October 1939 as the 4th Engineer Battalion (Combat). It reactivated (less Company A) on 1 June 1940, at Fort Benning, Georgia.
On 19 September 1942, the Battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 4th Engineer Motorized Battalion. On 1 August 1943, the Battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 4th Engineer Combat Battalion in order to serve in World War II. During the Second World War, the 4th Engineer Combat Battalion saw action during the following campaigns: Normandy (with Arrowhead), Northern France, Rhineland, Ardnnes-Alsace, and Central Europe. After the end of the Second World War, the Battalion was inactivated on 19 February 1946, at Camp Butner, North Carolina.
The Battalion was reactivated on 6 July 1948, at Fort Ord, California and was redesignated on 5 June 1953 as the 4th Engineer Battalion. It was under this organization that the unit fought in the Republic of Vietnam. In July 1966, elements of the 4th Engineer Battalion were the first units of the 4th Infantry Division to arrive in Pleiku. Their mission was first to prepare for the arrival of the rest of the Division. This earned the 4th Engineers their nickname, "Vanguard of the Fourth." During the conflict in Vietnam, the Battalion participated in the following campaigns: Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter Spring 1970, Santuary Counteroffensive, and Counteroffensive Phase VII.
After service in Vietnam, the Battalion colors were moved to Fort Carson, Colorado in December 1970, continuing to be part of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). There the Battalion's mission eventually became to deploy to execute combat engineer operations with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (not to be confused with the modular brigade combat team), 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). The 4th Engineer Battalion was a mechanized, combat engineer unit tasked primarily to provide mobility, countermobility, survivability, and topographic support to the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized).
Mobility support involved breaching, marking, and proofing both natural and man-made obstacles encountered on the battlefield, and was typically associated with offensive operations. Countermobility support required combat engineers to emplace man-made obstacles or augment natural obstacles, and was usually performed during defensive operations. Combat engineers provided survivability support by constructing fighting positions for dismounted and mechanized forces, and also performed this mission predominately during defensive operations. The engineers were recognized as the topographic experts of the combined arms team, and therefore provided the terrain analysis and topographic products required by the commander during his decision making process. The secondary mission of the combat engineers was to fight as infantry.
The Battalion was inactivated on 15 December 2004, as part of the Army's transition to modular divisions. As part of the modular transformation, assets previously held at division level, but habitually attached to a division's brigades during operations were made organic to those brigades. Elements of the 4th Engineer Battalion were used to constitute the newly established Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Engineer Battalion was reactivated on 18 October 2006 at Fort Carson, Colorado. A Support Company was concurrently constituted and activated. The Battalion was assigned the 62nd Engineer Company (Sapper) and the 569th and 576th Engineer Companies (Mobility Augmentation). The Battalion was also subsequently assigned to the 555th Engineer Brigade, I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
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