555th Engineer Brigade
555th Combat Support Brigade (Maneuver Enchancement)
555th Engineer Group (Combat)
The mission of the 555th Engineer Brigade is to command, control, and resource assigned, attached, administrative control, administrative control (-), and Training and Readiness Authority (TRA) forces allowing them to accomplish their mission. It would, on order, deploy to command and control full spectrum operations in support of Army, Joint, or Combined Joint Task Forces. Its mission essential task list includes: Conduct command and control. protect the force, provide sustainment, conduct combat engineering operations, integrate/synchronize geospatial engineering capabilities, and conduct general engineering operations.
The 555th Engineer Brigade was first constitutedpm 1 February 1943 in the Army of the United States as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1103rd Engineer Combat Group. The unit was activated on 25 February 1943 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. While assigned to the First Army, the 1103rd Engineer Combat Group crossed the English Channel during the period of 20 to 22 June 1944. The Group earned its first of 5 campaign streamers during the Normandy Invasion, clearing and maintaining supply routes at Omaha and Utah Beaches. After a successful landing, the unit executed mine clearing, road building and road maintenance operations.
In August 1944, the 1103rd Engineer Combat Group was transferred to General George S. Patton's Third Army. Initial missions involved work in the rear areas and later the protection of captured bridges on the Loire River. As operations continued eastward, engineers of the 1103d were called upon to provide bridging for assault forces crossing many of the major river obstacles. The unit also provided the breaches in the massive and many cubicled Metz forts to enable reduction of severe enemy resistance there. During these engagements, the Group earned 2 additional campaign streamers for the Northern France and Ardennes-Alsace Campaigns.
In late February 1945, the 1103rd Engineer Combat Group was called to support the Ninth Army in the Ruhr Cleanup. There, they earned a fourth streamer in support of the Central European Campaign. The unit then proceeded to the Rhineland with XVI Corps. They remained with XVI Corps for the remainder of the war, earning a fifth streamer in support of the Rhineland Campaign. At the end of the Second World War, the 1103rd Engineer Combat Group was inactivated on 8 May 1946 in Germany.
The 1103rd Engineer Combat Group was reactivated on 20 January 1947 in Germany. On 5 March 1947, the Group was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 555th Composite Service Group. Two years later, on 7 March 1949, it was redesignated and reorganized as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Combat Group. The Group was allotted 16 February 1951 to the Regular Army. On 1 April, 1953, the 555th Engineer Combat Group was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Group.
Between 1947 and 1969, the unit served at Russelheim, Kaufbeuren, Ettlingen, and Karlsruhe, Germany as it contributed to the defense of western Europe during the Cold War. While in Europe, the Group was responsible for providing engineer support to Seventh Army, including obstacle construction, route maintenance, and tactical bridging. In addition, they were responsible for operating and maintaining several critical military bridges across the Rhine. The 555th Engineer Group was inactivated on 25 June 1969 in Germany. Personnel and equipment from the Group combined with those of the 540th Engineer Group to form the 7th Engineer Brigade, VII Corps.
Personnel and equipment from the 7th Engineer Brigade redeployed from Germany to provide the foundation for the reactivation of the 555th Engineer Group at Fort Lewis, Washington. The Group began forming in August 1991 with a nucleus of soldiers from the inactivation of the 15th Engineer Battalion (Combat), 9th Infantry Division (Motorized), and PCSing soldiers assigned to fill the Group Headquarters. The arrival of the 7th Engineer Brigade soldiers and equipment in October and December 1991 completed the Group organization. The 864th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy) and the 73rd Engineer Company (Assault Ribbon Bridge) were the first units assigned to the Group on 16 November 1991. The 87th Engineer Detachment (Firefighter) was assigned on 16 January 1992 and the 54th Engineer Detachment (Topographic) was assigned on 16 January, 1992.
The 555th Engineer Group (Combat) was formally activated on 18 January 1992 at Fort Lewis, Washington. Its mission was to, on order, deploy worldwide to provide command and control and engineer support for Army and Joint/Combined combat operations. On 16 October 1993, the Group was assigned the 14th Engineer Battalion (Combat), which moved from Fort Ord California due to the closure of that installation. The 14th Engineer Battalion combined members of its organization with the inactivating 13th Engineer Battalion. They were the only wheeled combat engineer battalion on the active duty roles.
The unit conducted rigorous training at Fort Lewis, Washington during the decade following its activation. Other notable missions included short-notice deployments to Yakima and Idaho to fight fires, training at the Joint Readiness Training Center and National Training Center, and support to training evaluations of Army reserve units.
Units of the Group also deployed numerous times in support of construction missions throughout this period. The missions included deployments to Thailand (Exercise Cobra Gold), Texas (Joint Task Force 6), Haiti, and Alaska. The 555th Engineer Group also participated in numerous construction projects in and around Fort Lewis, Washington. These projects included road repair and upgrades, culvert installation, and construction of bridges and demolition of bunkers.
In January 2003, the 555th Engineer Group received orders to deploy with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) as a member of Task Force Ironhorse to the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility. From April 2003 to March 2004, the Group deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase I (Liberation of Iraq) and Phase II (Transition of Iraq). Moving into Iraq in late April 2003, the Group established its Headquarters at Forward Operating Base Speicher, in Tikrit, Iraq. Attached units included the 5th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Corps) (Mechanized), the 14th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Corps) (Wheeled), the 223rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy), the 565th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Provisional), the 229th Engineer Company (Construction Support Equipment), the 285th Engineer Company (Construction Support Equipment), and the 463rd Engineer Detachment (Firefighter). During its tour, the Group provided assured mobility, force protection and sustainment engineer operations to all brigades in Task Force Ironhorse.
Upon returning from deployment, the 555th Engineer Group was provisionally redesignated by US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) as the 555th Combat Support Brigade (Maneuver Enhancement) at Fort Lewis, Washington on 4 October 2004. From October 2005 through September 2006, the Brigade deployed again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase III (Iraqi Governance) and Phase IV (National Resolution).
As the Divisional Engineer Brigade attached to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Multinational Division North (MND-N), the unit was headquartered at Tikrit, Iraq. The MND-N area of operation included most of northern Iraq from just north of Taji to the Turkish Border. The major units attached to the Brigade during this deployment were the 14th Engineer Battalion (Combat) and the 505th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy) of the North Carolina Army National Guard. The 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE (USAF) was under the Brigade's Tactical Control. The principal missions of the Brigade were construction, assured mobility (route clearance), coalition munitions clearance, and Iraqi Army Engineer partnership.
Nine months after returning from its second tour in Iraq, on 16 June 2007, the 555th Combat Support Brigade was formally reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade at Fort Lewis, Washington. It gained administrative control and training and readiness authority for a number of FORSCOM units located at Fort Lewis, within I Corps, and at other installations in the region.
From September 2008 through September 2009, the 555th Engineer Brigade deployed for its third tour to Iraq. They participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase V (Iraqi Surge) and Phase VI (Iraqi Sovereignty) as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq Theater Engineer Brigade. Operating out of Joint Base Balad, the Brigade initially supported the XVIII Airborne Corps, and later I Corps.
The Brigade orchestrated full spectrum engineer operations for over 3,000 Army, Air Force and Navy Engineers. In partnership with Iraqi Army Engineers, the unit maintained assured mobility, conducted tactical construction, increased Iraqi Army capabilities, and enhanced civil capacity development in support of coalition forces and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Three multifunctional Army engineer battalions, the 5th, 14th, and 54th Engineer Battalions, the 557th RED HORSE, and numerous Air Force and Navy Engineer Detachments rounded out the Brigade.
In September 2009, the 555th Engineer Brigade returned to Fort Lewis (subsequently renamed Joint Base Lewis-McChord) to reset and prepare for future operations in support of the Global War on Terror (subsequently referred to as Overseas Contingency Operations).
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