62nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy)
The 62nd Engineer Battalion's origin is Fort Devens, Massachusetts, where it was activated on 21 October 1939, as the 2nd Battalion, 18th Engineers. In February 1942, the Battalion was the first unit assigned to a task force being organized to construct the Alcan Highway, a vitally needed overland supply route. This highway acted as the lifeline for American forces in Alaska during World War II. In conjunction with the 97th Engineer Battalion, the 2nd Battalion, 18th Engineers constructed 1,450 miles of a 32 foot wide roadway from April to November 1942 through some of the most forbidding terrain in North America. The Battalion was awarded its first Meritorious Unit Commendation for its efforts constructing the Alcan Highway. In August of 1942, the unit was redesignated as the 2nd Battalion, 18th Engineer Combat Regiment. During the winter of that same year, the Battalion was deployed to the Aleutian Island of Adak to build a supply base and staging area capable of equipping an expeditionary force of 50,000 men.
In May of 1943, the Battalion was moved to Shemya Island in the Aleutian chain to construct an airstrip capable of launching fighter aircraft. The Battalion was later called upon to lengthen a runway for bomber operations against the Japanese assault on the Aleutian Island. The Battalion received an Aleutian Island Campaign streamer for its efforts.
On 30 November 1944, the Battalion was sent to Camp Bowie, Texas. On 8 January 1945, the 2nd Battalion was reorganized as the 410th Engineer Combat Battalion. Following the completion of reorganization, the 410th Engineer Battalion moved to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where the Battalion was placed in support of the US Army Engineer School. On 22 April 1949, the 410th was redesignated the 62nd Engineer Construction Battalion. Sixteen months later, the 62nd Engineer Battalion left Fort Belvoir for Korea.
The 62nd landed at Ichon, Korea on 25 September 1950, 10 days after the initial United Nations invasion force caught the North Koreans by surprise and turned the tide of the Korean war. Nine campaign streamers and 2 Meritorious Unit Commendations were awarded to the Battalion, which completed many major battalion and company sized construction projects enhancing the offensive drive into and the withdrawal from North Korea.
On 1 April 1954 the unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 62d Engineer Battalion. The Battalion left Korea for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in January 1955 and was called upon to assist in converting the installation into a permanent post. During the 11 years following Korea, the Battalion remained at Fort Leonard Wood until hostilities erupted in southeast Asia.
In August 1965, the 62nd Engineer Battalion deployed to Vietnam. Its first mission was to construct a 10,000 foot airstrip and cantonment at Phan Rang. In 1966, the Battalion moved to Long Binh where it spent 2 years constructing and repairing roads and logistical facilities.
In January 1969, the 62nd Engineer Battalion was chosen to become one of the most unique Engineer Battalions in the Army. Although it was never officially redesignated, the unit was known throughout Vietnam as the 62nd Engineer Battalion (Land Clearing). Its new mission was to clear away jungle cover used so effectively by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. In order to accomplish the mission, each company was equipped with bulldozers with specially designed blades manufactured in Rome, Georgia and heavy duty protective cages. During the period July 1969 through October 1970, the Battalion's D7 "Rome Plows" cleared 240,000 acres of jungle in south Vietnam while supporting the II Field Force.
While in Vietnam, the 62nd Engineer Battalion took part in 14 campaigns. During this time, the Battalion was awarded its fourth, fifth, and sixth Meritorious Unit Citations and the Vietnamese Civic Action Medal.
The 62nd Engineer Battalion departed Vietnam for Fort Hood, Texas in October 1971 and was assigned to the 13th Support Command. In June 1976 the Battalion was redesigned as the 62nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy). The Battalion deployed on 28 and 31 October 1990 to Saudi Arabia to support XVIII Airborne Corps and ARCENT in defensive operations. On January 1991, the start of Operation Desert Storm, the Battalion was actively constructing over 200 miles of Main Supply Routes and the largest logistics base used for offensive operations. On 25 February 1991, the battalion crossed into Iraq close on the heels of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division.
The Battalion returned to Fort Hood on 15 April 1991 and was awarded 2 Southwest Asia Campaign streamers; the Defense of Saudi Arabia and the Liberation and Defense of Kuwait streamer, making a total of 38 streamers on the battalion colors. For it's efforts in the Middle East, the Battalion was awarded it's seventh Meritorious Unit Citation.
After its arrival on Fort Hood, the 62nd Engineer Battalion provided extensive support to III Corps and Fort Hood. The Battalion's annual construction budget of approximately $1,000,000 provides for numerous challenging construction projects.
The Battalion deployed soldiers to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for JTF-160, Arizona for JTF-6, and Bosnia for Operation Joint Endeavor. On post construction operations included a multi-million dollar range upgrade at Clabber Creek, construction of 6 metal warehouses, extensive tank trail upgrades, HAZMAT and AAR buildings, improvement of BLORA recreational facilities, Phantom Range upgrades and Venable Village Community building construction.
Additionally, the Battalion had been fully engaged in the training events of range weeks, numerous NTC rotations, ARTEPS, squad stakes, and spearheading the Motorpool Pride project for Fort Hood.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|