82nd Engineer Battalion
In March 2006, the 82nd Engineer Battalion was inactivated as part of the transformation of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) to the US Army's new modular force structure. The 82nd Engineer Battalion was reflagged at the time as the Special Troops Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate).
The mission of the 82nd Engineer Battalion was to deploy to designated contingency areas and conduct combat and/or stability operations in support of a brigade combat team. The 82nd Engineer Battalion was habitually assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) stationed in Vilseck, Germany.
The Battalion's parent unit was first constituted in the Regular Army on 15 July 1940 as the 39th Engineers (General Service). The Battalion activated at Camp Bowie, Texas on 25 April 1942 as the 1st Battalion, 39th Engineer Combat Regiment. The entire regiment then departed the United States for North Africa.
The Regiment trained until July 1943 when it received its baptism under fire on the beaches of Sicily. The 1st Battalion landed at Gela, Sicily in the early hours of 10 July 1943 with the 1st Infantry Division in the first assault wave. Under the command of LTC William O. Darby and his 1st and 4th Ranger Battalions, designated Task Force X, the Battalion fought as infantry, cleared obstacles and minefields and performed road maintenance. On 15 September 1943, the Battalion landed at Paestun, Italy. From September 1943 through the spring of 1944, the Battalion was again reorganized as infantry in the vicinity of Sasseno, Italy. On 1 February 1945, the Battalion was redesignated as the 404th Engineer Combat Battalion, and in April 1945 supported operations in Sicily and Italy.
The Battalion earned 6 campaign streamers, and the meritorious unit citation for its operations in Sicily and Italy. With the end of combat operations in Italy, the Battalion inactivated on 13 October 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. On 30 January 1947, the Battalion was redesignated the 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion, then subsequently redesignated the 82nd Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Army) on 23 November 1954. On 17 January 1955, the Battalion activated at Fort Leonard Wood and deployed to West Germany in October 1961 as part of the Berlin build up.
The Battalion was assigned to the 7th Engineer Brigade in support of VII (US) Corps. In May 1985, the 535th Engineer Company (Combat Support Equipment), Grafenwoehr was attached to the Battalion, giving it a personal strength of over 900 men. On 16 January 1986, the Battalion became the first corps combat engineer battalion in the VII Corps and only the second in the United States to mechanize. The "Blue Babe" Battalion habitually supported the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in its border mission in the defense of Western Europe.
In 1990, the 82nd heard the call to arms once again. On 9 November 1990, the Battalion was alerted to deploy to Southwest Asia to defend the country of Saudi Arabia against the aggression of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Flying from 3 different airbases in Germany on 5 different days, the Battalion arrived in Southwest Asia on 2 December 1990. In Saudi Arabia, the "Blue Babe" continued its close association with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Battalion, combined with the 84th Engineer Company, formed the over 900 man Dragoon Engineer Group, which spearheaded the 2nd ACR's attack into Iraq with a deliberate breach at the border defenses. The Battalion earned 3 campaign streamers and the Valorous Unit Award during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
On 28 April 1991, the Battalion returned to its home in Bamberg, Germany. On 15 June 1991, the Battalion was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division and on 16 February 1992, the Battalion was reorganized as a Divisional Combat Engineer Battalion. In February of 1996, the 3rd Infantry Division reflagged as the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized).
In March 1997, the Battalion deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as a part of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) during peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. For the Battalion's operations during Operation Joint Guard, it was awarded one campaign streamer, and the Army Superior Unit Award. The "Blue Babe" Battalion redeployed to its home in Bamberg, Germany in October 1997. In December 1999, the Battalion was once again called into the Balkans with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Joint Guardian. The Battalion served in Kosovo for six months and redeployed to Bamberg in June 2000 where it continued to support the 3rd Brigade.
In 2004 the Battalion deployed to Iraq with other elements of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the Division's 3rd Brigade, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It remained in country until redeploying to Germany in 2005. In March 2006 the 82nd Engineer Battalion was inactivated as part of the transformation of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) to the US Army's new modular force structure. Its personnel were reflagged as the Special Troops Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate).
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