8th Engineer Battalion
The mission of the 8th Engineer Battalion is to, on order, deploy to a specific theater of operations, integrate engineer forces, and conducts engineer operations in support of designated joint or combined operations.
The 8th Engineer Battalion was originally constituted on 1 July 1916 in the Regular Army as the 1st Battalion Mounted Engineers.
Company A was organized on 20 August 1916 at Twin Windmills, Mexico, while Headquarters and Companies B and C were organized on 21 May 1917 at Camp Stewart, Texas.
The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 29 July 1917 as the 8th Engineer Battalion (Mounted). It was assigned on 27 November 1917 to the 15th Cavalry Division.
The 8th Engineer Battalion was relieved on 12 May 1918 from assignment to the 15th Cavalry Division and was reassigned on 27 July 1921 to the 1st Cavalry Division.
The 8th Engineer Battalion (Mounted) was reorganized and redesignated on 1 June 1930 as the 8th Engineer Squadron. It was reorganized and redesignated on 15 March 1943 as the 8th Engineer Combat Squadron. The Squadron served with distinction in the Pacific Campaign participating in the capture of key islands, namely Los Negros, Leyte, and Luzon. Engineers from the 8th Engineer Battalion were some of the first US Soldiers to return to the Philippines and later were the first into Tokyo, Japan on 5 September 1945.
On 25 March 1949 the unit was redesignated as the 8th Engineer Combat Battalion. On July 18, 1950 the 8th Engineer Battalion continued its service in Korea helping to establish the Pusan Perimeter. In addition to mobility, counter-mobility and survivability projects, Engineers fought as infantry and were responsible for the holding of Hill 755. One Soldier, PFC Melvin Brown, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Hill 755's defense. After serving for 549 continuous days, the 8th Engineer Battalion was rotated out of Korea but would return again in 1952 and 1953.
On 10 March 1954 the unit was redesignated as the 8th Engineer Battalion. In 1965, the 8th Engineer Battalion served the nation in the jungles of Vietnam with the dual mission of supporting combat operations and of constructing support facilities for the Army, sister services, and allied nations. Using the new air-mobile capabilities, the 8th Engineer Battalion built signal complexes and firebases throughout the country in areas that would have previously been inaccessible. These firebases created stepping stone allowing for the initial invasion into Cambodia in May of 1970.
In August of 1990 the 8th Engineer Battalion was put on alert for operations in Southwest Asia due to impending operations in Kuwait and Iraq. By October, the 8th Engineer Battalion had been dispatched to the Arabian desert and began establishing defenses along key boarder of Kuwait and Iraq. In preparation for the ground war, the 8th Engineer Battalion was responsible for clearing paths for units from the 2nd Armored Division to begin their assault, eventually following deep into Iraq.
In April 2003 the Battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In mid-April 2004 the Battalion officially assumed responsibility from the 40th Engineer Battalion, and gathered together in the auditorium to uncase the Battalion colors. With the transfer of authority the 40th was free to depart from the Forward Operating Base in Iraq. By 18 April 2004 the last vehicles and soldiers had departed. The 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Brigade Combat Team also took over at that time. This meant that the period of transition is over, and that those units were fully in command there in Baghdad. A Company was stationed at Headhunter FOB (owned by TF 1-9) about 10 min north of the Green Zone. B Company was stationed at Falcon FOB owned by the 5th Brigade Combat Team in South West Baghdad. The HHC and C Company were stationed at Trojan Horse FOB, in the Green Zone.
One of the Battalion's biggest missions was to help the Iraqis rebuild their old and neglected infrastructure. They were responsible for 2 of the 7 Baghdad city districts, with a population of over 1 million. The focus was on basic services: sewer, water, electricity and trash. Very few of the people living in these districts enjoyed all of these on any consistent basis. Some did not have any services at all. The Battalion Construction staff, with both US soldiers and Iraqi engineers, worked hard to improve the quality of life for the people. They were fortunate to have a healthy budget to work with. Iraqi contractors did most all of the construction, which put money into the local economy and created jobs. They developed the initial project scope and specifications, took bids and then oversaw the construction.
A Company conducted security missions and infrastructure assessment and repair for the area just north of the Green Zone. They lived with Task Force 1-9 at FOB Headhunter. B Company remained with the 5th Brigade Combat Team at Camp Falcon, supporting their maneuver battalions with combat engineer support. They were also assisted with infrastructure assessment and repairs for the entire Brigade area and their FOB. C Company was with the BN (-) and to provided escort to EOD personnel with 1st Platoon deployed guarding a prison compound. C Company lived in Trojan FOB. They started a very important mission for the Division. They were in charge of clearing a former Iraqi Army ammunition supply point and have infantry and EOD forces under their control to accomplish this mission. Headquarters and Headquarters Company stayed very busy supporting and coordinating all of the missions and working to improve the living conditions on the FOB.
By June 2004 Trojan Horse soldiers were performing many varied types of missions in support of 1st Cavalry Division. From patrols, to fixed-point security, to escort missions for EOD teams, to improving force protection, to guarding high profile prisoners, sappers continued to do great things and make a big contribution to the mission in Baghdad. The top priority and most important mission, however, was working to help rebuild the crumbled Iraqi infrastructure. Each day, many soldiers helped to make a difference in the lives of Iraqi citizens. The mission continued to focus on the essential services: sewer, water, electricity and trash collection.
By July 2004 the Battalion had coordinated and overseen numerous troop construction missions that increased the safety of Greywolf soldiers working in and around their Area of Responsibility, including 195 HESCO bastions and over 400 T-wall barriers. By August 2004, about a third of the 8th Engineer Battalion's soldiers had traveled home for a well-deserved break. All of the companies were using a lottery system to determine the order for leave. Of course, soldiers whose wives have given birth were given special consideration. In addition to R&R many soldiers were able to attend in country R&R programs such as Freedom Rest and Qatar.
As part of the 1st Cavalry Division's transformation towards the US Army's new modular force structure, the 8th Engineer Battalion was inactivated at Fort Hood on 24 May 2005. Engineer assets under the modular force structure were integrated at brigade and division level in Special Troop Battalions.
The 8th Engineer Battalion was reactivated on 16 August 2007 and reorganized as a modular formation within the 36th Engineer Brigade on 16 October 2007.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|