983rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy)
The mission of the 983rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy) is to accomplish area wartime construction management in support of U.S. forces within the area of operation, the rear combat zone, and to construct, repair and maintain main supply routes, landing strips, structures and utilities. The mission of the 983th Engineer Battalion (CBT)(HVY) is to increase the combat effectiveness of division, corps and theater army forces by accomplishing general engineering tasks and limited mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks; and to perform rear area security operations when required.
The 983rd Engineer Battalion, originally the 243rd Engineer Combat Battalion, was first activated on October 15th, 1943 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. During World War II the 243rd participated in the Rhineland, Alsace-Ardennes, and Central Europe campaigns in the European Theater of Operations. The 243rd was inactivated on February 27, 1946 at Camp Kulmer, New Jersey. The unit was redesignated the 983rd Engineer Combat Battalion on November 1, 1948, with its headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. In 1950 the Battalion Headquarters was moved to Belaire, Ohio, and the unit was redesignated the 983rd Engineer Construction Battalion.
During the Korean War the 983rd was designated a Selected Reserve Force for about 18 months, and given priority in receiving personnel and equipment. The battalion was activated during the Berlin Crisis, and soldiers from the battalion served at Army installations throughout the continental United States during the crisis.
The Battalion Headquarters was moved to the University of Toledo in 1966. In 1976 the battalion was redesignated the 983rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy), and maintains this designation to this day. The Battalion Headquarters was moved to an area near the Toledo Airport in 1996, and occupied a new U.S. Army Reserve Center built specifically for the battalion.
The mission of the 983rd is to maintain combat readiness and proficiency in the engineering skills necessary for the support of combat operations. At full strength the battalion consists of approximately 550 men and women, and has company headquarters in Bryan, Lima, and Monclova (Toledo), Ohio.
The men and women of the 983rd have used the battalion's heavy construction equipment many times for the benefit of the local Ohio communities in which they serve. These community construction projects include:
- Extensive work along the Maumee River for the City of Rossford
- Work on the Rossford landfill
- Construction of Boy Scout facilities at Pioneer Boy Scout Reservation
- Construction of the Chapel of Hope at the Maumee Valley Youth Camp
- Removal of trees from the flight path at Toledo Express Airport
- Rescue and clearing operations during the blizzard of 1978
- Work at the Fulton County Fairgrounds, Fulton County Airfield
- Engineer Utilities work at Camp Perry.
The soldiers of the 983rd have also deployed to Guatemala to complete construction projects for use by local nationals. In early 1998 the battalion deployed more than 200 men and women to El Salvador to build a school, clinic, and road in an outlying province. Approximately 400 soldiers from the 983rd Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve in Ohio, and the 2-149th Aviation Battalion, Texas Army National Guard, participating in Exercise NEW HORIZONS 98 EL SALVADOR. This operation is an engineer readiness training exercise designed to enhance participating U.S. Army Reserve units' mission essential task list skills while contributing to the improvement of the El Salvadoran infrastructure. Soldiers are constructing clinics, schools, wells and roads throughout the country.
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