20th Engineer Brigade

The mission of the 20th Engineer Brigade is to maintain a crisis response engineer brigade capable of providing rapidly deployable engineer forces to xviii airborne corps and other unified or specified commands as directed; prepared to accomplish any engineer mission.

The lineage and honors of the 20th Engineer Brigade date back to the Civil War. First designated as the Battalion of Engineers on August 3, 1861, the battalion participated in 10 campaigns during the Civil War. Since that time, unit designations have changed many times as predecessors of the 20th Engineer Brigade have served in the War With Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican Expedition and World Wars I and II.

On August 16, 1950 the Brigade was first designated as the 20th Engineer Brigade and activated at Camp Leonard Wood, MO. It deployed overseas to France in November 1952 and established headquarters in Croix Chapeau. Comprised of two battalions and six separate companies, the Brigade provided engineer construction support to the Base Section of the European COMMZ in southwestern France. In August 1954, it redeployed back to the United States and was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on September 10, 1954. From that time until its inactivation on December 12, 1958, the Brigade provided engineer support to the XVIII Airborne Corps.

In response to the build up of U.S. forces in the Republic of Vietnam, the Brigade Headquarters was reactivated May 1, 1967, at Fort Bragg, NC, and deployed to Vietnam in August 1967. During the Vietnam conflict, the Brigade numbered over 13,000 officers and enlisted men organized into three engineer groups, with 14 battalions and 31 separate companies and detachments. The Brigade provided all non-divisional engineer support in Military Regions III and IV during eleven campaigns. Units cleared more than one-half million acres of jungle, paved 500 kilometers of highway, and constructed bridges totaling more than six miles in length. As US forces were withdrawing from Vietnam, the Brigade was inactivated September 20, 1971.

As the organization of the Army changed following Vietnam, the 20th Engineer Brigade was again reactivated at Fort Bragg, NC, as an airborne brigade on June 21, 1974. Assigned as a subordinate command of the XVIII Airborne Corps, comprised of one airborne combat engineer battalion, a heavy construction battalion and four separate companies. Since that time the Brigade and its subordinate units have supported the XVIII Airborne Corps, fulfilling critical combat engineer, construction, topographic, and bridging missions. As requirements and the engineer force structure changed, the Brigade inactivated the combat heavy battalion in 1987 and activated another combat airborne battalion. In 1989, the 30th Engineer Battalion (Topographic) was added to the Brigade.

Throughout the years, the Brigade has provided engineer support to XVIII Airborne Corps and other Army commands. In addition to training, it has deployed in support of operations across the entire spectrum of conflict from disaster relief to combat operations. Most recently, the brigade was called to support the multinational response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The Brigade grew to a 7,700 soldier force composed of three groups, ten battalions, four separate companies, and eight detachments in support of XVIII Airborne Corps during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. The Brigade completed 1,500 combat heavy battalions equivalent days of work constructing roads, airfields, heliports, ammunition/fuel/water storage points, life support areas and forward landing strips, distributed over ten million maps, trained over 5,000 coalition engineers, and supported the French attack on Assalman airfield. During follow-on missions the Brigade destroyed over 6000 enemy bunkers and one million tons of munitions.

20th Engineer Brigade

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