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 A Summary History of the 18th Engineer Brigade

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"Swords Up! Stay Sharp!"

(Updated 11-24-10)

The 18th Engineer Brigade (Theater) is part of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. The unit's headquarters stationed at Tompkins Barracks in Schwetzingen, Germany. The brigade mission statement reads: "The 18th Engineer Brigade plans, integrates, and provides command and control of full spectrum engineer missions in support of expeditionary, joint or combined operations for the Regional Combatant Commander." In other words, soldiers of the 18th Engineer Brigade provide various forms of support to other Army units, including combat engineer support, construction, and mechanical work. The Brigade's subordinate units include the 15th Engineer Battalion, the 54th Engineer Battalion, the 60th Engineer Detachment (Geospatial), the 243rd Construction Management Team, and an Emergency Management Assessment Team. The Brigade has participated in World War II, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 18th Eng Bde has been assigned to USAREUR since 2007.

Click to preview or purchase "The Boldest Plan is the Best" from Amazon.comThe 18th Engineer Brigade traces its lineage back to the 347th Engineer General Services Regiment that was constituted in the organized reserves July 29, 1921. The 347th was ordered to active duty in the build up for WWII on May 6, 1942 and reported to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. The Regiment deployed to England in February 1944 and entered combat in France on June 29. The 347th participated in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe campaigns. The unit won its first Meritorious Unit Commendation in Europe during WWII. After the war, the 347th Engineers stayed on occupation duty in Germany until it was deactivated on June 1, 1946.

On June 15, 1947, the 347th Engineer Regiment was reactivated in the organized reserves and headquartered in Salt Lake, Utah. They remained there until it was again deactivated on March 16, 1949. On October 25, 1954, the 347th Engineer General Services Regiment was re-designated the 18th Engineer Brigade for the first time and activated as a Regular Army unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where it remained until being deactivated on March 26, 1963.

The 18th Engineer Brigade was reactivated on July 16, 1965 at Fort Bragg, N.C. and prepared for deployment to Vietnam. From September 1965 until December 1966, the U.S. Army Engineer Command, Vietnam (Provincial) was created and the 18th Engineer Brigade became responsible for engineer support in the I and II Corps Tactical Zones. The Brigade Headquarters was located at Dong Ba Thin. The Brigade's initial activities centered around rapid development of the port facilities, ammunition dumps, base camps and airfields necessary to support the build-up of U.S. combat forces that were rapidly deploying to Vietnam. The 18th Engineer Brigade also provided support for combat search and destroy missions. On September 20, 1971, the Brigade was inactivated. The 18th Eng Bde had remained in Vietnam for over the six years and participated in fourteen campaigns. The Brigade earned four more Meritorious Unit Citations during Vietnam.

The 18th Engineer Brigade was reactivated at Karlsruhe, Germany on October 21, 1977. For the next 15 years, the Brigade served as the principal construction brigade for the United States Army Europe and Seventh Army. The Brigade performed numerous construction projects in military communities and training areas throughout USAREUR that included massive range upgrades at Grafenwoehr, and the construction of the Range 23 complex at the Wildflecken Major Training Area. The 18th Engineer Brigade was also responsible for providing topographic support to the European Theater.

In 1990 and 1991, during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the 18th Engineer Brigade provided rail and sea deployment support to the VII Corps and deployed a Combat Heavy Battalion and Topographic Company to support operations in Southwest Asia. In April 1991, the Brigade Headquarters, along with the subordinate Combat Heavy Battalion, deployed to Zakho, Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort and was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for their performance during this operation. As part of the reduction of forces in Europe, the Brigade was deactivated once again on October 15, 1992.

On October 18, 2002 the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army approved the USAREUR and Seventh Army Concept Plan to activate the Theater Army Engineer Brigade (TAEB), beginning the process in 2000. The 18th EN BDE (TA) was activated on January 21, 2003. In February 2003, portions of the Brigade deployed to Turkey in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 18th EN BDE (TA) deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VI as Task Force Sword in April of 2005. TF Sword was made up of over 1,800 soldiers, including engineers from Slovakia, Poland, and Korea, and was responsible for reconstruction of the country's infrastructure and the assured mobility of Coalition Forces. After redeployment, the 18th Engineer Brigade transformed into a functional engineer brigade and began train-up for the next deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

On April 30, 2008, the 18th Engineer Brigade deployed to Tikrit, Iraq in support of OIF 08-10. The brigade planned, coordinated and tracked force protection construction, base expansion and closure, and quality of life improvements throughout Multi-National Division-North. While on this deployment, the Brigade's rear detachment relocated to Tompkins Barracks, in Schwetzingen, Germany in May 2008. In August of 2008, the Brigade relocated to Kirkuk. Then in January 2009, the Brigade received a change of mission and in February 2009 moved to Mosul to take on the mission of the Mosul Reconstruction Operations Center. On July 17, 2009, the 18th Engineer Brigade handed over responsibility of Mosul to the 130th Engineer Brigade. The 18th Engineer Brigade subsequently returned to Schwetzingen, Germany after its 15-month deployment.

The soldiers of the 18th Engineer Brigade continue to serve the country in an exemplary manner, as they always have in times of peace and war. The motto "Essayons et Edifions" emblazoned on the unit's crest is translated as "Let Us Try and Let Us Build." You can count on the 18th Engineer Brigade to do just that.

 

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