20TH ENGINEER BRIGADE
20TH ENGINEER BRIGADE
The lineage and honors of the 20th Engineer Brigade date back to the Civil War. First
designated as the Battalion of Engineers on Aug. 3, 1861, the battalion participated in 10 campaigns during the Civil War. Since that time, unit designations changed many times as
predecessors of the 20th Engineer Brigade served in the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican Expedition and World Wars I and II.
On Aug. 16, 1950 the Brigade was first designated as the 20th Engineer Brigade and activated at Camp Leonard Wood, Mo. The Brigade deployed overseas in November 1952 and provided engineer construction support in southwestern France. Upon redeploying back to the United States, the Brigade was activated at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Sept. 10, 1954. From that time until its inactivation on Dec. 12, 1958, the Brigade provided engineer support to XVIII Airborne Corps.
In response to the build up of U.S. forces in the Republic of Vietnam, the Brigade headquarters was reactivated on May 1, 1967 at Fort Bragg, N.C., and deployed to Vietnam in August 1967. 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 forces were withdrawing from Vietnam, the Brigade was inactivated Sept. 20, 1971.
The 20th Engineer Brigade was reactivated at Fort Bragg on June 21, 1974 and assigned as a subordinate command of the XVIII Airborne Corps with one airborne combat engineer battalion, a heavy construction battalion and four separate companies.
On Aug. 2, 1990, the Brigade was called to support the multinational response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Brigade grew to a 7,700 Soldier force composed of three groups, 10 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 10 million maps, trained over 5,000 coalition engineers and supported the French attack on As Salman Airfield. During follow-on missions the Brigade destroyed over 6,000 enemy bunkers and one million tons of munitions.
Throughout the years, the brigade has deployed in support of operations across the entire spectrum of conflict from disaster relief to combat operations. In September 1994, the Brigade deployed to Haiti in support of Uphold Democracy. In 2001, the 27th Engineer Battalion deployed for six months to provide engineering support in Kosovo.
As the Global War on Terrorism commenced, the Brigade sent elements to numerous countries to include Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. Since Spring 2002, 12 of the 17 companies of the Brigade have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or both. Brigade engineers conducted minefield and route clearance operations, road maintenance, road, airfield and base camp construction, and geospatial missions.
In November 2004, the Brigade headquarters deployed to Camp Victory, Iraq in support of OIF. In July 2007, the Brigade headquarters deployed once again to Iraq, where it served as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) corps-level engineer headquarters, this time the Brigade was based out of Joint Base Balad. During this deployment, the 20th Engineer Brigade’s enabled counter-insurgency operations by taking the fight to the enemy by repositioning engineer forces, creating unity of effort by nesting operations with maneuver units, and using engineer skill sets and staff capabilities to support lines of operations to reduce unemployment and improve civil capacity.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom 2007-2009, the Brigade moved engineer units, task organized engineer forces as appropriate, and changed command and support relationships to create Joint, Multi-Functional Engineer Battalions capable of conducting route clearance in support of Divisions and Brigade combat teams assured mobility missions.
On Sept. 16, 2009, the 20th Engineer Brigade transformed to a modular engineer losing its designation as combat and airborne. However, the Brigade still retains the preponderance of the Army’s Forcible Entry Echelon Above Brigade (EAB) engineer force structure with two engineer battalions on airborne status and five dive companies. The Brigade still retains the ability to employ the Brigade Assault Command Post in a forcible entry environment.
On Jan. 15, 2010, the Brigade deployed the Assault Command Post to Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response where they formed the core of the JTF-Haiti J7 engineer staff where they facilitated structural assessments, developed the beddown plan for over 10,000 U.S. forces and conducted assessments of the ground lines of communications to facilitate the rapid distribution of aid.
On Feb. 9, 2011, the Brigade assumed authority as the Theater Engineer Brigade from the 36th Engineer Brigade at Joint Base Balad-Al-Bakr Air Base, Iraq. As Joint Task Force Castle, the Brigade served as the command and control element for all Army and Air Force engineer units throughout Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. The Brigade continued the mission of training Iraqi Army engineers, to build capacity in the Iraqi Army and ensure the Iraqi Army Engineers are prepared to manage their country’s engineer requirements well into the future. In June 2011, the Brigade headquarters moved to Contingency Operating Base Adder-Tallil Air Base, Iraq to further facilitate the responsible drawdown of forces and serve as the mayor and facilities manager for several thousand personnel in addition to its theater engineer responsibilities.
The 20th Engineer Brigade consists of five battalions and numerous separate companies and detachments numbering over 4,000 Soldiers across five different installations. The Brigade stands ready to provide rapid engineer support in response to any worldwide contingency mission. The 20th Engineer Brigade is proud of its long service to both the nation and the Army. Having participated in 36 campaigns, more than any other major subordinate unit in the XVIII Airborne Corps, the Brigade is confident of a future of continued service to the United States Army, and our Country.