20th Engineer Brigade (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=20th Engineer Brigade

caption=20th Engineer Brigade Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
country=United States
type=combat engineer brigade
branch=United States Army
dates=1950-08-16 - 1958-12-12
1967-05-01 - 1971-09-20
1974-06-21 - Present
specialization=Combat Engineers
command_structure=XVIII Airborne Corps
garrison=Fort Bragg (North Carolina, USA)
motto=Building Combat Power
battles=Vietnam War
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
current_commander=COL Peter A. DeLuca
*Robert B. Flowers
*Harold Parfitt
identification_symbol_label=Distinctive unit insignia

The 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne) is a combat engineer brigade assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps of the United States Army stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. [ [http://www.armyengineer.com/unit_links.html Engineer Units] , Army Engineer Association. Retrieved 02-03-2008] Althought the Brigade is identified as an airborne unit, not all of its subordinate units are airborne qualified--despite the Airborne tab as part of the [Shoulder Sleeve Insignia|Unit patch. Soldiers of the 20th Engineer Brigade provide various supportive duties to other Army units, including construction, engineering, and mechanical work on other Army projects.

Though its predecessor units have lineage that dates back before the American Civil War, the formation was not formally designated as the 20th Engineer Brigade until 1950. The brigade supported American forces for several years and a dozen campaigns of the Vietnam War, but was deactivated shortly after American forces withdrew from the country.

Reactivated in 1967, the unit has since seen numerous overseas tours, including to Kuwait during the Gulf war, Kosovo, Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, in support of its parent unit. It has also independently conducted various humanitarian missions in the United States and in other nations throughout the world.


The 20th Engineer Brigade currently consists of six engineer battalions headquartered throughout the eastern United States. The Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) as well as the 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Airborne), the 37th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Airborne), and the 30th Engineer Battalion (Topographic) are all headquartered at Fort Bragg, [http://www.bragg.army.mil/20eng/Pages/History.htm 20th Engineer Brigade History] 20th Engineer Brigade Staff. Retrieved 1-25-2008] while the 19th Engineer Battalion (Construction Effects) is located at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The 326th Engineer Battalion (Combat) is located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and the 7th Engineer Battalion (Combat) is located further to the north at Fort Drum, New York.

The insignia was originally authorized on June 30, 1967. It was amended on January 14, 1975 to add the blue and white "Airborne" tab. The tab is part of the unit insignia and does not indicate whether an individual soldier is Airborne-qualified. Parachute wings on an individual soldier indicate Airborne-qualification. While the brigade headquarters was on jump status, some subordinate elements were not. [ [http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Eng/20th%20Engineer%20Brigade.htm The Institute of Heraldry: 20th Engineer Brigade] , The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 1-18-2008]



The lineage and honors of the 20th Engineer Brigade date back to the American 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 Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, the Mexican Expedition, World War I and World War II. Though it was not officially designated as the 20th Engineer Brigade during all of these wars, the Brigade received campaign participation credit for all of these campaigns, and has numerous campaign streamers for what its previous incarnations did during these conflicts.

On August 16, 1950 the brigade was first designated as the 20th Engineer Brigade and activated at Camp Leonard Wood, Missouri. It deployed overseas to France in November 1952 and established headquarters in Croix Chapeau. Comprising 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.

Vietnam War and aftermath

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 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. One of these soldiers, Al Gore, would later become Vice President of the United States. [ [http://clinton1.nara.gov/White_House/EOP/OVP/html/Bio.html Biography of Vice President Al Gore] , United States Government. Retrieved 1-25-2008]

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 (2,000 km²) of jungle, paved 500 kilometers of highway, and constructed bridges totaling more than six miles (10 km) in length. As American 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, North Carolina as an airborne brigade on June 21, 1974. Assigned as a subordinate command of the XVIII Airborne Corps, which comprised one airborne combat engineer battalion, a heavy construction battalion and four separate companies. Additionally, the 283rd Engineer Detachment (Terrain Analysis) provided terrain intelligence needs of the brigade's mission. Since that time the brigade and its subordinate units supported the XVIII Airborne Corps, fulfilling critical combat engineer, construction, topographic, and bridging missions. [http://www.history.army.mil/lineage/branches/eng/0020enbde.htm United States Army Homepage: Lineage: Engineer Brigade] United States Army. Retrieved 1-25-2008]

The Brigade participated in the recovery efforts following the Great Lakes Blizzard of 1977. Over 300 members of the unit were dispatched to New York State to help with recovery efforts. 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. Over 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.

Gulf War

The brigade was called to support the multinational response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. [ [http://www.history.army.mil/CHRONOS/1_15jan.htm United States Army: DESERT SHIELD CHRONOLOGY] , United States Army. Retrieved 02-03-2008] 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 Desert Storm. [ [http://www.hqda.army.mil/library/desertshield.htm Desert Shield / Desert Storm Interviews] , Pentagon Library Staff. Retrieved 02-03-2008] 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.

After the Gulf War, elements of the Brigade were dispatched to Haiti on a humanitarian mission. The 20th Engineer Brigade was assigned to construct base camps, improve the Haitian infrastructure, participate in humanitarian service projects, and assist with the reestablishment of public services, with a goal of improving overall quality of life within the country. [ [http://fas.org/irp/agency/army/mipb/1995-4/warshaw.htm Force Protection: Integrating Civil Affairs and Intelligence] , Captain Lynda Snyder and Captain David P. Warsaw. Retrieved 02-03-2008]

Since September 11, 2001, it has participated in repeated operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. [ [http://www.arguard.org/PublicAffairs/index.asp?id=news/2007/08/WoundedIraqis.htm Arkansas National Guard News] , 2nd Lt. Jennifer Patterson. Retrieved 02-03-2008]

First Iraq tour

In November 2004 the brigade headquarters deployed to Camp Victory, Iraq in support of OIF 04-06. The brigade grew to a size of 6,100 personnel in of three brigade headquarters companies, seven battalions, six separate companies and nine detachments. The brigade served as the Multinational Corps Iraq corps-level engineer headquarters for all echelon-above-division engineers in Iraq, providing command and control for general support combat and construction engineer missions across the country. During its deployment, the 20th Engineer Brigade patrolled 57,950 kilometers of roads for Improvised Explosive Devices, expanded 14 bases in support of the MNC-I basing plan; emplaced or maintained 16 bridges; expanded detention capacity for 6,000 detainees; trained over 53,000 coalition soldiers on explosives hazards awareness; reduced over 11,000 caches and over 80,000 tons of explosive munitions. Other missions included included repair of an airfield known as "Key West" by light equipment elements, support of the Long Range Surveillance Detachment, 313th Military Intelligence Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division based in Zakhu, located in Iraqi Kurdistan. Another task for the Brigade was to assist British engineers in a systematic mapping of the entire nation and creating an Iraqi Geospatial Reference System, in order to make national reconstruction easier and more organized. [ [http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/aug2005/a081505la1.html U.S., British Geodetic Surveyors Map Iraq] , DefendAmerica.net, Senior Airman Chawntain Sloan. Retrieved 02-03-2008] The 20th Brigade suffered at least one casualty during its tour in Iraq, with a soldier killed by an enemy Improvised Explosive Device on August 22, 2005 in Ad Dwar when an explosive device destroyed his vehicle. [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=16838 United States Central Command Press Release] , United States Army. Retrieved 02-03-2008] During its deployment to Iraq, the Unit assumed command of several additional battalions from the Army National Guard, forcing existing formations of the unit to cope with additional responsibilities. [ [http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/may2005/a051005la1.html Work Begins on New Vehicle Repair Facility] , "DefendAmerica.mil", Sgt. Michael J. Carden. Retrieved 02-03-2008]

econd Iraq tour

The brigade again deployed to Iraq for the OIF 07-09 rotation. This time, the brigade was headquartered in Balad, Iraq. [http://www.mnci.centcom.mil/2008%20news%20releases/may%2018%202008/20080518-08-MNC-I-MNC-I%20leaders%20visit%2020th%20Engineers.pdf MNC-I Leaders visit 20th Engineers] , Joy Pariante, MNC-I PAO. Retrieved 08-13-2008.] The brigade was given Husky Armored recovery vehicles and Buffalo mine protected carrier vehicles for the deployment. The brigade was responsible for for providing combat, geospatial and general engineering and reconstruction operations in partnership with Provincial Reconstruction Teams, Civil Service Corps, Sons of Iraq and Iraqi Army engineers, as well as training and assisting the Iraqi Army and provincial engineers in the rebuilding of the infrastructure of Iraq. As of May 2008, the brigade had constructed 10 major bridges and destroyed or captured IED cells in nine of the country's provinces. During the deployment it was visited by Lieutenant General Lloyd J. Austin III, the commanding general of Multi-National Corps Iraq. The brigade is scheduled to return to Fort Bragg in the fall of 2008, to be replaced by the 555th Engineer Brigade. [ [http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19537&Itemid=128 Multi-National Corps-Iraq Press Release: May 18, 2008] , MNC-I public affairs. Retrieved 08-13-2008.]


Unit decorations

Campaign streamers

Notable soldiers

thumb|20th_Engineer_Brigade_public_affairs_office_soldier_Al Gore during the Brigade's time in Vietnam] Numerous soldiers who have served in the 20th Engineer Brigade have later achieved fame for various reasons, most of them having served the 20th in Vietnam. Former 20th Engineer Brigade soldiers and engineers include Chief of Engineers Robert B. Flowers, [ [http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/history/coe4.htm#53 Portraits and Profiles of Chief Engineer] , "United States Army Corps of Engineers". Retrieved 02-03-2008] Governor of the Panama Canal Zone Harold Parfitt, [ [http://www.pancanal.com/eng/history/biographies/parfitt.html Harold Parfitt] , "Panama Canal Authority". Retrieved 02-03-2008] Vice President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, [ [http://clinton1.nara.gov/White_House/EOP/OVP/html/Bio.html Biography of Vice President Al Gore] , United States Government. Retrieved 1-25-2008] and Sergeant Major of the Army Leon L. Van Autreve. [ [http://www.army.mil/leaders/leaders/sma/former/vanautreve.html Leon l. Van Autreve- Former Sergeant Major of the Army] , United States Army. Retrieved 02-04-2008]


External links

* [http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Eng/20th%20Engineer%20Brigade.htm The Institute of Heraldry: 20th Engineer Brigade]
* [http://www.bragg.army.mil/20eng/ 20th Engineer Brigade Homepage]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/20eng-bde.htm Globalsecurity.org News Article]

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