3rd Engineer Battalion: 1901 - 1965
3rd ENGINEER BATTALION: 1901 - 1965
The 3d Engineer Battalion was organized as the 3d Battalion of Engineers on 25 March 1901, at Fort Totten, New York. During the next fifteen years the battalion was employed in all of the then foreign service stations of the US Army. The unit served in Cuba, Panama, the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the United States. It was during the period of 1901 to 1911 that General Douglas MacArthur served with the battalion, first as Commander of "K" Company and then as Battalion Adjutant.
On 1 August 1916 the battalion was expanded and reorganized as the 3d Engineer Regiment with components in the Philippines, Hawaii and Panama. In April 1921, the Regiment assembled in Hawaii and became the Engineer component of the Hawaiian Division. During the ensuing years, most of the military construction on the Island of Oahu was accomplished by the 3d Engineers. The battalion earned for itself the proud title "Pacific Engineers" with a present day record of 54 consecutive years overseas service.
On 1 October 1941, the Regiment was reorganized to form the 3d and 65th Engineer Combat Battalions. On the same day the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions were formed, with the 3d Engineer Combat Battalion becoming one of the organic components of the 24th Infantry Division. Sixty eight days later the battalion had its first taste of combat when the Japanese bombed Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on 7 Dec 1941. The battalion immediately was assigned the mission of improving the defenses of Northern Oahu Island in Hawaii in anticipation of landing by the Japenese. After the initial threat passed the battalion was built up to full strength and began the arduous training required before commitment to combat. In July 1943, the battalion left for Australia where it engaged in extensive training along with other units of the Division. The battalion left Australia in 1944 to serve in the Tenamerah Bay and Hollandia operations of New Guinea, and then in the Luzon, Leyte, and Mindanao campaigns in the Philippines performing many difficult feats of Engineer work. One major project was the construction of two roads across Leyte in the face of tremendous difficulties. Company C was attached to the 34th Infantry for the assault of Corregidor. It was during this assault that the 3d Platoon earned the Distinguished Unit Citation.
Following the cessation of hostilities in Japan, the 3d Engineers landed with the 24th Infantry Division to occupy Japan. They arrived in Shikoku in November 1945 and moved, first to Honshu in Jan 1946, then to Kyushu in June 1946 where the battalion was to be stationed. During the early occupation period, from 1946 to 1949, the battalion was primarily concerned with occupational duties such as the supervision and erection of troop and dependent housing at the various stations of the 24th Division. During this period of time the strength was reduced to a low of approximately 300 men.
In 1949 the strength of the 3d Engineer Battalion was greatly increased and the accent placed on training a tactical engineer battalion. Training was continued throughout that year and into 1950 with all companies performing long periods of road maintenance. Extensive periods were also spent in the field on the various maneuver areas of Kyushu.
The results of this training were apparent in July 1950, when, on a three day notice, the battalion moved to Korea with the rest of the 24th Division to stop the onrush of the Communist Forces into South Korea and therefore were the first combat engineers to serve in the Korean Campaign. The battalion furnished Engineer Support throughout the Kum River campaign. Company C was cut off and suffering heavy losses in Taejon. Later, the 3d Engineers further lived up to the combat portion of their designation when they were committed as Infantry along the Naktong River for a period of three weeks. The Distinguished Unit Citation awarded to the 24th Division for its actions during the period from July to September 1950 also attests to the high character of the battalion's service during that time.
The battalion furnished engineer support to the Division in the long pursuit north to within 15 miles of the Yalu River and the retrograde movement south, in the face of the Chinese menace. There are few roads in Korea which have not been improved and maintained by the 3d Engineers, and few rivers which have not been bridged by the "Eager Beavers." The battalion was located in Korea until November 1953 at which time they transferred to Japan to remain there until January 1954. The battalion then returned to Korea to remain until October 1957 at which time it was transferred to the Department of the Army. On 1 July 1958 the 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion was redesignated the 3d Engineer Battalion and the battalion was deployed in Bavaria, Germany as part of the 24th Division, the "Shield of Bavaria."
In August 1958, the 24th Infantry Airborne Brigade forming the nucleus of Task Force 201 was dispatched to Lebanon. The task force received its Engineer Support from Company E of this battalion, which was the only remaining fully airborne unit in the 3d Engineer Battalion. Upon arrival, Company E proceeded, with the efficiency which was to be the keynote of the entire operation, to establish a water point producing 30,000 gallons of potable water daily, established and maintained MSR's, and prepared infantry emplacements. For their outstanding performance during this period, Company E received recognition in a Unit Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for its support of Task Force 201. The company returned to the battalion in October and reverted to a regular engineer company in support of Infantry Division in December 1958. In Feb 1963 the battalion was reorganized with its present configuration of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, four Combat Engineer Companies (A, B, C, and D), and the Combat Bridge Company - Echo which was equipped with the Mobile Assault Bridge. Since; the reorganization, the battalion has been committed to its mission of providing the 24th Infantry Division with the best combat engineering support available to any division in the world.
Since our last organization day activities, the battalion has achieved several milestones. In early July, the Headouarters Company participated in a Division CPX. Lt Col Adams assumed command of the battalion on 25 July 1964, succeeding Lt Col Burger. In August the battalion spent three intensive weeks at Grafenwoehr, Germany in typical combat engineer training. September found the battalion sending officers in support of the Nato CPX "Fallex." In late September and early October all companies were busy training on Class 60 bridging and MAB training at Marxhiem, Germany. Our tankers successfully fired their weapons on Table VIII at Grafenwoehr with the 5/32 Armor. Then until Christmas, companies were rotated in support of the brigades at the training centers, Echo Company spent two weeks on the Rhine and then participated in the Dachau Lake demonstration for Ambassador McGee. In December, 1st Sgt Dixon of Company A was promoted to Sgt Major and assumed his new duties. At Christmas the battalion sponsored a party for the children of the members of the battalion, as well as a party for the Old Folks Home in Ingolstadt. The latter was conducted in cooperation with the 10th Pioneer Battalion of the German Army who have been true comrades in arms over the last several years. In January February 1965 within the interval of less than one month, the battalion successfully completed an unannounced USAREUR TPI for the: ADM platoons, the Annual General Inspection, the Command Maintenance Management Inspection, and the Army Training Test. The latter was conducted during the Division FTX "Taro Leaf" during which the battalion was instrumental in crossing the Division across the Danube river under simulated combat conditions. Class 60 bridge training was then conducted by A, B, and C Companies. The support of the brigades at the training area kept our hand in the trade until the battalion participated in thirty days of concentrated training at Hohenfels, Germany in late May and early June. The twelve platoon and four company combat engineer training tests were administered with "Combat Ready" ratings achieved by all. Echo Company spent four weeks on the Rhine River and four weeks at Dachau Lake and on the Danube during the last three months. The battalion has also supported the division with troop concentration effort throughout the entire year.
The battalion successfully met all the challenges of the past year and now eagerly looks forward to the challenges of the forthcoming year.
?LET US TRY"
STREAMERS AND DECORATIONS
The 14 battle streamers end 5 decorations proudly flown on the unit colors attest to the long and faithful service of the 3d Engineer Battalion during its 54 consecutive years overseas. The streamers read like a chronological history of the Pacific and the Korean Conflict.
24TH INFANTRY DIVISION SHOULDER PATCH
The shoulder patch worn by members of the 24th Infantry Division is a green taro leaf, a leaf from the plant used by the Hawaiians to make Poi, a basic food in their diet. The leaf is bordered in yellow, superimposed on a red circular background and again bordered by a thin line of black. The design was taken from the patch of the old Hawaiian Division from which the 24th was designated on 1 October 1941
The insignia of the battalion, which was approved 11 February 1921, has as its basic background a white shield with the Roman numeral III placed upon a, splash of red with an indented border of gold. The crest, which rests on the shield, consists of a wreath of the same colors with a Beaver crouched at the foot of a palm branch. The beaver is the symbol of New York, a former station of the battalion. The palm branch shows tropical service. The red and white are the Engineer colors and the indented border alludes to the work of the Engineers in field fortifications.
DISTINGUISHING MEMBERS AND AWARDS
General Douglas MacArthur served with the battalion during the period of 1901 to 1911, first as a company commander and then as Battalion Adjutant.
General Bruce C. Clarke served with the battalion from 1929 thru 1931 in Hawaii. Hanging adjacent to the battalion trophy case is his autographed photograph with the following inscription: "To the officers and men of the 3d Engineer Battalion. I am proud to have been a "Beaver' for over two years."
Lt General Wilson, who recently retired from the service as Chief of Engineers, United States Army also served in the 3d Engineer Battalion.
MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER (20 JULY 1950)
Near the end of the fourth week of fighting in Korea, Sgt George Libby of Company C, 3d Engineer Battalion (Combat), 24th Infantry Division smashed a road block south of Taejon, where the division was fighting for its life. Libby pushed a number of wounded men on board an M-5 tractor from an artillery outfit and posted himself to ride "shotgun". The reds poured a hail of merciless fire at the driver, and bullets splashed around him. A number of them ripped into his body, but they crashed the roadblock and got the wounded men to an aid station. In saving other mens lives, Sgt Libby lost his own and became the first Medal of Honor man in Korea.
World War II
New Guinea (with arrowhead)
Leyte (with arrowhead)
Southern Philippines (with arrowhead)
First UN counteroffensive
CCF spring offensive
UN summer-fall offensive
Second Korean winter
Korea, summer-fall 1952
Korea, summer-fall 1953
Streamer, Distinguished Unit Citation, embroidered KOREA
Streamer, Meritorious Unit Citation, embroidered KOREA
(3d Platoon, Company C entitled to Distinguished Unit Streamer for action on Corregidor Island, 16-28 February 1945, but has no way to display the honor)
Streamer, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 To 4 JULY 1945
Streamer, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, embroidered PYONGTAEK
Streamer, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, embroidered KOREA
Mar 17 2001 09:27:36:000AM