History of the Iron Soldiers
The "Iron Soldiers" of the 577th Engineer Battalion trace their lineage back to the 377th Engineer Battalion which the Army constituted and activated in 1942. In 1943, the Army reorganized and redesignated the unit as the 377th Engineer Regiment. The 377th Engineer Regiment ser-ved superbly in World War H and eamed campaign streamers for its actions in Northern France and the Rhineland.
The regiment landed on Utah beach in July 1944. It removed enemy mines from five miles of coast south of Carteret, France. The regiment also helped construct a 20,000-man rest camp at Carleret and Bameville-sur-Mer, France, about 20 miles south of Cherbourg. It was instrumental to the quick repair and rehabilitation of about 20-miles of double-track rail line from Le Mas to Sille-le-Guilmaurne, France.
In the western section of the Falaise pocket, France, the regiment followed immediately behind the American and British forces clearing the arm Next, the regiment rehabilitated 20 more miles of vital double-track rail line from Fleres to east of Ecouche, France.
Using prisoners of war, the unit built a single-track bridge across France's Longeau River and cleared a 3,200 foot tunnel where the regiment restored more than 100 additional miles of vital rail line in France. The unit consolidated and guarded captured enemy engineer equipment at numerous points across France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. During the remainder of the conflict, the regiment built and expanded hospitals, operated quarries, and maintained roads in the European Theater. The unit returned to the United States in 1946 and was inactivated at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia
In 1954, the Anny redesignated the unit the 577th Engineer Battalion (Construction) and activated it at Fort Benning, Georgia. From 1954 throu , g h 1966 it constructed numerous facilities at Fort Benning and coined for itself the slogan "We Built Fort Benning". During this period the unit also constructed facilities at Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Dahlonega Ranger Camp, Georgia; and Fort McClellan, Alabama.
When the Soviet Union heighten cold war tensions in 1961 by closing theborder between the eastern and western sections of Germany and erecting the Berlin Wall, members of the battalion deployed on combat readiness demonstrations for President Kennedy. A year later the battalion assisted the nation further the cause of civil rights by deploying soldiers to N-11ississippi to help maintain order at the University of Mississippi as the school admitted the first African American student.
The 577th Engineer Battalion landed at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam on 7 July 1966. In Vietnam it fought, as well as built and maintained numerous structures. Its construction accomplishments include a large number of bridges, roads, airfields, barracks, bunkers, ammunition depots, petroleum tanks, hard stands, and many other facilities.
The battalion's soldiers served with great valor and distinction in Vietnam earning the unit two Metitorious Unit Commendations and 13 campaign streamers. The Army awarded the first Meritorious Unit Commendation for the battalion's service in Cam Rahn Bay and Tuy Hoa areas from 2 August 1966 to I I June 1967. The battalion earned its second Meritorious Unit Commendation for its work from Tuy Hoa to Vung Ro Bay from June 1967 to December 1968. The battalion's 13 campaign participation credits from Vietnam include: Counteroffensive, Phase 11; Counteroffensive, Phase III; Tet Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring i970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase V11; ConsoLdation I; and C onsol.idation II.
The battalion redeployed from Vietnam in January 1972, and served at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii until it inactivated on I I July 1972. The Army reactivated the 577th Engineer Battalion on 30 September 1986 at Fort Leonard Wood,,Missouri, and assigned it to the U.S. Army Training Center, Engineer. Over the last nine years, the battalion has trained and supported the training of thousands of soldiers and leaders.
The unit currently consists of 648 soldiers and civilians with a headquarters and three line companies. It operates and maintains over 700 pieces of combat and construction engineer equipment.
Headquariers Company contains the battalion headquarters and staf~ and the Sapper Leader Course trainers. The Sapper Leader Course trainers run the demanding four-week Sapper Leader Course.
Alpha Company provides the organizational level maintenance support for the battalion's vast array of equipment. It also provides virtually all the formal maintenance instruction given at the U.S. Army Engineer Center to the Corps of Engineers' Officers, Warrant Officers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Junior Enlisted Soldiers.
Bravo Company currently provides the equipment and training for the vast majority of all the Engineer Center's formal construction training to include interior electrician (5 1 R), engineer technician (5 IT), crane operator (62F), quarry specialist (62G), concrete and asphalt equipment operator (62H), general equipment operator (62J), and heavy equipment operator (62E). 0
Charlie Company provides combat engineer equipment and training for the vast majority of the Engineer Center's formal combat engineer training (I 2B/I 2C).
577TH ENGINEER BATTALION
Constituted 24 April 1942 in The Army of the United States as the 377th Engineer Battalion Activated 15 July 1942 at Camp Pickett, Virginia Reorganized and redesignated 2 with 1943 as the 377th Engineer General Service Regiment with two battalions
Inactivated 3 January 1946 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia Redesignated 25 February 1954 as the 577th Engineer Battalion and allotted to the Regular Army Activated 25 August 1954 at Fort Benning, Georgia Inactivated !1 July 1972 at Schofield 'Barracks, Hawaii Headquarters transferred 30 September 1986 to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and organized at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Posted by Cecil Higdon
Nov 19 2000 12:28:33:000AM