FORT BRAGG, N.C.-- Paratroopers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division’s Special Troops Battalion marked the deactivation of the BSTB and the reactivation as the 37th Brigade Engineer Battalion during a ceremony at Stang Field, Nov. 15.
The activation of the BEB is one of the first steps for the division’s conversion to the Army’s new BCT 2020 organization.
This initiative reorganizes the Army’s infantry and armor brigades, adding a third maneuver battalion as well as adding additional engineer and artillery capabilities. These additions are intended to expand the warfighting unit’s lethality and flexibility while helping to meet the Army’s drawdown requirement of personnel. Specifically for the BEB, this means the addition of an engineer company, two more platoons of equipment and an increased route clearance capability.
“This is absolutely a great time for the brigade to get this additional capability to meet new threats emerging throughout the world,” said Lt. Col. Andrew N. Liffring, commander of the 37th BEB.
Liffring, who served as A Company commander in the 37th Eng. Bn. from April 2001 to June 2003, now commands the newly reactivated battalion.
“It’s a true honor to be able to deactivate one of the last battalions that left Iraq and to be able to reactivate one of the first battalions that entered Iraq in 2003,” he said. “Being able to bring the heritage back alive into the 82nd Abn. Div. is a true honor.”
While expressing general excitement for the reactivation of the storied 37th Eng. Bn., speakers shared appreciation and fondness for the BSTB as the unit cased the battalion’s teal blue colors. The color teal represents the myriad occupational specialties and branches that composed the BSTB. Early in the War on Terror, the Army created the modular BCT, which included a special troops battalion consisting of military intelligence, engineer, and signal companies as well as logistician, military police and chemical Soldiers. Unlike the other battalions of the BCT, the BSTB has existed exclusively during the War on Terror.
“It’s the only organization of this BCT whose work is solely characterized by war-time service,” said Col. Patrick Hynes, commander of the 2nd BCT. “This organization was entirely organized, trained and deployed while our Army has been at war.”
Many Paratroopers of the BSTB will be placed among other battalions within the brigade. The brigade is scheduled to grow in size of personnel as it adds several other organizations to meet the BCT 2020 concept.
“We recognize that far from saying farewell to the units of the BSTB we’re simply welcoming the arrival of new ones and the added capabilities that they bring,” said Hynes.
Veterans of the 37th Engineer Battalion attended the ceremony and witnessed the uncasing of the traditional scarlet colors that represent the engineer branch of the Army. After the ceremony, they socialized with present-day 37th BEB Paratroopers and studied artifacts on display from the battalion’s history.
Liffring thanked the veterans of both the BSTB and the 37th Eng. Bn. and promised that he and his Paratroopers would always remember and honor their service. As commander of the brigade’s newest organization, he closed the ceremony by promising to uphold the battalion’s historic legacy.
“Its an exciting day for the Army,” he said. “We look forward to the challenges to come and to supporting the 2nd BCT.”