FORT HOOD, Texas – Not often do entire battalions come and go, and then come back again.
In light of this, the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion was activated, uncased its colors and joined the 3rd “Greywolf” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Dec. 12 at the 1st Cav. Div. Museum here.
“These colors have been cased and uncased many times over the course of this nation’s history,” said Col. David Lesperance, 3rd BCT commander. “It’s nice to see the engineer colors flying over a battalion in the Greywolf Brigade again.”
The 3rd BEB was initially organized as the 3rd Battalion of Engineers, March 25, 1901, at Fort Totten, N.Y. The battalion was expanded August 1916 and reorganized as the 3rd Engineer Regiment with portions of it in the Philippines, Hawaii and Panama.
In April 1921, the regiment assembled in Hawaii and became the engineer component of the Hawaiian Division and the 3rd Engineers did most of the military construction on the Island of Oahu.
In July 1950 the battalion moved to Korea with the 24th Division to serve in the Korean Campaign. There are few roads in Korea, which have not been improved and maintained by the engineers and few rivers that were not bridged. The battalion stayed in Korea until November 1953.
The 3rd Engineer Battalion has also been to Bavaria, Germany, and Lebanon.
The battalion’s insignia was approved Feb. 11, 1921, and it consists of a basic background, a white shield with the Roman numeral III and a splash of red with an indented border of gold. The crest that sits 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, the palm branch represents tropical service, the red and white are the engineer colors and the indented border alludes to the work of the engineers in field fortifications.
The 3rd BEB “Eager Beavers” has earned 14 battle streamers and four unit decorations since 1950.
“The battle streamers proudly attest to the dedication, courage and the sacrifice of the countless 3rd Engineer Battalion soldiers, who have fought and died for the freedoms we hold dear,” Lesperance said.
“Today is a significant day in the history of the (U.S. Army) Engineer Regiment and the 1st Cavalry Division,” said Lt. Col. Michael Payne, 3rd BEB commander. “I am honored and blessed to stand here today as the commander of this fantastic battalion.”