U.S. Army Engineer School
169th Engineer Battalion History
The 169th Engineer Battalion has a long and distinguished history of service to this nation. Shortly after the Battalion was formed in 1943 at Camp Beale, California, it first saw combat during the Allied Invasion of Italy in September 1944. The Battalion fought its way up the Italian Peninsula. After the capture of Rome, the 169th played a significant role in the seven-month campaign to push the Nazi Army through the Apennines and out of the Po Valley of Northern Italy. Throughout their campaign in Italy, the soldiers of the 169th cleared minefields and tank obstacles, destroyed enemy bunkers, cleared roadways, built many bridges to replace those destroyed by the retreating enemy, removed barbwire obstacles, built enemy prisoner of war compounds, and fought as Infantry when the need arouse. The Battalion received the Rome, North Apennines, and the Po Valley campaign streamers as a result of their courageous service in Italy during World War II.
Beginning in 1954, the Battalion spent twelve years at Fort Stewart, Georgia before their next major period of active service in Vietnam. At Fort Stewart, the Battalion’s mission was to construct, rehabilitate and maintain military routes of communications and facilities, and perform related engineering work in the communications zone and rear areas of the combat zone. Starting in 1966, the 169th served seven years in a war that had no front lines and where the farmer working in the field by day became an enemy attacking by night. This Battalion built hundreds of miles of roads and constructed quarters for thousands of American soldiers throughout the Delta region of South Vietnam. They also built bridges, installed culverts, repaired Heavy Construction Equipment, cleared land, and accomplished all the missions associated with heavy engineer construction equipment operators, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, structures specialists, and combat engineers. The Battalion was reactivated in 1986 and served as Advanced Individual Training unit responsible for the training of various vertical construction specialties. Later that year, the Battalion became the 169th Engineer Battalion (Support). In this role, the 169th supported all types of engineer training on Fort Leonard Wood by commanding the staff and faculty company, garrison company, and engineer companies whose mission involved pipelines, quarries, fire fighting, and bridging. In the spring of 1995, the 169th became a One Station Unit Training battalion responsible for training combat engineers, bridge builders, heavy construction equipment operators and mechanics, and engineer technicians for service in today’s Army. The 169th has a credit for 14 campaigns in Southeast Asia and three in World War II. It has also received three meritorious unit commendations and one Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal.
Shield:Scarlet and white are the colors of the Corps of Engineers. The fleur-de-lis flowered was suggested by the coat of arms of Florence, Italy, where the battalion was activated after being reconstituted in 1944. The dovetail is used to allude to an engineering construction principle. The three points represent the organization's three battle honors awarded for service in Italy during World War II.
Crest:The many campaigns in which the 169th participated, during the Vietnam conflict are recalled by the golden dragon, holding an engineer's divider to symbolize the outstanding construction work the unit accomplished in support of military operations during 1967 and 1968. The mountains represent the rugged country in which exacting land development projects were completed and also symbolize the regions in Italy where the unit saw action during World War II, specifically the Po Valley, North Apennines and Rome-Arno. Scarlet denotes courage and recalls three Meritorious Unit Commendations and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal awarded the 169th in the period 1966 to 1970.
In the Regimental Room of the Army Engineer Museum on Fort Leonard Wood, you will notice distinguished plaques lining the oak paneled walls which commemorate and honor the accomplishments of the Army's engineer units and organizations. For a long time, one plaque was conspicuously absent, but through the contributions and support of many of you the 169th Engineer Battalion plaque is now displayed in the Regimental Room. Here is the plaque as it is shown in the Regimental Room.
Many soldiers, past and present, have dedicated portions of their military career and life to making the 169th Engineer Battalion one of the best and most influential Engineer Battalions in the Army. This commemorative plaque is one way that we have permanently recognized those individuals who gave so much to the 169th. The battalion has a rich history. The plaque reflects the unit's service in Italy during World War II, its numerous campaigns in the Vietnam War and its current mission to provide the Army with highly trained engineer soldiers.
Thanks again to all of you who contributed to the plaque fund and made this all possible.
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