Sunday, February 27, 2022

History and Heraldry of the 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion

By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

 

The distinctive unit insignia of the 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion, pictured in October 2021 in Macon, Ga. Photo by Maj. William Carraway.

Heraldry[1]

On February 27, 2009, The US Army Institute of Heraldry approved the distinctive unit insignia of the 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion which was subsequently redesignated the 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion. The insignia incorporates the color scarlet to represent the engineer heritage of the battalion. Scarlet also symbolizes valor and sacrifice while gold symbolizes honor and high achievement. The castle further symbolizes the engineer’s role in fortification. Combat multiplier capabilities of the battalion, such as infantry, chemical, military police, transportation, and engineers, are represented by the bayonet, cobalt blue, green, brick red, and scarlet, respectively. The lightning bolt emblazoned on the bayonet highlights the communication units that provide the "voice of command" as well as the historical ties between the battalion and the 48th Infantry Brigade. The battalion’s military intelligence capability is represented by the sphinx which symbolizes the ability of military intelligence to "know all" on the battlefield. Seven stars on the insignia commemorate the four decorations and three major campaigns in which the unit has participated. The stars are arranged in an arrowhead formation symbolic of the Sapper’s mission of breaching enemy defenses.

Lieutenant Col. Bothwell Johnson commanded
the 101st AAA and 2nd Gun Battalion, 214th AAA from
1953-1960. Georgia National Guard Archives.
Unit History


Headquarters Company, 177th BEB was originally constituted in the Georgia Army National Guard in Statesboro, Ga. as Battery A, 264th Coast Artillery Battalion March 14, 1930.[2] On October 1, 1939, the 264th CAB was reorganized as the 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery Group[3] with Battery A, commanded by Capt. Bothwell Johnson, reorganized as Battery C. Activated September 1940, the 214th was mobilized to the Pacific Theater of Operations and underwent reorganization in November 1943. The 1st Battalion 214th was redesignated the 528th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion with the Statesboro unit redesignated Battery C. The unit maintained this designation through the war and was inactivated in December 1945 at Camp Stoneman, Calif.

 

The 528th AAA was reestablished July 11, 1946.[4] In October, the 528th was consolidated into Headquarters Battery, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion and the resulting unit was designated Headquarters Battery, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion.[5] The unit was reorganized and federally recognized June 17, 1947 in Statesboro.

 

STATESBORO, Ga. November, 1949 – The Statesboro-based Headquarters Battery and Battery A, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion paid Guardsmen
in silver dollars to show the merchants of Statesboro how much money the Guard brings into circulation each month. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On August 14, 1950, the unit was ordered into federal service due to the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. As part of the 108th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, the unit was initially mobilized to Camp Bliss, Texas. The 108th AAA Brigade provided air defense over industrial areas from Chicago to Philadelphia until released from federal service in April 1952.[6]

 

On October 1, 1953, the unit was redesignated as Headquarters Battery, 101st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion.[7]

 

Soldiers of the 2nd Gun Battalion, 214th Artillery Regiment adjust a radar antenna for use during annual training at Fort Stewart in July 1959.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

On July 1, 1959, the unit was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters Battery, 2nd Gun Battalion, 214th Field Artillery. This unit was converted and redesignated as Headquarters Company, 265th Engineer Battalion May 1, 1962.

 

The unit was consolidated with Company A, 265th Engineer Battalion January 1, 1968 and the units were converted and redesignated as Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery.

 

648th Engineer Battalion sign from the Statesboro armory. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On September 1, 1993, the unit was converted and redesignated Detachment 1, 848th Engineer Company. One month later, the unit was expanded, reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters Company, 648th Engineer Battalion.[8]

FORT STEWART, Ga. 1996 - Second Lt. Rob Utlaut and 2nd Lt. Felix Childs during annual training for the 648th Engineer Battalion at Fort Stewart.
Photo courtesy of Matt Shannon.


The 648th Engineer Battalion was redesignated as the 48th Special Troops Battalion September 1, 2007.[9] The 48th BSTB was ordered into active federal service April 21, 2009 at home stations for service in Afghanistan with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The 48th BSTB was released from active Federal service May 25 2010 and reverted to state control.

Georgia Army National Guard soldiers from Statesboro's Headquarters Detachment 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion
deplane at Hunter’s Army Airfield March 17, 2010 following deployment to Afghanistan. Georgia National Guard  Archives.


Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion was converted and redesignated September 1, 2015 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 177th Engineer Battalion, an element of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.[10] Since 2020, the 177th has been an active part of Georgia’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic providing personnel to hospitals for medical support and constituting infection control teams. During that time period, the 177th also mobilized personnel to the Country of Georgia for exercise Noble Partner 2020 and to the Southwest Border of the United States in 2021. In January 2021, the 177th BEB mobilized personnel to Washington DC to provide security during the presidential inauguration. The Soldiers departed the weekend prior to the inauguration and established security positions near the nation's capitol. By January 25, most of the Soldiers had either returned home or were in transit from Washington DC while others, joined by Soldiers of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and TF 201st, remained on duty through March 13.

 

Soldiers of the 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion discuss the plan for disinfecting Dodge County Hospital April 27, 2020. Photo by Spc. Andre Josey.



[1] The Institute of Heraldry. “Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.” https://tioh.army.mil/Catalog/HeraldryMulti.aspx?CategoryId=4422&grp=2&menu=Uniformed%20Services

[2] Military Department, State of Georgia. Pictorial Review of the National Guard of the State of Georgia. (Atlanta: 1939), 215.

[3] Center for Military History. “214th Lineage and Honors Certificate, 214th Field Artillery.”

[4] Military Department, State of Georgia. “General Order No. 17. Atlanta, Dec. 31, 1946.”

[5] Center for Military History. “214th Lineage and Honors Certificate, 214th Field Artillery.”

[6] Center for Military History. “214th Lineage and Honors Certificate, 214th Field Artillery.”

[7] Center for Military History. “214th Lineage and Honors Certificate, 214th Field Artillery.”

[8] Enter for Military History. “Lineage and Honors Certificate, 648th Engineer Battalion.”

[9] OA 112-08.

[10] OA 434-14, Corrected Copy 1, 3 February 2015.

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