The colorful and heroic history of the 2d Engineer Battalion began in1861 when the Battalion of Engineers, Army of the United States was organized. The Battalion fought with the Army of the Potomac and earning 10 campaign streamers including streamers for Antietam, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Cold Harbor.
During the Spanish-American War, the Battalion saw action in Cuba and was awarded the Santiago campaign streamer. The Battalion then went on to fight in the Philippines Insurrection, earning another campaign streamer. In 1901, the Battalion of Engineers was reorganized and designated the 2d Battalion of Engineers. In 1916, while under the command of General Pershing, the 2d Battalion of Engineer participated in a punitive expedition against Poncho Villa’s Mexican Revolutionaries, earning another campaign streamer. During that campaign, the 2d was also reorganized as the 2d Regiment of Engineers.
The 2d Regiment of Engineers was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 2d Engineer Regiment and known as the 2d Engineers, in 1917. Shortly thereafter, the Regiment sailed to France where it began fighting as infantry. During the war, the French government awarded the 2d Engineers with the Croix de Guerre for their extraordinary efforts at the Battle of Soissons. The 2d Engineer motto “Ardeur et Tenacite” is taken verbatim from that citation. The 2d Engineers also earned 5 campaign streamers including streamers for St. Mihlel and aisne-Marne, and Meuse-Argonne. The Belgian Government also awarded the 2d Engineers a Fourragere for their work in World War I.
In 1939 2d Engineer Regiment was redesignated the 2d Engineer Battalion (Combat) and 3 years later it was redesignated the 2d Engineer Combat Battalion. In 1943, the Battalion deployed to Great Britain. On D-Day June 6th, 1944, 1 officer and 69 enlisted men came ashore at Omaha Beach to blow obstacles in the path of assault boats and infantry landing craft. Those men were awarded the bronze arrowhead and a distinguished unit citation. Throughout the war, the Battalion played the role of both engineer and infantrymen. The unit was awarded its First distinguished unit citation for its action as infantry. It was during this period that Technician Fourth Grade Truman Kimbro, placed mines directly under advancing enemy armor. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. For its role in WWII, the 2d Engineers were awarded 5 campaign steamers. The Battalion men distinguished themselves earning a total of 27 silver stars, 85 Bronze Stars, 1 distinguished Service Cross, 1 Medal of Honor, 4 Croix de Guerre, and was twice cited by the Belgian Army for action at Arden and at Elsenborn-Crest.
During the Korean conflict, the Battalion landed at Pusan and spearheaded a drive north to the Yalu River where a Chinese attack forced the Division to withdraw. The 2d Engineers were ordered to fight a delaying action while the rest of the Division fell back. For 6 days, the Engineers fought off the Chinese advance but capture was eminent. With the Battalion separated from the division and severely depleted. Lt Col Zacherly ordered the Battalion’s equipment destroyed and the burning of the Battalion colors to prevent it’s capture by the Chinese communists. 330 officers and men were captured and held as Prisoners. Only 117 survived the brutal captivity and returned home at the end of hostilities. Some of these men are in attendance today. During the Korean Conflict the battalion was awarded 10 more Battle Streamers. The Battalion also received its second Distinguished Unit Citation as well as 2 Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations. B Company received a 3rd distinguished unit citation for its action at Chipyong-Ni.
The 2d Engineers were redesignated the 2d Engineer Battalion (Combat) in 1954 while based in Alaska. In 1957, the Battalion was transferred to Department of the Army. In 1958 the 2d Engineer Battalion was reborn at Fort Benning Georgia with a new mission, Training Engineer Soldiers. The 2d Engineer Battalion was later transferred to Korea with 2d Infantry Division. In the proud tradition of their predecessors, today’s 2d Engineer soldiers have been arduously tested, and have met the challenge. Today, the mission of the 2d Engineer Battalion,( as the most forward deployed engineers in the U.S. Army), remains vital to peace and freedom. The 2d Engineer Battalion was reactivated on White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 17 October 2008.