36TH ENGINEER, THE RUGGED BRIGADE!
The 36th Engineer Brigade was originally constituted on 1 October 1933 as the 36th Engineer Regiment and activated on 1 June 1941 at Plattsburgh Barracks, New York. During World War II the 36th Engineer Regiment consisted of nine combat engineer companies trained for amphibious assault and support operations. Because of this training, the unit's distinctive insignia was designed with a seahorse on a red and white shield.
On 15 February 1945, the unit was redesignated as the 36th Engineer Combat Group, and following World War II it reorganized at Fort Lewis, Washington. The unit was broken up, its three battalions redesignated as the 2826th Combat Engineer Battalion, the 2827th Combat Engineer Battalion, and the 2828th Combat Engineer Battalion, respectively. They then assumed separate lineage, and the Regiment itself was inactivated on 30 November 1946 in Austria.
Reactivated on 5 May 1947 at Fort Lewis, Washington, the unit officially became the 36th Engineer Group on 10 April 1953. During the Korean War, the 36th Engineer Combat Group consisted of four engineer battalions and four additional engineer companies, earning two Meritorious Unit Citations and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. It served in the Korean theater from 1950 until 1954, earning nine campaign streamers while supporting other army units in numerous engineering and construction projects. After its withdrawal from Korea, the unit did not participate in any notable campaigns until its inactivation on 30 May 1972 at Fort Lewis.
It was reactivated shortly after on 1 July 1973 as the 36th Engineer Group (Construction) at Fort Benning, Georgia. It would see no conflicts until the start of the Gulf War. In 1989, it participated in "Exercise Camino De La Paz," an unscheduled exercise conducted in the first half of 1989 on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.
During the 1991 Gulf War, the 36th Engineer Group (Construction) fought in support of the 24th Infantry Division's rapid attack to the Euphrates. The unit also deployed in support of peace enforcement missions during Operation Continue Hope in Somalia and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. Most recently, the 36th Engineer Group (Construction) has twice deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, executing a wide variety of construction missions in support of combat operations, including the construction of enemy prisoner of war camps, theater convoy support centers, and soldier life support areas. Some of the soldiers from the unit were still in Iraq as late as October 2007.
On 16 June 2006, the unit was reorganized and redesignated the 36th Engineer Brigade and reassigned to Fort Cavazos, formerly known as Fort Hood, as the United States Army's first modular engineer brigade headquarters. The brigade deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2007, holding a ceremony at III Corps Headquarters, casing its unit colors in preparation for its deployment on 28 February 2007. The brigade supports operations conducted by the 82nd Airborne Division. It is part of Task Force Rugged, and among its duties are training Afghan citizens in skilled labor and other nation building operations. Most of the brigade served in Afghanistan since February 2007, while other elements of the unit served in Iraq. While in Afghanistan, the brigade headquarters were stationed at Forward Operating Base Sharana. It also began to undertake missions against Improvised Explosive Devices, a problem which had originated in Iraq but since became more of a threat in Afghanistan.
INSIGNIA ORIGIN & MEANING
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia: The original design for the 36th EN Regiment insignia was made in 1941 and despite a lack of approval from the War Department, 36th Soldiers wore the patch on uniforms and displayed the insignia frequently in various forms during WWII. The Germans called the 36th EN’s “The Little Seahorse Division” while on the front line serving as infantry and also since it was rare for a regiment to have its own shoulder sleeve insignia. Divisions at the time were mainly the only units with unique shoulder sleeve insignia.
During the Korean war, the patch was rarely worn since it was technically not approved for wear and since the Group was comprised of many different subordinate units that were not organic to 36th. In many photos from the Korean era to the year 2005, 36th EN Group Soldiers are seen wearing either no unit patch or the higher headquarters patch. 36th fell under IX Corps originally and then was placed under I Corps while in Korea. After 36th returned to the states they frequently wore FORSCOM patches. The shoulder sleeve insignia did not see a resurrection in use until the late 1980’s when WWII veterans of 36th began hosting reunions and sharing the Regiments history with the 36th EN Group leadership. Multiple requests were made but approval would not be granted for the wear of the current Shoulder sleeve insignia until 2005.
Distinctive Unit Insignia: The distinctive unit insignia (DUI) was designed after the 1953 armistice in Korea. The DUI contains symbolism for the unit history. 5 arrowheads and 10 battle stars for the amphibious landings and campaigns in WWII, the scarlet scroll charged with 9 stars and bearing a Taeguk in the colors of Korea symbolizes the units two meritorious unit citations, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit citation and the unit’s nine campaigns in Korea. The scarlet and white backdrops with the seahorse represents the original legacy of 36th Engineers. This insignia bearing the seahorse was more widely used in Korea than the shoulder sleeve insignia.