Task Force Trailblazers: The 1st Engineer Battalion
is back in OIF
By CPT John Ordonio, 1st EN BN ADJ
The “oldest and most decorated” engineer battalion has been
deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom since September 2006. This is the
battalion’s second tour in OIF but the first time it has deployed as a modular
engineer battalion (Combat Effects Engineer Battalion). The Diehard
battalion supports the Multinational Division North Area of Operations (MND-N)
by conducting deliberate route clearance operations on MSRs/ASRs throughout
the area of operation in order to provide freedom of movement for coalition
forces and the Iraqi people. Multinational Division North’s headquarters
is that of the Tropic Lighting Division, 25th ID, out of Hawaii. The
battalion is tasked organized to the 105th Engineer Group (Cbt), a National
Guard unit from North Carolina.
The 1st Engineer Battalion is well known throughout the entire AO as Task
Force Trailblazer. They are also known for the outstanding missions
the Soldiers perform conducting route clearance operations. The Soldiers
conduct missions on a daily basis in efforts to counter and mitigate the
IED threat and to detain or defeat those responsible for emplacing them in
order to protect coalition forces and Iraqis. The battalion is equipped
with the latest technology in vehicles and equipment in order to complete
their mission safely and successfully. Many Soldiers have been awarded
for their heroic and valorous conduct while facing a determined enemy.
To this date, three Soldiers earned the Bronze Star Medal with valor:
SPC Nicholas Biggs, PVT James M. Meeh, and PFC Christopher D. Cavazos.
All three Soldiers were in a patrol that was involved in an intense firefight
in the city of Baqubah on November 1, 2006.
The battalion receives outstanding support from its FRG, Rear Det, and family
and friends left back in Fort Riley, KS. It is because of this support that
Soldiers’ morale remains consistently high. The battalion looks forward
for the day they will return to their loved ones.
Note: Picture of 1st Engineer Battalion taken in Dec 2006.
Vehicles in the background are route clearance equipment (left to right):
Meerkat, Buffalo, and RG-31.