62nd Engineer Battalion cases colors, deploys in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Story by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

The 62nd Engineer Battalion cased its colors and deployed this week in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 62nd deployed to provide logistical engineer support for the 4th Infantry Division while the 4th is in Iraq.

This is the 62nd's second deployment in support of OIF. Their first deployment acted as a pre-requisite for the initial attack on Iraq in 2003.

In January of 2003, the 62nd became the first combat engineer battalion in-country in support of what would become known as OIF I. The 62nd's mission was to construct a petroleum distribution system which would be essential for coalition success in their invasion of Iraq.

The petroleum pipeline the 62nd constructed was the longest operational inland petroleum distribution system, 224 miles long, ever constructed by the Army. Their success in this mission earned the unit its eighth Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Now the Soldiers of the 62nd will be given the opportunity to continue their legacy and tradition of success and hard work.

Lt. Col. John R. Boule, II, battalion commander, encouraged his Soldiers during one of several pre-deployment ceremonies, reminding them of the unit's heritage.

"[The 62nd has a] legacy born in the frozen tundra of Alaska . . . during World War II . . . A heritage deepened and honed in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq," the commander said.

Boule then congratulated the Soldiers of the 62nd for all their hard work and a title they have earned through years of mission completion and success.

"We are the Army's builders of choice!"

This was a statement backed by years of superior service. While most units train, rest and prepare for future deployments when returning from combat operations, the 62nd deploys on humanitarian missions stateside and across the globe, said 13th COSCOM commander Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry. The unit's handiwork is displayed in areas as close to home as Killeen and as far away as Greenland.

On post, the unit most recently received recognition for its construction of a one-of-a-kind landing strip which was made for the Air Force to use as a training tool. Off-post, they recently built a playground for students at St. Joseph's School on Rancier.

These projects are the projects that make a difference, the COSCOM and battalion commanders agreed. Not only are these Soldiers constructing objects, they are building something vastly more important, said the two.

In the words of the commanding general, "You build hope."

 

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62nd Engineer Battalion commander Lt. Col. John R. Boule II and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard St. Cyr case the unit colors in preparation for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The casing of the colors is symbolic of the command's absence in garrison, as well as the fact that the colors traditionally guide the unit in battle. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist

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The 62nd Engineer Battalion color guard leads the way as the battalion leaves the 13th Corps Support Command Guidon Field following the casing of the unit colors Friday. The battalion is scheduled to deploy for its second rotation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist