Paratroopers assigned to the 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division came together to compete during a unit organization day, Aug. 25, at Fort Bragg.
Families attended and cheered during competitions like tug-o-war, water balloon toss, a CrossFit relay race and more.
Paratroopers demonstrated camaraderie, just as the unit has during the last 100 years on this day.
According to Retired Col. Robert Melchior, former 307th BEB commander, for decades the history of the battalion’s founding fathers has been unknown.
“The first time I arrived at this battalion, in 1975, there were no pictures of our World War I commanders, only names,” said Melchior.
“With the one-hundredth anniversary of WWI, it appeared to me that it may be time to see if we (can) find some descendants of our first commanders and maybe even get a picture of them.”
After a search of about eight months, Melchior reached out to Mary Anne Brown, the great niece of Retired Col. Earl Ivan Brown, 307th’s first commander.
Brown was at Fort Bragg to attend a photo dedication ceremony in his honor. Upon the battalion’s birth, Aug. 25, 1917, the colonel reported to Camp Gordon, Georgia, where he first organized and commanded at what was then the 307th Engineer Regiment, 82nd Division.
Brown’s time in the battalion was cut short after only 90 days. He was reassigned to the 317th Engineer Regiment, 92nd Division in Camp Sherman, Ohio.
“It’s incredible after all this time he is still being honored,” said Mary.
Lt. Col. Donald Crawford, current commander of the 307th BEB, said, “It’s important for an organization to remember their history. An organizational day like this is a great time to come together as a team, as a Family and to remember where we came from.
“It’s leaders from the past that have built our legacy year after year. We took the time and effort to find the photo of our first commander. Hopefully, this photo dedication ceremony teaches the younger generation of junior paratroopers that it’s important to remember your past.”
Crawford also shared how it feels to be the current commander while the battalion is celebrating its first commander.
“It’s actually pretty awesome,” he said. “Me and Col. Brown graduated from West Point (100) years apart, so I think it’s great timing and I am very privileged and honored to be in the position during this time.”