The 307th Engineer Battalion was first constituted on Aug. 5, 1917, in the National Army as the 307th Engineers and organized at Camp Gordon, Ga. Aug. 27, 1917 as a unit of the 82nd Infantry Division. This unit participated in three World War I campaigns: Meuse-Argone, St. Mihiel and Lorraine. It was demobilized on May 17, 1919, at Camp Dix, N.J.
The 307th Engineer Battalion was again ordered into active service on March 25, 1942, at Camp Claiborne, La. as part of the 82nd Infantry Division. On Aug. 15, 1942, the battalion was redesignated as the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion and assigned to the 82nd Infantry division. From 1942 to 1945, the battalion participated in eight major campaigns, more than any other engineer battalion and was the first engineer battalion to perform a mission with an airborne division. The campaigns were Sicily, Anzio, Naples-Foggia, Rome Amo, Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace (the Battle of the Bulge), and Central Europe. In 1946, the battalion was moved to and stationed at Fort Bragg.
The unit was withdrawn on Nov. 15, 1948 from the Organized Reserve Corps and in the regular Army. It was subsequently reorganized and redesignated on Sept. 1, 1957, as the 307th Engineer Battalion.
On April 29, 1965, 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers deployed to Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic to protect American citizens located within the revolution torn capital city. Engineers cleared streets of debris and set up road blocks and barricades. They got the city water flowing again and constructed a storage and landing area along the ocean shore at Boca Chico. It was soon discovered that rebels were using the sewer system to move about the city, so engineers were used to map the entire system. Once mapped, they mined and set up wire obstacles to deny the rebels use of the sewer. On June 15, 1965, rebels attacked U.S. forces, and the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, supported by Company C counter-attacked. 1st Lt. Travis of Company C and Spc. Grisson of the 618th Engineer Company used a loader to breach a number of anti tank ditches in the city and allowed the infantry’s 106mm recoilless rifles to move forward and destroy enemy positions and equipment. Engineers continued to emplace fortifications and wire obstacles until stability was restored to the Dominican Republic. After the combat situation became static, the battalion built roads, ranges and cantomnents.
On July 24, 1967, the 505th PIR along with Company C, 307th Engineer Bn. deployed to Detroit to quell civil rioting over U.S. participation in the Vietnam War. After helping to restore law and order in Detroit, Co. C, 307th Engineers, with the 505th PIR deployed to the Republic of Vietnam on Feb. 13, 1968, to help blunt the Tet Offensive. For nearly two years, Co. C performed combat engineer missions during combat operations in the Hue/Phu Bai area with the 505th PIR. In December 1969, Co. C returned to Fort Bragg. Company C, 307th Engineer Bn. participated in seven campaigns.
The “All American” engineers were called upon to execute their rapid-deployment mission once again during Operation Urgent Fury. On Oct. 25, 1983, U.S. forces invaded the Caribbean Island of Grenada. Co. C, 307th Engineer Bn. and 618th Engineer Company were among the 82nd Abn. Div. forces deployed to the tiny island. The engineers moved into the region’s hills where they found themselves fighting as infantry when they encountered enemy positions. In addition to capturing caches of weapons and munitions, Co. C, 307th Engineers constructed a prisoner of war compound to hold the large number of Cubans captured. The service of Co. C, 307th Engineer Bn. during Operation Urgent Fury was critical to the successful rescue of American citizens in Grenada.
(Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part story about the history of the 307th Engineer Battalion. For part two, see next week’s edition of the Paraglide.)