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7th Engineer Brigade
Looking for more information from military/civilian
personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army
in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any
stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.
Engineer Brigade website)
| The 565th
Engineer Battalion was reactivated on Jun 24, 1960, in
Karlsruhe, Germany, as part of the 7th Engineer Brigade supporting
the training of NATO defense forces. The battalion units consisted
of the 502nd Engineer Company (Float Bridge), the 809th Engineer Company
(Panel Bridge) and the 8594th Civilian Labor Group (Float Bridge).
In July 1975, the 535th Engineer Company (Light Equipment) was assigned
to the battalion with its permanent station in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
On Jun 30, 1976, the battalion was altered by deactivation of the
809th Engineer Company and the transfer of the 535th Engineer Company
to the 563rd Engineer Battalion.
The assignment of the 93rd Engineer Company (Mobile Assault Bridge)
to the 565th Engineer Battalion changed the mission support to the
VII Corps to focus only on bridging. On Feb 21, 1977, the 502nd Engineer
Company received the Ribbon Bridge, and was redesignated as the 502nd
Engineer Company (Assault Float Bridge) effective Dec 16, 1978. These
two redesignations made the battalion the first pure engineer battalion
(Assault Float Bridge) in the United States Army.
On Jun 17, 1985, the 563rd Engineer Battalion was inactivated and
the 38th Engineer Company (Medium Girder Bridge) and the 503rd Engineer
Company (Combat Support Equipment) were assigned to the 565th Engineer
Battalion. This made the 565th the largest battalion in the 7th Engineer
On May 15, 1986, the 565th Engineer Battalion was deactivated and
Task Force 565 was formed. On Aug 16, 1986, by authority of a VII
Corps general order, the 565th Engineer Battalion (Provisional) was
On Dec 1, 1987 the 38th Engineer Company (MGB) and the 503rd Engineer
Company (CSE) were transferred to the 237th Engineer Battalion, thus
leaving the 565th a pure engineer assault float bridge battalion again.
In Jan 1988, the 93rd Engineer Company received the ribbon bridge
and was redesignated as the 93rd Engineer Company (Assault Float Bridge).
On Oct 16, 1990, the 565th Engineer Battalion (Provisional) was activated
and became the 565th Engineer Battalion supporting 7th Engineer Brigade
and VII Corps.
With the deactivation of the 7th Engineer Brigade on Jun 22, 1991,
the 565th Engineer Battalion was assigned to the 130th Engineer Brigade
and V Corps. On Jul 1, 1991, the 38th Engineer Company again joined
the 565th Engineer Battalion (Assault Float Bridge), making it the
565th Engineer Battalion (Corps) (Bridge). On Sep 30, 1991, the 8594
Civilian Support Group was deactivated after 31 years of service.
In May 1992, the 516th Engineer Company (Medium Girder Bridge) joined
the battalion with a proud history.
The 565th Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment was inactivated
on 15 December 1993.
V Corps reactivated the 565th Engineer Battalion on April 14, 1998
with the current organization consisting of the 502nd Engineer Company
(Assault Float Bridge), the 38th Engineer Company (Assault Float Bridge) 1),
the 320th Engineer Company (Topographic) and the Headquarters and
Headquarters Detachment, 565th Engineer Battalion. All units are stationed
in Hanau, Germany.
1) (Source: Email from Carrington Stoffels)
I have a correction to the 565th En Bn page. The 38th En Co was a medium girder bridge company. I was the commander in 01-03 when we inactivated in Iraq 15 Sep 03.
engineer power boat of the 502nd Engineer Co, 565th Engr
Bn, provides motorization for a raft used to ferry elements
of the 1st Inf Div (Fwd) over the Danube River at Marxheim
during Operation BRAVE OTTER on July 31, 1985.
|If you have more
information on the history or organization of the 565th Engr Bn, please
Bn. bridges the way for REFORGER,
Athena Petry, October 5, 1984
than halfway across Germany, tucked in and around small towns
and villages with storybook characteristics, the 565th Engineer
Battalion traveled to do their part for REFORGER `84.
The annual Return of Forces to Germany exercise relocated the
Neureut Kaserne soldiers to an area north of Augsburg where
they assumed the task of bridging the Danube River so practicing
troops from stateside units could exercise their maneuvering
and fighting skills.
During the first week, they donned the bands of the "orange
forces" and then, the following week, the bands of the "blue
forces" to signify the opposing forces they were sent to the
field to support.
According to CSM Kenneth Wojczynski, battalion sergeant major,
the banks of the Danube are familiar to the men and women of
the 565th Eng. Bn. Also, REFORGER is not the only opportunity
the engineers have to go out and hone their skills to perfection.
They have bridged many German rivers.
The 565th Eng. Bit. is one of only two battalions in the Army
taht is completely "float." It is made up of three companies,
the 93rd Mobile Assault Bridge Company, the 502nd Ribbon Bridge
Company and the 8594th Civilian Support Group Ribbon Bridge
Company. The 565th Eng. Bn. is an element of the 7th Engineer
Brigade. They also provide direct bridging support to the 7th
Engineer Corps as well.
1st Lt. Luis Torres, executive officer for the 502nd Eng. Co.,
said the training areas the battalion uses are well planned.
He explained that the areas they usually use for training are
very realistic since they could be the same rivers they would
be bridging in an actual conflict.
Although the supervisors for the various units agreed that the
training was fairly realistic, 1st Sgt. Buddy Bazzell, 93rd
Eng. Co. added, "We'd like to have more crossing traffic once
we get our bridges built."
85 percent of the entire battalion was in the field during the
2½ weeks the soldiers were away. They took with them 472 pieces
of equipment to include several different types of wheeled vehicles,
bridge parts and tractors. According to MSgt. Doug Masterson,
HHD 565th, the 565th companies have more equipment per company
than most battalions have total.
During this recent exercise, the weather played a key role in
the training. Although they bridged the Danube several times,
they did not bridge it as much as they had originally planned
due to the rising waters of the Danube river brought on by several
days and nights of rain. In an actual conflict, they would have
bridged it anyway, but for the exercise Torres said safety was
a factor they would not ignore.
The second weekend of the 2½-week field problem brought a lull
in the action and, although the maneuvering was halted, the
training for the 565th engineers was not. That weekend was devoted
to individual soldier training of common tasks. When the soldiers
were not training, they were busy with maintenance and catching
up on much-needed sleep.
Damaged equipment was either repaired on the spot or transported
to designated maintenance areas for repair. There were incidents
of maneuver damage to some equipment, but Bazzell said it was
less than in previous years. He contributed this to "tighter
control, more supervision and all the usual rules of the ball
The training areas were also put through a maintenance cycle
as roads and fields were repaired from damage caused by the
heavy equipment and rain. The units located in lowlying areas,
such as the 93rd Eng. Co., were plagued by mud that would bog
down some of the heaviest vehicles.
During these maintenance "breaks," it was business as usual
said SFC Earl Sego, maintenance NCO for the 502nd Eng. Co. He
said the equipment would be repaired with the expectation that
"everything would be driven home."
Good training, realistic location and better than adequate support
meant an overall successful REFORGER for the troops of the 565th
Eng. Bn. Enough to inspire Bazzell to state, "They say 7th Brigade
leads the way. Hell, we are the way!"
field training in new light,
Liz Moore, October 5, 1984
a volunteer photographer/interpreter for the Town Crier, I was
able to witness the 565th Engineer Battalion in action for REFORGER.
In the past, I've always heard soldiers, upon their return from
the field, make comments such as "it was so muddy," "1 hardly
got any sleep" or "we didn't get to take a shower for days "
All these comments, I thought, were grossly exaggerated. They
were not kidding! That is exactly how it is and I lived for
a weekend through it.
While out tromping through the mud, I had the pleasure of meeting
the 8594th Engineer Company, the German Civilian Support Group
assigned to the 565th Eng Bn.
Although they are civilians, they are tasked to do everything
the Army does. In the beginning the Army had German employees
only as security guards and mechanics. They were doing such
a great job that in 1950, a German technical unit was formed.
They were trained at an engineer school in Murnau, Bavaria,
which is comparable to the Army's engineer training program.
Currently, Karlsruhe's 8594th Eng. Co. and a German Civilian
Support Group in Schwetzineen are the only bridge units in USAREUR.
The commander of the 8594th, Maj. Hans Tollkuehn, was an interpreter
for the 565th Eng. Bn. for 13 years before taking command of
this company two years ago. Of his 159 civilians, 132 were in
the field with him.
According to the major, "We're ready for any mission, but it
can't be completed without a day's worth of repairing" That
was exactly how long it took his unit to repair minor problems
on their vehicles. Forty-eight vehicles are assigned to his
none are deadlined. This mis because his men don't rotate like
regular soldiers, but stay for as long as they are employed
by the company. Therefore, all of the men are very familiar
with their equipment. Some of his key personnel have been with
the engineer company since its beginning 34 years ago.
Language never seems to be a problem between the German and
American units. There is the basic terminology for all the equipment
and everyone knows it. All the men seem to like their job and,
as Tollkuehn said, with a smile, "we are proud to work with
the U.S. Army and enjoy the atmosphere and the job that goes
along with it.
He wasn't the only person with a smile on his face when it came
to talking about the Americans. Many residents, in the small
towns surrounding the soldiers' camps, were overjoyed at having
the Americans in town.
One restaurant employee said, "The Americans are always a treat
to have around. I never have to worry about them not paying
or creating a disturbance. They are very decent people."
I found this to be a common feeling among the German townspeople.
They also didn't seem to mind sweeping their streets everyday
after all the muddy vehicles went through the towns. In fact,
many residents said they wish the Americans would come back
I was totally impressed by all that went on around me. After
seeing the Americans at work in the field I felt very proud
to be associated with them. I hope that all the family members
and friends in Karlsruhe share this feeling of pride in what
our troops are doing, when they are away from home on a training
(Editor's note: Liz Moore is the program director for sports,
Morale Supprt Activities.)