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63rd Engineer Battalion
37th Engineer Group

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.

Battalion History 

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Battalion History

63rd Engineer Cbt Bn at Rivers Barracks, Giessen (Jon Clemens)

HHC, 63rd ECB passes in review at Giessen (Jon Clemens)
1957 - 1958
63rd Engineer Bn DUI
(Source: A Brief Historical Sketch, 63rd Engr Bn (Cbt))

In June 1956, the 63rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) received word that it would transfer to Europe with "Operation Gyroscope" in February 1957 to exchange duty stations with the 5th Engineer Battalion (Combat) at Giessen, Germany.

Advance detachments were exchanged between the 5th and 63rd Engineer Battalions in November 1956. The battalion departed Fort Leonard Wood by troop train on 6 February 1957, arriving at the Brooklyn Army Terminal two days later. On 9 February 1957, the battalion left the United States aboard the USNS Simon B. Buckner arriving at Bremerhaven, Germany on 18 February 1957.

Company C moved to McPheeters Barracks, Bad Hersfeld, Germany.

The 63rd Engineers were sponsored by the 18th Engineer Battalion (Combat) and welcomed to their new home, thus becoming the first battalion size unit to gyroscope to the Giessen Sub-Area. It was the first Battalion-size unit to Gyroscope from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.


Upon arrival in Germany, the 63rd Engineer Battalion became a part of NATO, and its mission became the defense of the free world. The battalion is a part of the Seventh US Army and is attached to the 37th Engineer Group (Combat), a part of the V United States Corps.

The first major inspection in Europe was the Annual General Inspection conducted by Headquarters V Corps in August 1957. The battalion received an overall rating of "high excellent". Company C and the Medical Detachment received a rating of superior.

63rd Engr Bn Pocket Patch
  In October 1957, Company C won the 37th Engineer Group (Combat) Floating Bridge Competition, bridging the Main River near Hanau, Germany, with a Class 60 Floating Bridge of approximately four hundred feet long.

In October the Battalion underwent its Army Training Test, this test began at Wildflecken and ended at Hanau, Germany. The purpose of the test was to determine the training proficiency of the battalion for the year. The unit obtained a score of "high excellent". As part of the test, the unit constructed a mine field, a timber trestle bridge, an M-2 Panel Bridge, a Class 60 Ferry and Floating Bridge. It reorganized as infantry, siezed and held a 900 meter hill. It also repaired mud roads to keep the military traffic moving smoothly.

A part of the battalion's NATO mission is the fostering of favorable German-American Relations. The battalion works on frequent projects constructing sports areas, excavation, and earthmoving jobs, thereby saving the Germans the expenses involved in these projects. The battalion has sponsored, by voluntary contributions of the individuals, a German Kinderheim (Children's Home) which cares for approximately one hundred children.

The 63rd Engineer Battalion is proud to be a part of the NATO team and always stands ready to defend the free world against the enemies of freedom.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES article via Jerry Broussard)
63rd Engrs Arrive, Given Welcome By Lt Col Folger

GIESSEN - Arriving last week from Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., was the 63rd Engr Bn, replacing the 5th Engr Bn which gyroed to the same post.

The 18th Engr Bn, commanded by Lt Col Joseph W. Folger, sponsored the unit and welcomed the men to their new "home."

Individuals of the 18th Engrs were assigned to sponsor a family of the 63rd. These sponsors have been busy during the past weeks preparing quarters, stocking refrigerators with essential food items, and signing for property.

They met the new arrivals at the door, made them comfortable, got them breakfast, and are now introducing them to the intricacies of the PX, commissary, dependent schools, and all other community facilities.

The 63rd arrived in two trains. The first carried troops and their baggage. Upon arrival they were moved to Rivers Bks for a hot breakfast.

The second train carried dependents. 2d Lt Billy N. Lacy and a team from the 18th Engrs had gone to Bremerhaven to meet the dependents and escort them to Giessen.

During the train ride Lacy and his men were busy briefing dependents on what to expect, tagging baggage for transfer to quarters, and even helping to get baby bottles warmed.

(Source: Email from Karen Breen-Bondie, daughter of Joseph T. Breen, 63rd Engr Bn)

1. 63rd Engr Bn Historical Sketch cover

2. Class 60 Bridge on Main River (KB)

3. M4T6 Bridge at Campo Pond (KB)

If you have more information on the history or organization of the 63rd Engr Bn, please contact me.

(Source: Letter from Jerry Broussard)
I was with the Hq & Sv Co, 63rd Engineer Battalion (Combat) at Rivers Barracks in Giessen, Germany, from December 1956 to Dec 31 1958. My MOS was a Crane Operator with the company.

The 63rd was deactivated Dec 31 1958.

I had a good time in Germany going to all the Fests they had , also the nice buildings and small towns. I had a good time at Rivers Barracks, too. We went to the field a lot but it wasn't that bad. We sponsored the Berg Kinderheim and we gave them a Christmas party in December of 1957 at Rivers. I had a lot of fun tha day. We also did some work for them one time, I was running the air compressor. I also gave a class to some motor sergeants on the air compressor and all the tools that went along wih it.

On Jan 1 1959, just after the 63rd was deactivated, I was sent to the Hq & Hq Co, 9th Engineer Battalion (Combat) at Smith Barracks, Aschaffenburg. I was a Crane Operator with them, also.

I married a girl while I was there; we have been married 45 years. I stayed there until the end of September 1959 when I was shipped back to the States. I was discharged Oct 1959.
Jerry Lee Broussard

63rd Engr Bn (C)
Rivers Bks, Giessen


1. Project at Heuchelheim, 1957 (KB)

2. Truck-mounted crane (KB)

3. Dumpster unloads (KB)

4. Project at Neustadt, 1958 (KB)

5. Rock quarry at Wildflecken (KB)

6. Group photo - HHC, 63rd Engr Bn, 1957 (125 KB)

7. Group photo - Hvy Equip Pltn, 1957 (170 KB)

9th Engr Bn (C)
Smith Bks, Aschaffenburg


1. 9th Engrs bridge the Rhein River, 1959 (KB)

2. A 950-foot long Class 60 floating bridge (KB)

3. Class 60 bridge material is unloaded at Smith Bks (KB)

264th FA Bn (280mm)
Rivers Bks, Giessen


1. 264th FA Bn motor pool, 1958 (KB)

2. 264th FA Bn at Rivers Bks (KB)

(Source: Email from Jon Clemens)
The picture of the company brought back a lot of fond memories, but I can't remember exactly when it was taken. It must have been fairly early in 1957 because Capt. Swavely was still the CO. He broke his arm during one of our maneuvers a few months after we arrived and was transferred out of the battalion. The photo clearly shows that we were wearing the 7th Army patch, but I could have sworn that we wore the blue pentagon patch of V Corps. I guess my memory is fading a bit after 55 years.

I came back to the US on the same ship early in 1959, shortly after the battalion was deactivated and we had all been sent to other battalions.

In my previous e-mail I mentioned that I didn't remember wearing the 7th Army patch. In going through my box of uncataloged slides from that era, I came across only two showing the 63rd Engineer Battalion (Combat). The occasion was a review being put on for someone from a higher command. I scanned the old Kodachrome slides so they could be e-mailed, and the quality isn't really great. One is of HQ company, and the other is the battalion passing the reviewing stand. If you look closely at the latter picture you can see that we were wearing the blue pentagon patch of V Corps. As this was taken later than the 'formal' portrait Jerry (Broussard) sent you, they must have had us change patches sometime after the Summer of 1957.

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