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7th Engineer Brigade
Seventh Army

VII Corps
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.

7th Engr Avn Bde

Brigade History

9th Engr Bn

78th Engr Bn

82nd Engr Bn

275th Engr Co (ADM)

370th Engr Co

563rd Engr Bn

565th Engr Bn

503rd Engr Co

Patch worn from 1956? to 1969

Engineer Memoirs -
Gen Richard S. Kem
, Cmdr, 7th Sig Bde
(1976-78) - large PDF file (10+ MB))

Patch variant - information request


Related Links

7th Engineer Brigade History

Wire diagram, 7th Engineer Brigade, 1963 (Thomas Walter)
1956 - 1991
7th Engineer Brigade DI

Sources: "Engr Bridge Tough Spots," JAYHAWK Anniversary Issue, August 19, 1970
7th Engineer Brigade History, Public Affairs Office, HQ 7th Engr Bde (late 1980s)
"The 7th Engineer Brigade," by Maj Al Bornmann and SGM Larry David. ENGINEER, Summer 1980
"Leading the Way," JAYHAWK, August 1982

  On 24 February 1951, the 7th Engineer Brigade (activated in 1948 at Fort Belvoir, VA) was reorganized and redesignated as the 7th Engineer Aviation Brigade.

During the next six years, this brigade of 35,000 soldiers would be the subject of great controversy between the US Army and US Air Force. Stationed at Rhein-Main Air Base, near Frankfurt am Main, it assumed all responsibility for aviation construction in Italy, France and Germany.

The Brigade was designated a SCARWAF (Special Category Army Personnel with the Air Force) unit. The Army received full command of the brigade on June 25, 1956 - "aviation" was dropped and thus was born the 7th Engineer Brigade.

A newspaper article in 1963 heralded the 7th Engineer Brigade as "the largest engineer construction organization in the Army. Having subordinate units located throughout Germany and France, the brigade is capable of any type of horizontal or vertical construction for support of NATO forces."

Throughout the 1960's, the brigade performed many various missions. In 1963, the 39th Engineer Group of the 7th rushed to the aid of Yugoslavia after a devastating earthquake. In that same year, the 7th constructed a 10,000-foot emergency-landing strip in Libya, North Africa. In 1964, the engineers built bug-proof offices for the US (State Department) in Moscow.

24th Engr Gp Const, Kleber Ksn, Kaiserslautern
39th Engr Gp Const, Rheinland Ksn, Ettlingen
45th Engr Bn Const, Kleber Ksn, Kaiserslautern
79th Engr Bn Const, D-Isly Ksn, Pirmasens
94th Engr Bn Const, Nellingen Ksn, Nellingen
249th Engr Bn Const, Etain AB, Etain, France
293rd Engr Bn Const, Smith Bks, Baumholder
370th Engr Co Const Spt, Kleber Ksn, Kaiserslautern
620th Engr Co Maint DS, Rheinland Ksn, Ettlingen

24th Engr Gp Const

39th Engr Gp Const

45th Engr Bn Const

79th Engr Bn Const

94th Engr Bn Const

249th Engr Bn Const

293rd Engr Bn Const

The 7th Engineer Brigade became a member of the VII Corps on June 14, 1969, relocating to Ludendorff Kaserne, Kornwestheim. Upon joining VII Corps, the Brigade activated six battalions under its headquarters. Personnel (and equipment) for the brigade were transferred from the 540th and 555th Engineer Groups, which were subsequently inactivated.

During the 1970's and 1980's, numerous projects have been completed throughout Europe. The 7th has been actively involved with the upgrading of living conditions of military and civilian communities, flood relief efforts, regular maintenance of military training areas, and support of REFORGER activities.

In 1980, the brigade comprised the following units:


HHC, 7th Engr Bde Kornwestheim at Ludendorff Ksn (Jul 1982)
9th Engr Bn (CBT)(CORPS) Aschaffenburg
78th Engr Bn (CBT)(HVY) Ettlingen
82nd Engr Bn (CBT)(HVY) Bamberg
237th Engr Bn (CBT)(HVY) Heilbronn at Wharton Bks
563rd Engr Bn (SVC) Kornwestheim at Ludendorff Ksn (Jul 1982)
565th Engr Bn (SVC) Karlsruhe
275th Engr Co (ADM) Ludwigsburg at Coffey Bks (May 1982)
Also, the brigade routinely participated in Partnership Projects with their German partnership units. Exercises from squad to brigade level with the VII Corps' maneuver commands were common-place throughout Germany and other NATO training areas. Corps level command post and field exercises complemented the full training program.

A big step in the brigade was the mechanization of the engineer battalions. Two battalions were mechanized in 1985-86, and another in 1987. The addition of armored personnel carriers to the sappers redefined and accented the combat role that the brigade played in the Army's airland battle doctrine.

Annual battalion level exercises that units participated in included BRIDGEX and CEMTAP.

BRIDGEX was a battalion size combat bridging exercise at dry span and wet sites. The exercise provided the opportunity for the engineers to practice bridging to ARTEP standards, in addition to the river crossing operations so important ot their combat support role. Both individual soldier skills and small unit cohesion were honed to wartime demands.

CEMTAP was a construction exercise in which each battalion participated. During CEMTAP major training areas were upgraded. During CEMTAP rotation, the battalions also incorporated common task testing, weapons qualification, along with concurrent training activity.
In the late 1980s, the 7th Engineer Brigade comprised the following units:


HHC, 7th Engr Bde Ludendorff Ksn, Kornwestheim
9th Engr Bn (Mech) Aschaffenburg second unit to be converted
78th Engr Bn (Mech) Ettlingen third unit to be converted (FY 88)
82nd Engr Bn (Mech) Bamberg first unit in 7th Engr Bde to be converted
237th Engr Bn (Wheel) Wharton Bks, Heilbronn
565th Engr Bn (Ribbon Bridge) Ettlingen
38th Engr Co Ludendorff Ksn, Kornwestheim
93rd Engr Co
502nd Engr Co
503rd Engr Co Ludendorff Ksn, Kornwestheim
535th Engr Co
8594th Civ Spt Group
On June 22 1991, the 7th Engineer Brigade was inactivated in Germany.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, June 28, 1969)
7th Engineer Brigade was formed in June 1969 through the consolidation of two former engineer groups: the 540th Engr Gp and the 555th Egr Gp. During a ceremony held at Kelley Barracks on June 26, Col Howard B. Coffman, Jr. assumed command of the new unit.

As part of the reorganization, two engineer battalions (563rd and 565th) were activated to provide centralized command and control for several separate engineer companies which had previosuly been under group control.


9th Engr Cbt Bn DI

78th Engr Cbt Bn DI

82nd Engr Cbt Bn DI

237th Engr Cbt Bn DI

563rd Engr Cbt Bn DI

565th Engr Cbt Bn DI

7TH ENGR BDE MISC. PATCHES - 1950s - 70s

Marksmanship Team

Sapper Stakes '90

CASTLE TOWER - Some of the issues published while in Germany

Feb 1984 (Vol. 3, No. 2)
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4-5, 6, 7, 8

Mar 1984 (Vol. 3, No. 3)*
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Jul 1984 (Vol. 3, No. 6)
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

* Note: Editor forgot to change Date and Issue No. on the masthead - should be March 1984, Vol. 3 No. 3


93rd Engineer Company DI

(Source: Email from Mike Sanders)
I noticed on your website that you show the 565th Engineer Bn as being HQ'd in Ettlingen. I was with the 93rd Engineer Co from 1986-1989, and the Bn HQ was located about 100 yards from my barracks on Neureut Kaserne in Karlsruhe.
If you have more information on the history or organization of the 7th Engr Bde, please contact me.

(Source: THE MILITARY ENGINEER, May-Jun 1954, Society of Military Engineers, Wash. D.C.)
Community Aid in Germany

Trained Army Engineer troops, using their heavy equipment, are leaving their mark in Germany. Dozens of construction jobs have been completed which benefit the cities and the rural areas. The work, ranging from all types of construction to clearing and earthwork, not only aids the people of the war-battered country but also adds practical experience to troop training schedules. Much of the labor is done by soldiers on their off-duty time. Their weekend work saves months of toil that would be required if the jobs were to be done by Germans using hand tools. No official estimate of the value of this work has been made but it is believed to exceed $500,000 a year.

Typical of this aid was the reclaiming of more than 80 acres of wasteland, near the central German city of Giessen, which was badly needed for farming. Three men from the 354th Engineer Construction Battalion used heavy bulldozers to fill bomb craters and cover old gun positions in the area. They leveled rock and distributed rich topsoil, accomplishing in one weekend a job that would have taken hand-workers several months.

The 807th Engineer Light Equipment Company undertook the job of removing rubble from the Bundesbahn (German federal railway) which required the work of a mechanized five-man crew for a week. The team filled sixty freight ears with more than than 600 cubic yards of rubble.

Countless sports fields have been leveled and completed by engineer units throughout the American Zone and basements and foundations for schools and public buildings have been dug. Aid is extended in summer by the construction of swimming pools and in winter by removal of snowbanks too deep to be handled by the local equipment of the towns.

A unique project is the clearing of the Ludwigsburg Castle grounds to prepare a replica of the famous Stuttgart "Killigsberg" or outdoor garden, where national flower shows were held in previous years. The 503d Engineer Light Equipment Company is furnishing men and machinery to make the rock garden ready for the spring opening.

The laying of a city park in Weissenhorn, a town in the Danube valley, was a project of the 54th Engineer Construction Battalion. The distance from the park to the camp was too great to move heavy road graders and dump trucks bark and forth each daL°, so tile people of tile town furnished rooms and meals for the soldiers while tile work was in progress.

Many refugees from behind the Iron Curtain who have fled from the East are building homes in community projects. Sand and rock to make concrete are always difficult to obtain. To help in this matter, engineer units strip-mine sand for the homes and blast quarry rock in realistic training activities. After quarry blasts for foundation rock, the Army keeps gravel for road repair.

The bridges and roads constructed by the engineers during maneuver periods are definite coutributions to the German public works program, and bridges and overpasses built for the civilian users serve military purposes as well.

Recently, the police in a small Bavarian village asked the engineers to assist in uprooting a forest of tree stumps which were to be given to needy families for firewood. The troops gladly complied, arid receivcd some excellent demolition practice in the process.

But the 547th Combat Engineers received the most unusual request of all recently in Gross-Urnstadt, near Darmstadt. No bulldozers, road graders or steam shovels were involved this time. The sponsors of a youth festival wanted to know if the battalion could provide a dance band. The 547th organized a "combo" for the occasion.

The Army likes to answer all the German requests it can, keeping training schedules and budgets constantly in mind. And most of. the time the service results in advantage to all concerned: experience for the engineers and grants-in-aid for the German people.

1. Setting heavy concrete lamp posts in Nürnberg (KB)

2. Another "Killigsberg" in the making (KB)

3. Construction of a community building at Fischereihafen

7th Engineer Brigade, Ludendorff Kaserne, Kornwestheim, 1982 (Scott Justesen)

Sign at main gate, Ludendorff Kaserne, Kornwestheim, 1982 (Scott Justesen)
COL Richard J. Polo, Commander, 7th Engineer Brigade
I commanded the 7th Engineer Brigade, was the VII Corps Engineer, and the Commander of the Ludwigsburg Community, from June 1980 to June 1983, the longest period of any Brigade Commander. (The Command tour had been extended to 3 years and was later cut back.)

The Brigade had the motto of "Engineers - Lead the Way" and had a very high morale. Besides the training exercises described in the history of the Brigade, we participated in a Reforger exercise in which we were augmented by a Reserve Engineer Command from the United States. For this exercise, using metal pallets, we built an airstrip in which the planes from the States landed. We also built refueling points for the planes and helicopters carried by them. The reinforcing units were processed, they were equipped with materiel taken out of POMCUS sites, and went on to participate in a major USAREUR wide FTX.

While I was with VII Corps, the 7th Engineer Brigade built many German Community projects, and also several projects to improve the many Kasernes occupied by VII Corps units. The Brigade units participated in many activities with German Army units with which they established partnership relationships. We participated in many visits to German Army installations, and they took our officers to visit old Roman forts.

It was an enjoyable and satisfying tour. Not mentioned in the history of the Brigade, is that later it deployed to Saudi Arabia and participated in the Gulf War and invasion of Iraq.

In two earlier tours in Germany I served in the 9th Engineer Battalion. The first time as a Lieutenant and Captain from 1962 to 1965, in both Company A and Headquarters Company.

The second from 1971 to 1973 I commanded the 9th Engineer Battalion. Hence my interest and attachment to the 7th Engineer Brigade.

Here are some excerpts of my recollections from a book which I am writing for my sons.

9th Engineer Battalion, 1962-65

Every Company of the Battalion had an ADM team. And I was the Battalion training Officer for all the ADM teams even though each Company had an ADM Officer. The Battalion had ADM missions that required it to have a Platoon always at Wildflecken on a rotating basis for a month at a time. When it was my turn to go, I would illegally take your Mother and Rick with me. I would sneak them into the BOQ, and we would sleep in two bunks. There I would have to stoke the room furnace with coal bricks all night to stay warm, and to stand watch while your mother went to the communal bathroom in the BOQ. We would drive around the Post, and walk in the fields. I took many photographs of your Mother and Rick there.

Once a year the Battalion would go to Wildflecken for training, and all the wives went to Wildflecken to visit on Sundays. We would go to a Monastery across the road from Wildflecken to eat and drink Beer, and to tour the fields of the Monastery. We all had a good time.

Then late in 1960, A Company was designated to support another Battalion and deploy to Bad Hersfeld for a month to assume their ADM missions on the German border in that area. All the wives went. We had a good time even though we had a lot to do with the Platoons taking turns inspecting the targets, updating the target folders, and training. We had a nice apartment there. We went to see a Circus that came around to town. We suspect that it was in Bad Hersfeld that Jim was conceived.

In the Battalion we had to make frequent river crossing exercises, because if we went to war, we would have to bridge the Rhine to evacuate family members who would have to go to both the Ramstein Air Base by Kaiserslautern, and to the Frankfurt airport (for which the bridge was not needed).

The crossing of the Rhine was a big deal. It required building the bridge from ends, assembling and ferrying the completed rafts to the segments of bridge that would be joined from both ends. Since we had only a limited time period for the actual closing of the river to river traffic, the bridge segments were held from washing downstream with bridge boats allowing the river barges to pass through the opening. Then at the time that we were granted permission to close the river, the barges would be held from continuing, the anchor cable and bridle lines were put in, the bridge would be closed, and traffic would be symbolically crossed over the bridge to the other side of he river.

We also had the Companies train in building bridges across the Main River, the Danube River by Ingolstadt and other places. The procedures were the same, but less elaborate since the bridges were shorter.

It was customary to celebrate the closing of one of these bridges by throwing the Officer into the River from the centerline of the bridge where the last raft had been joined. On one occasion the weather was already cold. I was thrown by my men, and came out wet and cold. I changed and climbed into my bed sack in the tent, but in spite of the pot belly stoves, I could not get warm. I had shivers in the morning and a high fever. The Battalion doctor made me go in for X-rays, and I entered the debriefing room in Smith Kaserne at the very moment that he was announcing that I had contracted primary atypical pneumonia. The Battalion Executive Officer joked about modern medicine getting me well fast, and I was not amused at all. I was put into the dispensary where I had to stay for about a week receiving penicillin shots until I could be released to go home.

We had practice alerts from time to time. My field gear was packed, and my driver and jeep would come to pick me up in case of one of these alerts. He would stow my gear in the trailer, and we would go off to report to the Kaserne, to then go to the field to disperse and camp out until the alert was called off and we were released. That usually happened after we had served at least one meal in the alert assembly area. This was rather routine in that time when we were facing off the Soviet Union across the West Germany international boundary.

At this time, we were immune from German laws, and for that reason were treated like royalty everywhere. I remember that in one convoy on an iced road, we were stopped on the side of the narrow road when a small German civilian automobile tried to pass the convoy. A Captain who was the Headquarters Company Commander stopped him, put his foot on the fender of the font wheel, and pushed him into the ditch on the other side of the road.

I was given a number of projects to execute with my Platoon.

One of these was the construction of a firing site for Hawk surface to air missiles on the outskirts of Hanau. We built a number of high earthen berms to separate the different firing positions and provide them a degree of protection from retaliatory fire. It was challenging to use the heavy equipment to build up the berms while retaining the slopes. I had another platoon attached to me, and the Lieutenant in charge of that Platoon created a morale problem by flying kites from the berms under construction. I had the Company Commander replace that Platoon on the project.

Another project assigned to me was to construct an exclusion area for the storage of nuclear weapons inside a military base in Darmstadt. This project was for the Directorate of Engineering of Darmstadt. It included building igloos with earth cover, a double fence around all the igloos which had challenging features, a failsafe electrical generator system, a lighting system that would turn the generator and the lights on if the normal electrical supply was interrupted or if the power feeding cables were cut. An interesting part of the design was that all the electrical cables had to be buried, and all connections had to be protected from water infiltration and rodents. Thus we had to encase them in rubber that we casted around them by filling a plastic casing with liquid rubber that had a hardening agent that we had to add. It was a very sophisticated project. When it was given the final acceptance inspection, we were commended for our flawless work. The commendation letter said that the completed project passed the inspection without a single deficiency.

I was on ADM duty at Wildflecken in August of 1961. I had come home for the weekend as we were allowed to do from time to time. I received a phone call from the Battalion S3 Officer at about 9 am on Sunday the 13th of August and he asked me to surreptitiously report in civilian clothes to the Battalion Headquarters. There I was told to immediately go back to Wildflecken to review our ADM target folders and reconnoiter the targets. He said the Soviets were closing autobahn access to Berlin as they had done in 1948, and that President Kennedy was going to deploy a division force down the Autobahn to Berlin rather than have to establish an Airlift as had been done in 1948.

I was told to be ready for war, but not to alarm my family nor tell them what was happening. That they would be taken care of, and if necessary they would be evacuated following the NEO Plan for evacuation of family members in case of war. (I think NEO stands for Noncombatant Evacuation Operations.) The Plan required them to be prepared for evacuation and told them what they could take of their personal possessions, and what things they had to have packed and prepared to take with them, such as clothing and coats, medicines and limited amounts of food.

The convoy on the autobahn was successful and eventually our life returned to normality.

As a sideline I might add that because of my knowledge of ADMs and our plans, I was never allowed to travel to Berlin in any of my assignments by driving on the autobahn. When I was a Colonel, I was told that US agencies knew that the Soviets had my name as a "person of interest", and therefore if I really needed to go to Berlin, I would have to go in the duty train. Your Mother and I did go to Berlin once when I was a Colonel, and at that time I was required to avoid approaching any of the crossing points into East Berlin.

9th Engineer Battalion, 1971-73

I assumed Command of the 9th Engineer Battalion in a ceremony in the Gym at Smith Kaserne. I do not remember the name of the previous Battalion Commander from whom I assumed command. Major David Byrnes became my Executive Officer, and another Major was my S3.

We moved in a duplex apartment house in a housing area a block or two from Smith Kaserne. Rick commuted home on weekends from his High School in Frankfurt. Jim lived with us and went to a local school. I walked to the office from our house, although occasionally my driver would pick me up.

Across from us lived a Greek family by the name of Giallourakis. Lieutenant Colonel Giallourakis was the Commander of an Artillery Battalion which had its barracks in another Kaserne. His unit was part of the Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division that was housed in Graves Kaserne, another Kaserne beyond Smith Kaserne. The Commander of the Brigade was Colonel Price. He was a black officer who lived with his wife and a daughter in a single house in another housing area. Colonel Price had a sister in the US who was an opera singer.

The Headquarters of the 3rd Infantry Division was in Wuerzburg. The Commander was Major General Edward C. Meyer, who later became Chief of Staff of the Army. He liked me very much, and appreciated my contributions to the Division and to the Community in Aschaffenburg. After he retired we corresponded for a short while. My Battalion had nuclear munitions in an exclusion area in Aschaffenburg, and at times we were responsible for the security of the exclusion area. General Meyer visited the exclusion area off and on, and was very satisfied with my contributions to its security.

On one occasion the USAREUR Commander General Michael S. Davison came to inspect the exclusion area and our reaction to a simulated emergency requiring defense of the exclusion area. The security forces responded more than adequately. He questioned some of them, and he was very satisfied. On the way back to the heliport at Graves Kaserne, Colonel Price and General Davison were in the back seat of the sedan, and I was in the front passenger seat. We were about to pass a Sergeant who turned to look at the sedan, but did not salute the stars in the front bumper. So I yelled at him through the open window "Good afternoon soldier". Taken aback he stiffened and saluted. The General was obviously impressed and satisfied at this. He commended me as he got out of the sedan and into his helicopter. Later I heard from my Commander that the General had called him to commend him for my and my battalion's performance.

Battalion command was interesting. We had officer's baseball matches with other battalions, games that we played after hours at Smith Kaserne. The respective Battalion Commanders were the pitchers, and we usually won.

The Army in Europe was beset by drug abuse. We had our share of druggies and dealers in the Battalion. It was not an easy time from a discipline point of view. Yet we did OK compared to some of the other units. I had to go with my Sergeant Major to get soldiers off the street and back to the Kaserne. The Sergeant Major would grab the soldiers and forcibly push them into the back of the jeep to brig them in. The units in the Community were graded by Colonel Price according to the number of incident reports. Among these were the number of Article 15's handed out in the particular week. I suggested he not include the number of Article 15's since that was the way to discipline the soldiers, and if we inhibited Company Commanders from using Article 15's then the soldiers would graduate to more serious crimes. Eventually that made sense to him, and he agreed.

One of my soldiers became involved in a relationship with his daughter. And he was not a good soldier and was being disciplined. Moreover, he had a learning disability. Colonel Price complained that we were not handling him right. Major Byrnes was advising me to lower the boom on the young man, and ignore Colonel Price. Instead I had the education advisor meet with Colonel Price and give him all the information. Colonel Price agreed with my handling of the situation.

The heliport was on the other side of the Main River, however I frequently went to be picked up at Graves Kaserne to avoid the drive through the town and across the river.

We participated in parades held at Graves Kaserne. To get there, I marched the Battalion from Smith Kaserne down Wurzburger Strasse to Graves Kaserne. I led, with my staff behind, and the band behind them. Once, for a Change of Command parade, Colonel Price asked me to be sure to have maximum participation. I made sure I had every member of the Battalion that I could muster, and marched to Graves Kaserne. Once at Graves, I massed the Battalion at the Ready Line, and when we marched passing in review we dwarfed every other Battalion in the Community since ours was by far the largest Battalion in Aschaffenburg. This visually apparent at the Pass in Review.

We had hosted a dinner at our house for General Elvin R. Heiberg and his wife who came from Frankfurt, and Colonel Gerhard W. Schulz and his wife, and the Deputy Commander of the 7th Engineer Brigade whose name escapes me now and his wife. It was a wonderful evening. I had worked for General Heiberg in Frankfurt as the Frankfurt Facilities Engineer just before coming to command the 9th Engineers. The Baader Meinhoff Gang had bombed the Main Officer Club and I had distinguished myself for carrying out the reconstruction while keeping the Club open.

We attended the Engineer Ball at Heidelberg, and had a great time. We toured Germany, France the Low Countries, Spain, Austria, and Italy. One of our favorite places to go and relax was at Berchtesgaden. The Germans had a lot of Beer Fests, and we also attended gatherings at the small towns with which we had a partnership relationship.

The movie theater was at Jaeger Kaserne, and we went to the movies often, and had something to eat at the Snack Bar there. Also at Jaeger Kaserne was the PX, and they sold special sound equipment that they kept in the first floor of the same building that Company A was located. I bought a number of high fidelity items there including Sansui speakers, a quadraphonic tape player. (These are no longer made, and I have a number of tapes with quadraphonic tapes that can only be played with the front speakers playing and the rear speakers silent.)

Also at Jaeger Kaserne was a soldiers Recreation Center manned by USO female attendants. Across from the Rec Center were the barracks of the MP unit that provided security in Aschaffenburg, a library, and classrooms were we went to study German. Jim who was 10 years old at the time, got in there one day, and I was called that there was an emergency and he had been taken to the dispensary. I went to pick him up and was aghast at his extensive injury. He had run into a swinging door with glass panels, and had put his arm through the glass panel. The broken glass had cut the skin in his forearm which had separated from the underlying muscle and folded up in the forearm. Miraculously, he had no cut any muscles or tendons. They just laid the skin back in its place, and it healed rather well.

I held the parade to turn over command of the Battalion in Graves Kaserne in a grassy area that faced Wurtzburger Strasse. We had plenty of Germans who stopped by the fence to watch the Change of Command. The 82nd Army Band came from Stuttgart to play for us. I had a jeep take me and Colonel Gerhard W. Schulz, the Commander of the 7th Engineer Brigade, to review the troops. We had been provided a set of VIP quarters at Graves Kaserne since I had already turned over the Battalion Commander's quarters to the incoming Battalion commander. Right after the ceremony, my driver took us to Rhein Main to board our plane back to the US.

COL Samuel C. Railes, Commander, 7th Engineer Brigade
I was the last commander of 7th Engineer Brigade (1989-91).

I served in the Brigade in 1974/75 as Commander, Company B, 82d Combat Engineer Battalion, Bamberg, Ge.; as Commander, 563d Engineer Battalion in 1983-85, Ludendorff Kaserne, Kornwestheim, Ge, and took over the Brigade in June 1989. In addition to commanding the Brigade, I served as the VII Corps Senior Engineer and as Commander of the Ludwigsburg/Kornwestheim Military Sub-community.

The Brigade deployed with VII Corps for the Gulf War. We grew to over 8,500 soldiers, three Groups, 10 Battalions, and assorted companies. The Brigade HQ received a Meritorious Unit Combat Citation for Desert Storm.
Samuel C. Raines COL (Ret)

Patch Variant
Variant of the standard 7th Engineer Brigade shoulder patch
A collector of US military patches has recently acquired a rather unusual variation of the 7th Eng. Brig. patch. It appears to have been made in Germany and is of wool construction having a red background with black lines and a green castle. At the top of the patch is an attached gray tab with "Fort USA". It has been removed from a uniform.

If anyone has information on this specific variation of the 7th Engineer patch, please send email to me. Of special interest is the significance of the "Fort USA" tab.

275th Engineer Company (ADM)
275th Engineer Company Insignia (1960s; pre-ADM mission?)
275th Engineer Company Insignia (1970s)
For more information on the ADM units in USAREUR, click here
(Source: Email from John Williams)
I just read the history on the site about the 275th Engineer Co ADM. It was very informative and interesting.

To Add to this if so desired.
I was in the 10th Engineers (Bn) 3rd Infantry prior to the 275th. In 1975 all ADM platoons were reassigned to the newly organized 275th Engineer Co ADM.

The ADM platoons throughout Germany were grouped here. At that time, as in all military units, our mission was to support all Europe missions in NATO. Our primary missions still stayed with our prior units. The 5th Platoon in which I was a Team Leader was to support the 3rd Inf. Div.

I left there in Sept 1977 and up to that time my team never failed a fire mission inspection.

In 1975 we raised the US flag over our newly formed company. It had flown over the White House and sent to us to raise.

(Source: Email from Dave Hodgeboom, Engr ADM Pltn, 36th USAFAD)
The ADM Platoon came to the 36th USAFAD from the 275th Engineer Co (ADM) in Ludwigsburg (VII US Corps) when the NATO Support Platoons where assigned to the 59th Ordnance Brigade in 1980. 

I was assigned to the detachment in 1981 as the Engineer ADM Platoon Sergeant. The platoon consisted of 3 Engineer ADM emplacement teams and platoon headquarters each required to assemble and fire the two ADM weapons systems. The platoon supported the 210th Pionier (Engineer) Kompanie, II GE Corps (Munich). While I was there, the platoon successfully passed 3 separate Nuclear Weapons Technical Inspections with no comments or deficiencies. 

As part of the detachment, we supported the artillery platoon on their inspections and performed site guard as part of the normal rotation.

From 1975 until 1980, the 7th and 9th Engineer ADM Platoon of the 275th Engineer Co (ADM) in Ludwigsburg (VII US Corps) supported the 310th Pionier Kompanie (Koblenz), III GE Corps. The 59th Brigade unit that the platoon supported was the 557th Artillery Group for Herborn-Seelbach. The platoon consisted of 9 Engineer ADM emplacement teams each required to assemble and fire the two ADM weapons systems and 2 platoon headquarters. This platoon deployed over 200 miles across two corps sectors to meet its mission.

The 6th Platoon and 8th Platoon of the 275th Engineer Co (ADM) supported the 210th Pionier Companie in Munich. These later became the platoons at the 24th USAFAD (6 teams) and 36th USAFAD (3 teams) respectively. The US unit they supported was the 512th Artillery Group in Neu-Ulm.

503rd Engineer Company
(Source: Donald Hess, 503rd Engr Co, 1949-53)
503rd Engineer Company DI
I was one of the original members the 503rd Engineer Light Equipment Company in Germany from January 1949 to April 1953. I am writing a history for our reunion association of the 503rd from its activation in 1949 to its deactivation in 1992. I have a 30 Page history outline detailing many of the company’s projects, Stars and Stripes articles about the company and the job details. I also have used many photos of the personnel present at the time being described from 1949 to approx.1960 but need help from there until 1992.

The company name changed slightly over the years
from 503rd Engineer Light Equipment Co (1949),
to 503rd Engineer Company (LE) (1954),
to 503rd Engineer Company (Combat Support Equipment) (1978).

Anyone having knowledge of the 503rd during this period of time please contact
Donald Hess 
704 W Oakview Dr
Peoria IL 61615

or email Don at
dfhessmg1(at)att.net (Attention! Make sure to replace (at) with the '@' symbol. This was done to avoid Don getting a bunch of SPAM.  
The Early Years
Following is a short outline of the company’s history that I have compiled so far.

In January 1949 we were stationed at Pioneer Barracks, Hanau. The Berlin airlift was in full swing and a temporary company was being formed to build a second runway, taxiways and other projects at Tegel Airport in Berlin. The proposed second runway was longer and wider than the original runway, it was designed to accommodate future aircraft requiring up to 8000 foot of runway length.

At its inception this company was called “Company E of the 7742 Engineer Base Depot Group” (stationed at Hanau). Early March 1949, about 100 Engineers were flown into Berlin. We were stationed in the French sector close to Tegel Airport at a French Army Barracks called Napoleon Bonaparte Kaserne. Much of the equipment used on the original Tegel project was available for our use. Many of these had been cut into sections to meet weight restrictions of airlift aircraft so they could be flown into Berlin. Once there, the pieces were welded together to resemble an earthmoving machine.

In late June 1949 Company E’s status was changed from a temporary to a permanent unit and was renamed as the 503rd Engineer Light Equipment Company.

In Sept 1949, with the job in Berlin completed, we returned to Hanau, drew our allotted equipment, participated in EUCOM's first maneuvers near Bayreuth, Germany and in Dec 1949 ended up at Taylor Barracks, Mannheim. At this time the 501st & 502nd Engineer Company’s were also at Taylor Barracks but as I recall the 501st was deactivated early in 1950.

During our stay at Taylor Barracks, the 503rd was Regular Army and wore the EUCOM shoulder patch. Later we were attached to the 555th Combat Group, then the 77th Engineer Construction Battalion. Both were part of 7th Army. We switched to the 7th Army patch sometime in 1950.

At Taylor Barracks we were involved in German-American Friendship projects such as building sports fields etc, with individual machines and up to Platoon levels but nothing requiring the full company. As the Cold War became hotter, we were increasingly being sent into the French Zone of occupation near Kaiserslautern to build various military facilities. One of these was then called Rhein Ammunition Depot. It now appears to be called “Rhine Ordnance Depot."

In 1950 the French Zone roads and economy were lagging far behind the British and American Zones. The 1950’s increased escalation of the Cold War mandated the French zone roads be upgraded. Both ends of an Autobahn bridge near Kaiserslauter were destroyed by German engineers near the wars end resulting in long stretches of the autobahn being useless. The 503rd built a by pass road around the bridge to facilitate traffic movement on the Autobahn if needed

We also spent several weeks in late 1950 at Etain, France off-loading equipment and other supplies being shipped in to stock the depots under construction.

In early 1951, the entire company moved from Taylor Barracks, Mannheim to Ettlingen, near Karlsruhe. We were there about three weeks then off to Kaiserslautern and Daenner Kaserne. Here we built roads, building sites, and several miles of railroad through tough rock into what was then called Rhine Engineer Depot. (RED)  This project kept the entire 503rd company busy for over a year. Other company’s involved in RED at this time were:

87th Engineer Service Company
581st Engineer Maintenance Company
523rd Engineer Service Battalion
403rd Engineer Base Depot       

In May 1952 the 503rd moved from Kaiserslautern to Ludendorff Kasern at Kornwestheim. I stayed nearly one year here and was involved in several more German-American good will projects.

As I understand it, the 503rd remained at Ludendorff under the 540th Engineer Group for many years. It was deactivated 1992 at Hohenfels Germany.

(Source: Email from George Perry, 503rd Engr Co, 1954)
The 503d Engineer Company was reconstituted in 1948 to assist in the construction of an additional airstrip at Tegel aerdrome. Its equipment was provided by cutting up heavy equipments and flying it into Berlin for rebuilding for use.

I am interested in any information on the availability of photos or (especially) movie -- newsreel footage -- that might show members of the 503d at work.

I moved to an island in S. Puget Sound 7 years ago, and discovered a fellow living on the same island who served as an air traffic controller at Tegel during the construction mentioned above. He recalls doing traffic control work while situated in a tower erected on the back of a deuce-and-half truck.

The 503d was unceremoniously booted out of Berlin after a fracas with French troops over a presumed slight to the American flag. It ultimately arrived at Ludendorff Kaserne, Kornwestheim where I joined it in early 1954. Several of the original men were still with it at the time.

I organized a 503d reunion in 1994 and we've held them every two years since. The 503d itself was demobbed around 1991.
George Perry

Related Links:
555th Engineer Group History
82nd Engineer Combat Battalion - dedicated to the men of the 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion 1942-1945 but also includes information on the Cold War 82nd.