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The 2nd Engineer Brigade stands up at JBER

By 2nd Engineer Brigade Public Affairs | Sept. 30, 2011

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The colors of the 2nd Engineer Brigade were uncased for the first time in 56 years during an activation ceremony, Sept. 21, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Pershing Field.

Army Col. Thomas Roth, 2nd Engineer Brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. James Dickens, 2nd Eng. Bde. command sergeant major, formally ushered in the next chapter of the unit's history with help from Maj. Gen. Raymond Palumbo, commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska.

The guests of honor were Jack Reed, a World War II veteran who served with the brigade's original incarnation, the 2nd

Engineer Amphibious Brigade, and Ed Leard III, whose grandfather Edward Leard was killed in action during World War II while serving with the unit.

During his remarks, Palumbo highlighted the brigade's new role.

"The Army has been transforming lately," Palumbo said. "Especially, since 9/11. We had to change. We had to change because the enemy's changed and we had to meet the new challenges that the enemy's presenting us around the world. That's why we had to introduce this engineer brigade into our Army formation, to bring yet another capability that we need on the battlefields."

The engineer brigade is a modular deployable headquarters able to function as a higher headquarters for several subordinate engineer units and could potentially function as a joint headquarters including Army, Navy, Air-Force or Marine components.

"The 2nd Engineer Brigade becomes the sixth of its kind in the Army," Palumbo said. "It's capable of planning and controlling diverse missions associated with assuring mobility, enhancing protection by building things, enabling logistics and developing infrastructure."

Palumbo thanked the troops and their families.

"Today, an engineer brigade is reborn and proudly begins a new chapter in an already long and illustrious history," Palumbo said.

Roth acknowledged the good weather, which belied the rainy forecast.

"I couldn't ask for a better day," Roth said. "The sun wasn't going to show up, but here it is. I think that's an indicator. "

"I'm very excited to welcome Mr. Jack Reed," Roth said. "As General Palumbo addressed, he is a World War II veteran of the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade, having traveled from San Diego, California to spend time with us. Sir, your presence today is very special to me. You represent without question, the greatest generation our nation has produced and having had a chance to speak with you, you truly embody the importance of history, of lineage, of tradition within our profession of arms. I'm also very happy to have Mr. Edward Leard the third, again the grandson of Edward Leard, a Soldier in a coxswain, in the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade, who died during one of the amphibious operations that unit was involved in at Lae Papua, New Guinea, on the sixth of September 1943, when a Japanese Zero scraped his landing craft."

Leard donated several 2nd Eng. Bde. historical artifacts to the brigade.

Roth reviewed the accomplishments of the 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

"All I can say is what a great privilege for me to have commanded this brigade for over two months," he said, "but I'm equally honored to open the next chapter on the 2nd Engineer Brigade, the Arctic Trailblazers which again is one of six war-fighting active engineer brigades in the Army. The engineer brigade headquarters will actively train and prepare to serve the nation's needs. We stand dedicated to leading, training, preparing our subordinate commands to do likewise."

The 2nd Eng. Bde. still maintains garrison command of the former 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade units: the 6th Engineer Battalion, the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 793rd Military Police Battalion.