54th Engineer Battalion honors its own with medals and badges
BAMBERG, Germany — The 54th Engineer Battalion lauded more than 290 of its own at a redeployment ceremony at Warner Barracks’ Freedom Fitness Facility on Wednesday.
Fourteen members of the battalion’s leadership, including Lt. Col. Sean P. McGinley and Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Defenbaugh, battalion commander and sergeant major, were given Bronze Star Medals for their time in Iraq.
Five soldiers were awarded Combat Medical Badges, given for performing medical duties during hostile actions, and almost two-thirds of the more than 450-member battalion were awarded the Combat Action Badge.
While deployed, near Ramadi, Iraq, members of the 54th performed 1,290 route-clearance missions, cleared more than 1,000 roadside bombs, were awarded 45 Purple Hearts and 25 Army Commendation Medals with a “V” device.
After the battalion colors were unfurled, signifying the return to Germany, members of the battalion’s family readiness group and the Bamberg military community also were recognized for supporting the unit while it was away.
The ceremony also marked the last time the battalion wore the 130th Engineer Brigade patch.
Now falling under the 18th Engineer Brigade out of Heidelberg, the 54th left the 130th Engineer Brigade from Hanau, after serving under them since being re-activated in 1997.
The change marks another step for the battalion, which returned from a yearlong deployment to Iraq just before Halloween, and will eventually move east to Grafenwöhr, Germany, where all engineer elements in Europe will be consolidated, said Col. Matthew H. Russell, 18th commander.
Although Russell could not say when the battalion would move, he said that the present change in leadership would have very little immediate effect on the 54th.
Russell also mentioned that while the leadership change has been known about for the better part of a year, it had to wait until the 54th returned from their second tour supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.