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Remaining 5th Engineers return tonight to Fort Leonard Wood
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 6, 2009) — Army personnel are usually careful not to publicly announce the return of military units from combat deployments, but post officials issued a press release Monday morning announcing the return late tonight of the second half of the 5th Engineer Battalion.

The 5th Engineers were for many years the only deployable unit at Fort Leonard Wood, which had begun as a training installation and prepared soldiers for their military careers rather than serving as a post from which combat units deployed. More recently, the post has acquired several other deployable Forces Command (FORSCOM) units such as the 94th Engineer Battalion, a heavy mechanized combat engineer unit, the 50th Multirole Bridge Company, and several deployable military police and specialized mine dog units.

About 200 members of the 5th Engineer Battalion returned on June 28; today’s returning group will include all remaining members of the battalion and is about the same size.

During the 15-month tour of duty in Iraq, the 5th Engineers focused on route clearance and construction operations. According to the Department of Defense, six months of that work involved cooperation in Diyala province with an Iraqi engineer unit, coincidentally with the same unit number — the 5th Iraqi Army Engineer Regiment.

The 5th Engineer Battalion is commanded by Lt. Col. Joel Cross and Command Sgt. Maj. William Secules. The battalion has deployed two times previously in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but due to military moves and transitions between units, few if any of the battalion’s soldiers would have been involved in all three deployments.

According to a Fort Leonard Wood press release, the battalion’s key projects during deployment included:

• Transformation of the 5th Iraqi Army Division Field Engineer Regiment from a company-sized element into one of the most capable engineer regiments in Iraq,
• Implementation of the first Iraqi Civil Service Corps program, focused on transitional employment and job training for nearly 400 former Sons of Iraq security forces,
• Interdiction of approximately 400 improvised explosive devices,
• Maneuver support to more than 45 combined arms and multi-national “named” kinetic operations,
• Completion of approximately 175 force protection, life support and infrastructure construction projects,
• Discovery and destruction of weapons and explosive caches,
• Project development and oversight of 100 million dollars in Iraq civil capacity and infrastructure development projects, and,
• More than 20 humanitarian assistance missions to distribute school supplies, clothes and toys to hundreds of Iraqi people.

Public Affairs Office personnel in Iraq prepared a number of articles on the work of the 5th Engineers in Iraq during their tour of duty, linked here:

Soldiers detain suspect in Northern Salad Ad Din
Posted: Sept. 30, 2008

Soldiers discover munitions caches in eastern Diyala
Posted: Sept. 7, 2008

Airmen teach Iraqi Army vital infrastructure restoration skills (Baghdad)
Posted: July 23, 2008

Iraqi, U.S. Engineers Partner for Long Haul
Posted: July 8, 2008

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