The 107th Engineering Battalion is a large unit of the Michigan Army National Guard stationed in Ishpeming Michigan. The unit operates in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is composed of the Headquarters Company stationed in Ishpeming and 1430th, 1431st, 1432nd, and 1437th Engineer Companies which are stationed across other various cities in Northern Michigan. The unit's motto is "Good as Done!"
The Battalion traces its history to the Michigan State Troops, which was the predecessor organization to the Michigan National Guard. In 1881 the Calumet Light Guard was formed, the unit to which the 107th Engineer Battalion traces its roots to. At the time Calumet was a prominent mining town and one of the more influential cities in Michigan. The Battalion often traces its history to the civil war volunteer units raised in the Upper Peninsula, however since none of the men from those units went on to serve in the Calumet Light Guard the unit has no official lineage to the civil war. It should be noted that the 1431st Engineer Company is still stationed in Calumet Michigan and is therefore the most direct descendant of this unit. The Calumet Light Guard was officially designated Company B, 2nd Battalion of Infantry.
Early national service
The unit was later re-designated Company D, 34th Michigan Volunteer Infantry and deployed to Santiago as part of the Spanish American War. In 1906 the unit was converted to Company A, Michigan Engineer Corps. The newly formed engineer unit was deployed to Europe in 1916 as part of the US effort in World War I. Part of the current motto of the battalion stems from this time period "In World War I we smashed every line the Germans held." The unit was mustered out of federal service in March 1917 and re designated as the 1st Engineer Battalion. The unit was then once again mustered into federal service and took part in WWI taking part in Fourth Battle of Champagne which led to the eventual Armistice to be implemented 100 days later. The battalion was demobilized in 1919. In 1937 the unit was designated 1st Battalion, 107th Engineers giving it its current title.
World War II
In 1940 the unit was mobilized as part of the 32nd Infantry Division to take part in World War II. During the war the unit was perhaps most famous for building the longest tactical floating bridge in the world across the Rhine, being 1370 ft in length. The 32nd Infantry Division was redeployed to the Pacific theater during the war, however the 107th Engineer Battalion did not deploy with them and was assigned to V corps. After the war the unit was organized into the its present form as the 107th Engineer Battalion with headquarters in Ishpeming Michigan, owing to tradition the company stationed in Calumet Michigan was designated Company A, with Company B and Company C being stationed in Gladstone and Ironwood.
After being deployed in the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II the unit was not activated into Federal service until the 21st century, however it was activated for State Emergencies such as the 1967 Detroit Riots, the 1976 Great Seney Fire, as well as several emergencies relating to the cold weather common in Northern Michigan. Beside deploying for state emergencies the unit took part of several building projects across Michigan such as constructing the 107th Engineer Highway near Silver City Michigan and constructing a hanging bridge in Camp Grayling. Michigan National Guard also formed a partnership with Latvia with soldiers training jointly overseas and in Michigan, being part of the Michigan National Guard the 107th Engineer Battalion has been a large participant in the program.
War on Terror
After not being mustered into federal service for over half a century soldiers of the 107th Engineer Battalion were once again activated in 2004 as part of the US War in Iraq. Although not taking part of the initial invasion force 1431st and 1430th engineer companies were deployed to Iraq in 2004, battalion headquarters deployed in 2007, 1437th engineer company deployed in 2009. The battalion then rotated deployments into Afghanistan as the Iraq War came to an end. The 1431st Engineer Company was re-classified as a combat engineer (Sapper) company and was activate to deploy to Afghanistan in 2008 to conduct Route Clearance patrols. Many of the Iraq veterans from the unit's first deployment returned for the next deployment. The unit was stationed at FOB Salerno near Khost Afghanistan with one detachment stationed in Paktika Province. This location in Eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border proved to be a challenge as the unit had to clear the notorious Khost-Gardez Pass as a routine part of its operation. This resulted in regular ambushes and firefights, moreover both FOB Salerno and Orgun-E were regularly shelled by insurgent mortar and rocket fire, many of the returning soldiers of the 1431st engineer company were injured while in combat. Several soldiers of the 1431st Engineer company had to be evacuated out of Afghanistan due to severity of their injuries during the deployment. Some of the experiences of the unit were documented in the PBS film Where Soldiers Come From, which was made by a reporter embedded with the unit and received and Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story. Although the unit engaged in heavy combat while deployed and many of the soldiers suffered serious injuries the unit did not lose any men. As a tribute to this all combat medics of the unit, specialists Alaniz, Avramenko, Oosterbaan, and Zelinski, were awarded the Combat Medic Badge for their service in the conflict. Through the deployment the unit also engaged in missions outside of Route Clearance such as collecting biographical data on the local population and guarding detainees. As Route Clearance units were not part of ISAF forces at the time the unit's rules of engagement allowed for the 2 day detention of any suspicious personnel.
The 1430th Engineer Company, vertical construction, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and took part in large construction projects around the country, being deployed to different bases to improve infrastructure in the area.
The 1432nd Engineer Company converted to a combat engineers in 2012 and deployed to Afghanistan together with the 1433rd Engineer Company of the 507th Engineer Battalion to conduct route clearance missions. Due to being a new combat engineer unit many of the veterans of the 1431st engineer company deployed with the unit. In 2012 a soldier of the 1432nd Engineer Battalion was killed near Salim Aka Afghanistan by an IED while conducting a Route Clearance patrol. Several other soldiers were severely injured and were evacuated out of the Afghanistan, this was the first loss of life for the 107th Engineer Battalion during the War on Terror.
Like many National Guard units the Battalion's companies are highly autonomous, being stationed at different locations, having their own training schedules, and having their own specialties, sapper, vertical, or horizontal construction. The unit usually conducts training at Camp Grayling Michigan, Fort McCoy Wisconsin, or Fort Riley Minnesota, with each company possibly attending a different training site and training at different times. The combat engineer units often train closely with EOD squads. Moreover, the companies have deployed independently in resent years and not as a whole battalion, however often soldiers are command directed to another deploying company in order to strengthen its numbers. Moreover, soldiers are often sent on individual training, engineers of the unit are often required to go to EOCA training and may be selected to attend the Sapper Leadership Course to earn a Sapper Tab while medics are required to attend a yearly refresher course to keep their knowledge current. The headquarters company also has a large support staff of mechanics, medics, cooks, and clerks that assists the companies.
Being located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the medics of the unit also have the responsibility of conducting yearly vaccinations and exams as medical units are not available for the job. Due to its remote location the unit often lacks certain specialties as few people want to transfer to the region, for example the 1431st Engineer Company lacked a senior medic for 3 years after their 2009 deployment and the E6 position had to be filled by an E4 veteran from the unit's Afghanistan deployment until a senior NCO could be found. Likewise the Battalion headquarters functioned without a Medical Officer or a CBRN Specialist for several years.
- 107th Engineer Battalion (Headquarters) - Ishpeming, MI
- 1430th Engineer Company (Construction) - Gladstone, MI
- Detachment 1 - Marquette, MI
- 1431st Engineer Company (Sapper) - Calumet, MI
- Detachment 1 - Baraga, MI
- 1432nd Engineer Company(Sapper) - Kingsford, MI
- Detachment 1 - Iron River, MI
- 1437th Engineer Company (Construction) - Sault Ste. Marie, MI
- 1430th Engineer Company (Construction) - Gladstone, MI
Combat arms companies such as the 1431st and 1432nd Sapper companies are assigned heavier and newer weapons. These units carry M4 carbines as their main weapon while other companies rely on the M16A2. These units also have M249 SAW assigned gunners in each fire team, these units also have a designated sharp shooter in each fire team. Moreover, the combat arms units of the battalion have assess to the MK19, M240, and M2 crew served weapons systems as well as demolition equipment such as C4 and TNT charges and demolition cord. The unit possess various vehicles as listed below, some of them may be in storage while others may only have been used during deployments therefore the unit may not have assess to all these vehicle types at one given time.
- Soft skin M998 HMMWV
- M1151 HMMWV
- M1152 HMMWV
- M1114 HMMWV
- M35 2½-ton cargo truck
- Husky/Meerkat VMMD
- Buffalo (mine protected vehicle)
- RG31/RG 33 MMPV
- M113 APC (in storage).
- "107th engineers". 107th Engineers official website. http://www.107thengineers.org/.
- "THE HISTORY OF THE 107th ENGINEER BATTALION (1881-1981)". 107th engineers veterans organization. http://www.107thengineers.org/History/CombatEngineer/bookframe.html.
- "CHAPTER VI WORLD WAR II". 107th engineers veterans organization. http://www.107thengineers.org/history/combatengineer/worldwarii.html.
- "Chapter VII Post WWII". 107th veterans organization. http://www.107thengineers.org/history/combatengineer/postwwii.html.
- "Michigan Soldiers in Latvia for joint exercise". MING. http://www.nationalguard.mil/News/ArticleView/tabid/5563/Article/9036/michigan-soldiers-in-latvia-for-joint-exercise.aspx.
- "U.P. troops coming home". Upper Michigan Source. http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?id=380891#.U9xV__ldVkg.
- "Landstuhl sees more casualties from Afghanistan than Iraq". Stars and Stripes. http://www.stripes.com/news/landstuhl-sees-more-casualties-from-afghanistan-than-iraq-1.93677.
- "Where soldiers come from". PBS. http://www.pbs.org/pov/wheresoldierscomefrom/photo_gallery_dom-artwork.php?photo=10#.U9xStvldVkg.
- "March/April, 2009". The Husky Herald. http://www.107thengineers.org/1431/HuskyHerald/Husky%20Herald%20Mar%2009.pdf.
- "May, 2009". The Husky Herald. http://www.107thengineers.org/1431/HuskyHerald/Husky%20Herald%20May.pdf.
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