Eight years after inactivating, the Army has called back one of its most decorated units that many 1st Infantry Division Soldiers knew as the "Blue Babes."In a ceremony Oct. 16 on Cavalry Parade Field, Soldiers of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division's, Special Troops Battalion deactivated the BSTB and reactivated as the 82nd Engineer Battalion.The battalion is deeply rooted in the 1st Inf. Div. footprint, as it served under the division in North Africa and Sicily in World War II, served in Germany during the Cold War and with 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.The 82nd Eng. Bn. is a traditional 1st Inf. Div. unit, said Lt. Col. Alexander Bullock, battalion commander.
"Bringing the engineers back adds additional capabilities to the 'Dagger' brigade that has been absent from the brigade combat teams for about 10 years," He said.Bullock served as Company A commander in the 82nd Eng. Bn. in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and later as the inactivation officer for the unit in 2006."It's an honor to be able to reactivate the Blue Babes and serve again with this unit," Bullock said. "While the legacy in this battalion is great, I want to let the world know that the Blue Babe has been rescued once again from the snow and reactivated as part of the Dagger brigade."
Many Soldiers of the BSTB will be placed in other battalions within the brigade. The brigade is growing in size as leaders meet the Army's new Brigade Combat Team 2020 concept, recently adding the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment.The BCT 2020 initiative reorganizes the Army's infantry and armor brigades, adding a third maneuver battalion and additional engineer and artillery capabilities. These additions are intended to expand the warfighting unit's lethality and flexibility while helping to meet the Army's drawdown requirement of personnel.Specifically for the BEB, this means the addition of an engineer company, two more platoons of equipment and an increased route clearance capability.During the ceremony, Bullock thanked the veterans of the BSTB and 82nd Eng. Bn., and promised he and his engineers would always remember and honor their service and promised to uphold the battalion's historic legacy.To honor the legacy of the Blue Babes, the battalion's Soldiers welcomed a former member, retired Maj. Edward Molloy of the original 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion to participate in the reactivation. "Doc," as Molloy is known, is one of the eldest living members of the unit.Doc served with the battalion during World War II and later became its commander. He traveled from his home in Florida to present the battalion's Soldiers with a personal award."The French Croix de Guerre medal was given to me 15 years ago," Molloy said. "Today, I had the opportunity to put it in its rightful place and that's with the 82nd Engineers. I am thankful to be alive and able to do this."Immediately following the ceremony, the battalions youngest Soldier, 19-year-old Pvt. Rodreka Jones, and Molloy cut the battalion cake."The travel was a lot for someone my age," Molloy said, "but it was so well worth it."