Over 500 Soldiers from the "Black Diamond" battalion will be spread throughout the Central Command area of operation and provide engineer support to conduct construction, clearance, combat engineer mobility, counter mobility and survivability missions said Maj. James Belinga, battalion operations officer.

They will be replacing the 505th Engineer Battalion, a National Guard
Unit from North Carolina in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

The casing of the colors symbolizes the departure of the 92nd Engineer Battalion and also signals a first said Maj. Thomas Elison, battalion executive officer.

"We are the first active duty battalion to fill the Operation Spartan Shield engineer battalion role in over ten years," said Elison. "In previous years the companies assigned to OSS came from multiple battalions. This will be a rare opportunity to deploy the battalion with all its companies."

The battalion is deploying its Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Forward Support Company, 526th Engineer Construction Company, 530th Clearance Company and 554th Engineer Construction Company.

In preparation for this deployment, the battalion conducted numerous mission readiness exercises and command post exercises in different locations simultaneously to better prepare for the deployment.

The battalion headquarters and two of the companies were set up at Fort Polk, Louisiana, while the other companies operated out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Stewart said Elison. While the battalion trained for their upcoming mission, other elements of the battalion provided engineer support to a maneuver rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

Operating as a headquarters during several command post exercises and mission readiness exercises at multiple locations was challenging, said Elison.

"The deployment will be a very dynamic environment, with all the constant moving equipment and personnel," said Belinga. After all the collective exercises that we have done, I know the battalion is ready to operate in six countries at once."