The 2nd Engineer Battalion said farewell to White Sands Missile Range during a Casing of the Colors ceremony April 30 at the 2E Parade Field.
Soldiers with the 2nd Engineer Battalion made their final formation as they prepare to depart WSMR.
Following the casing of the colors the Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Col. Chip Daniels, thanked members of the Las Cruces community for coming out.
“Thank you for taking care of this battalion for so long,” he said.
“This battalion is all about teamwork,” Daniels said.
He said 2E leaders were always present at all brigade and division ceremonies and events.
“It really speaks on how loyal and reliable this battalion is. They proved that during our Iron Focus 14 exercise here last summer and then at the National Training Center last fall.”
Daniels said the number one point he made to company commanders in the 3rd Brigade is that he wants them to take ownership of their formations.
“We observed the fruits of their labor. Their excellent support to the brigade was truly helpful,” he said. “This unit doesn’t perform well because of sheer luck. It does so because of the superb training and discipline.”
Daniels credited 2nd Engineer Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Jim Koeppen along with Command Sgt. Maj. Roderick Taylor for their success.
“It was most evident to me how well you had your team prepared when you had to come to me at the National Training Center and tell me that your father was passing away. That was an emotional moment. A battalion commander dreams of taking his team to the National Training Center. You struggled with what you thought was right and together we decided that you had to go home and say goodbye, because that is the right thing to do. However, I’ll tell you that your unit did not miss a beat while you were gone,” Daniels told Koeppen. “That is an indicator of an outstanding unit that has been trained and developed properly.”
To the Soldiers he asked that they carry the legacy of the 2nd Engineer Battalion forward wherever they go.
“We will need your leadership in the brigade and we will look to you to preserve this rich history.”
Koeppen thanked the community for supporting the battalion during their time at WSMR.
“This is a bitter sweet time. On one hand it is sad to leave WSMR, which has been such a great home to the 2nd Engineer Battalion,” Koeppen said. To the Soldiers he said “Look around, you will never have better facilities, you’ll never have a better view than the one we have here. You will also never find agencies that care more about Soldiers than those we have at WSMR. We’ve been spoiled by the amount of personal service,” he said.
“On the flip side, the battalion is going where it needs to be – part of a brigade combat team. We are going to lose in the comforts of White Sands what we are going to make up by becoming part of a bigger team,” Koeppen said. “I am extremely proud of what our battalion has accomplished. Our Soldiers have lived up to the motto. Time after time they have exceeded my expectations.”
Koeppen credited the WSMR community for many of their accomplishments. “WSMR has been a great home for the 2nd Engineer Battalion. Everyone has been supportive. From all the members of Team WSMR to the residents of Las Cruces, you’ve made us feel like we are your engineer battalion.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this organization. I wish you the best of luck at Fort Polk, Fort Bliss, or wherever you may go from here.”
In October 2013, the Army Chief of Staff announced the plan to restructure and reduce the size of the Army. A key component to the restructuring initiative was the creation of a Brigade Engineer Battalion in every Brigade Combat Team in the active component.
The 595th Sapper Company was the first company of the 2nd Engineer Battalion to be affected by this plan as they were relocated to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in June 2014.
On Aug. 26, 2014, Headquarters, United States Army Forces Command published Permanent Orders directing the reorganization of the 2d Engineer Battalion and assigning it to the 3d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas with an effective date of June 17, 2015.
HHC will become part of the 2nd Brigade Engineer Battalion at Fort Bliss.
Forward Support Company will convert to Echo Company, 123rd Brigade Support Battalion at Fort Bliss and be reattached to the 2nd Brigade Engineer Battalion.
The 573rd Clearance Company will relocate to Fort Polk, Louisiana and be assigned to the 46th Engineer Battalion with an effective date of June 16, 2015.
The 40th Mobility Augmentation Company will be inactivated with an effective date of June 15, 2015.
The battalion will uncase its colors at Fort Bliss, Texas, in June 2015, as the 2nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
Koeppen will PCS to New York City where he will attend the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs as an Army War College Fellow.