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55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
US Army 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.png
Active 1898–1945
Country United States
Branch Seal of the United States Army National Guard.svg United States Army National Guard
Type Maneuver enhancement
Role Combat support
Size Brigade
Former shoulder sleeve insignia
28th Infantry Division SSI (1918-2015).svg

The 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) is a maneuver enhancement unit aligned under the 28th Infantry Division (28th ID) of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. The 55th MEB, like all MEBs, is a self-contained, modular, and multifunctional support brigade of the United States Army with an ability to plug into operational formations commanded by corps or division commanders, to support brigade combat teams once deployed, and to conduct tactical level tasks and support.[1] MEBs are equipped to provide command and control for up to seven battalions that are capable of owning battlespace in combat. The 55th MEB was once the 55th Heavy Brigade Combat Team "STRIKE BRIGADE" subordinate to the 28th ID, as the 55th MEB is today.[2]

Its headquarters is in Scranton, PA.[3] The headquarters was located in the Watres Armory from 1900-2012 until it was relocated to a newly built Armed Forces Reserve Center near the borough of Throop. During the move, the Brigade Commander COL Konzman discovered there was a time capsule in a cornerstone of the facility and had it removed. The documents contained in the capsule were protected and are now kept at the new facility.[4]

Pennsylvania's 7th Division moved to Camp Hancock, Georgia, in April 1917, and was there when the entire division was federalized on 5 August 1917. From May to 11 October 1917, the division was reorganized into the two-brigade, four regiment scheme, and thus became the 28th Division. It thus comprised the 55th Infantry Brigade (109th and 110th Infantry Regiments) and the 56th Infantry Brigade (111th and 112th Infantry Regiments).[5]

History[edit | edit source]

The history of the 55th HBCT headquarters began in July 1898 with the organization of Company K, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment in Scranton. In August, 1899 the company was re-designated as Company K, 13th Pennsylvania Infantry.[6]

In September, 1916 Company K was activated for service on the Mexico-United States border during the Pancho Villa Expedition.[7] Company K was activated again for federal service in August, 1917. In October, 1917 Company K, 13th Pennsylvania was combined with Company K, 1st Pennsylvania Infantry, and the new unit was re-designated as Company K, 109th Infantry. The 109th Infantry Regiment fought in France during World War I as part of the 28th Infantry Division, and was demobilized in May, 1919.[8]

In July, 1920 the unit was reorganized as Company K, 13th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, and a 1921 reorganization resulted in Company K being renamed Company B, 109th Infantry Regiment.[9]

In February, 1941 the 109th Infantry was activated for service in World War II. The regiment fought in the European Theater as part of the 28th Infantry Division, and was demobilized in October, 1945.[10][11][12][13][14]

The 109th Infantry was activated with the 28th Infantry Division during the Korean War, and served in West Germany from 1950 until returning home in 1954.[15]

In June, 1959 Company B was reorganized and designated Company B, 1st Battle Group, 109th Infantry.[16]

Company B was re-designated Headquarters, 3rd Brigade, 28th Infantry Division in April, 1963. In February 1968 3rd Brigade was renamed the 55th Brigade.[17]

Campaign participation credit[edit | edit source]

World War I[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Decorations[edit | edit source]

Recent events[edit | edit source]

Today the 55th Brigade is headquartered at the Scranton Armed Forces Reserve Center, 3401 Olyphant Adams Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509, where the 1-109th Infantry (Scranton) and the 337th Engineer Battalion [1] are also located. It moved from the historic Watres Armory on Adams Avenue in 2012. The 55th Brigade has a strength of about 3,600 soldiers. The Brigade's units are concentrated in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Appropriately, the soldiers of the 109th Infantry Regiment, the element from which the 55th was born, earned the nickname "Men of Iron" for their three-day defense against overwhelming odds during the Champagne-Marne Offensive in World War I.

55th Brigade Soldiers and units took part in Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2002 and 2003.

Soldiers from the 55th Brigade have participated in operations since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, both as individuals and as members of units. These activations include Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.[20]

In 2003-04, the 55th Brigade led "Taskforce Keystone," a major deployment of about 2,000 soldiers of the 28th Infantry Division to Europe to provide force protection and enhanced security in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While Task Force Keystone was on duty, another 1,100 soldiers from the 28th Division served as the core of the American peacekeeping presence in Bosnia.

3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor served in Afghanistan in 2008, and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.[21] In 2012 and 2013, approximately two Battalions of the 55th Armored Brigade Combat Team deployed to Kuwait to conduct security operations at several logistical bases in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.[22]

Task organization[edit | edit source]

In 2005 and 2006 the 55th Brigade converted to a heavy brigade combat team as part of the Army’s transition to modular brigades.[23] As of 2013, the task organization consists of: 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor Regiment (Lewisburg); 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment (Scranton); 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment (Philadelphia); 1st Battalion, 109th Field Artillery Regiment (Wilkes-Barre); 228th Brigade Support Battalion (Sellersville); Special Troops Battalion (Scranton)[2].[24]

The 55th Brigade Support Battalion is the former 103rd Engineer Battalion.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "APS - Additional Information on Army Related Topics". Army.mil. http://www.army.mil/aps/06/maindocument/infopapers/J-30.html. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  2. David Singleton, Scranton Times-Tribune, 55th Brigade Commander Reflects on What it Means to Protect and Defend, 14 May 2009
  3. WNEP TV Web Staff, Scranton Colonel Reacts to End of Iraq War, 15 December 2011
  4. "National Guardsmen Find "Priceless" Time Capsule". http://wnep.com/2013/07/10/national-guardsmen-find-priceless-time-capsule/. Retrieved 2015-10-11. 
  5. McGrath, The Brigade, p.168
  6. Pennsylvania. Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1900, page 352
  7. Frederick Lyman Hitchcock, History, 13th Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania and 109th Infantry and 108th Machine Gun Battalion, U.S.A.E.F., and 109th Pennsylvania National Guard, 1877-1923, 1924, page 38
  8. Pennsylvania State College Alumni Association, Penn State in the World War, 1921, page 21
  9. Center of Military History, Lineage and Honors, 109th Infantry Regiment, accessed 1 July 2013
  10. William Engle, Pittsburgh Press, 28th Division Ready to Open ‘Big Battles’, 27 August 1941
  11. William Engel, Pittsburgh Press, ‘Iron Division’ Wants Service Overseas, 11 December 1942
  12. United Press International, Pittsburgh Press, Keystone Division Fighting in France, 24 September 1944
  13. United Press International, Miami News, 2 Ships Land 809 Returnees, 5 August 1945
  14. Associated Press, Reading Eagle, Reading Unit Recognized, 17 January 1947
  15. Associated press, Reading Eagle, Relatives, Friends of Scranton Men to Visit Camp Atterbury, 10 November 1950
  16. Associated Press, Gettysburg Times, Gen. Biddle Names Unit Commanders, 30 May 1959
  17. Associated Press, Washington Observer-Reporter, 28th Infantry Division Now Three State Force, 19 February 1968
  18. Pennsylvania General Assembly, An Act Designating the Bridge crossing the Lackawanna River along 8th Avenue, also known as U.S. Business Route 6, in downtown Carbondale, Lackawanna County, as the 109th Infantry Bridge, 2013, page 3
  19. John B. Wilson, Center of Military History, Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades, 1999, page 313
  20. United States House of Representatives, House Concurrent Resolution 414, 6 June 2002
  21. Sunbury Daily Item, U.S. Army Honors Local National Guard Battalion, 14 June 2011
  22. Matt Jones, Pennsylvania National Guard, Pa. National Guard’s 55th Heavy Brigade honored for upcoming deployment, October 2012.
  23. Global Security, 28th Infantry Division, accessed 1 July 2013
  24. Pennsylvania National Guard, Unit Locator, accessed 2 July 2013

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