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By Jack Reece –
Once again American men and women have laid down their plowshares and taken up arms in defense of freedom. One unit of particular interest on the western side of South Carolina is the 122d Engineer Battalion.
Elements of the 122nd Engineer Battalion, Headquartered in Edgefield, South Carolina, will be departing for training in Texas next week in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan where their mission is to train Afghan National Army (ANA) Engineer units, perform construction and deconstruction operations and conduct route clearance in order to support the drawdown of US Forces. The mobilization and deployment is for approximately 12 months.
The Battalion was constituted 5 July 1946 and allotted to the South Carolina National Guard as the 122nd Engineer Combat Battalion, an element of the 51st Infantry Division. Organized and Federally recognized 13 March 1947 from new and existing units in western South Carolina with Headquarters at Edgefield.
The unit was redesignated as the 122d Engineer Battalion 1 February 1953. The 122d was ordered to active duty 10 February 2003 deploying in support of The War on Terror. The Valorous Unit Award streamer embroidered AL ANBAR PROVINCE 2003was awarded to the 122d Engineer Battalion.
In 2008 the Battalion reorganized to consist of the Headquarters Company and the Support Company (Companies A, B, and C concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 1226th Engineer Detachment, the 1227th Engineer Detachment, and the 1221st Engineer Company, respectively.
The Unit Insignia and Coat of Arms, as displayed here, are scarlet and white representative of Engineers and the crescent on the blue is suggested by the State flag of South Carolina, the home area of the Battalion. It alludes to the Camden Rifle Company organized in 1812 and to service as Infantry prior to the unit’s current Engineer combat designation. The blue area also refers to Savannah River, which forms the western boundary of South Carolina and of Edgefield County in which Edgefield, the Battalion’s headquarters, is located. The motto translates to “To Bring To An End (Successfully).
On Monday morning, February 25, 2013 the 370 year tradition that has made The National Guard the keystone of our national defense once again stood tall as members of the community joined together to wish the Battalion well, to serve the troops a hearty southern breakfast and to make a strong hurry home statement. The drill floor at the Edgefield Armory was abuzz with soldiers, government officials and members of the community as most of the conversations were in terms of this is what makes the Guard strong.
So, the colors have been cased for deployment and will be uncased when the unit is in theatre. Tradition tells us that the very soul of a military unit is symbolized in the colors under which it fights, for they record the glories of the past, stand guardian over its present destiny and ensure inspiration for its future. The colors lead the unit into battle. When in action, resolve not to part with the colors, but with your life. Today, the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and point of inspiration for the future. Commander and Soldiers come and go, but the colors remain steadfast. The battalion colors will be once again uncased in Edgefield one year hence where they have flown for sixty-six years.
(Colors casing ceremony was held in Lexington on 23 February)