In February 1943, the entire 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for an overseas
assignment as a dismounted unit. An impatient 1st Cavalry Division was
dismounted and they were processed for movement to the Southwest Pacific
theater as foot solders. In mid June 1943, the last troops of the division
departed Fort Bliss, Texas for Camp Stoneman, California and later on 03 July,
boarded the "SS Monterey and the S.S. George Washington" for Australia and the
After six months of intense combat jungle warfare training in Camp Strathpine,
Australia, the 1st Cavalry Division sailed for the Admiralty Islands. It was
time for the 1st Cavalry Division to receive their first baptism of fire. In
the battles that followed in New Guinea, Bismarck, Leyete and Luzon, the 27th
established a reputation of professionalism in performing its duties.
1946 was welcomed as a new dawning of peace for the 1st Cavalry Division. The days of privation, hardship, suffering and death were over for the first time since 07 December 1940. The following years of the occupation found the 1st Cavalry Division in control of Tokyo and vicinity, the capital of the war-built Japanese Empire. On 25 March 1949, the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company was redesignated as the 27th Ordnance Maintenance Company.
The ROKs had eight divisions, but only four deployed along the 38th parallel, and they only partially. Much worse, they had no air force, only 2.36 inch rocket launchers, no recoilless rifles, no heavy mortars, no medium artillery and no armor. The T34s, arguably the best tanks developed in WWII, advanced in a line-ahead formation. After scores of ROKs died under their treads, trying desperately to stop them with satchel charges and grenades, the tanks began moving through the survivors as though they were not there. At the same time, their infantry formations attacked in an inverted Y formation, sweeping around ROK opposition with the arms, encircling them, and finally crushing them.
The decision of the United States to send immediate aid to South Korea came two days after the fast moving North Korean Army broke through the Republic of Korea (ROK) defenses and sent tanks into the capital city of Seoul. In addition to the US Air Force, Navy and Marines, a 1,000 man battalion from the 24th Infantry Division, including many specialists and noncommissioned officers transferred from the 1st Cavalry Division arrived 30 June. More help was on the way. "A" Company of the 71st Heavy Tank Battalion, previously assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, arrived in Korea early in July and was immediately attached to the 24th Infantry Division and experienced its first combat at Taejon.
On 06 July, General MacArthur called Major General Hobart Gay, Commanding
General, 1st Cavalry Division and informed him to make plans for the 1st
Cavalry Division to make an amphibious landing at Inchon. In a questionable
state of readiness, the 1st Cavalry Division had been weakened by the earlier
transfer of approximately 750 noncommissioned officers to the 24th and 25th
Divisions to strengthen combat capabilities in Korea.
On 18 July, the 1st Cavalry Division was ordered to Korea. Initially scheduled to make an amphibious landing at Inchon, it was redirected to the southeastern coast of Korea at Pohang-dong a port 80 miles north of Pusan. The North Koreans were 25 miles away when elements of the 1st Cavalry Division swept ashore to successfully carry out the first amphibious landing of the Korean War. The 5th Cavalry Regiment Combat Team marched quickly toward Taejon. By 22 July, all regiments were deployed in battle positions; in itself a remarkable logistical achievement in the face of Typhoon Helene that pounded the Korean coastline.
Their baptism of fire came on 23 July. They were hit by heavy artillery fire and mortar barrage, and North Korean infantrymen swarmed toward their entrenched positions. The Pusan Perimeter continued to hold. With added reinforcements, Pusan became a staging ground and depot for United Nations supplies and soldiers from around the world. The defenders now outnumbered the attackers and they had the equipment and firepower to go on the offensive.
In late October 1950, orders came from I Corps to saddle up the rest of the division and move north. The Korean war seemed to be nearing a conclusion. The North Korean forces were being squeezed into a shrinking perimeter along the Yalu and the borders of Red China and Manchuria. By now, more than 135,000 Red troops had been captured and the North Korean Army was nearly destroyed.
On 25 October 1950, the Korean War took a grim new turn. The sudden
intervention of Communist Chinese forces dashed hopes of a quick end to the
war. In the morning of 01 November, patrols from the 1st and 2nd Battalions,
8th Cavalry, clashed with soldiers clearly identified as Red Chinese. By 28
December, the true extent of the enemy buildup had become clear. There was at
least 20 Red Chinese divisions poised for a drive on Seoul. Now there was
almost a million and a half Chinese and North Korean troops on the Korean
On 27 November, the advance party from the division, left Korea and by late
January 1952, all units had arrived on Hokkaido, under the command of Major
General Thomas L. Harrold. Arriving in the port of Muroran, each unit was
loaded on trains and moved to the new garrison areas. Three camps were
established outside Sappro, the Islands capital city. The division controlled
a huge training area of 155,000 acres. The mission of the division was to
defend the Island of Hokkaido and to maintain maximum combat readiness. On
01 January 1953, the 27th Ordnance Maintenance Company was reorganized and
redesignated Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 27th Ordnance
Battalion. Organic elements were concurrently constituted and activated.
In September 1954, the Japanese assumed responsibility for defending Hokkaido and the First Team returned to the main Island of Honshu. For the next three years the division guarded the northern sections of Honshu until a treaty was signed by the governments of Japan and the United States in 1957. This accord signaled the removal of all U.S. ground forces from Japan's main islands.
On 20 August 1957, the First Cavalry Division, guarding the northern sections of Honshu, Japan was reduced to zero strength and transferred to Korea (minus equipment). With the advent of the Pentomic Organizational Structure, the 27th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion was assigned to the forerunner of the present Divisional Support Command, the Divisional Trains. Although the concept of "Trains" under a controlling headquarters was new to the infantry divisions, it had been utilized by the Armor during World War II. The lifeline through which the combined administrative and technical support is provided by the trains. The organic units, at the time of activation of the Trains on 22 August 1957, included the 15th Aviation Company, 15th Administrative Service Company, 15th Medical Battalion, 15th Quartermaster Company, 23rd Transportation Battalion and the 27th Ordnance Battalion.
In ceremonies held on 15 October, the colors of the 24th Division were retired and the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were passed to the Commanding General of the old 24th Division, Major General Ralph W. Zwicker. "The First Team" had returned to Korea, standing ready to defend the country against Communist aggression.
On 01 November 1957, the Trains were activated in Korea. The redesignated and reorganized First Cavalry was assigned the mission of patrolling the "Freedom's Frontier" (DMZ). In addition to their assigned duties of patrol along the southern border of the DMZ, training remained a number one priority for the troopers and unit commanders. In January 1958, the largest training exercise in Korea since the end of hostilities, Operation Snowflake, was conducted. This exercise was followed by Operation Saber in May and Operation Horsefly in August. In June 1965, the 27th Maintenance Battalion began rotation back to the United States along with other units of the 1st Cavalry Division.
The Geneva Accords stated that the division was to be temporary, and that national elections in 1956 would reunite the country. But the United States did not want to see Vietnam turn into a communist state, so the US supported the creation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, which provided defense for South Vietnam.
North Vietnam, then called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, wanted a communist state, and South Vietnam, then called the Republic of Vietnam, wanted a non-communist state. In 1956, Ngo Dihn Diem, an anti-communist, won the presidential election in South Vietnam. But communist opposition in the south caused Diem numerous problems. And in 1959, southern communists decided to implement greater violence to try to oust Diem. This led to the formation of the National Liberation Front (NLF).
The NLF was a group of communists and non-communists who opposed diem and sought his ouster. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy sent a group to South Vietnam to determine what actions the US needed to take to assist them. When the group returned, they proffered recommendations in what became known as the "December 1961 White Paper" that indicated a need for an increased military presence; but many of the advisors of Kennedy wanted a complete pullout from the country.
In the end, Kennedy compromised and decided to increase the number of military advisors, but with the objective of not to engage in a massive military buildup. But in 1963, the government of Diem quickly began to unravel. The downfall began when Diem's brother accused Buddhist monks of harboring communists -- his brother then began raiding Buddhist pagodas in an attempt to find these communists
The Buddhist monks immediately began protesting in the streets, and in Saigon
on 05 October, 1963, one monk died by self-immolation. This incident caused
international outrage and Diem was soon overthrown and killed. On 02 August,
1964, North Vietnam attacked an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin that
resulted in congress enacted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted the
president broad war powers.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the president at the time, and the Gulf of Tonkin
incident and the resultant resolution marked the beginning of the major
military build up of America in the Vietnam War. In 1965, massive bombing
missions by the US in North Vietnam, known as Operation ROLLING THUNDER,
quickly escalated the conflict.
In 1965, the 27th Maintenance Battalion accompanied the Division Support Command when it was deployed to Vietnam at Savannah, Georgia aboard the USNS Upshur. After a 30 day voyage, the battalion arrived on 15 September and was immediately transported to the base camp at An Khe by helicopter to begin its role of division support. The months of September and October were spent receiving equipment and establishing semi-permanent bases throughout the operational areas of the division.
During 1966, the battalion, in addition to the supply operations, had also
completed more than 22,000 maintenance jobs. Some of the most important of
those were done on 105 mm howitzers and division vehicles. In 1967, the
battalion initiated a policy of training personnel in specific MOS categories
before sending them to the forward detachments. Primary emphasis was placed on
unique airmobile equipment, since many had no prior experience with these
26 March 1971, officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the majority of the 1st Cavalry Division. On 29 April, the Support Command Along with the 27th Maintenance Battalion departed Vietnam for Fort Hood, Texas.
On 15 September 1985, the 27th Maintenance Battalion was inactivated at Ft. Hood, Texas. Elements of the 15th Medical, 27th Maintenance and 115th Supply and Transport Battalions were incorporated into the 4th Main Support Battalion when it was activated on 20 June 1985.
The 27th Maintenance Battalion had maintained its dedicated and professional support to the First Team willingly for almost 64 years before being deactivated and reorganized into the 4th Main Support Battalion on 20 June 1985. Elements of the 15th Medical Battalion and the 15th Supply and Transport Battalion were concurrently reorganized into this new battalion. Although shortly lived, the 4th Main Support Battalion quickly established itself as a dedicated and successful support unit in its superior support of the 1st Cavalry Division at numerous field exercises and several National Training Center Rotations at Ft. Irwin, California.
On 01 May 1987, the concept of the 4th Main Support Battalion was abandoned and the 27th Maintenance Battalion was converted and redesignated as the 27th Support Battalion (MAIN) capturing the colors and lineage of its proud maintenance battalion heritage.
In August 1990, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for deployment to Southwest Asia as part of the joint forces participating in Operations Desert Shield. The focus at the time was the defense of Saudi Arabia against potential Iraqi attack. Arriving in Saudi Arabia in September 1990, the 27th Support Battalion moved to Northern Saudi Arabia, West of Hafar Al Batin. At the start of the ground war, a heavy forward support team moved into Iraq and set up operations and logistical release point near the Kuwaiti border.
In March 1991, after successfully supporting the 1st Cavalry Division, the 27th Support Battalion (MAIN), along with the balance of the DISCOM Units, joined the assembled division on the plain of the Wadi al Batin. Desert Storm was over. In April 1991, the Division brought all its soldiers safely home to Fort Hood, Texas.
Returning to Ft. Hood, Texas, the Battalion began an intensive recovery period to reconstitute the division for its contingency force mission. Maintenance and supply activities continuously operated for more than six months to return the Division to its full readiness posture.
Upon completion of wartime recovery operations, the Battalion began to train intensely on collective tasks to be prepared once again to support the division in any requirement or mission. The battalion has deployed units, soldiers and equipment in support of every division exercise, including four deployments to Kuwait, three to Somalia, two to Central America, two to the Caribbean and nine to the National Training Center as well as numerous other support missions within the United States.
On 18 October 2005, the 27th Main Support Battalion was redesignated and activated as the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Bliss, Texas under the Army's modularity transformation reorganization. The Battalion now provides all logistical support to combat units assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
In March 2008, the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Cobras) from the 4th Infantry Division became the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division on Cooper Field on Ft. Hood, Texas. The former Longknife Brigade reflagged to the 1st Armored Division. From June 2008 to June 2009, the battalion deployed to southern Iraq as part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division's support to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 08-10.
The 27th Support Battalion (Main) remains ready to provide maintenance, supply, transportation and medical support to the 1st Cavalry Division - anywhere.
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