27th Brigade Support Battalion
"Ex Animo (Willingly)"

The Early Years

The roots of the 27th Support Battalion can be traced back to 01 September 1921 when its predecessor, the 27th Ordnance Company which was constituted in the Regular Army of the United States and assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. On 20 September 1921, the unit was organized and activated as an ordnance at Fort Bliss, Texas. The 27th began its service with the 1st Cavalry Division on border patrol providing farrier and blacksmith support for the horses and equipment of the division.

World War II, Pacific Theater

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 Southwest Pacific.

Island Combat
On 02 March 1943, the 27th Ordnance Company was redesignated as the 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company. Soon afterward, the unit, along with the 1st Cavalry Division was dismounted in 1943 and they were processed for movement to the Southwest Pacific as foot solders. On 26 July, the Division arrived at Brisbane and began a fifteen mile trip to their new temporary home, Camp Strathpine, Queensland, Australia. The division received six months of intense combat jungle warfare training at Camp Strathpine in the wilds of scenic Queensland and amphibious training at nearby Moreton Bay.

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.

Troopship Cecil - Yokohama, Japa
On 13 August 1945, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted that they were selected to accompany General Douglas MacArthur to Tokyo and would be part of the 8th Army in the occupation of Japan. On 02 September the long convey of ships steered from Subic Bay into Yokohama Harbor and past the battleship Missouri where General MacArthur would later receive the Japanese surrender party. The First Team was given the honor of leading the Allied Occupational Army into Tokyo. At 8:00 on 08 September, a history making convey left Hara-Machida with Tokyo as their destination. Headed by Major General William C. Chase, commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division, the party included a veteran from each troop of the Division. Passing through Hachioji, Fuchu and Chofu, the Cavalry halted briefly at the Tokyo City Limits. General Chase stepped across the line thereby putting the American Occupational Army officially in Tokyo and adding another "First" to its name;

"First in Tokyo".

The first mission of the Division was to assume control of the city. On 16 September, the 1st Cavalry Division was given responsibility for occupying the entire city of Tokyo and the adjacent parts of Tokyo and Saitama Prefectures. The 27th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company garrison assignment was at Camp Drake near Tokyo.

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.

Korean War

Korea, The Location Of A New War
On 25 June, 1950, it happened before dawn in a distant country whose name means "The Land of Morning Calm". It was on a Sunday morning that began with a gentle rain. Then in a long and intensive barrage of artillery and mortar fire, 90,000 Russian -armed North Korean (NK) troops in seven assault infantry divisions smashed headlong into totally unprepared units of the army of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The North Korean Peoples Army (Inmun Gun) were led by over 150 T34/85 tanks, and closely supported by seventeen hundred 122mm howitzers and SU76 self-propelled 76mm guns. Over 200 Russian-supplied YAK ground-attack aircraft gave them total domination of the skies. Less than 5 years after the terrible devastations of World War II, a new war had broken out.

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.

The Pusan Perimeter

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 peninsula.

The UN Counter Attack, 1951
On 25 January 1951, the First Team moved back into action. The movement began as a reconnaissance in force to locate and assess the size of the Red Army, believed to be at least 174,000. The Eighth Army moved slowly and methodically, ridge by ridge, phase line by phase line, wiping out each pocket of resistance before moving farther North. The advance covered two miles a day, despite heavy blinding snowstorms and subzero temperatures.

From 09 June to 27 November, the 1st Cavalry took on various rolls in the summer-fall campaign of the United Nations. On 18 July, a year after it had entered the war, the 1st Cavalry Division was assigned to a reserve status. In late fall, the artillerymen were being relieved by elements of the 45th Infantry Division and they began their rotation back to Hokkaido, Japan.

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.

DMZ - Freedom's Frontie
The Korean War wound down to a negotiated halt when the long awaited armistice was signed at 10:00 on 27 July 1953. A DeMilitarized Zone (DMZ), a corridor - 4 kilometers wide and 249 kilometers long, was established dividing North and South Korea. The nominal line of the buffer zone is along the 38th parallel; however, the final negotiations of the adjacent geographical areas, gave the North Korean Government some 850 square miles south of the 38th parallel and the South Korean Government some 2,350 square miles north of the 38th parallel.

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.

Return To Korea

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.

Vietnam War

Division Of Vietnam - 1954
The roots of the Vietnam War started in 1946 with the beginning of the First Indochina War. Vietnam was under French control at that time (as was Laos and Cambodia), and the Vietnamese, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, wanted independence. So the Vietnamese and French fought each other in Vietnam. Eventually, in 1954, the Vietnamese defeated the French and both countries signed the Geneva Peace Accords, which, among other things, established a temporary division in Vietnam at the 17th parallel. The division of the country eventually led to the Vietnamese War.

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.

Air Cavalry Unit
The 1st Cavalry Division went home, but only long enough to be reorganized and be prepared for a new mission. On 03 July 1965, in Doughboy Stadium at Ft. Benning, Georgia the colors of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) were cased and retired. As the band played the rousing strains of Garryowen, the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were moved onto the field. As part of the reorganization, the 711th Maintenance Battalion, 11th Air Assault Division Support Command was redesignated as the 27th Maintenance Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Support Command,

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 particular items.

20 Ton Truck Maintenance Team
The battalion initiated a 20 hour course in maintenance for motor officers and NCOs in all units of the division. In turn these students taught their personnel, which aided greatly in keeping vehicles rolling throughout the Division. The ever increasing efficiency of the battalion was evidenced in 1968, when nearly 68,000 maintenance jobs were completed. The battalion continued their participation in all major campaigns and distinguished itself in battle, writing new chapters in its history.

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.

Return To CONUS

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.

Persian Gulf War, Southwest Asia

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.

Today's Cavalry

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.

Cavalry Outpost Publications Logo 14 Oct '99
Need a gift for an Alumni of the 1st Cavalry Division?

eMail Your WebSite Comments.

Return to "MyOwnPages"©.

Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 18 Sep '11 SpellChecked