73rd Engineer Company Airborne River Rats Army Challenge Coin
1 1/2 inch Challenge Coin, circa 1980s.
The 73rd Engineer Company was first constituted on 1 October 1933 in the Regular Army as the 73rd Engineer Company and activated on 1 August 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington. It was reorganized and redesignated on 8 June 1942 as the 73rd Engineer Light Ponton Company. During the Second World War, the Company recieved streamers for 4 campaigns: American Theater (streamer without inscription), Asiatic-Pacific Theater (streamer without inscription), Rhineland, and Central Europe. After the end of the Second World War, the Company was inactivated on 8 January 1946 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia.
The unit was redesignated on 15 November 1946 as the 73rd Engineer Light Equipment Company and activated on 10 December 1946 in Japan. The unit was inactivated on 1 June 1949 in Japan. It was redesignated on 18 August 1949 as the 73d Engineer Heavy Equipment Company and activated on 19 September 1949 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. It was reorganized and redesignated on 28 September 1953 as the 73rd Engineer Company.
The 73rd Engineer Company saw service in Vietnam, recieving streamers for 13 campaigns: Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, and Consolidation II. The Company was inactivated on 16 January 1972 in Vietnam.
The 15th Engineer Battalion (Combat) was reactivated at Fort Lewis in June 1972. In 1983, D Company was reorganized as a General Support Heavy Engineer Company, and the Bridge Company became E Company. On 1 April 1984, E Company, 15th Engineer Battalion was reflagged as the 73rd Engineer Company (Assault Ribbon Bridge), which was concurrently activated. Part of I Corps, the 73rd Engineer Company was attached to the 15th Engineer Battalion.
In January 1990, the Army ordered the 9th Infantry Division, including the 15th Engineer Battalion, to inactivate. As a result, the 73rd Engineer Company, after its 3-month combat tour in Operation Desert Storm, returned to I Corps control and was attached to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment on 1 July 1991.
The 73rd Engineer Company was assigned on 16 June 2002 to the 25th Infantry Division and activated at Fort Lewis, Washington. It was inactivated on 1 June 2006 at Fort Lewis, Washington, and relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division. It was assigned on 16 December 2006 to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.