47th Brigade Support Battalion

"Blaze the Trail"


The 47th Brigade Support Battalion was activated as the 4th Medical Squadron on Feb. 1, 1939, at Fort Knox, Kentucky. On July 15, 1940, it was redesignated the 47th Medical Battalion and assigned as an original organic battalion of the 1st Armored Division. From these beginnings, the 47th earned its official Army Special Designation: “One of the Originals,” as it was one of the original battalions assigned to 1AD.

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The 47th accompanied 1AD prior to the onset of World War II, providing medical support during the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Carolina maneuvers. It was during these maneuvers that the battalion began experimenting with rapidly deployable, mobile health care, inventing truck-mounted shelter/tent combinations that continue to inspire modern uses today to including mobile operating rooms, pharmacies, and dental clinics. It was for these modern innovations, all of which were highly successful during the North African campaign of World War II, that the 47th coined its official motto: “Modern Pioneers.” The 47th participated in seven campaigns during World War II, earning battle streamers for Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, the North Apennines and the Po Valley. The battalion was in Italy as the war ended and moved north into Germany to participate in the American Occupation Forces.

In 1946, the battalion moved back to the United States and was inactivated. In 1951, the battalion was reactivated along with the rest of 1AD as part of the Korean War buildup at Fort Hood, Texas, and moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, after the war in 1956.

In 1971, the battalion moved with 1AD to West Germany, and maintained its headquarters in Furth, outside Nuremburg. It was in Furth that the 47th Medical Battalion was reorganized and redesignated the 47th Forward Support Battalion. The battalion was assigned to the 1AD Division Support Command with a habitual support relationship established for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. The battalion would remain in Bavaria until the fall of 1990, when it would deploy to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield.

The 47th earned three more campaign streamers as a result of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm: Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait, and Southwest Asia Cease-Fire.

In the spring of 1991, the 47th returned to Germany and began preparations to move from Furth to Smith Barracks at Baumholder, Germany. From Baumholder, the battalion deployed to the Balkans in January 1996 as part of Task Force Eagle, and occupied Camp Angela in central Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the fall of 1996, the 47th returned to Baumholder, and remained there until 1999, when the battalion deployed to Kosovo as part of Task Force Falcon.

In May 2003, the battalion deployed from Baumholder to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, thus beginning the first of three rotations the battalion would complete. Following their return from Iraq in 2009, the battalion cased its colors at Baumholder and inactivated.

On July 16, 2010, the battalion’s colors were uncased in a ceremony at the 1AD museum at Fort Bliss, Texas. The battalion was officially activated as a Brigade Support Battalion on Sept. 16 of the same year as an organic element of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team. The unit occupied its current footprint on Biggs Army Airfield in October 2010.

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On Nov. 15, 2010, the 47th received a change of mission and was attached along with the rest of 2nd Brigade to the Future Force Integration Directorate, later the Brigade Modernization Command. That mission was to continuously and responsively sustain the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bliss, Texas, to include the supply, distribution and maintenance of materiel, and medical support for Soldiers of the BCT. The battalion simultaneously conducted mission-essential training in preparation for combat operations and conducted test and evaluation tasks on new equipment.

In December 2016, 47th Brigade Support Battalion changed its command from Brigade Modernization Command to FORSCOM, becoming a fully deployable unit. The unit deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in October 2017 in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The unit focused on building partnership engagements with the Kuwaiti National Guard, supporting brigade operations within Kuwait and the Operation Spartan Shield AOR, and providing medical support at locations across the CENTCOM area of respondsibility.