"IMPRIMIS" IN THE FIRST PLACE
30th Engineer Battalion (Topographic)
30TH ENGINEER BATTALION (BASE TOPOGRAPHIC)
ORGANIZATION DAY 1960 Fort Belvoir, Virginia
The 30th Engineer Battalion (Base Topographic) was activated on I September 1939 at Portland, Oregon. Parent organization for the battalion was the 29th Engineer Battalion (Topographic). The battalion, consisting of Headquarters and Headquarter Company, Company "A" (Survey) and Company "B" (Photomapping), embarked from San Francisco in October 1939 and arrived at Fort Belvoir later the same month. The battalion recruited additional personnel and moved into permanent barracks early in 1940 to start a new era in military mapping.
Due to the tense international atmosphere, the battalion was required to furnish numerous cadres for the new topographic units rapidly being organized. During the same time numerous replacements were received into the Battalion and a series of intensive technical framing programs were initiated.
After the United States declared war, the unit was moved to North Africa from which point it supported military activities in Sicily, Italy, and Southern France. Following 'TE" day the battalion noved to Hawaii where they were to provide support for the final assault on the Japanese Home Islands.
The 30th Engineers remained in Hawaii until 1949. During this period they performed survey and mapping missions to support The Post-Hostilities Mapping Program.
Late in 1949, the battalion moved to Fort Scott, Presidio of San Francisco where it supported 6th Army Headquarters as well as provided Army Map Service Support. At this time the Battalion was assigned the requirement to survey Alaska. To accomplish this the battalion was increased to four survey companies in addition to the 21st Engineer Photo-mapping Company, 99th Engineer Reproduction Company and the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
By 1954, the unit bad grown so large and with so many diversified activities that it was redesignated as the 30th Engineer Group (Survey), with all the survey companies being grouped under the 660th Engineer Battalion (Survey Base). With the completion of the Alaskan survey in 1958, many of the 30th Engineer Group activities were curtailed. One survey company was detached to Panama, another to Libya, and a third was deactivated. In June 1958, the group was again redesignated as the 30th Engineer Battalion (Base Topographic) and plans initiated to return the battalion to Fort Belvoir. March 1959, saw the 537th Engineer Company (Survey Base) start to move to Fort Belvoir as the battalion's advance party. The remainder of the battalion arrived at Fort Belvoir in June 1959 where it took up its present quarters on North Post. In the later part of June 1959, the 523rd Engineer Detachment (Geodetic Survey) and the 533rd Engineer Detachment (Technical Intelligence and Research) were added to the battalion to bring it up to its present strength. The 30th Engineer Battalion is now starting it's 22nd year of service. The original aim of the battalion was to satisfy its motto "IMPRIMIS" "In The First Place". The aim of the battalion today is still "IMPRIMIS" "In The First Place".
Campaign streamers awarded to the 30th Engineer Battalion include the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater (without inscription) and the Asiatic-Pacific Theater (without inscription).
Included in the decorations awarded the 30th Engineer Battalion is the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer embroidered European Theater and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer embroidered Pacific Theater.
Information provided by Tony John.