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54th Signal Battalion - Mission Statement VOICE OF THE DESERT

Maintain a forward-stationed, theater signal battalion to Operate, Maintain, and Protect (OM&P) the Army Theater Operational Base Communications Systems in support of all CENTCOM forces.

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Unit History

On 18 October 1927, The United States Army constituted a unit that has become known as the 54th Signal Battalion that would not die. Authorized to form in 1928, the 54th Signal Battalion was not activated until February 10, 1941 at Fort Ord, California. Actively participating in World War II, the 54th earned Battle Streamers for the Ardennes, Alsace, and Central European Campaigns. In 1945, the battalion was inactivated for the first time. The 54th Signal Battalion was reactivated at Fort Hood, Texas in 1962 and shortly thereafter deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. Over the next nine years, the 54th earned 13 Battle Streamers, three Meritorious Unit commendations, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross for Gallantry with Palm. Its duty done, the 54th Signal Battalion again folded its colors in 1971 at Fort Lewis, Washington.

In June 1980, the 54th Signal Battalion was activated for a third time and assigned to Fort Hood, Texas in support of the Third U.S. Army Corps. The soldiers of the 54th Signal Battalion served with distinction for another 9 years until the battalion once again retired its colors in April 1989.

On 1 March 1991, in the wake of Operation Desert Storm, the 54th Signal Battalion was activated to provide state-of-the-art communications support to the Southwest Asia Theater. The soldiers of the 54th Signal Battalion assumed a role previously performed by an Army unit known as Information Systems Command - Central Area. ISC - Central area was a signal detachment whose roots can be traced back to 1952 when they provided communications support to the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Riyadh and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The crisis in the gulf changed everything. This small signal detachment was called up to support a theater at war. ISC - Central Area greatly expanded its communications capabilities to provide regional communications support to CINC USCENTCOM. In the process, the detachment became the 54th Signal Battalion.

After the war, the 54th Signal Battalion consisted of a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, the 550th Signal Company in Dhahran, and the 580th Signal Company in Riyadh. In 1994, the United States Army Information Systems Command (USAISC) placed the 385th Signal Company and DOIM - Kuwait under operational control of the 54th Signal Battalion. The 385th Signal Company was then assigned to the 54th Signal Battalion in January of 1995. This expanded the 54th Signal Battalion's theater responsibilities so that the battalion now provides both fixed and tactical communications support to USARCENT-K in Kuwait. Effective 1 July 1995, the 54th Signal Battalion was aligned under USARCENT-SA.

All of this against the backdrop of the ebb and flow of tensions throughout Southwest Asia. Such tensions lead to strict security measures and make the services the 54th provides that much more critical. Critical in this process has been the unit's pivotal role in relocating much of the defense information infrastructure twice, in the wake of the June 1996 truck bombing at Khobar Towers.

According to eye witness accounts, the communicators with the battalion provided the only electronic mail connectivity out of the complex for several days following the bombing. Later, after U.S. and other officials determined that personnel and operations would be moved to more secure areas, the 54th played a pivotal role in determining how to move complicated equipment, then making the move, first to an interim site, then to more permanent facilities elsewhere in Saudi Arabia. This action, a part of joint service Operation Desert Focus, was done in concert with several defense agencies in the region.

In 1997, the DOIM in support of ARCENT Qatar was formed and it too was assigned to the 54th Signal Battalion. On 16 June 1998, with the passing of the colors, the 54th Signal Battalion was realigned under 11th Signal Brigade.

With the onset of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001, the increasing size and scope of the SWA strategic communications network soon placed it beyond the capacity of a single signal battalion in theater. Therefore, the Army decided to stand up the 160th Signal Brigade in the Fall of 2003 in Kuwait and realigned the 54th under them.

Last updated on 19th March, 2013.