"Sappers In!"



Colonel Geoffrey R. Van Epps

Colonel Geoff Van Epps assumed command of the 130th Engineer Brigade on 10 July 2018. Born in Urbana, Illinois and raised as an Army brat, he commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers in 1995 from the United States Military Academy, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

Prior to this assignment he served as Chief Engineer for the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. Previously he commanded the 10th Engineer Battalion in the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, followed by service as chief of staff of the US Army Engineer School. He has also served as the Army G3 fellow at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies in Germany, an assignment officer at Army Human Resources Command, a battalion executive officer in the 1st Cavalry Division, and commander of Bravo Company, 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As a junior officer, he served in staff and leadership positions with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, 20th Engineer Brigade, 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Airborne), and 52d Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy).

Colonel Van Epps holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri at Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology). He also earned a masterís degree in Economics, Finance and Management from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and another in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona díEstudis Internacionals while studying as an Olmsted Scholar in Barcelona, Spain. He is a graduate of the US Naval War College and is licensed as a professional engineer in the State of North Carolina.

His awards and decorations include two Bronze Star Medals, one Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal.


Command Sergeant Major Chad C. Blansett

CSM Blansett entered the U.S. Army on 1 April 1992, and he attended Basic Combat Training and the Heavy Construction Equipment Operator (12N) Course at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri.

CSM Blansett's duty assignments include the 1999; BCO, 535th Engineer Support Company (ESC) and HSC, 94th Engineer Battalion from 1999-2006; BCO, 37th Engineer Battalion (C) (A) from 2006-2008; 618th Engineer Support Company (Airborne); 196th Infantry Brigade from 2011-2012; 1st Armored Division from 2013-2014; 15th Engineer Battalion from 2014-2016 and the United States Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) Transatlantic District, Bagram Afghanistan in 2017.

CSM Blansettís Peacekeeping and Combat tours include Operation Restore Democracy, Haiti (1994); Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo (1999, 2001); Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq (2003, 2005 and 2007); Operation Enduring Freedom (2006, 2010); and Operation Freedom's Sentinel (2017).

CSM Blansett is a graduate of the Basic Airborne School; Air Assault School; 82nd ABN Advanced Airborne School (Jumpmaster); Sapper Leader Course, Basic Leader Course (BLC); Advance Leader Course (ALC); Senior Leader Course (SLC); First Sergeant Course; the Sergeants Major Academy (Class 63); 82nd Airborne Divisionís Air Movement Course; Jungle Operations Training Course (Panama); Master Fitness Course and the Master Driver Course. CSM Blansettís military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2 OLC); Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC); Army Commendation Medal (4 OLC); Army Achievement Medal (1 OLC); Combat Action Badge; Master Parachutist Badge; Senior Parachutist Badge; Parachutist Badge; Air Assault Badge; Sapper Tab; Drivers Badge (3 clasps); Japanese Parachutist Badge; Presidential Unit Citation; Valorous Unit Award; Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Superior Unit Award.


130th Engineer Brigade provides trained and ready engineer modular forces; integrates and provides mission command; deploys and conducts engineer operations (ULO) in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) environment.

PACOM's Unit of Choice.  
 130th Engineer Brigade Lineage

The 130th Engineer Brigade is a combat engineer brigade of the United States Army. The Brigade left Germany in 2007 and recently transferred from the command of V Corps to United States Army Pacific. The Brigade uncased its colors in Hawaii on Oct. 23, 2008.

The 130th Engineer Brigade was originally constituted in the U.S. Army as the 1303rd Engineer General Service Regiment and activated on July 15, 1943 at Camp Ellis, Illinois. The regiment played an important role in World War II with campaign credits for Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe and the Asian-Pacific theatre. The regiment was deactivated on July 8, 1955 and its elements allocated to the regular Army.

It was re-designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Aviation Brigade in Japan and subsequently inactivated on June 25, 1956. On June 16, 1969, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Aviation Brigade was re-designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Brigade and activated in Hanau, Germany.

From December 1995 to January 1996 all units in the brigade, except the 320th Engineer Company (Topographic), deployed to Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. (The 320th Engineer Company deployed their topographic surveying platoon the following year.) In December 1995, the 502nd Engineer Company deployed to Zupanja, Croatia and placed the historic ribbon bridge over the Sava River. The company operated 24-hours a day for three months crossing critical traffic in support of Task Force Eagle and IFOR. The company also assisted in the construction of the first fixed bridge over the Sava River in Brcko-Gunja. The 502nd Engineer Company redeployed in May 1996, with a rafting section remaining at Slavonski Brod to support the force restructuring of Task Force Eagle.

Units of the 130th Engineer Brigade were deployed to Kuwait in early 2003 and moved into Iraq in March where they supported Operation Iraqi Freedom with bridging and infrastructure support. The 565th Engineer Battalion built the “birthday bridge” – the longest float bridge constructed in a combat theatre with a span of 580 meters – over the Tigris River in Tikrit on Saddam Hussein’s birthday, April, 28 2003.

The 502nd Engineer Company also conducted river patrol operations in Baghdad and Tikrit. This new mission for the company was essential for force protection, troop transportation, search and cordon operations and to protect against sabotage on fixed bridges. In September 2003, with the inactivation of the 38th Engineer Company (Medium Girder Bridge), the 502nd Engineer Company became a multi-role bridge company with both float and fixed bridging capabilities and the only bridge company in support of USAREUR.

Brigade units redeployed to Hanau in late 2003 and early 2004. The 502nd Engineer Company became the first V Corp company-size unit to return for a second tour in Iraq when it deployed in September 2004. The company returned to Hanau in September 2005. The brigade deployed to Iraq again in September 2005; and the 54th Engineer Battalion followed in October, returning in October 2006.

The 130th Engineer Brigade said goodbye to Hanau with a casing of the colors ceremony on Pioneer Kaserne on May 4, 2007. The brigade headquarters become part of U.S. Army Pacific on June 16, 2007. The brigade had originally been slated to relocate to Fort Lewis to replace the 555th Engineer Brigade, which was scheduled to be inactivated. But with the Army’s recent authorized increased end strength the brigade remains on active duty. The 130th Engineer Brigade uncased their colors in Hawaii in 2008.

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia: Scarlet and white are the colors used for Engineer organizations. The bar refers to a lever, support, fastener or a measuring device and other facets of engineering operations, the embattlements denoting the military aspects of the Brigade. In numerology, three is the symbol for completeness.

Distinctive Unit Insignia: The embattle tower was suggested by the unit’s shoulder sleeve insignia. The 130th Engineer Brigade’s five battle honors (Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe) are represented by the three merlons of the tower, the spade and bayonet. The masoned tower with the spade also symbolizes the unit’s engineering achievements while the bayonet alludes to the combat readiness of the Brigade. Scarlet and white are the colors used by Engineers.

Former organization (Germany)

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Brigade
54th Engineer Battalion (Combat Mechanized)
94th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy)
565th Engineer Battalion
38th Engineer Company
320th Engineer Company (Topography)
502nd Engineer Company (Multi-Role Bridge)
Future organization (Hawaii)

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Brigade
65th Engineer Battalion
84th Engineer Battalion