Military Wiki
82d Airborne Division
82 Airborne Patch.svg   
Active 1917–1919
Country United States
Branch United States Army
Role Airborne
Size Division
Part of XVIII Airborne Corps
Garrison/HQ Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Motto(s) All the way!
March "The All-American Soldier"

World War I

World War II

Cold War

Global War on Terrorism

Website Homepage
Commander MG John W. Nicholson
Ceremonial chief BG Charlie Flynn
Command Sergeant Major Command Sergeant Major LaMarquis Knowles
Complete list of commanders
Distinctive unit insignia 82 ABD DUI.PNG
Combat service identification badge 82AirborneDivCSIB.jpg

The 82d Airborne Division is an active duty airborne infantry division of the United States Army, specializing in parachute assault operations into denied areas. It is also the Presidential bodyguard division. Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is part of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The 82d Division was constituted in the National Army on 5 August 1917, and was organized on 25 August 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Since its initial members came from all 48 states, the unit acquired the nickname All-American, which is the basis for its famed “AA” shoulder patch. Famous soldiers of the division include Sergeant Alvin C. York, General James M. Gavin, Dave Bald Eagle (grandson of Chief White Bull), Senator Strom Thurmond (325th GIR in World War II), Senator Jack Reed, and Congressman Patrick Murphy (the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress).


The 82d Division was first constituted on 5 August 1917 in the National Army. It was organized and formally activated on 25 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, Georgia.[1] The division consisted entirely of newly conscripted soldiers.[2] When commanders discovered that the division contained draftees from the forty-eight U.S. states that existed at the time, they nicknamed it "the All-American division."[3]

The bulk of the division was two infantry brigades, each commanding two regiments. The 163rd Infantry Brigade commanded the 325th Infantry Regiment and the 326th Infantry Regiment. The 164th Infantry Brigade commanded the 327th Infantry Regiment and the 328th Infantry Regiment.[4] Also in the division were the 157th Field Artillery Brigade, a divisional troops contingent, and a division train. It sailed to Europe to join the American Expeditionary Force in fighting World War I.[5]

World War I

In early April, the division embarked from the ports in Boston, New York and Brooklyn to Liverpool, England, where the division fully assembled by mid-May 1918.[6] From there, the division moved to mainland Europe, leaving Southampton and arriving at Le Havre, France,[6] and then moved to the British-held region of Somme on the front lines, where it began sending small numbers of troops and officers to the front lines to gain combat experience. On 16 June it moved by rail to Toul, France to take position on the front lines in the French sector. Its soldiers were issued French weapons and equipment to simplify resupply.[2] The division was briefly assigned to I Corps before falling under the command of IV Corps until late August. It was then moved to the Woëvre front, in the Lagney sector, where it operated with the French 154th Infantry Division.[6]

St. Mihiel

The division relieved the 26th Division on 25 June. Though Lagney was considered a defensive sector, the 82d Division actively patrolled and raided in the region for several weeks, before being relieved by the 89th Division.[2] From there it moved to the Marbache sector in mid-August, where it relieved the 2nd Division under the command of the newly formed First United States Army.[6] There it trained until 12 September, when the division joined the St. Mihiel offensive.[2]

Once the First Army jumped off on the offensive, the 82d Division engaged in a holding mission to prevent German forces from attacking the right flank of the First Army. On 13 September, the 163rd Infantry Brigade and 327th Infantry Regiment raided and patrolled to the northeast of Port-sur-Seille, toward Eply, in the Bois de Cheminot, Bois de la Voivrotte, Bois de la Tête-d'Or, and Bois Fréhaut. Meanwhile, the 328th Infantry Regiment, in connection with the attack of the 90th Division against the Bois-le-Prêtre, advanced on the west of the Moselle River, and, in contact with the 90th Division, entered Norroy, advancing to the heights just north of that town where it consolidated its position. On 15 September, the 328th Infantry, in order to protect the 90th Division's flank, resumed the advance, and reached Vandières, but withdrew on the following day to the high ground north of Norroy.[6]

On 17 September, the St-Mihiel Operation stabilized, and the 90th Division relieved the 82nd's troops west of the Moselle River. On 20 September, the 82d was relieved by the French 69th Infantry Division, and moved to the vicinity of Marbache and Belleville, then to stations near Triaucourt and Rarécourt in the area of the First Army.[6] During this operation, the division suffered heavy casualties from enemy artillery. The operation cost the division over 800 men. Among them was Colonel Emory Pike, the first member of the 82nd to be awarded the Medal of Honor.[2] The division was then moved into reserve until 3 October, when it assembled near Varennes-en-Argonne prior to returning to the line.[6] During this time, the division trained and prepared for the war's final major offensive at Meuse-Argonne.[2]


328th Infantry Regiment of 82nd Division advances in preparation to capture Hill 223 on 7 October 1918.

On the night of 6/7 October 1918, the 164th Infantry Brigade relieved troops of the 28th Division, which were holding the front line from south of Fléville to La Forge, along the eastern bank of the Aire River. The 163rd Infantry Brigade remained in reserve. On 7 October, the division, minus the 163rd Infantry Brigade, attacked the northeastern edge of the Argonne Forest, making some progress toward Cornay, and occupied Hill 180 and Hill 223. The next day it resumed the attack. Elements of the division's right flank entered Cornay, but later withdrew to the east and south. The division's left flank reached the southeastern slope of the high ground northwest of Châtel-Chéhéry. On 9 October, the division continued its attack, and advanced its left flank to a line from south of Pylône to the Rau de la Louvière.[6]

For the rest of the month, the division turned to the north and advanced astride the Aire River to the region east of St-Juvin. On 10 October, it relieved troops of the 1st on the right, north of Fléville, as far as a new boundary extending north and south through Sommerance. It then attacked and captured Cornay and Marcq, and established the front just to their south. On 11 October, the right flank of the division occupied Sommerance and the high ground north of la Rance Rau while the left advanced to the railroad south of the Aire. The next day, the 42nd relieved the 82nd's troops in and near Sommerance, allowing it to resume the attack. The 82nd passed through part of the Hindenburg defensive position, and reached a line just north of the road from St-Georges to St-Juvin.[6]

On 18 October, the division relieved elements of the 78th as far to the left as Marcq and Champigneulle. Three days later it advanced to the Ravin aux Pierres. On 31 October, the 82nd, except the artillery, was relieved by the 77th Division and the 80th Division, and assembled in the Argonne Forest near Champ-Mahaut. On 2 November, the division concentrated near La Chalade and Les Islettes, and, on 4 November, moved to training areas in Vaucouleurs. On 10 November, it moved again to training areas in Bourmont, where it remained until the 11 November armistice.[6] During this campaign the division suffered another 7,000 killed and wounded. A second 82nd soldier, Alvin C. York, won the Medal of Honor during this campaign.[2]


The division suffered 995 killed and 7,082 wounded, for a total of 8,077 casualties.[7] Following the war's end, the division moved to training areas near Prauthoy, where it remained through February 1919.[6] It returned to the United States in April and May, and was demobilized and deactivated at Camp Mills, New York on 27 May.[1]

For the next 20 years the 82d Division existed only as a unit of the Organized Reserve.[3] It was reconstituted on 24 June 1921 establishing headquarters at Columbia, South Carolina, in January 1922. The 82nd formed part of the Organized Reserves, and elements of the division were located in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.[2]

World War II

Louisiana to Italy

The 82nd Division was redesignated on 13 February 1942 as Division Headquarters, 82nd Division. It was recalled to active service on 25 March 1942, and reorganized at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, under the command of Major General Omar N. Bradley.

505th DUI

During this training period, the division brought together four officers who would ultimately steer the US Army during the following two decades: Matthew B. Ridgway, Matthew D. Query, James M. Gavin, and Maxwell D. Taylor. Under General Bradley, the 82nd Division's Chief of Staff was George Van Pope.

On 15 August 1942, the 82nd Infantry Division became the Army's first airborne division, and was redesignated the 82d Airborne Division. In April 1943, its paratroopers deployed to North Africa under the command of Major General Matthew B. Ridgway to participate in the campaign to invade Italy. The division's first two combat operations were parachute assaults into Sicily on 9 July and Salerno on 13 September. The initial assault on Sicily, by the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was the first regimental-sized combat parachute assault conducted by the United States Army. The first glider assault did not occur until Operation Neptune as part of D-Day. Glider troopers of the 319th and 320th Glider Field Artillery and the 325th Glider Infantry instead arrived in Italy by landing craft at Maiori (319th) and Salerno (320th, 325th).

In January 1944, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was temporarily detached to fight at Anzio, adopted the nickname "Devils in Baggy Pants", taken from an entry in a German officer's diary. While the 504th was detached, the remainder of the 82d moved to the United Kingdom in November 1943 to prepare for the liberation of Europe. See RAF North Witham and RAF Folkingham.


With two combat assaults under its belt, the 82nd Airborne Division was now ready for the most ambitious airborne operation of the war so far, as part of Operation Neptune, the invasion of Normandy. The division conducted Operation Boston, part of the airborne assault phase of the Operation Overlord plan.

In preparation for the operation, the division was reorganized. To ease the integration of replacement troops, rest, and refitting following the fighting in Italy, the 504th did not rejoin the division for the invasion. Two new parachute infantry regiments (PIRs), the 507th and the 508th, provided it, along with the 505th, a three-parachute infantry regiment punch. On 5 and 6 June, these paratroopers, parachute artillery elements, and the 319th and 320th, boarded hundreds of transport planes and gliders to begin history's largest airborne assault at the time (only Operation Market Garden later that year would be larger). During the June 6th assault, a 508th platoon leader, Lt.Robert P. Mathias, would be the first American officer killed by German fire on D-Day.[8] On June 7, after this first wave of attack, the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment would arrive by glider to provide a division reserve.

By the time the All-American Division was pulled back to England, it had seen 33 days of bloody combat and suffered 5,245 troopers killed, wounded, or missing. Ridgway's post-battle report stated in part, "...33 days of action without relief, without replacements. Every mission accomplished. No ground gained was ever relinquished."[3]

Following Normandy, the 82d became part of the newly organized XVIII Airborne Corps, which consisted of the U.S. 17th, 82d, and 101st Airborne Divisions. Ridgway was given command, but was not promoted to lieutenant general until 1945. His recommendation for succession as commander was Brigadier General James M. Gavin. Ridgway's recommendation met with approval, and upon promotion Gavin became the youngest general since the Civil War to command a US Army division.[9]

82nd Airborne Division drop near Grave in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden. (National Archives)

Market Garden

On 2 August 1944 the division became part of the First Allied Airborne Army. In September, the 82nd began planning for Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. The operation called for three-plus airborne divisions to seize and hold key bridges and roads deep behind German lines. The 504th, now back at full strength, was reassigned to the 82nd, while the 507th was assigned to the 17th Airborne. On 17 September, the 82nd conducted its fourth World War II combat assault. Fighting off German counterattacks, the 82nd captured its objectives between Grave, and Nijmegen. Its success, however, was short-lived because the defeat of other Allied units at the Battle of Arnhem. After a period of duty on the Arnhem front, the 82nd was relieved by Canadian troops, and sent to France.

The Bulge

On 16 December, the Germans launched a surprise offensive through the Ardennes Forest which became known as the Battle of the Bulge. Two days later the 82nd joined the fighting and blunted General Gerd von Rundstedt's northern penetration of American lines. During this campaign, PFC Martin, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, told a sergeant in a retreating tank destroyer to, "...pull your vehicle behind me—I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going!"[10]

504th Regiment, 82d Airborne troops advancing through snow-covered forest during the Battle of the Bulge

After helping to secure the Ruhr, the division ended the war at Ludwigslust past the Elbe River, accepting the surrender of over 150,000 of Lieutenant General Kurt von Tippelskirch's 21st Army. General Bradley stated in a 1975 interview with Gavin that Montgomery told him German opposition was too great to cross the Elbe. When Gavin's division crossed the river, the division moved 36 miles in one day and captured over 100,000 troops, causing great laughter in Bradley's 12th Army Group headquarters.[11]

Following Germany's surrender, the 82nd entered Berlin for occupation duty, lasting from April until December 1945. In Berlin General George Patton was so impressed with the 82nd's honor guard he said, "In all my years in the Army and all the honor guards I have ever seen, the 82nd's honor guard is undoubtedly the best." Hence the "All-American" became also known as "America's Guard of Honor".[12] The war ended before their scheduled participation in the invasion of Japan. During the invasion of Italy in World War II, Ridgway considered Will Lang Jr. of TIME magazine an honorary member of the division.[citation needed]

  • Casualties
    • 1,619 killed in action
    • 6,560 wounded in action
    • 332 died of wounds

555th insignia

Post World War II

The division returned to the United States on 3 January 1946 on the RMS Queen Mary. In New York City it led a big Victory Parade, 12 January 1946. In 1947 the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was assigned to the 82nd and was reflagged as the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Instead of being demobilized, the 82nd found a permanent home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, designated a Regular Army division on 15 November 1948. The 82nd was not sent to the Korean War, as both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower chose to keep it in strategic reserve in the event of a Soviet ground attack anywhere in the world. Life in the 82nd during the 1950s and 1960s consisted of intensive training exercises in all environments and locations, including Alaska, Panama, the Far East and the continental United States.

Within the United States, in 1967, the 82nd was sent to deal with the massive 1967 Detroit riot. Within two days of their deployment, the riots ended, with 43 people dead.

Dominican Republic & Vietnam deployments

In April 1965, the "All-Americans" entered the civil war in the Dominican Republic, in which more than 3,000 Dominicans died. Spearheaded by the 3rd Brigade, the 82nd deployed in Operation Power Pack.

A year later, the 82nd went into action in Vietnam. During the Tet Offensive, which swept across the Vietnam in January 1968, the 3rd Brigade was en route to Chu Lai within 24 hours of receiving its orders. The 3rd Brigade performed combat duties in the Huế – Phu Bai area of the I Corps sector. Later the brigade moved south to Saigon, and fought in the Mekong Delta, the Iron Triangle and along the Cambodian border, serving nearly 22 months.

Post-Vietnam and operations in the 1980s

From 1969 into the 1970s, the 82nd deployed paratroopers to South Korea and Vietnam on more than 180DBT (Days Bad Time) for exercises in potential future battlegrounds. The division received three alerts. One was for Black September 1970. Paratroopers were on their way to Amman, Jordan when the mission was aborted. In May 1971 they were used to help national guard and Washington DC police to round up and arrest protestors.[13][14] Nine years later in August 1980, the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry was alerted and deployed to conduct civil disturbance duty at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, during the Cuban refugee internment. War in the Middle East in the fall of 1973 brought the 82nd to full alert. In May 1978, the division was alerted to a possible drop into Zaire. In November 1979, the division was alerted for a possible operation to rescue the American hostages in Iran. The division formed the nucleus of the newly created Rapid Deployment Forces, a mobile force at a permanently high state of readiness.

82nd Airborne soldiers in Grenada, 1983.

On 25 October 1983, elements of the 82nd provided support to the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions in the invasion of Grenada. The first 82nd unit to deploy was a task force of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions (Airborne), 325th Infantry. On 26 October and 27, the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, and the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry, deployed to Grenada with support units. 2/505 deployed as well. Military operations ended in early November. Note that 2/325 did not deploy one COHORT company which was not "ARTEP'd". Each proceeding battalion pushed a single company forward with A-2/504 deploying only one company out of the entire brigade). The operation was critically flawed in several areas. Newly issued BDUs were not designed for the tropical environment. Communication between services (Army, Navy and Air Force) was a noticeable weak-link, without interoperability. This was the first time MREs were mass issued to paratroopers.

The operation tested the division's ability to act as a rapid deployment force. The first aircraft carrying troopers from the 2/325th touched down at Point Salines 17 hours after notification.

In March 1988, a brigade task force made up of two battalions from the 504th Infantry and 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, conducted a parachute insertion and air/land operation into Honduras as part of Operation Golden Pheasant. The deployment was billed as a joint training exercise, but the paratroopers were ready to fight. The deployment caused the Sandinistas to withdraw to Nicaragua. Operation Golden Pheasant prepared the paratroopers for future combat in an increasingly unstable world.

On 20 December 1989, the "All-American", as part of the United States invasion of Panama, conducted their first combat jump since World War II onto Torrijos International Airport, Panama. The goal of the 1st Brigade task force, which was made up of the 1/504 and 2/504 PIR as well as 4/325 AIR and Company A, 3/505 PIR, was to oust Manuel Noriega from power. They were joined on the ground by 3/504 PIR, which was already in Panama. After the night combat jump and airport seizure, the 82d conducted follow-on combat air assault missions in Panama City and the surrounding areas. The paratroopers returned to Fort Bragg on 12 January 1990.

Persian Gulf War

Ground operations during Operation Desert Storm, with the 82d Airborne Division positioned at the left flank.

Seven months later the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division were again called to war. Six days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, 1/325th Airborne Infantry Regiment was the initial ground force, as President George Bush's "Line in the Sand"[15] speech to Saddam Hussein part of the largest deployment of American troops since Vietnam as part of Operation Desert Shield. The first unit to deploy to Saudi Arabia was the division's Deployment Readiness Force 1 (DRF 1) a task force of the division's 1st Brigade Task Force. Soon after, the rest of the division followed. There, intensive training began in anticipation of desert fighting against the heavily armored Iraqi Army.

On 16 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began when Allied war planes attacked Iraqi targets. As the air war began, elements of the 82d initially deployed in the vicinity of the Aramco oil facilities outside Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. Coinciding with the start of the air war, three National Guard Light-Medium Truck companies, the 253rd (NJARNG), 1122nd (AKARNG), and the 1058th (MAARNG) joined 2d Brigade of the 82d. In the coming weeks using primarily the 5-Ton cargo trucks of these NG truck companies, the 1st Brigade moved north to "tap line road" in the vicinity of Rafha, Saudi Arabia. Eventually, these National Guard truck units effectively "motorized" the 1/325th, providing the troop ground transportation required for them to keep pace with the 6th French Light Armored Division during the incursion. The ground war began almost six weeks later. On 23 February, the vehicle-mounted 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers protected the XVIII Airborne Corps flank as fast-moving armor and mechanized units moved deep inside southern Iraq. A battalion-task force (1/325) was attached to the 6th French Light Armored Division becoming the far left flank of the Corps.[16] The 325th AIR acted as the division's spearhead for the ground war who actually took positions over the Iraqi border 24 hours in advance of coalition forces at 0800hrs on 22 February 1991. In the short 100-hour ground war, the 82d drove deep into Iraq and captured thousands of Iraqi soldiers and tons of equipment, weapons, and ammunition. During that time, the 82d's band and MP company processed 2,721 prisoners. After the liberation of Kuwait, the 82nd redeployed to Fort Bragg mostly by the end of April.

Hurricane Andrew

In August 1992, the division deployed a task force to the hurricane-ravaged area of South Florida to provide humanitarian assistance following Hurricane Andrew. For more than 30 days, troopers provided food, shelter and medical attention to the Florida population.

They also provided security and a sense of safety for the victims of the storm who were without power, doors, windows and in many cases roofs. There were, as with all disasters, criminals trying to take advantage of the situation, in this case looters and thieves. The presence of the 82nd quickly eliminated that factor from the equation.

Operation Restore Democracy: Haïti

On 16 September 1994, the 82d Airborne Division joined Operation Restore Democracy. The 82nd was scheduled to make combat parachute jumps into Pegasus Drop Zone and PAPIAP Drop Zone (Port-au-Prince Airport), in order to help oust the military dictatorship of Raoul Cédras, and to restore the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At the same time that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell were negotiating with Cédras to restore Aristide to power, the 82d's first wave was in the air, with paratroopers waiting at Green Ramp to air land in Haïti once the airfields there had been seized. When the Haïtian military verified from sources outside Pope Air Force Base that the 82nd was on the way, Cédras stepped down, averting the invasion.

Former Vice President Al Gore would later travel to Fort Bragg to personally thank the paratroopers of the 82d for their actions, noting in a speech on 19 September 1994, that the 82nd's reputation was enough to change Cédras' mind:

But it did get a little close there for a while. As you may know, there were 61 planes in the air headed toward Haïti at the time they finally agreed. And at one point General Biamby came in and told General Cédras that he had just gotten word on his telephone that the airplanes had taken off from Pope Air Force Base, with soldiers from Fort Bragg, and that both disconcerted them and caused them to be suspicious of the intent of the negotiations, but it also created a situation where immediately after that, the key points they had been refusing to agree to were agreed to, a date certain, other matters that I won't go into in detail here.

[citation needed]

Operations Safe Haven and Safe Passage: guarding Cuban refugees

In December 1994, the 2/505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, deployed as part of Operations Safe Haven and Safe Passage. The battalion deployed from Fort Bragg while on Division Ready Force 1 to restore order against thousands of Cuban refugees who had attacked and injured a number of Air Force personnel and one marine while protesting their detainment at Empire Range along the Panama Canal. The battalion participated in the safeguarding of the Cuban refugees and the active patrolling in and around the refugee camps near the Panamanian jungle for two months, enjoying a 92-degree Christmas Day and returning to Fort Bragg in February 1995.

Operation Joint Endeavor: Bosnia

In December 1995, battalions of the 82nd prepared for a possible parachute jump to support elements of the 1st Armored Division which had been ordered to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. Only after engineers of the 1st Armored Division bridged the Sava River on 31 December 1995 without hostilities did the 82nd begin to draw down against plans for a possible airborne operation there. The 82d's 49th Public Affairs Detachment (Abn) was deployed in support of the 1st Armored Division and air-landed in Tuzla with the 1AD TAC CP and began PA operations to include establishing the first communications in print and radio and covering the crossing of the Sava River by the main forces.

Operation Allied Force: Kosovo

In March 1999 the 2/505 deployed to Albania and forward deployed along the Albania/Kosovo border in support of Operation Allied Force, NATO's bombing campaign against Serbian forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic. In September 1999, 3/504 deployed in support of Operation Joint Guardian, replacing 2/505. 3/504 was replaced in March 2000 by elements of the 101st Airborne Division. On 1 October 1999, the 3-504th made a combat jump in "Operation Rapid Guardian": 500 foot altitude jump near Pristina.


File:82d Airborne Mass Jump-JSOH2006.jpg

The Army 82nd Airborne Division performs a mass paratroop jump with during the 2006 Joint Service Open House hosted at Andrews Air Force Base, 20 May 2006.

Operation Enduring Freedom: Afghanistan

After the 11 September attacks on the United States, the 82d's 49th Public Affairs Detachment deployed to Afghanistan in October 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom along with several individual 82nd soldiers who deployed to the Central Command area of responsibility to support combat operations.

In June 2002, elements of the division headquarters and 3rd Brigade deployed to Afghanistan. In January 2003 1st Brigade relieved 3rd Brigade. During 1st Brigade's tour in Afghanistan, 70 soldiers from B Company, 3/504, in conjunction with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, jumped into western Afghanistan, an operation that remained classified for over a year.

In November 2005, 2 plt A Co 2-504 took part in Operation Red Donkey, clearing Afghanistans deadly Korengal Valley.

Iraq War

Question book-new.svg

The factual accuracy of this article may be compromised due to out-of-date information

U.S. Army soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division patrol the streets of the Al Sudeek district of Mosul, Iraq, in January 2005.

In March 2003, 2–325 and 3-325 Airborne Infantry of the 2d BCT were attached to the 75th Ranger Regiment as part of a special operations task force to conduct a parachute assault to seize Saddam International Airport in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 21 March 2003, D Company crossed the Saudi Arabia-Iraqi border as part of Task Force Hunter to escort heavy rocket artillery indirect fire systems to destroy Iraqi artillery batteries in the western Iraqi desert. Upon cancellation of the parachute assault to seize the airport, the battalions returned to their parent 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Talil Airfield near An Nasariyah, Iraq.

The brigade returned to the United States by the end of February 2004.[16] The 3rd brigade deployed to Iraq in the summer, redeploying to the U.S. in Spring 2004. The 1st brigade deployed in January 2004. The last units of the division left by the end of April 2004. The 2nd brigade deployed on 7 December 2004 to support the free elections and returned on Easter Sunday in 2005. During this initial deployment 36 soldiers from the division were killed and about 400 were wounded, out of about 12,000 deployed. On 21 July 2006, the 1/325 along with a platoon from A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment and a troop from 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment deployed to Tikrit, Iraq returning in December 2006. Just days after returning home, the battalion join the rest of the 2nd Brigade in another deployment scheduled for the beginning of January 2007.

On 4 January 2007, 2d BCT deployed once again to Iraq in support of OIF. On 6 June 2007, 1st Brigade deployed to Southern Iraq, returning 21 July 2008.

A U.S. Army soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division makes an arrest in June 2007, during the Iraq War.

The early days of the 82nd Airborne's participation in the deployment were chronicled by embedded journalist Karl Zinsmeister in his 2003 book Boots on the Ground: A Month with the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq.

In December 2008, the 3d BCT deployed to Baghdad, Iraq and redeployed to Ft. Bragg In November 2009. In August 2009, the 1st BCT deployed once again to Iraq and redeployed late July 2010.

Support of 2004 elections in Afghanistan

In late September 2004 The National Command Authority alerted 1/505 for an emergency deployment to Afghanistan in support of that October's (first free) elections.

Two infantry battalions from the 82d Airborne deployed to Iraq before the scheduled 15 October referendum on the proposed constitution, and are expected to remain through the December national elections. The battalions involved are the 2d Battalion of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Battalion of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

The First Brigade of the 82nd deployed in April 2005 in support of OEF 6, and returned in April 2006.

The 2nd Brigade is currently deployed to Iraq and will return by the end of 2011.


A U.S. Army soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division patrols the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana in September 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina

The 82d Airborne's 3rd Brigade, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the division's 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment along with supporting units deployed to support search-and-rescue and security operations in New Orleans, Louisiana after the city was flooded by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. About 5,000 paratroopers commanded by Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, operated out of New Orleans International Airport.

2010 Haiti earthquake

Paratroopers from the US 82d Airborne Division distributed water and food in the 2010 Haiti earthquake relief.[17]


In January 2006, the division began reorganizing from a division based organization to a brigade combat team based organization. Activated elements include a 4th Brigade Combat Team (1–508th INF, 2–508th INF, 4–73rd Cav (RSTA), 2–321st FA, 782nd BSB, and STB, 4th BCT) and the inactivation of the Division Artillery, 82nd Signal Battalion, and 313th Military Intelligence Battalion. The 82nd Division Support Command (DISCOM) was redesignated as the 82nd Sustainment Brigade. A pathfinder unit was reactivated within the 82nd when the Long Range Surveillance Detachment of the inactivating 313th MI Bn was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment and converted to a pathfinder role.[citation needed]

Back to Afghanistan

In January 2007, the division headquarters, 4th BCT (includes 1–508th and 2–508th) and the Aviation Brigade deployed to Afghanistan as Combined Joint Task Force-82 (CJTF-82) for Operation Enduring Freedom VIII. The 3d BCT, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) was extended for 120 days to increase the troop strength against the Taliban spring offensive. In March 2008, 4th BCT began redeploying back to Fort Bragg after 15 months in Afghanistan. The 2–508th PIR worked to establish and maintain firebases in and around the Ghazni province while actively patrolling their operational area. The 1–508th PIR worked mostly out of the Kandahar province mentoring the Afghan National Security Forces. Supporting the division are the 36th Engineer Brigade, and the 43rd Area Support Group. During the months of August and September 2009, 4th BCT deployed again to Afghanistan.

As of April 2012, the 1st BCT was deployed to Afghanistan, operating in Ghazni Province. The paratroopers took control of Ghazni from the Polish Armed Forces, allowing the Polish Task Force White Eagle (pl:Polski Kontyngent Wojskowy w Afganistanie) to consolidate around the provincial seat in northern Ghazni.[18] In May 2012, Brigadier General Jeffery A. Sinclair, division deputy commander in charge of logistics and support, was sent home because of allegations of improper conduct. In September 2012 the Associated Press reported that he faced possible court-martial on charges that included forced sex, wrongful sexual conduct, violating an order, possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed, and misusing a government travel charge card and filing fraudulent claims.[19]

Order of battle

Order of battle of the 82nd Airborne Div.

82nd Airborne Division units:[20]

Organizational structure of 1st Brigade Combat Team (1st BCT), 82d Airborne Division (82nd ABN).

Organizational structure of 2d Brigade Combat Team (2nd BCT), 82nd Airborne Division (82nd ABN).

Organizational structure of 3d Brigade Combat Team (3rd BCT), 82nd Airborne Division (82nd ABN).

Organizational structure of 4th Brigade Combat Team (4th BCT), 82nd Airborne Division (82nd ABN).

File:Task org of CAB, 82d ABN.PNG

Organizational structure of 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade (82nd CAB), 82nd Airborne Division (82d ABN).

82nd paratrooper in Afghanistan.

US Special Forces extraction by Company A, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, Afghanistan January 2010.

Under training, readiness, and oversight of 82nd Airborne, but not part of the division[21]

18th Fires Brigade
Supporting the division
82nd Sustainment Brigade[22]


To commemorate the 1944 Waal assault river crossing made by the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 307th Engineer Battalion (Airborne) during Operation Market Garden, an annual Crossing of the Waal competition is staged on the anniversary of the operation at McKellars Lake near Fort Bragg. The winning company receives a paddle.[23] The paddle signifies that in the original crossing, many paratroopers had to row with their weapons because the canvas boats lacked sufficient paddles.[citation needed]


Campaign participation credit

Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division descend under a parachute canopy to earn foreign jump wings during the 11th Annual Randy Oler Memorial Operation Toy Drop at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 6 December 2008.

  • World War I
  1. St. Mihiel
  2. Meuse-Argonne
  3. Lorraine 1918
  • World War II
  1. Sicily
  2. Naples-Foggia
  3. Normandy (with arrowhead)
  4. Rhineland (with arrowhead)
  5. Ardennes-Alsace
  6. Central Europe
  • Armed Forces Expeditions
  1. Dominican Republic
  2. Grenada
  3. Panama
  • Southwest Asia
  1. Defense of Saudi Arabia
  2. Liberation and Defense of Kuwait

Iraqi commandos in June 2010, training under the supervision of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne.

  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom

Medal of Honor recipients

World War I

  1. LTC Pike, Emory, J.
  2. CPL York, Alvin, C.

World War II

  1. PVT Towle, John, R.
  2. PFC Deglopper, Charles, N.
  3. 1SG Funk, Leonard, A. JR


  1. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Sainte-Mère-Église.
  2. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Operation Market Garden.
  3. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Chiunzi Pass/Naples/Foggia awarded to the following units of the 82nd Airborne: 319th Glider Field Arty Bn,307th Engineer Bn (2nd), 80th Anti-aircraft Bn and Company H, 504 PIR
  4. Valorous Unit Citation (Army) for Operation Iraqi Freedom (3rd Brigade Combat Team, OIF 1)
  5. Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SouthWest Asia.
  6. French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for Sainte-Mère-Église.
  7. French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for Cotentin.
  8. French Croix de Guerre, World War II, Fourragère
  9. Belgian Fourragere 1940
  10. Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the Ardennes
  11. Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in Belgium And Germany.
  12. Military William Order, the highest and a very rare honor of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for bravery and valiant service in battle at Nijmegen 1944 during Market Garden. (worn as an Orange Lanyard)
  13. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for the Battle of Samawah, April 2003, awarded to the following unit of the 82nd Airborne: 2nd Brigade Combat Team (325th Airborne Infantry Regiment)
  14. Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Operation Turkey Bowl, OIF, November 2007, awarded to the following unit of the 82nd Airborne: 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, 3rd Brigade, 505th PIR

Units during WW II

The following are 82nd Airborne units during World War II.[24]

Living history groups

The following are reenactment and living history groups found around the globe.

See also

Memorials to the 82nd Airborne camped in the UK during WWII



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lineage and Honors Information: 82nd Airborne Division". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 " 82nd Airborne Division History". GlobalSecurity. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "82nd Airborne Division History". 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 25 December 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  4. McGrath 2004, p. 172
  5. "82nd Division Composition (World War I)". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 "82nd Division Record of Events (World War I)". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  7. Almanac, p. 587.
  9. Ruggero, Ed (29 May 2007). The First Men In: US Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day. Harper Collins. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-06-073129-8. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  10. {{Unreferenced cite book|title=Battle: The Story of the Bulge|author=Toland, John |date=1 April 1999 |publisher=Bison Books |isbn=0-8032-9437-9 |url=}}
  11. Ellis, John (1990). Brute force: allied strategy and tactics in the Second World War. Deutsch. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-233-97958-8. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  12. Reynolds, David (1 September 1998). Paras: An Illustrated History of Britain's Airborne Forces. Sutton. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-7509-1723-0. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  13. John Pike. "3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  14. "1971 May Day Protests at AllExperts". 3 May 1971. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 John Pike. "2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  17. de Montesquiou, Alfred; and Mike Melia (16 January 2010). "Haiti earthquake survivors get more food and water". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  18. [1][dead link]
  19. Lolita C. Baldor and Michael Biesecker, 1-star charged with forcible sodomy, adultery, Associated Press via Navy Times, Wednesday 26 Sep, 2012 12:18:32 EDT
  20. "82nd Airborne Division Units". The 82nd Airborne Division. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  21. The 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne) History
  22. "82nd Sustainment Brigade". 82nd Sustainment Brigade. Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  23. Wilt, Susan (22 September 2008). "82nd Airborne engineers re-enact famous WWII river crossing". U.S. Army. Retrieved 30 October 30, 2012. 
  24. "82d Airborne Division". Order of Battle of the United States Army World War II. United States Army. December 1945. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 


External links

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North Georgia Airborne Association: