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82nd Airborne Division

Definition/Scope: Within 18 hours of notification, the 82nd Airborne Division strategically deploys, conducts forcible entry parachute assault and secures key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests. The 82nd Infantry Division was formed August 25, 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Since members of the Division came from all 48 states, the unit was given the nickname "All-Americans," hence its famed "AA" shoulder patch. The 82nd was demobilized after World War I. For more than 20 years the "All-American Division" would live only in the memories of men who served in its ranks during the Great War. With the outbreak of World War II, the 82nd was reactivated on March 25, 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana under the command of Major General Omar N. Bradley. On August 15, 1942, the 82nd Infantry Division became the first airborne division in the U.S. Army. On that date, the All-American Division was redesignated the 82nd Airborne Division. In April 1943, paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division set sail for North Africa under the command of Major General Matthew B. Ridgway to participate in the campaign to puncture the soft underbelly of the Third Reich. The Division’s first two combat operations were parachute and glider assaults into Sicily and Salerno, Italy on July 9 and September 13, 1943. Following the Normandy invasion, the 82nd became part of the newly organized XVIII Airborne Corps, which consisted of the U.S. 17th, 82nd, and 101st Airborne Divisions. Following the surrender of Germany, the 82nd was ordered to Berlin for occupation duty. 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-Americans" became known as "America’s Guard of Honor." The 82nd returned to the United States January 3, 1946. Instead of being demobilized, the 82nd made its permanent home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was designated a regular Army division on November 15, 1948. On December 20, 1989, the "All-Americans," as part of Operation JUST CAUSE, conducted their first combat jump since World War II onto Torrijos International Airport, Panama. The paratroopers’ goal was to oust a ruthless dictator and restore the duly-elected government to power in Panama. The 1st Brigade task force made up of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, parachuted into combat for the first time since World War II. In Panama, the paratroopers were joined on the ground by 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment which was already in Panama. After the night combat jump and seizure of the airport, the 82nd conducted follow-on combat air assault missions in Panama City and the surrounding areas. The victorious paratroopers returned to Fort Bragg on January 12, 1990. But seven months later the paratroopers were again called to war. Six days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the 82nd became the vanguard of the largest deployment of American troops since Vietnam. The 82nd has been reorganized into the following structure: the 504th, 505th and the 508th are Parachute Infantry Regiments, the 325th is a Airborne Infantry Regiment, the Aviation branch is Combat Aviation Brigade, and the support branch is the 82nd Sustainment Branch.



Acronym:

82nd ABN DIV

Broader Terms:

Army divisions (active)
Fort Benning
XVIII Airborne Corps

Related Terms:

All American
Infantry Division
Inter-American Force
TF Hawk


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