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U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)

U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), trains, mobilizes, deploys, sustains, transforms and reconstitutes conventional forces to provide relevant and ready land power to combatant commanders worldwide in defense of the nation at home and abroad. FORSCOM is responsible for the readiness of more than 75 percent of the Army’s force structure and 87 percent of the Army’s combat power.

FORSCOM is the Army’s largest Army command — commanding or providing training readiness oversight to the bulk of the Army’s operational force. In this era of persistent conflict, FORSCOM Soldiers and units are deployed to more than 30 nations, executing overseas contingency operations, conducting stability operations in Iraq and South America, and securing peace in Afghanistan and the Balkans.

FORSCOM is the global land force provider, maintaining global visibility of conventional land forces and developing force recommendations for operational uses of Army assets worldwide. Using the Army Force Generation process, FORSCOM tailors the resources and training of its units to meet the specific and constantly changing requirements of combatant commanders and, when directed, of U.S. civil authorities. Those requirements range from preparing Soldiers to fight on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq to providing relief to disaster victims.

FORSCOM originally was constituted as General Headquarters/Field Forces U.S. Army in 1942. Over the years, the command has seen several organizational and name changes. On July 1, 1973 it was designated as U.S. Army Forces Command.

U.S. Army Reserve Command

The U.S. Army Reserve Command relocated its headquarters to Fort Bragg on Aug. 1, 2011. It is the headquarters for the 206,000 Soldiers of the Army Reserve.

USARC provides trained, equipped and ready Soldiers and cohesive units to meet global requirements across the full spectrum of operations. As an enduring force, the USARC is the premier provider of America’s Citizen-Solider for planned and emerging missions at home and abroad. Enhanced by civilian skills that serve as a force multiplier, we deliver vital military capabilities essential to the Total Force.

An Operational Reserve

Today’s Army Reserve is uniquely positioned and structured to provide operational support in complex security environments. It can meet Army requirements for combat support or combat service support roles. Many civil affairs, psychological operations, medical, transportation, engineer and information operations capabilities reside exclusively, or predominately, within the Army Reserve. Our ability to mobilize quickly and responsiveness makes the Army Reserve ideally suited to meet our nation’s future requirements. Army Reserve Soldiers will remain a vital part of the Total Army Force facing the national security challenges of the next decade and beyond.

USARC Heritage

From World War I through the Cold War era, the Army Reserve principally operated as a force in reserve. The first Gulf War, in 1990-1991, served as a catalyst for thinking about using the Army Reserve in a more operational capacity when large numbers of Reserve forces were engaged. Since the Gulf War, the nation has employed the Army Reserve in many different ways and at unprecedented levels, most significantly after Sept. 11, 2001. The demands of persistent conflicts over the past 10 years were — and-continue to be — beyond the ability of the active component to meet alone. For this new mission, Congress mandated the creation of the USARC in October 1990 to provide more centralized management for ensuring the combat readiness of Army Reserve units.

XVIII Airborne Corps

XVIII Airborne Corps, with headquarters at Fort Bragg, was originally activated as the II Armored Corps at Camp Polk, La., Jan. 17, 1942. It was redesignated XVIII Corps Oct. 9, 1943, at the Presidio of Monterey, Calif.

The Corps celebrates its birthday on Aug. 25, 1944, when the blue airborne tab was added at Ogbourne, St. George, England. On this same day, the XVIII Airborne Corps assumed command of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and Maj. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway became the first Corps commander. Within a month of reaching Europe, General Ridgway was in the air over the Netherlands as two of the Corps’ combat elements, the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions participated in WWII’s largest combat jump — Operation Market Garden. The Corps headquarters soon joined them on the ground for prolonged fighting alongside British tankers, infantrymen and paratroopers.

Early winter found the Corps split between bases in France and England preparing for other potential airborne operations. When Hitler unleashed the Ardennes Offensive, these forces constituted the only mobile reserves that the Allies had. Within a matter of hours the Corps was on its way to the Ardennes. The 101st held on to Bastogne’s critical road junction, while the rest of the Corps, reinforced by armor and infantry divisions, stopped the penetration and then helped to push the exhausted Germans back to their original positions during the “Battle of the Bulge.”

For the rest of the war, XVIII Airborne Corps showed its versatility by concentrating on ground operations. It played a major role in the reduction of the Ruhr “pocket,” shifted at lightning speed to launch the last airborne operation in the theater-Operation Varsity to cross the Rhine alongside the British and then dashed north and east to the Elbe and the Baltic coast of Germany.

The XVIII Airborne Corps then moved back to the United States in late June 1945, to prepare for the invasion of the Japanese home islands. Before that deployment could take place, however, the war ended. On Oct. 15, 1945, at Camp (now Fort) Campbell, Ky., XVIII Airborne Corps was inactivated.

With the global force build-up caused by the Korean War, the nation once again called on XVIII Airborne Corps. XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated on May 21, 1951, at Fort Bragg, N.C., “Home of the Airborne,” replacing V Corps, which deployed to Europe. Thousands of inductees and members of the National Guard and Army Reserve were called to active duty and were trained at Fort Bragg for service during the Korean War. In October 1951, the 11th Airborne Division was attached to the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The outbreak of civil disturbances in the United States became an area of activity for the XVIII Airborne Corps. In the fall of 1957, a federal order to integrate the public schools in Little Rock, Ark. precipitated public disorders, and United States marshals were unable to maintain control. President Eisenhower, when compelled to summon government troops, selected a XVIII Airborne Corps unit to do the job — the 101st Airborne Division. With discipline, tact and efficiency, the mission was accomplished.

In 1961, the construction of the Berlin Wall and the presence of the Soviet Army in the city led to the Corps being placed on alert. The stand-off ended in the summer of 1962 when the East German government backed down.

On Jan. 1, 1962, the U.S. Army reorganized the XVIII Airborne Corps under STRAC. STRAC was composed of two Corps: XVIII Airborne Corps and III Corps. These units were especially tailored to fight a limited war anywhere in the world. Attached to XVIII Airborne Corps were the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions, as well as numerous combat and logistical support units. STRAC troopers were Skilled, Tough and Ready Around the Clock.

In September 1962, violence broke out in Oxford, Miss., when U.S. Marshals attempted to carry out a federal court order to admit an African-American, James H. Meredith, to the University of Mississippi. Soldiers of the XVIII Airborne Corps were summoned and the riots were rapidly quelled by the troops, who showed restraint, tact and self-control.

In October 1962, units of XVIII Airborne Corps were placed on alert for potential commitment during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nuclear war was overted after the intercession of the United Nations and Corps troops stood down. From April 30, 1965, to Jan. 17, 1966, the XVIII Airborne Corps served in the Dominican Republic during Operation Power Pack as Headquarters, U.S. Forces Dominican Republic. Corps Soldiers were sent to restore law and order, prevent a communist takeover of the country and protect American lives.

Almost immediately after returning to Fort Bragg, attention shifted to the need to prepare units for duty in Southeast Asia. Over 200 elements trained up under XVIII Airborne Corps’ guidance and shipped to Vietnam, including the entire 101st Airborne Division and the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. During the Vietnam era, more than 200,000 trainees underwent basic training at Fort Bragg, the majority from 1966 to 1970. At the peak of the war, in 1968, the military population at the installation was nearly 58,000.

In 1967, XVIII Airborne Corps troops also saw action in Detroit and in the Congo. Paratroopers from the 82nd and 101st were sent to Detroit, Mich., to suppress riots there and in the Congo, for Operation Dragon Rouge, XVIII Airborne Corps forces gave support to the established central government and rescued civilians being held hostage.

In July 1973, XVIII Airborne Corps was assigned under U.S Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). The capability for rapid deployment into an environment where normal points of entry, such as ports or airfields, are not available, is a special skill that has been the training and planning focus of XVIII Airborne Corps throughout most of its 65 years of existence. In peacetime, the quick reaction ability was tested constantly through the use of no notice Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises (EDREs) and was the foundation of the Corps’ program to sustain its high standards.

Beginning in 1982, the XVIII Airborne Corps routinely furnished contingents for rotations in the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Multinational Force and Observers to help guarantee the Camp David Peace Accords. The Corps regularly participated in exercises such as Gallant Eagle and Bright Star to test its abilities to respond to crises in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean areas.

The XVIII Airborne Corps is superbly trained in tactical operational and strategic levels of war and is capable of exercising the nation’s ability to conduct strategic forced entry operations anywhere in the world on short notice. They have been widely recognized as a superbly trained force capable of operating from peace operations to general-purpose war and capable of conducting large-scale joint and combined operations.

Operation Urgent Fury

Grenada, Oct. 25, 1983

At the request of President Reagan, the Corps provided the bulk of land forces sent to rescue medical students and other stranded Americans, and participated with our Caribbean neighbors in an international peacekeeping effort.

Operation Golden Pheasant

Honduras, 1988

When the borders of Honduras were threatened, elements of two Corps divisions exercised a show of force to ensure sovereignty of Honduran territory would be respected.

Operation Nimrod Dancer

Panama, 1989

A security reinforcement from XVIII Airborne Corps was sent to protect American citizens, facilities and treaty rights following elections.

Operation Hawkeye

U.S. Virgin Islands, September 1989

Following Hurricane Hugo, the Corps was on the ground in St. Croix within 13 hours with the first elements of a Joint Task Force to restore law and order and to provide emergency relief and rebuilding efforts for the devastated island.

Operation Just Cause

Panama, Dec. 20, 1989

The XVIII Airborne Corps in operational command of Joint Task Force South struck 27 targets simultaneously and conducted two night parachute assaults to seize critical terrain and set the stage for a freely-elected government to be established in the country.

Operation Desert Shield

Saudi Arabia, Aug. 9, 1990

Rapidly deployed as the first ground force in theater to spearhead efforts to deter aggression and assist in the defense of friendly nations, the largest American military deployment since WWII.

Operation Desert Storm

Saudi Arabia, January 1991

XVIII Airborne Corps launched the first ground assault into Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division and the attached French 6th Light Armored Division, the largest air assault in history by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and an armored thrust by the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. In less than 100 hours, the Corps had effectively sealed off the occupying Iraqi Army and destroyed major elements of the elite Republican Guard.

Operation GTMO

Cuba, November 1991

The Corps established a humanitarian support center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to receive, transport, detain, control and process Haitian migrants. The Corps quickly began the massive task of building and supporting a humanitarian center for more than 12,000 Haitians. By early December the Corps had deployed over 2,000 Soldiers to the Guantanamo Naval Base. The operation officially ended in June 1993.

Operation Hurricane Andrew

Florida, Aug. 27, 1992

On Aug. 27, 1992 major units throughout the XVIII Airborne Corps began their deployment to Dade County, Fla., to assist in disaster relief operations in the aftermath of the storm. At peak strength the Corps had 16,000 Soldiers deployed to South Florida. The mission of the Corps was to provide immediate emergency relief including food, water, shelter and medical aid. During subsequent phases the Corps conducted debris removal operations, repaired schools, established relief supply distribution centers and assisted the local government in establishing sustained recovery operations. All disaster relief functions were eventually turned over to civilian contractors and dorps units returned to Fort Bragg by Oct. 21, 1992.

Operation Restore Hope

Somalia, Dec. 13, 1992

In support of Joint Task Force Somalia, Army forces secured an airfield and key installations, and provided security to ensure safe passage of food and humanitarian supplies throughout
the country.

Operation Uphold/
Maintain Democracy

Haiti, September 1994

To ensure the Haitian Armed Forces compliance with Carter-Cedras accords, protect U.S. citizens, restore civil order, assist in the reorganization of Haitian Armed Forces and assist in the transition to and maintenance of a democratic government.

Vigilant Warrior

Kuwait, October 1994

Nearly four years after Desert Storm the 24th Infantry Division returned to Kuwait to deter further Iraqi aggression when Iraqi forces moved south to the border. They withdrew shortly after the arrival of the division.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

Afghanistan, May 2002 to May 2003

In 2002, elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters deployed to Afghanistan and formed the Combined Joint Task Force 180 (Afghanistan). CJTF-180 (AFG) assumed responsibilities for the majority of the forces currently in support of operations in Afghanistan. In addition, it directed and synchronized operations to destroy or capture remaining Al Qaeda/Taliban, prevent the re-emergence of international terrorist activities within Afghanistan and support humanitarian operations in order to create a peaceful and stable environment within Afghanistan. The Corps redeployed back to Fort Bragg in May 2003.

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Iraq, February 2005 to February 2006

The XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters deployed to Baghdad in January 2005, where it served as the Multi-National Corps–Iraq Headquarters responsible for commanding more than 145,000 service members and 29 Coalition partners. During the one-year rotation, the Corps successfully trained and equipped more than 100,000 Iraqi Security Forces, helped restore the Iraqi border and turned over numerous Forward Operating Bases throughout the country to the Iraqi Government. In addition, the Corps created a security environment that enabled the Iraqi government to successfully conduct its national referendum vote and national election with more than 12.2 million voters participating in this process.

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Iraq, Feb. 14, 2008 to April 4, 2009

XVIII Airborne Corps once again deployed to Iraq and served as Multi-National Corps–Iraq. As the operational level command element, the Corps commanded a 26-nation coalition of more than 158,000 personnel, representing seven multi-national divisions. MNC-I partnered with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to combat internal threats throughout the country which led to a significant drop in the number of attacks against civilian and coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. MNC-I conducted over 400 platoon through battalion-level operations in Iraq, resulting in the lowest attack levels since August 2003.

Operation Unified Response

Haiti, January 2010 to March 2010

On Jan. 12, 2010, the nation of Haiti suffered a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. In response, XVIII Airborne Corps deployed the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division as the designated global response force along with elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters. Key personnel from the Corps command group and staff augmented the Joint Task Force — Haiti headquarters. JTF-Haiti was tasked with providing disaster relief, securing food and water distribution sites, and providing humanitarian assistance. The troops distributed more than 250,000 liters of water, 345,000 meals and 12,000 tarps for shelter, and treated more than 7,000 patients. The Corps elements redeployed back to Fort Bragg in March 2010.

Operation New Dawn

Iraq, Jan. 15, 2011 to Dec. 30, 2011

The XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters deployed for a year to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. The headquarters element, consisting of more than 750 service members, provided operational command and control to coalition forces. It also continued with the development of the Iraqi Security Forces, to support the development of Iraqi government capacity and help set conditions for political, economic and diplomatic progress.

Since 9/11, the men and women of XVIII Airborne Corps have played a vital role in the war on terror, deploying more than any other organization, in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

82nd Airborne Division

The 82nd Division was constituted on Aug. 5, 1917, in the National Army as Headquarters, 82nd Division, and organized at Camp Gordon, Ga., Aug. 25, 1917. It was discovered that there were men from each state in the nation. This became the basis for the Division’s nickname, the “All Americans,” and was later used in the design of the red, white and blue shoulder patch with the “AA.”

In 1918, the 82nd Division deployed to France where it participated in two major campaigns of World War I. Two of its men received the Medal of Honor: Lt. Col. Emory Pike and Cpl. Alvin C. York.

With the outbreak of World War II, the 82nd Infantry Division was redesignated Feb. 13, 1942, as Division Headquarters, 82nd Division under the command of Mag. Gen. Omar N. Bradley. On Aug. 15, 1942, the 82nd was reorganized and
re-designated as Headquarters, 82nd Airborne Division — the Army’s first Airborne Division.

The 82nd Airborne Division’s first two combat operations were to parachute into enemy strongholds in Sicily and Salerno. On June 5 and 6, 1944, the Division parachuted and glider-landed into Normandy, France with three parachute infantry regiments (505th, 507th, 508th) and the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, as part of the initial D-Day invasion of Europe.

As the Allied advance began across Europe, the Division, under the command of Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin, was dropped for the fourth time as part of the operation to seize the Rhine River crossings in Holland. Operation Market Garden was the largest airborne operation in history, and included British, American and Polish Paratroopers.

After nearly two years overseas and 442 days in combat, the war ended for the “All Americans.” The Division suffered more than 3,000 killed, 106 missing in action and 12,604 wounded. Paratroopers of the 82nd were awarded three Medals of Honor (1st. Sgt. Leonard Funk, Jr., Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper, and Pvt. John R. Towle), 95 Distinguished Service Crosses, 894 Silver Star Medals, 2,478 Bronze Star Medals and numerous foreign decorations.

Commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard J. Seitz, the Division deployed 3rd Brigade to Vietnam in February 1968. On Oct. 25, 1983, the Division under the command of Maj. Gen. James J. Lindsay deployed two brigade task forces to the Caribbean Island of Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury.

The 82nd Airborne Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. James H. Johnson, again deployed elements into combat on Dec. 20, 1989 as part of Operation Just Cause. On Aug. 7, 1990, the Division deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. William M. Steele, proved its readiness in September 1994 when it was called upon to conduct one of the most complex airborne operations in history in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Division Paratroopers have continuously deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Central Command Area of Responsibility to support combat operations in the War on Terror as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This includes deployments under the commands of Maj. Gen. John R. Vines (OEF), Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack (OIF), Maj. Gen. David M. Rodriguez (OEF) and Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti (OEF). In addition, the 82nd Airborne Division provided humanitarian assistance and relief in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina and to Haiti in 2009, operating as the Nation’s Global Response Force (GRF).

The Division’s major subordinate units now include the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 504th PIR; the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 325th AIR; the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 505th PIR; the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 508th PIR; the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade; the 18th Fires Brigade; and Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.

On Aug. 5, 2010, Maj. Gen. Jim Huggins assumed command of the 82nd Airborne Division. “America’s Guard of Honor,” the 82nd Airborne Division is a force of professional Paratroopers who are ready at a moment’s notice to “Stand Up and Hook Up.” Airborne! All the Way!

108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade

The 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade traces its lineage to the 514th Coast Artillery Regiment, which was constituted in the Organized Reserves in July 1923 and organized in October 1923 with headquarters at Schenectady, N.Y. On
Jan. 1, 1938, the unit was deactivated and concurrently withdrawn from the Organized Reserves and allotted to the regular Army.

The Regiment was reactivated March 1, 1942 at Camp Davis, N.C. On Jan. 20, 1943, the regiment was broken into Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 108th Coast Artillery Group and three other coast artillery battalions. In May 1943, the 108th was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 108th Anti-aircraft Artillery Group.

The 108th deployed to Europe during World War II and participated in the landings at Normandy, going ashore at Utah Beach. The 108th then went on to provide anti-aircraft defense for the city and port of Cherbourg for 11 months, then moved forward to the cities of Rheims and Rouen. The Group was deactivated Dec. 14, 1945, in Germany.

On Sept. 25, 1956, the 108th Anti-aircraft Group was reactivated in Los Angeles, and again redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 108th Artillery Group March 20, 1958.

The 108th was deactivated Aug. 26, 1960, at Fort MacArthur, Calif. On May 1, 1967, the Group was reactivated at Fort Riley, Kan., and deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in October 1967. The Group participated in every major operation conducted in I Corps area of operations, was credited with participation in 11 different campaigns while in Vietnam and was awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm. The 108th departed from Vietnam and on Nov. 22 1971, at Fort Lewis, Wash., the unit was again deactivated.

On Nov. 21, 1974, the Group was again reactivated at Kapun Barracks, Kaiserslautern, West Germany, as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 108th Air Defense Artillery Group, the only Chaparral/Vulcan Group in the U.S. Army. In September 1975, the group moved to Kleber Kaserne. On July 16, 1983, the 108th was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters
and Headquarters Battery, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. On April 15, 1992, the Brigade was moved to Fort Polk, La., becoming a Patriot anti-missile unit. On Aug. 15, 1996, the Brigade moved to Fort Bliss, Texas where it was aligned under the Fort Bragg-based XVIII Airborne.

In 2004, the brigade gained 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment based out of Fort Campbell Ky., which was previously assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). In 2007, the unit was moved to Fort Bragg as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure realignment. The 108th saw its 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment temporarily move to South Korea for a one-year tour, only to redeploy to Fort Bliss and then move to Fort Bragg. For one year, 1-7 ADA trained and redeployed again to the U.S. Central Command area for another one year tour. The brigade gained 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, previously an Avenger battalion with the 82nd Airborne Division.

The unit is now 3rd Battalion, 4th Air and Missile Defense, a mix of Patriot batteries and one Avenger battery that remains on airborne status and maintains the Air Defense Artillery Branch’s only airborne element with a forced- entry capability.

In 2007, the 108th moved to Fort Bragg as part of the 2005 BRAC realignment. On April 29, 2009, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the start of construction on a new complex for 108th and two of its current three subordinate battalions. The new complex is scheduled to be ready in the first quarter of 2011.

In September 1956, the 108th AA Group was reactivated in Los Angeles, Calif. It was again redesignated as the 108th Artillery Group (Air Defense). The 108th was deactivated in April 1960 in Fort MacArthur, Calif. In May 1967, the group was reactivated at Fort Riley, Kan. as the 108th Artillery Group and deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in October 1967. The Group participated in every major operation conducted in I Corps area of operations, was credited with participation in 11 different
campaigns while in Vietnam and was awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.

The 108th departed from Vietnam on
Nov. 22, 1971 for Fort Lewis, Wash., where the unit was again deactivated. On Aug. 26, 1974, the group was again reactivated at Kapun Barracks, Kaiserslautern, West Germany, as the 108th Air Defense Artillery Group, the only Chaparral/Vulcan Group in the U.S. Army. In September 1975, the group moved to Kleber Kaserne.

On Oct. 1, 1982, it was redesignated as the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. On
April 15, 1992, the Brigade was moved to Fort Polk, La., becoming a Patriot unit. On
Aug. 15, 1996, the Brigade was moved to its present home at Fort Bliss, Texas.

At Fort Bliss the Brigade was aligned under the Fort Bragg-based XVIII Airborne Corps and, because of this alignment, added a blue Airborne tab above its patch. The unit is not, in fact, an Airborne or Air Assault unit, and the Army’s Institute of Heraldry notes the tab is unauthorized, that alignment with an Airborne command does not authorize the wearing of the tab. In 2007, the unit was moved to Fort Bragg as part of the 2005 BRAC realignment.

The 108th saw its 1-7 ADA BN temporarily move to South Korea. It gained 3-4 ADA, previously an Avenger battalion. 3-4 ADA is now the 3-3 AMD (Air and Missile Defense) Battalion. It lost the 2-43 BN to the 11th ADA Brigade. Due to the unit moving to Fort Bragg, it may lose the Airborne tab.

16th Military Police Brigade

The 16th Military Police Brigade dates back to the Vietnam War when it was constituted on March 23, 1966, as the 16th Military Police Group and activated on May 20, 1966, at Fort George Meade, Md. The original Group consisted of the 93rd, 97th and 504th Military Police Battalions. The unit participated in 13 campaigns, including nine counteroffensives and two consolidations during the Vietnam War, receiving two Meritorious Unit Commendations and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for their outstanding effort and dedication. On July 16, 1981, the Group was reorganized and redesignated as the 16th Military Police Brigade.

Since Vietnam, the Brigade Headquarters has deployed around the world in support of XVIII Airborne Corps and on-going Army operations. In October 1983, the Headquarters was sent to Grenada in support of Operation Urgent Fury. In March 1988, the Brigade deployed to Panama in support of Southern Command’s operation to secure U.S. civilians and property and to protect the Panama Canal. In September 1989, the Brigade was sent to Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to restore law and order and protect property following Hurricane Hugo.

In December 1989, the Brigade again deployed to Panama, this time in support of Operation Just Cause and Promote Liberty during which the Brigade was instrumental in standing up the Panamanian Police Force. In August 1990, the Brigade deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Brigade was later recognized for its hard work in the desert with their third Meritorious Unit Commendation.

In September 1992, the Brigade went to Florida to assist in disaster relief following Hurricane Andrew. In September 1994, the Brigade was sent to Haiti to support Operation Uphold Democracy.

In January 2004, the Brigade deployed for one year to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where the unit was responsible for detainee operations and convoy security. The Brigade was awarded its fourth Meritorious Unit Commendation for their outstanding accomplishments in Iraq.

In August 2006, the Brigade deployed again to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to conduct detainee operations. After their arrival in Baghdad, the Brigade and Joint Task Force merged staffs in an effort to streamline its operations for Joint Task Force 134.

In August 2007, the Brigade moved to Camp Bucca, Iraq to establish a Brigade headquarters for the care and custody of the increasing number of detainees from 12,000 to more than 24,000 in response to the surge in military operations. Additionally, the Brigade safeguarded Saddam Hussein throughout his detention, criminal trial and return to Iraqi control where he was later executed for crimes committed against the Iraqi people. The Brigade was awarded a fifth Meritorious Unit Commendation for their outstanding efforts in accomplishing the mission.

Under FORSCOM Training Readiness Authority (TRA) dated Jan. 16, 2008, the 16th Military Police Brigade has four battalions: The 503rd Military Police Battalion (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C., the 716th Military Police Battalion at Fort Campbell, Ky., the 91st Military Police Battalion at Fort Drum, N.Y. and the 385th Military Police Battalion at Fort Stewart, Ga. The TRA gives the 16th Military Police Brigade oversight over all aspects of training and readiness for the subordinate Battalions.

The Soldiers of the Brigade have consistently been sent first to world-wide crisis locations. The Headquarters, 16th Military Police Brigade was deployed in 2010 in support of Operation Eduring Freedom to support the establishment of Task Force 435 for detainee operations throughout the Afghanistan theater. Other operations that the Brigade units have supported were the May 1981 Cuban Refugee Relief in Florida; Civil Disturbance operations at Seneca Army Depot, N.Y.; rotations to the Sinai for Multinational Force and Observers Duty; Presidential inaugurations; Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras; Somalia; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Bosnia; Kosovo; Albanian Refugee Support at Fort Dix; Pentagon security following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; and Uzbekistan/Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 16th Military Police Brigade has deployed companies to Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response. The Brigade currently has a detachment deployed to Djibouti in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Units of the 16th Military Police Brigade provide garrison law enforcement and force protection support to Forts Bragg, Campbell, Drum and Stewart communities while continuing to train for their combat mission.

The 16th Military Police Brigade stands ready to support the XVIII Airborne Corps and respond to any worldwide contingency mission.

20th Engineer Brigade

The lineage and honors of the 20th Engineer Brigade date back to the Civil War. First
designated as the Battalion of Engineers on Aug. 3, 1861, the battalion participated in 10 campaigns during the Civil War. Since that time, unit designations changed many times as
predecessors of the 20th Engineer Brigade served in the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican Expedition and World Wars I and II.

On Aug. 16, 1950 the Brigade was first designated as the 20th Engineer Brigade and activated at Camp Leonard Wood, Mo. The Brigade deployed overseas in November 1952 and provided engineer construction support in southwestern France. Upon redeploying back to the United States, the Brigade was activated at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Sept. 10, 1954. From that time until its inactivation on Dec. 12, 1958, the Brigade provided engineer support to XVIII Airborne Corps.

In response to the build up of U.S. forces in the Republic of Vietnam, the Brigade headquarters was reactivated on May 1, 1967 at Fort Bragg, N.C., and deployed to Vietnam in August 1967. Units cleared more than one-half million acres of jungle, paved 500 kilometers of highway and constructed bridges totaling more than six miles in length. As forces were withdrawing from Vietnam, the Brigade was inactivated Sept. 20, 1971.

The 20th Engineer Brigade was reactivated at Fort Bragg on June 21, 1974 and assigned as a subordinate command of the XVIII Airborne Corps with one airborne combat engineer battalion, a heavy construction battalion and four separate companies.

On Aug. 2, 1990, the Brigade was called to support the multinational response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Brigade grew to a 7,700 Soldier force composed of three groups, 10 battalions, four separate companies and eight detachments in support of XVIII Airborne Corps during Operations Desert Shield and Storm. The brigade completed 1,500 combat heavy battalions equivalent days of work constructing roads, airfields, heliports, ammunition/fuel/
water storage points, life support areas and forward landing strips, distributed over 10 million maps, trained over 5,000 coalition engineers and supported the French attack on As Salman Airfield. During follow-on missions the Brigade destroyed over 6,000 enemy bunkers and one million tons of munitions.

Throughout the years, the brigade has deployed in support of operations across the entire spectrum of conflict from disaster relief to combat operations. In September 1994, the Brigade deployed to Haiti in support of Uphold Democracy. In 2001, the 27th Engineer Battalion deployed for six months to provide engineering support in Kosovo.

As the Global War on Terrorism commenced, the Brigade sent elements to numerous countries to include Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. Since Spring 2002, 12 of the 17 companies of the Brigade have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or both. Brigade engineers conducted minefield and route clearance operations, road maintenance, road, airfield and base camp construction, and geospatial missions.

In November 2004, the Brigade headquarters deployed to Camp Victory, Iraq in support of OIF. In July 2007, the Brigade headquarters deployed once again to Iraq, where it served as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) corps-level engineer headquarters, this time the Brigade was based out of Joint Base Balad. During this deployment, the 20th Engineer Brigade’s enabled counter-insurgency operations by taking the fight to the enemy by repositioning engineer forces, creating unity of effort by nesting operations with maneuver units, and using engineer skill sets and staff capabilities to support lines of operations to reduce unemployment and improve civil capacity.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom 2007-2009, the Brigade moved engineer units, task organized engineer forces as appropriate, and changed command and support relationships to create Joint, Multi-Functional Engineer Battalions capable of conducting route clearance in support of Divisions and Brigade combat teams assured mobility missions.

On Sept. 16, 2009, the 20th Engineer Brigade transformed to a modular engineer losing its designation as combat and airborne. However, the Brigade still retains the preponderance of the Army’s Forcible Entry Echelon Above Brigade (EAB) engineer force structure with two engineer battalions on airborne status and five dive companies. The Brigade still retains the ability to employ the Brigade Assault Command Post in a forcible entry environment.

On Jan. 15, 2010, the Brigade deployed the Assault Command Post to Haiti in support of Operation Unified Response where they formed the core of the JTF-Haiti J7 engineer staff where they facilitated structural assessments, developed the beddown plan for over 10,000 U.S. forces and conducted assessments of the ground lines of communications to facilitate the rapid distribution of aid.

On Feb. 9, 2011, the Brigade assumed authority as the Theater Engineer Brigade from the 36th Engineer Brigade at Joint Base Balad-Al-Bakr Air Base, Iraq. As Joint Task Force Castle, the Brigade served as the command and control element for all Army and Air Force engineer units throughout Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. The Brigade continued the mission of training Iraqi Army engineers, to build capacity in the Iraqi Army and ensure the Iraqi Army Engineers are prepared to manage their country’s engineer requirements well into the future. In June 2011, the Brigade headquarters moved to Contingency Operating Base Adder-Tallil Air Base, Iraq to further facilitate the responsible drawdown of forces and serve as the mayor and facilities manager for several thousand personnel in addition to its theater engineer responsibilities.

The 20th Engineer Brigade consists of five battalions and numerous separate companies and detachments numbering over 4,000 Soldiers across five different installations. The Brigade stands ready to provide rapid engineer support in response to any worldwide contingency mission. The 20th Engineer Brigade is proud of its long service to both the nation and the Army. Having participated in 36 campaigns, more than any other major subordinate unit in the XVIII Airborne Corps, the Brigade is confident of a future of continued service to the United States Army, and our Country.

44th Medical Brigade

The 44th Medical Brigade was constituted in the Regular Army on Dec. 30, 1965. It was activated on Jan. 1, 1966 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the home of the Army Medical Department. The Brigade moved to Vietnam in April 1966 where it participated in 12 of the 17 campaigns in which U.S. Forces were involved.

These campaigns include:

• Counteroffensive

• Counteroffensive-Phases II through VII

Tet Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring 1970

• Sanctuary Counteroffensive

In March 1970, the personnel of Brigade Headquarters were consolidated with those of the United States Army, Vietnam Surgeon’s Office to form the Medical Command, Vietnam (Provisional), and Brigade’s colors returned to the Continental United States in December 1970. During the Brigade’s Vietnam tour, it was awarded two Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamers embroidered “Vietnam 1969-1970” by the government of the Republic of Vietnam.

The 44th Medical Brigade was inactivated at Fort Meade, Md., on March 19, 1973 and was reactivated on Sept. 21, 1974 at Fort Bragg, N.C. On July 16, 1993, the 44th Medical Brigade became a separate major subordinate command reporting directly to the XVIII Airborne Corps with a general officer commanding.

The 44th Medical Brigade has participated in numerous campaigns and operations other than war. Elements of the Brigade have participated in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti and has elements currently deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Most recently, they were deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2004-2006. The Brigade’s numerous humanitarian interventions include assistance to the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Marilyn and Hurricane Mitch Disaster Relief in Central America and, most recently, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

The Brigade was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 1990 through April 1991. The Brigade converted to a Medical Command on Oct. 16, 2001. With the conversion, the unit became
a multi-component unit. The 44th Medical Command reverted to the 44th Medical Brigade, and continues the Army Medical Department’s proud heritage of long and dedicated service to its “Nation’s Soldiers Anywhere, Any Time.” As will all military awards and decorations, the new 44th Medical Brigades flash and background carries distinct symbolism. As our shoulder sleeve insignia reflects the colors of maroon and white representing the Army Medical Department, so does the Brigade’s flash. The white diamond centered in the flash and background reflects our relationship to the XVIII Airborne Corps. The Army Medical Department’s proud heritage of long and dedicated service to its nation’s soldiers now has another distinct symbol of excellence.

525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade

The 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade traces its lineage back to World War II with the 218th Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment and the 525th Interrogation Team. Both the 218th CI Corps Detachment and the 525th Interrogation teams were deactivated following World War II. On Feb. 21, 1948, the 525th Headquarters Intelligence Detachment was reactivated and assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. In December 1950, it was redesignated the 525th Military Intelligence Service Group.

Elements of the 525th Military Intelligence Service Group participated in seven campaigns and earned a Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations during the Korean War. In December 1953, the unit was redesigned again as the 525th Military Intelligence Group, and was transferred from Fort Bragg to Fort Meade, Md.

In November 1965, on arrival in Vietnam, the 525th Military Intelligence Group was assigned to the U.S. Army, Vietnam. The group provided advisor and intelligence support, including aerial reconnaissance and surveillance, counterintelligence, interrogation, technical intelligence and area intelligence. Following Vietnam, the group moved several times before returning to Fort Bragg on Sept. 16, 1978, where it was redesignated as the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne).

In December 1989, the Brigade participated in a rapid deployment operation, providing critical intelligence support to the Joint Task Force during Operation Just Cause. Brigade soldiers interrogated Panamanian Defense Force members, conducted document exploitation and served as the nucleus of the JTF Panama J2. The Soldiers, who served with JTF Panama J2, received the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation award.

Operation Desert Shield deployments began in early August 1990. The Brigade sent more than 1,600 Soldiers to support XVIII Airborne Corps. Missions included all source analysis to the Corps headquarters and subordinate units, interrogations of more than 5,000 enemy prisoners of war, flying more than 550 combat intelligence collection missions, collecting signals intelligence, providing communications jamming support, conducting long range surveillance operations and augmenting the 6th French Light Armored Division.

The Brigade deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. The Brigade task force conducted split-based operations which provided signals intelligence and direct support teams to the maneuver brigades. The Brigade also provided imagery support, intelligence analysis support, signals intelligence analysis, and national imagery support to the headquarters of both Joint Task Forces 180 and 190. The task force utilized its counter-intelligence/human intelligence teams and established the joint detainee facility in support of JTF-190.

From late 2004 to early 2009, 525th MI Brigade deployed several times to Iraq in support of the XVIII Airborne Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After redeploying from Iraq in March 2009, the Brigade began the process of reorganizing into the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, in support of Army Transformation. The 224th Aerial Exploitation Battalion realigned under INSCOM and the 1-38th Cavalry Squadron was added to the 525th MI Brigade organizational structure.

On March 16, 2009 the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade officially became the first battlefield surveillance brigade in the United State Army. Following these organizational restructuring efforts, the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from July 2010 through July 2011 and conducted the full spectrum of combat operations in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Elements of the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade conducted simultaneous operations in Regional Commands East and South. Intelligence teams, cavalry platoons and long range surveillance teams (LRS) from the Brigade operated at over 60 different locations throughout Afghanistan, providing critical support to maneuver commanders, and delivered critical strategic effects along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that helped shape the decisive effort for the theater in and around Kandahar City.

1st Sustainment Command

In October 1950, the 1st Logistical Command was activated as a planning headquarters at Fort McPherson, Ga. During the Berlin Crisis of 1951, the 1st Logistical Command deployed to Polters, France. The unit mission during this period
was to organize a Base Logistics Command to supervise seven depots and area port operations in western and southwestern France.

On May 12, 1952, our unit shoulder patch was approved. The familiar red, white and blue disc with the diagonal arrow pointing to 1030 hours symbolizes that the mission is always accomplished prior to the eleventh hour. On Aug. 11, 1962, the Command returned to the United States and was assigned to the III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas. Upon redeployment the unit resumed its training mission and participated in a wide range of logistical missions.

On April 1, 1965, the 1st Logistical Command deployed to the Republic of Vietnam to serve as the logistics command and control headquarters for all units participating in that conflict. During its five-year stint in Southwest Asia, the strength of the 1st Logistical Command grew to 50,000 Soldiers. The unit received five Meritorious Unit Commendations and three of its Soldiers earned the Medal of Honor. During this conflict, 1st Logistical Command performed maintenance, supply and transportation functions with three area support commands and numerous brigade and group-sized units attached.

Following its successful tour in Vietnam, the 1st Logistical Command redeployed to Fort Lee, Va. and was redesignated the 1st Field Army Support Command on Dec. 7, 1970. On June 22, 1972, the unit was redesignated the 1st Corps Support Command and reassigned to XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. In October 1983, the 1st COSCOM deployed to Grenada in support of Operation Urgent Fury. The specifically tailored task force consisted mainly of Fort Bragg based units. The 507th Transportation Group, the 44th Medical Brigade, the 46th Support Group and Special Troops Battalion provided multifunctional combat service support ranging from medical, postal, food and graves registration to explosives ordnance disposal.

1st COSCOM Soldiers deployed to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as part of a humanitarian relief effort following Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. 1st COSCOM provided Arrival/Departure Airfield Control, organized and directed the movement of critically needed supplies, and expedited the evacuation of stranded hurricane victims.

Beginning with night airborne assaults in the largest airborne operations since World War II, 1st COSCOM deployed Soldiers to Panama on Dec. 20, 1989 in support of Operation Just Cause. COSCOM was designated as the command and control headquarters for all combat support and combat service support operations for Army forces operating in Panama during Just Cause. Additionally, 1st COSCOM organized the flow and distribution of humanitarian supplies to the Panamanian population. Prior to the airborne assault, 1st COSCOM prepared combat Soldiers and their logistics supply lines at numerous locations across the U.S. 1st COSCOM Soldiers also parachuted in with elements of the 82nd Airborne Division to make preparations for the massive logistics effort to support this operation. Redeployment of 1st COSCOM started on Jan. 12, 1990 with a mass parachute jump into the Sicily Drop Zone.

The 1st COSCOM deployed to Saudi Arabia
in August 1990 as the support arm of the
XVIII Airborne Corps for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

In November 1991, the 1st COSCOM deployed Logistical Task Force 46 in support of the Haitian migrant humanitarian relief effort at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Serving as the ARFOR Headquarters of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, this Task Force provided logistical support, security and camp administration for more than 15,000 Haitian migrants. In August 1992, 1st COSCOM deployed a Logistical Task Force to Homestead, Fla., in support of JTF Andrew. Once again 1st COSCOM Soldiers provided humanitarian relief to the victims of Hurricane Andrew.

In August 1993, the 1st COSCOM deployed Logistical Task Force 507 in support of Operation Restore Hope, Somalia. During a four-month period, Task Force 507 filled over 94,000
Class IX requisitions, demilitarized over 3.5 million weapons and ammunition, logged 610,000 miles and 10 of its Soldiers were awarded the Purple Heart.

In September 1994, the 1st COSCOM deployed to Haiti in support of Operation Uphold Democracy. Serving as the Joint Logistics Support Command, headquartered at Port-Au-Prince, Soldiers from the 1st COSCOM provided critical logistical supplies and services throughout the country. These services ranged from graves registration, water purification and showers to processing thousands of Class IX requisitions, and providing fuel and food services for over 20,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. In October 1995, the 1st COSCOM again deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Hurricane
Disaster Relief. Soldiers from the 1st COSCOM provided immediate delivery of emergency logistical supplies and services throughout the area of operations. 1st COSCOM was again alerted in early November 1998 to deploy the 46th Corps Support Group (CSG) to Central America in support of Hurricane Mitch Relief Operations.

Personnel and equipment began deploying in early December and completed deployment to Central America by mid-month. Headquarters, 46th CSG was located at Comalapa Air Base, El Salvador. Task Force 264th was located in San Jose, Guatemala and Task Force 189 was located at Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua. In May 1999, Soldiers from 1st COSCOM deployed to Fort Dix, N.J. in support of Operation Provide Refuge. They provided for over 4,000 Albanian Refugees during the operation. In November 2001, Logistics Task Force 507th was formed and deployed to Uzbekistan. The LTF provided a full range of support to ground forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. In June 2002, the 1st Corps Support Command formed and deployed a Joint Logistical Command to Uzbekistan from elements of the 1st COSCOM Headquarters, the 330th MCB and the 2nd CMMC to support the Combined Joint Task Force 180 where they still remain today. In January 2003, 1st Corps Support Command units began to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The initial unit to deploy was the 126th Transportation Company, along with several Movement Control Teams. In November 2004 the 1st Corps Support Command deployed to Iraq. 1st COSCOM provided logistics support to the joint Multi-National Corps–Iraq and its Coalition partners.

On April 16, 2006, the 1st COSCOM was re-designated as the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) and reassigned to 3rd Army.

Today, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Soldiers are currently deployed throughout the world to include Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Kuwait.


The U.S. Army’s Operational Test Command’s most unique directorate is the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD), based at Fort Bragg, N.C. A direct descendant of the original parachute test platoon founded in 1940, the directorate is not only responsible for the testing of new parachutes and airborne equipment, but it is also chartered to certify every item of Army equipment to be airdropped, airlifted, sling-loaded, or in any way transported or delivered by Army or Air Force aircraft.

The directorate’s testing certifies every class and type of aircraft for airdrop of personnel and equipment, including new military, foreign and commercial aircraft. The certification is finalized with the publication of approved airdrop rigging procedures in appropriate technical and training manuals.

Directorate personnel perform extensive testing of Soldier equipment to be employed in airborne operations, ranging from new personnel parachute systems to any new or modified combat equipment or individual weapons systems.

The ABNSOTD Military Free-Fall Section test numerous state-of-the-art components and procedures directly related to Special Operations Forces (SOF) infiltration and exfiltration requirements to meet both present-day, immediate operational needs and those of the future.

The Electronics Branch uses state-of-the-art instrumentation placed on test jumpers or test loads to indicate and record specific test data as directed by test officers. Data includes g-force opening shock load, heavy drop load force transfer, pitch-roll-yaw and time-coded positional data.

The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate has the critical responsibility to provide dynamic, responsive, and quality testing in order to meet the needs of the airborne and special operations communities.

Golden Knights

The United States Army Parachute Team (U.S.A.P.T.), the Golden Knights, celebrates 52 years as the Army’s official demonstration team.


The Strategic Army Command Parachute Team, or STRAC, was formed in 1959 by 19 “Airborne” Soldiers from various military units. Brig. Gen. Joseph Stilwell Jr. was responsible for gathering these Soldiers with the original intent to compete during the Cold War effort. This new U.S. All-Army team swept the international competition circuit, in what was then the Soviet-dominated sport of skydiving. Later that year, on Nov. 1, this newly formed team performed their first demonstration in Danville, Va.

In 1961, the Department of Defense announced on June 15 that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team. The team is one of three authorized DoD aerial demonstration teams, along with the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels.

On Oct. 15, 1962 the team earned the nickname the “Golden Knights” on the competition field of battle. Golden, signifying the gold medals the team had won; Knights, proving that they were world champions that had “conquered the skies.”


Missions of today’s Army are the same as when the Army was established in 1775 — to serve our nation. The Team’s mission is to conduct parachute demonstrations, tandem jumps and to compete in national and international competitions in support of the United States Army Accessions Command’s tactical, operational and strategic missions; creating a greater propensity to serve in the U.S. Army, while connecting America with America’s Army. On order, the team will test and evaluate new parachuting equipment and techniques that assist in improving operations and safety for the military freefall teams.

The Team has increased its support of the operational force for military freefall Soldiers with personalized coaching and assistance in maintaining and improving military free-fall infiltration skills and techniques, while preparing for deployment and rotating teams to Afghanistan in support of the Special Operations Headquarters.


As the “Official Ambassadors of the Army,” the Team annually reaches a third of our nation by performing spectacular live parachute demonstrations for the American public, manifesting the “Band of Excellence.”

The Golden Knights have performed more than 16,000 shows in all 50 states and 48 countries, reaching more than 20,000 people per show.

Through demonstrations and public speaking with the Army’s target audience at air shows, schools, sporting events and hospitals, the team is able to direct potential applicants to the on-site Army recruiters.

The 89 men and women who make up the Golden Knights are separated into eight sections — two demonstration teams, a tandem team, three competition teams, an aviation detachment and a headquarters section.


The Headquarters mission enables the demonstrators and competitors to concentrate on putting on phenomenal shows and bringing home the gold. Headquarters elements Command and control logistics and personal support for the team.

These duties include Operations that handles show scheduling, schools, waivers; Administration takes care of the Soldiers personnel records, evaluations, leave and travel orders; Finance handles budget issues to assure the mission is completed; Supply provides all uniforms, equipment contracts and maintenance; Riggers provide parachute maintenance, repair, reserve parachute repacks and inspections; and Media Relations/Public Affairs handles all local and National Media, Office of Chief of Public Affairs, Graphic Illustrations, photographs, lithoes, video shooting, editing and production.


Millions of people throughout the world see the Golden Knights each year, at over 200 demonstration sites across the nation and abroad. These Army Ambassadors perform precision free-fall demonstrations to connect the U.S. Army with people in towns, who rarely, if ever, see a Soldier. These men and women who perform with the Black and Gold demonstration teams help to tell their Army story to all they meet, and to increase the propensity to join the all-volunteer force. Preparation for the demonstration itself begins hours prior to the performance.

The demonstration teams perform two different shows from an altitude of 12,500 feet. The mass show entails one jumper exiting the aircraft and flying our national colors. This Soldier will then narrate the show for the audience while the rest of the team exits the aircraft maneuvering together to form one large mass formation.

Several members of the Golden Knights are trained as free-fall photographers. Wearing specially designed helmets rigged with both digital video and still cameras, they skillfully fly their bodies around various team formations, documenting the events for publicity and training purposes.


This show season forges on celebrating the 12th year of the Army’s Tandem Orientation Program. (TOP) has been an astronomical success, helping people understand the training and professionalism of our Soldiers while enhancing the team image by bringing the American public closer to the sport of parachuting, giving them the opportunity to get to know actual Soldiers in the United States Army.

The Tandem Team consists of Soldiers selected from a core of highly qualified parachutists from within the unit.

The Tandem Team provides the unique experience of tandem parachuting Soldiers who have never jumped before, and Centers of Influence that can help share the Army’s message. These COIs put their lives directly in the hands of our Soldiers who demonstrate the positive aspects of teamwork, courage, discipline, professionalism and excellence resident within the operational force. Tandem opportunities result in a positive Army image through the news media and to the American public.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience also demonstrates the great capability first-hand and
reiterates to our young citizens the many opportunities available to them.

Those who have jumped with the tandem team include: the 41st President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush, Geraldo Rivera, Chuck Norris, Bill Murray, Vanessa Minnillo, the cast members of the TV show “The Unit,” Dennis Haysbert and Robert Patrick, and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to name a few.


The Golden Knights Competition Team participates in several categories: style, accuracy, free-fall formation, canopy piloting, canopy relative work, free flying and vertical relative work.

The free-fall formation skydiving consist of a specified number of jumpers linking together to form geometrical formations within a set time limit. These competition teams consist of an eight-way team, two four-way teams and this year will feature a ladies four-way competition team. Canopy Piloting Champion, Sgt. 1st Class Greg Windmiller is the current two-time U.S. National champion in canopy piloting in speed, the current world record holder for speed and is ranked second in the United States in Canopy piloting.

The competition teams sport an impressive record of more than 460 national champions, 100 world champions, 54 national and 45 world team titles. The teams have earned 2,021 gold medals, 1,025 silver medals and 669 bronze medals.

Over the past 52 years, the United States Army Parachute Team has broken 348 world records, to include military records held in the Counseil International du Sports Militaire (CISM).

These achievements have made them not only the most successful DoD sports team, but also the most successful parachute team in the world.


The Aviation Section, known as “Team Six,” is the backbone of the parachute team. The Aviators consist of both Soldiers and civilian former Golden Knight pilots who ensure all teams arrive safely to their destinations and enable the jumpers to use the aircraft as a jump platform, for shows, tandems and competitions. The Aviation Detachment flew more than 111,050 hours under the most demanding weather and air show air traffic conditions. The pilots and crew members accomplish the team mission using a fleet of four aircraft: two Fokker C-31A “Troopships” (also called the “Friendship”) and two UVA-18 De Havilland Twin Otters. The aviation detachment and headquarters section work endlessly in support of the demonstration, tandem and competition teams. They ensure the numerous missions of the Golden Knights are accomplished.

The men and women who wear the distinctive black and gold uniform of the United States Army Parachute Team represent the “Band of Excellence” and the “Warrior Ethos” that are continually demonstrated by all U.S. Army Soldiers worldwide and represent the greatest free-fall team in the world.

Traveling across the nation and around the world, serving as Ambassadors of the U.S. Army, the Golden Knights are demonstrating not just precision parachuting, but all the skills in the Army from Airborne Ranger to X-ray technician. These professional Soldiers proudly serve the country with pride, skill and enthusiasm.

The Army has more than 150 job specialties for active-duty Soldiers. For more information about the many opportunities available in today’s Army visit

For information about the Golden Knights, go to

U.S.Army Special Operations Command

U.S. Army Special Operations Command was established Dec. 1, 1989 by the Department of the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C., as an Army Service Component Command to enhance the readiness of Special Operations Forces. USASOC is home to the elite fighting forces who conduct operations across the full spectrum of warfare, including unconventional warfare, counter-proliferation, direct action, military information support operations, special reconnaissance, civil affairs, foreign internal defense and cultural sensitivity support.

USASOC commands and controls three component subordinate commands and four component subordinate units, which in turn train and maintain forces for deployment by USSOCOM to combatant command theaters worldwide.

USASOC’s three component subordinate commands are U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), and the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, all headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. The component subordinate units include the 75th Ranger Regiment, headquartered at Fort Benning, Ga.; 4th Military Information Support Operations Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.; 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.; and 528th Sustainment Brigade (Special Operations)(Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The command also provides oversight of Army National Guard Special Forces’ readiness, organization, training and employment in coordination with the National Guard Bureau and state adjutants general.

U.S. Army Special Forces Command

The mission of USASFC (A) is to organize, equip, train and validate forces to conduct full spectrum special operations in support of USSOCOM, Geographic Combatant Commanders, American ambassadors and other governmental agencies. Special Forces Green Berets deploy and execute seven doctrinal missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, combating terrorism, counter-proliferation and information operations. These missions make Special Forces unique in the U.S. military because they are employed throughout the three stages of the operational continuum: peacetime, conflict and war. There are five active component Special Forces Groups and two U.S. Army National Guard Groups. Each SFG is regionally oriented to support one of the warfighting geographic combatant commanders. The cornerstone of the SF Group’s capability is the Operational Detachment-Alpha, a highly trained team of 12 Special Forces Green Berets. Cross-trained in weapons, communications, intelligence, medicine and engineering, the ODA member also possesses specialized language and cultural training. The ODA is capable of conducting the full spectrum of special operations, from building indigenous security forces that support a country’s foreign internal defense to identifying and targeting threats to U.S. national interests. The U.S. military’s only unconventional warriors, the Green Berets provide a viable military option for a variety of operational requirements that may be inappropriate or infeasible for large conventional forces. In the last decade, Green Berets have deployed into 135 of the 195 recognized countries in the world.

John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center

The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School — USASOC’s special operations university — is responsible for special operations training, leader development, doctrine and personnel proponency for Civil Affairs, Military Information Support Operations and Special Forces. The Center and School’s 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) conducts a wide spectrum of special operations training.

The Training Group’s 1st Battalion conducts the majority of training in the Special Forces Qualification Course: Phase I is the three-week Special Forces Assessment and selection course, Phase II is language. Phase III is small unit tactics training with Phase IV being the Weapons, Engineer, Communications and the Officer Qualification course. Phase V is the culmination exercise known as Robin Sage.

The 2nd Battalion teaches advanced Special Operations skills including weapons training, military free-fall and combat diving. They also teach the 18F Military Occupational Skills course, or Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant’s course.

The 3rd Battalion is responsible for all Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations training and conducts an extensive regional studies program. The battalion is home to the only Army Special Operations Advanced Individual Training programs for Reserve Component Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations and Active Duty Military Information Support Operations Soldiers.

The 4th Battalion, consisting of 29 different combat service support Military Occupational Specialties, allows the training battalions to focus on quality training by providing the logistical, administrative, transportation and facility management support to the Center and School.

The Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne) is responsible for all U.S. Military Special Operations Forces’ combat medical training including Army Rangers, Army Civil Affairs medics and Navy Corpsmen.

The Noncommissioned Officer Academy prepares enlisted Soldiers for leadership positions in Civil Affairs, Military Information Support Operations and Special Forces. Soldiers
receive training in leadership skills, military studies, resource management, effective communication, operations and intelligence, unconventional warfare, operational planning, information operations and advanced military occupational skills.

The Warrant Officer Institute is the only warrant officer branch in the U.S. Army to select and train candidates and provide for their life-long
education and development. While the Special Forces warrant officer is a master technician of the Special Forces trade, they are the only combat leaders in the Army Warrant Officer Corps.

An integral role for the Center and School is the development of training programs taught within USAJFKSWCS. The Directorate of Training and Doctrine is responsible for the production of 36 field manuals and 80 publications of Army Special Operations doctrine.

The Directorate of Special Operations Proponency keeps the Army Special Operations community relevant and healthy.

The directorate is tasked with developing and implementing personnel career plans and programs which optimize the Army Special Operations branches.

The Special Warfare Center and School conducts more than 100 different courses and trains over 10,000 students annually.

Special Operations Aviation Command

During the past decade of persistent engagement by Special Operations Forces, U.S. Army Special Operations Command aviation experts recognized a need for separating the combat role of Army Special Operations Aviation from the resourcing responsibilities.

This structure provides the appropriate com-mand and control, manning and visibility for the complex and sensitive tasks required of ARSOF aviation units and organizations. ARSOAC is a one-star, subordinate command to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The Army Special Operations Aviation Command organizes, mans, trains, resources and equips ARSOA units to provide responsive, special operations aviation support to Special Operations Forces and is the USASOC aviation staff proponent.

4th Military Information Support Operations Group

4th Military Information Support Operations Group is a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political, military, economic and ideological activities used by the U.S. government to secure national objectives.

MISO units develop, produce and disseminate information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policies and national objectives. Used during peacetime, contingency operations and declared war, these activities are not a form of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other motivational factors to promote specific emotions, attitudes or behaviors. The ultimate objective of U.S. military information support operations is to influence target audiences to take action favorable to the policies of the United States and its allies.

95th Civil Affairs Units

Civil Affairs units support military commanders by working with civil authorities and civilian populations in the commander’s area of operations during peacetime, contingency operations and war.

Civil Affairs specialists identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in war or disaster situations. They also locate civilian resources to support military operations, help minimize civilian interference with operations, support national assistance activities, plan and execute noncombatant evacuation, support counterdrug operations and establish and maintain liaison with civilian aid agencies and other nongovernmental organizations.

In support of Special Operations, these culturally oriented, linguistically capable Soldiers may also be tasked to provide functional expertise for foreign internal defense operations, unconventional warfare operations and direct-action missions.

The functional structure of Civil Affairs Forces and their expertise, training and orientation provide a capability for emergency coordination and administration where political-economic structures have been incapacitated.

528th Sustainment Brigade

The 528th Sustainment Brigade (Special Operations)(Airborne) was activated Dec. 18, 2008. Formerly the Sustainment Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne), the Brigade assumes the lineage of the 528th Support Battalion. As part of the overall Army Special Operations Forces logistics transformation, the 528th Sustainment Brigade (SO) (A) sets the operational level logistics conditions to enable ARSOF operations worldwide using three ARSOF Support Operations Teams, two Special Operations Resuscitation Teams and five ARSOF Liaison Elements. The 528th Sustainment Brigade (SO) (A) plans, coordinates and provides operational and tactical communications for Army Special Operations Task Force commanders with the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion (Airborne).