Military


1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment
"Leader Rakkasans"

1st Battalion, 187th Infantry deploys rapidly worldwide by air, land, or sea, occupies an ISB, and on order, conducts air assault or ground operations to destroy enemy forces, seize key terrain or facilities and control specific land areas including populations and resources.

1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, was originally constituted on 12 November 1942 in the Army of the United States as Company A, 187th Glider Infantry. It activated on 25 February 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, as an element of the 11th Airborne Division. The first mission of the Regiment was to help convince the War Department that an airborne division could fly over water on instruments at night to a target, drop with minimal casualties, and then wage sustained combat operations while being resupplied entirely by air. On 6 December 1943, the Division's landings were perfectly executed and by dawn the next morning, the objective was taken. The success of the Knollwood Maneuvers proved the effectiveness of the airborne division concept and compelled the War Department to create other airborne divisions.

In May 1944, the Regiment deployed to the southwest Pacific and on the night of 6 December 1944 was attacked by the Japanese 3rd Parachute Regiment. The Rakkasans repelled the enemy force and three months later seized Lipa Airfield on Luzon. The 187th Infantry fought continuously until January 1945 on Leyte and suffered heavy casualties taking Purple Heart Hill. At Nasugbu Bay, the Regiment performed a para-amphibious assault and fought their way into the jungle to Tagaytay Ridge. They also captured Fort McKinley in the 11th Airborne Division's attack on Manila and conquered the heavily defended Mount Macolod. At 0100 hours on 30 August 1945, the first planes carrying 187th soldiers left for Atsugi Airfield. This was a momentous occasion. The Rakkasans were the first American and foreign troops to enter Japan in 2,000 years. While serving as part of the American Occupation Force, the Japanese gave the paratroopers of the 187th Infantry Regiment the nickname "Rakkasan", which loosely translated means "falling umbrella." This name became the official name for the 187th Infantry Regiment.

1-187th Infantry was allotted on 15 November 1948 to the Regular Army. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 30 June 1949 as Company A, 187th Airborne Infantry. On 27 August 1950, the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. The unit was quickly sent to Korea and within the first month defeated a enemy force of 3,000 soldiers. The Rakkasans then performed a textbook parachute assault and heavy drop at Sukchon. They also defeated the Chinese at the Battle of Wonju, performed another record-breaking airborne operation into Munsan-ni Valley, fought battles at bloody Inje and Wonton-ni, and quelled prison-camp riots at Koje-do. The Rakkasans successes in Korea changed the face of airborne warfare and revitalized interest in the use of paratroopers. It also convinced the Pentagon to reactivate XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Thereafter, the 187th Airborne Infantry was relieved on 1 February 1951 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and reassigned on 1 July 1956 to the 101st Airborne Division. The unit was again reorganized and redesignated on 1 March 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry, relieved from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division, and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division (its organic elements were concurrently constituted and activated). It was relieved on 1 July 1958 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and reassigned to the 24th Infantry Division. It was relieved on 8 February 1959 from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division.

The 1-187th Infantry was inactivated on 25 May 1964 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was concurrently consolidated with the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry (which was constituted and activated on 1 February 1964 at Fort Benning, Georgia, as an element of the 11th Air Assault Division), and the consolidated unit was designated as the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, an element of the 11th Air Assault Division (later redesignated as the 11th Airborne Division). It inactivated on 30 June 1965 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

On 13 December 1967, the 187th Infantry Regiment reported for duty in the Republic of Vietnam. The Rakkasans were called upon to perform many hazardous operations including the defense of Bien Hoa Military Base and the US Embassy in Saigon. There, the 187th became known as the "nomad" unit as they were used in every corps area in the theatre in "hot spots" of enemy action. While in Vietnam the 187th earned two more Presidential Citations, two Valorous Unit Citations, a Meritorious Unit Citation and three Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and one Vietnamese Merit Citation as well as 12 Battle Campaign Streamers. Though far from being the most major battle of their service in Vietnam, it was the Rakkasans that defeated first line North Vietnamese Army Forces in the Battle for Hamburger Hill.

The unit was relieved on 1 October 1983 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division, assigned to the 193rd Infantry Brigade, and activated in Panama. It inactivated on 1 May 1987 in Panama and was relieved from assignment to the 193d Infantry Brigade. It was reassigned on 16 September 1987 to the 101st Airborne Division and activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

In September 1990, the Rakkasans once again answered the call and began deploying to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during Operation Desert Shield. On 20 and 21 February 1991, two companies from 1st Battalion air assaulted into Objective Weber and captured 434 Iraqi soldiers. On 25 February 1991, the 48th Anniversary of the Regiment, the Rakkasans conducted the largest and deepest air assault operation in history, as it struck 155 miles behind enemy lines into the Euphrates River Valley. This action led to the timely defeat of Iraqi Forces and helped ensure a total allied victory.

The 187th Infantry Regiment was the only airborne regiment in the history of the US Army to fight in every war since the inception of airborne tactics. In 2001 1-187th was deployed with other elements of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2003 it followed the Brigade to the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004 is returned to Fort Campbell as part of the transformation of the entire 101st Airborne Division to the US Army's new modular force structure. 1-187th Infantry returned to Iraq in 2005 with the tranformed 3rd Brigade Combat Team, where it served through 2008.




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