Military


2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment
"Catamounts"

The mission of the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment is to on order deploy by air, sea, or land, anywhere in the world and to fight and win upon arrival.

The 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment was formed in May 1942 as the 87th Infantry, Mountain, 2nd Battalion, Reinforced at Fort Lewis, Washington. It along with 1-87th Mountain Infantry, comprised the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment. The Battalion was made up of world famous skiers, mountaineers, forest rangers, trappers, lumberman, guides, cowboys, muleskinners, horseman, and regular army cadre.

As the Battalion was conducting maneuvers in Jolan, California in November 1942, the Army was preparing a brand new camp to house the 87th on the Continental Divide at Camp Hale, Colorado, at 9,480 feet above sea level. The 2-87th Mountain Infantry moved to Camp Hale in late December 1942. During the winter of 1942-43, the battalion conducted extreme cold weather and high altitude training and tested over one hundred types of equipment and vehicles.

On 11 June 1943, the Battalion deployed to Fort Ord, California for amphibious training in preparation of combat operations. Within weeks after this training, the Battalion sailed to the Aleutian Island as part of Amphibious Technical Force Nine. The 2-87th Mountain Infantry took part in a regimental amphibious assault of Kiska on 1-16 August 1943 and occupied the island until withdrawl to Camp Carson, Colorado in December 1943.

In February 1944, the Battalion joined the 10th Light Division and moved again to Camp Hale. In the winter of 1944, the Battalion took part in a maneuver in sub zero weather. In one night alone, over one hundred cases of frostbite were evacuated. All men who completed the maneuver were commended.

In late June 1944, the Battalion moved with the newly designated 87th Infantry Regiment. Light as a part of the 10th Mountain Division to Camp Swift, Texas. On 20 December 1944, the 2-87th Mountain Infantry entrained from Camp Swift to Newport News, Virginia and embarked on the USS West Point. The Battalion sailed for Naples, Italy on 4 January 1945.

The Battalion entered combat on 28 January 1945 as part of the Fifth US Army. On the night of 19 February after 17 days of patrolling in the mountains on snowshoes and skis, the Battalion was instrumental in the capture on Mount Belvedere and other key mountain peaks in a night attack.

On 4-5 March 1945, the 2-87th Mountain Infantry participated in their second offensive by capturing Mad Na Di Brasa and Castel d'Alano. Where as the Battle of Belvedere was a night attack, the Battle of Castel d' Alano was a deadly struggle in the sunlight, from bunker to bunker, hill to hill, objective to objective.

During the first 2 weeks of April 1945, the battalion planned and prepared for their part in the final spring offensive of the Fifth Army in Italy. The intent was to break through the northern Apennines, drive the Germans out of the mountains, and secure the wide PO Valley. The 2-87tj Mountain Infantry fought continuously from 4 April to 2 May 1945 over mountainous terrain covering 140 miles.

The Battalion learned of the surrender off all German forces at suppertime on 2 May 1945. The Germans had been impressed by the 10th Mountain Infantry soldiers. Using the words from captured enemy documents, the Germans knew they had been up against mountain troops. They believed them to be a hand picked elite corps, made up of physically superior soldiers, sports personalities and young men from politically significant American families. It was no accident General Lieutenant General Fridolin von Snger and Etterlin insisted on surrendering in person only to Major General George P. Hays, the Commanding General of what the General called the best American formation in Italy-the 10th Mountain Division.

From May-July 1945, the Battalion conducted occupation duties. In July, the Battalion was ordered to duty in the Pacific. The 2-87th Mountain Infantry sailed from Italy on 2 August 1945 and arrived in the United States on 11 August. On 14 August 1945 the Battalion learned that the Japanese had surrendered and that the war was over.

The 2-87th Mountain Infantry was inactivated in November 1945 at Camp Carson, Colorado. On 18 June 1948, the Battalion was designated the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry and again assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Riley Kansas. In June 1958, the Battalion was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Germany, and in 1963 reassigned to the 8th Infantry Division. 2-87th Infantry was inactivated in June 1986, only to be reactivated 2 years later as the 6th Battalion of the 10th Mountain Division, Light Infantry, at Fort Drum, New York.

In August 1992 the Battalion deployed to Homestead Florida to provide humanitarian disaster relief during JTF Operation Hurricane Andrew. In December 1992, the Battalion deployed to Somalia for JTF Operation Restore Hope. In August 1994 the Battalion deployed to the Sinai Penninsula in Egypt for a 6 month rotation as the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping mission.

In January 1997 the Battalion deployed with 529 soldiers as a Task Force to Sinai in Egypt for a 6-month rotation for the Multinational Force Observers mission. The Task Force was part of a 14-country peace keeping force sent to the Sinai to enforce the Camp David Peace Accord signed in 1981.

In early June 1998, the Battalion deployed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York for the Cadet Summer Field Training Support mission. While at West Point, the soldiers of 2-87th Infantry trained over 2000 future leaders of the Army in basic and advanced soldier skills. From teaching new Cadets basic rifle marksmanship and individual movement techniques, to the week long Viking Thrust exercises, the Catamounts set new standards in every mission that presented itself.

In September 1998, elements of the Battalion deployed to Central Asia to participate in CENTRAZBAT '98, a multi-national peacekeeping exercise involving soldiers from 6 former eastern block nations. During this exercise, 2-87th Infantry forged ties with other nations through shared hardships and training, while setting the stage for the multinational operations and peackeeping missions that would soon follow.

In May of 1999, the Catamounts traveled to Fort Polk, Louisiana for the Mission Readiness Exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center. Again, the soldiers of 2-87th Infantry excelled at every task that they were given, this time conducting intense training exercises in peackeeping missions and presence patrolling.

In late August of 1999, the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry deployed overseas to the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the former Yugoslavia. The Battalion would serve as one unit in the Multinational Division (North) component of the Stabilization Force 6 (SFOR-6), in support of Operation Joint Forge. Task Force Catamount was charged with the northern portion of the MND (N) sector, including the towns of Brcko, Srebenik, and Modirchia. During the Task Force's 7 month deployment, it participated in several missions designed to bring stability to the Balkans and a lasting peace to the People of Bosnia. Most notably, Operation Harvest, which resulted in the destruction of over 5000 weapons, and the implementation of the Brcko Demilitarization process that disbanded and relocated over 5000 members of the Entity Armed Forces as well as destroyed 9000 weapons required by the Brcko Arbitration Decision.

The 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, deployed in late 2001, to the Sinai Peninsula as part of the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers mission there. While there, during the Thanksgiving weekend, the unit was visisted by Gen. Shinseki, Sgt. Maj. Tilley, and Maj. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, 10th Mountain Division Commander.

2-87th Infantry was deployed to Afghanistan as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom IV from June of 2003 to May of 2004. Assigned to Task Force Warrior based out of Kandahar Afghanistan, TF 2-87 was involved in many different missions in many different parts of the country. Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment disembarked from a plane 24 May 2004 at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield after redeploying from Afghanistan.

Task Force 2-87 relinquished responsibility for the security of Bagram airfield to a Marine battalion while simultaneously conducting combat operations. They engaged in an operation to deny enemy sanctuary in northeastern Afghanistan. The Catamounts achieved very impressive results by that point detaining a number of terrorists, disrupting the enemy's operations, and capturing large amounts of enemy weapons and equipment. The 2-87th Infantry subsequently returned to Fort Drum.

After their return from Afghanistan, 2-87th Infantry was swept up in the US Army's transformation initiative, where it added a weapons company, received in direct support a forward support company, and was assigned to the newly activated 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Spartans" of the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, New York. The Battalion has proven its ability to deploy, fight and win anywhere in the world as part of the 10th Mountain Division (LI), and the XVIII Airborne Corps.

Task Force Catamount, which comprised US Army soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, converged on Forward Operating Base Aned, February 2006, in anticipation of their relief-in-place of Task Force Fury and their induction into "Team Paktika." The arriving infantrymen promptly joined their counterparts from 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, for a fast-paced and highly informative "right-seat-ride." The expansive area of operations that the 2-87th Infantry were to operate in included the Orgun Valley, Burmel Valley and provincial capital district of Sharana as well as a portion of Ghazni Province, equal in size to the state of New Jersey.



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