2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
During the reorganizations of brigade and division structure during the 1980s, an attempt was made to re-establish regimental affiliations with divisons that had effectively ended in the period after the Korean War. The battalions within divisions were redesignated and grouped into brigades in order to be uniform. The battalions ended up grouped in the same brigade by regiment and the brigades were often referred to, informally, and confusingly, as regiments. In the 82nd Airborne Division, the informal usage included reversion to a mixing of World War II and Korean War era designations. With the transformation of the brigades of the 82nd Airborne Division to modular brigade combat teams beginning in 2006, the informal designations remained, despite the brigades retaining only 2 battalions with the regimental affiliation.
The 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment's mission is to deploy worldwide within 18 hours of notification, execute a parachute assault, conduct combat operations, and win. Specifically, the Regiment is to conduct a forcible entry to seize a defended airfield, build up combat power as quickly as possible and conduct follow-on military operations.
The 325th Regiment was officially activated as part of the 82nd Division on 25 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia. Being a National Army division, the Regiment was composed of draftees. The only personnel actually assigned to the Regiment however, were a small cadre charged with the task of preparing for the thousands of draftees who would soon be flooding the camp. A lack of weapons meant soldiers drilled with clubs. 82nd Division, of which the 325th Regiment was a member, was comprised of officers and soldiers from what most would consider the "Deep South." This changed a few weeks into the training program, as soldiers departed to be replaced by soldiers from all regions of the United States. It was noted that the 82nd Division was now made up of soldiers from every state in the union. It was from this fact that the 82nd Division received its nickname "The All American Division" and is represented by the "Double A" patch worn today.
In April 1918, the Regiment received orders to move to Camp Upton, New York in preparation for embarkation to France. The German offensive in 1918 was a desperate attempt to win the war then and there. The Germans had made gains of over 45 miles in France. Other attacks along the Somme, Lys, and Assyne Rivers had stretched the British and French to their absolute limits. Upon their arrival in Lettaure, France, the Regiment began the process of drawing their wartime equipment issued by the British. On 16 June 1918, the Regiment received orders to move to the Toul sector in France where they would enter the line as part of the 82nd Division under the control of the French VII Army. The Regiments first exposure to trenches came on 18 June 1918. They relieved elements of the US 26th Division.
September 1918 was the month set for the first major American offensive of the war. It would also be the first offensive operation planned and designed by the American Army. The purpose of this operation was to reduce the St. Mihiel salient. It was during this operation that the Regiment had its first encounter with the deadly mustard gas used by the Germans. The American offensive in the Argonne Forest was the last major offensive of the war. It was designed to penetrate the German lines and disrupt their logistical base. This was preparatory to further offensive operations involving the actual invasion of Germany. When the offensive opened on 26 September 1918, the Regiment received orders to remain prepared to move in 2 hours of notification. At 1800 on 9 October 1918 the Regiment finally received orders to move into position and attack. Through 10 days of battle, the Regiment was able to punch a hole in the German's last line of defense. With their removal, Allied forces had a clear shot at continuing to advance into Germany. The Regiment had done the hard work and had lost 94 percent of its initial strength.
After the war, the colors of the 325th Regiment were cased. They were to be unveiled once again on 25 March 1942. Located at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, the Regiment was again to be part of the 82nd Division. Late in July 1943, the heavy equipment arrived that would turn the regiment into the 325th Motorized Infantry Regiment.
This suddenly changed when the Chief of Staff, General Marshall had decided that the 82nd Division would be an excellent division to use as a base for his proposed Airborne force. The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment was formed and given the task of arriving into battle by glider. Parachutes could, and often did, wind up scattered for miles on a drop zone. The same held true for equipment and supplies. The glider was the answer to all these problems.
On 7 June 1944, D-Day plus one, the Regiment landed by glider in Normandy and participated in the invasion of France. On 9 June 1944, Private First Class Charles N. Deglopper single-handedly defended his platoon's position and subsequently was awarded the Medal of Honor for this action. As soldiers of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment swooped down to Normandy, other elements of the 82nd Airborne Division were in the process of capturing the town of St. Mere Eglise on an airborne operation behind enemy lines. It was for the success of their effort that the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division were awarded the red and green braided French Fourregerre.
The next glider assault for the 325th was during Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation ever conducted. During this battle, the 325th landed among German positions that had surrounded other elements of the 82nd Airborne Division. This glider attack turned the tide of battle and earned the Regiment the Distinguished Unit Citation.
The 325th Glider Infantry saw more combat in December 1944 when it decimated 2 German Divisions during the Battle of the Bulge. In 1945, the 325th's action in Germany ended with the Regiment driving deep into the heart of Germany. After the war, the Regiment assisted in Berlin occupational duties until it returned to the United States in 1946 and was deactivated on 15 December 1947. The Regiment returned to the All American Division on 15 December 1948 and was redesignated this time the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
On 1 May 1965, the 325th deployed to the revolution torn Dominican Republic as part of Operation Powerpack. Sent with the mission of relieving marines and evacuating civilians, the Regiment swept from the airfield at San Isidro into the capital city of Santo Domingo, neutralizing communist-backed rebel forces. By the end of May 1965, all resistance had crumbled and the Regiment began peace keeping and Civil Affairs operations.
On 26 October 1983, as part of Operation Urgent Fury, the 325th Regiment spearheaded the All American Division's assault on the communist dominated island of Grenada. Landing at Point Salines Airfield, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions in conjunction with other US Forces overwhelmed all resistance within 3 days. One hundred thirty eight students were rescued. During this operation, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry was given the mission to assault an area known as Little Havanna. The Commander of B Company, Captain Michael Ritz, decided to conduct a recon prior to the assault. At 0430 on 26 October 1983, Captain Ritz and his recon patrol were ambushed. Captain Ritz was killed but the rest of his patrol, although wounded, survived. B Company soon discovered large caches of weapons and equipment.
In December 1989, the 4th Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, the "Gold Falcons," attached to the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, conducted a night parachute assault onto Torrijos International Airport in the Republic of Panama, during Operation Just Cause. The Gold Falcons' assault on critical objectives assisted US Forces in reestablishing the legitimate democratic government in Panama. This operation represented the first combat parachute assault since World War II. The Battalion was to jump, assemble, and perform a helicopter assault to Fort Cimmarron to secure the garrison. While this was taking place, D Company was tasked to stay behind and secure another airport within Panama City.
In August 1990, the 325th Airborne Infantry was called on to spearhead the deployment of US Forces to the Persian Gulf in response to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait. In a speech on 8 August 1990, President George Bush told the nation, "A Line in the Sand has been drawn," and the first US Forces were being deployed to the Middle East. Those initial Forces were the 82nd Airborne Division's Ready Brigade, the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment. Their mission was to secure Dahran International Airport and the Port of Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia for the buildup of US Forces that would follow. While reinforcements streamed into the country, the 325th along with the remainder of the 82nd Airborne Division conducted the most intensive combat trainup in the unit's history.
In mid-January 1991, after the Air War had begun, the 82nd Airborne Division displaced nearly 650 miles to the northwest near the Iraqi border in preparation for the commencement of the ground war. On 22 February 1991, elements of the Division along with soldiers of the 6th French Light Armored Division began their drive into Iraq. Division soldiers were responsible for the capture of several thousand Iraqi soldiers and the destruction of massive amounts of enemy weapons, equipment, and ammunition. The Division was credited with playing a major role in the highly successful 100 hour ground war. The first Division elements began redeploying to Fort Bragg on 7 March 1991, and by early April the redeployment of the Division was complete.
Following the Gulf War, elements of the 325th Airborne Infantry, both attached to 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne and otherwise were deployed as part of Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia in 1995-1996 and Assured Reponse in Liberia in 1996.
When Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003, the 82nd Airborne Division was there. Almost 2 years later, with a new mission, a new enemy, and new challenges to face, the 82nd was back in Iraq and ready for action. Known for their ability to execute a strategic, forcible entry into any area of the world within 18 hours notification, the 82nd Airborne Division was an obvious choice for commanders to augment the 1st Cavalry Division's operations in Baghdad on short notice. They were given 4 days notification. More than 1,500 paratroopers from two battalions of the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, the 82nd's Division-Ready Brigade, and other slice elements began deploying to Iraq from Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 3 December 2004, only days after receiving a deployment order. The first paratroopers arrived at Baghdad International Airport on 4 December 2004. The 82nd's mission in Iraq was to augment US Army forces providing security for the country's upcoming democratic elections. The 3rd Battalion was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The 2nd Battalion was attached to the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Historically, the 82nd's mission had been to deploy rapidly, seize enemy territory by parachute assault, fight and win. While the mission in Iraq was different, the Division's paratroopers are up for a myriad of challenges.
On 15 January 2006, the 82nd Airborne Division became part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force. One of the biggest shifts under the modular force structure was that various previously Divisional assets were inactivated and reactivated as organic to the Division's reorganized modular Brigade Combat Teams. The Division Support Command (DISCOM) and Division Artillery (DIVARTY) were inactivated, their habitually attached elements, along with other habitually attached Division assets were attached to the 82nd's 4 reorganized Brigade Combat Teams. The reorganized 2nd Brigade Combat team saw 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment inactivated, but gained a cavalry squadron (1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment), field artillery battalion (2nd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment (Airborne) formerly part of DIVARTY), and a Brigade Support Battalion (407th Brigade Support Battalion, formerly the 407th Forward Support Battalion part of DISCOM). The Brigade retained the reorganized 1st and 2nd Battalions, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, remaining the parent headquarters for that regiment.
During the latter half of 2006, elements of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, deploying again in 2007 for another tour.
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