3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
3rd 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.
On 6 July 1942, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated under the Airborne Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 4 February 1943, the Regiment was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. The Regiment arrived at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 12 February 1943.
During World War II, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in 7 major campaigns and 4 regimental airborne assaults. On 28 April 1943, the 505th left the New York Port of Embarkation for Casablanca, North Africa where the regiment underwent 6 weeks of training. The Regiment then flew to Kairouan, Tunisia where final preparations were conducted for the 505th's entry into battle. On 9 July 1943, just over a year after it's activation the 505th made the first regimental size combat parachute attack as it landed behind enemy lines at Gela, Sicily. In it's first trial-by-fire, the 505th, though outmanned and outgunned, used raw courage and fighting spirit to block the German Herman Goering Panzer Division and to save the beachhead and the Allied landings. With Sicily secure, the Allies continued attack on the Axis powers with landings on the Italian mainland. The 505th conducted it's second combat parachute attack on 14 September 1943, into Salerno, Italy becoming the first unit to enter Naples.
During the early months of 1944, the Division was moved to England as the allies were preparing for the assault on Western Europe. The largest combined military operation in history, "D-Day", was to be spearheaded by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. 6 June 1944, at 0300 hours, found the paratroopers of the 505th landing on the Normandy Peninsula. It was one of the first airborne units to hit the ground and liberated the first town in France, St. Mere-Eglise. The paratroopers jumped prior to the actual start of the invasion "H-Hour." That tradition of being the first into the fight led to the 505th Regimental motto of "H-MINUS." For their performance in the invasions the 505th was awarded the Presidential unit citation, the unit equivalent of the Medal of Honor awarded to individual soldiers. In the words of author Clay Blair, the paratroopers emerged from Normandy with the reputation of being a pack of jackals; the toughest, most resourceful and bloodthirsty in Europe.
On 17 September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden, the 505th made its fourth jump at Groesbeck, Holland, the largest airborne assault in history. During that fierce combat, 2 lightly armed platoons, with at most 80 men, were surrounded by an entire German Infantry Battalion supported by tanks. The paratroopers fought back 3 savage German assaults and held their ground until relieved. The 505th received a second Presidential unit citation. Later that winter the airborne troopers were thrown into the breach of the famous "Battle of the Bulge." Despite a lack of cold weather equipment once again airborne spirit, courage, and hard-nosed determination won the day as the 505th withstood the bleak winter and stopped the fanatic German attacks cold. For its valor in the 7 major campaigns the 505th was awarded 2 Distinguished Unit Citations and 3 Foreign decorations: the French Forragere, Netherlands Military Order of William, and Belgium Forragere.
After World War II, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In June 1957, the regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 505th Infantry and relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division. On 25 May 1964, the 505th Infantry was reassigned and redesignated as the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. The Brigade was organized into 3 battalions, the 1-505th Parachute Infantry, 2-505th Parachute Infantry, and 1-508th Parachute Infnatry.
At 0200 hours, on 30 April 1965, the 3rd Brigade was alerted for combat as part of Operation Powerpack, the defense of the Dominican Republic against communist insurgents. Within 18 hours, the first C-130 landed at San Isidro Airfield, Dominican Republic. After 2 months of bitter fighting, the 3rd Brigade returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
On 24 July 1967, the 3rd Brigade deployed to Detroit, Michigan to assist local authorities in quelling a civil disturbance.
Less than a year later, on 12 February 1968, the 3rd Brigade was alerted for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam in response to the Tet Offensive. After 13 months, the Brigade had helped secure the region south of the DMZ and redeployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in March 1969, the only Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to participate in the Vietnam conflict.
The 3rd Brigade deployed to Washington, DC in May 1971 to help local and federal officials in their efforts to keep demonstrators from disrupting the daily operation of the Government. Nine years later in August 1980, the lst Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry was alerted and deployed to conduct civil disturbance duty at Fort Indian Gap, Pennsylvania during the Cuban refugee internment.
The 3rd Brigade deployed the lst Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry to the Middle East in March 1982 as the first United States member of the multi-National Forces and Observers (MFO) rotation in the Sinai. 1-505th Infantry returned home in August 1982.
In October 1983, the 3rd Brigade deployed to the country of Grenada to evacuate US citizens and restore free government during operation Urgent Fury. The Brigade remained in Grenada for the duration of the campaign serving first in combat, then in peacekeeping operations until December 1983.
On 3 October 1986, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was reactivated under the auspices of the 3rd Brigade with the lst and 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry and the lst Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry reflagged as the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry.
In December 1989, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry participated in Operation Just Cause and assisted in freeing the country of Panama from the ruler, Manuel Noriega. Their efforts assisted the country of Panama to pursue a democratic government.
In August 1990, the 505th Parachute Infantry was airlifted to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation Desert Shield. The 82nd Airborne Division spearheaded a coalition of multinational military forces aimed at deterring further Iraqi aggression and expansion into Saudi Arabia and the enforcement of sanctions against Iraq. The ground phase of Operation Desert Storm began 25 February 1991 and saw the Brigade move north to conduct combat operations through the Euphrates River Valley. After 8 months, the Brigade had helped secure U.S. objectives and redeployed to Fort Bragg in April 1991.
In March 1994 the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was tasked to implement a new concept for the Army as part of the New World Order. The Regiment was tasked to organize, train, certify, and deploy a task force made up of National Guard, Army Reserve and Active duty troops to serve as part of the Multi National Forces and observers in the Sinai Peninsula. Task Force 4-505th was activated on 4 November 1994 and was made up of 88 percent National Guard and Reservist from 32 different states, as well as 12 percent active duty soldiers. The 4-505th Infantry deployed to the Sinai from January 1995 through July 1995. On 15 July 1995 the Battalion was deactivated.
In September 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division was alerted as part of Operation Restore Democracy. The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was scheduled to make combat parachute jumps into 2 locations in Haiti, Pegasus Drop Zone and Papia Airport, in order to help oust the military led dictatorship and then restore the democratically ejected president. The 82nd's first wave was in the air, with the 505th Infantry at Green Ramp loaded on aircrafts awaiting take off. Once the Haitian military dictators verified that the 82nd was on the way to invade, they agreed to step down and averted the invasions.
In December 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was once again called upon to participate in Operation Restore Hope. The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry departed Fort Bragg for Panama in order to restore order against the upsurge of the Cuban refugees. The Battalion participated in the safegurading of the Cuban Refugees and the active patrolling in and around the refugee camps.
From July 2002 to January 2003, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. As part of the multinational force, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment engaged in combat operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces, trained troops for a new Afghan National Army, and set the conditions for Democracy by bringing peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.
From August 2003 to April 2004, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment again deployed as part of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to engage in combat operations against terrorists and forces loyal to the former Saddam Hussein Regime; train elements of the Iraqi Police, Facilities Protection Service, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and New Iraqi Army; and set the conditions for Democracy by bringing peace and stability to the people of Iraq.
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 3rd Brigade Combat team saw 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment inactivated, but gained a cavalry squadron (5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment), field artillery battalion (1st Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment (Airborne) formerly part of DIVARTY), and a Brigade Support Battalion (82nd Brigade Support Battalion, formerly the 82nd Forward Support Battalion part of DISCOM). The Brigade retained the reorganized 1st and 2nd Battalions, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, remaining the parent headquarters for that regiment.
In July 2006, the reorganized 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq for a 15 month tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In May 2008 the Department of Defense announced 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division as one of a number of units scheduled to rotate to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom starting in fall 2008.
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