82nd Airborne Division Artillery (DIVARTY)
319th Field Artillery Regiment
On 15 January 2006 the 82nd Airborne Division began transformation to the US Army's new modular force structure. As a result various previously divisional assets were inactivated and reactivated as part of the Division's reorganized and redesignated Brigade Combat Teams. The Division Artillery was inactivated and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment were inactivated and reactivated assigned to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams, 82nd Airborne Division respectively. D Battery, 319th Field Artillery was inactivated, reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, and reactivated assigned to the similarly reorganized and redesignated 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (Seperate).
The 82nd Airborne Division Artillery (DIVARTY) mission was to deploy anywhere worldwide within 18 hours of notice in order to plan, coordinate and execute lethal and non-lethal fires in support of 82nd Airborne Division and other selected maneuver units. It was also the headquarters of the parent regiment, the 319th Field Artillery Regiment (Airborne).
The 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment consisted of the 1-319th, 2-319th, and 3-319th Airborne Field Artillery Battalions. In addition, the Regiment had a Headquarters Battery (HHB), D Battery, based in Vicenza, Italy, as part of the Southern European Task Force.
The 82nd Airborne Division Artillery was organized in 1917 to provide fire support for the new "All American Division" 82nd Division. The Division Artillery performed distinguished service in support of the Division's operation in campaigns throughout France during World War I. The Division was deactivated after that conflict, and was not recalled to active service until 1942.
The 82nd Airborne Division Artillery, under the command of Maxwell D. Taylor, was the first airborne artillery unit to serve in a US Army Division.
Because of the Nazi threat, both the 319th Field Artillery Regiment and the 82nd Infantry Division were activated 25 March 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. In August, prior to deployment to Europe, the unit was redesignated as the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, with Batteries A through E. That same month, the 82nd was redesignated as the Army's first Airborne Division.
The 319th Field Artillery's first taste of combat came after an airborne/gliderborne assault into Sicily on 9 July 1943. Advancing up the toe of Italy, the 82nd was able to capture the Naples port and the Foggia airfields. The 319th, in direct support of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was credited with much of the success of the campaign.
Following a rest in England, the 319th Field Artillery left the British coast on 6 June 1944, bound for France in 40 gliders. The Battalion landed 2 miles northeast of St. Mere Eglise and 3 miles from the landing zone. Only a 7-gun battery could be mustered. The remainder of the guns were damaged in the landing. For 37 days, the 75mm truck-drawn tubes provided continuous and accurate fire support, often within 100 meters of friendly troops.
The next combat operation began in Nijmegan, Holland on 17 September 1944. About 2 hours after landing as part of Operation "Market Garden", the Battalion was firing on German defenders. Fighting was heavy, resulting in the expenditure of over 34,000 rounds in two months.
Christmas time 1944 was tough for the 319th Field Artillery. From December 1944 until February 1945, they fought back against the German assault in the Ardennes area during the "Battle of the Bulge."
After nearly 2 years overseas war ended for the "All Americans." Troopers of the 82nd were awarded 3 Medals of Honor. (First Sergeant Leonard Funk, Jr., Private First Class Charles N. Deglopper, Private John R. Towle), 70 Distinguished Service Crosses, 894 Silver Star Medals, 2,478 Bronze Star Medals, and numerous foreign decorations.
In World War II, the Division Artillery received battle streamers for its service in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Naples, Rome-Arno, Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.
In July 1945 the Division was ordered for occupation duty where they became known as "America's Guard of Honor." General George S. Patton was so impressed with the 82d, he was quoted as saying, "In all my years in the Army, and of all the honor guards I have ever seen, the 82nd honor guard is undoubtedly the best."
After a victory parade in New York City following its return from the war, the Division Artillery accompanied the Division to its new home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After that time, Division Artillery units served in combat in the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, and Southwest Asia.
In 1965, the "All Americans" were again called to duty under hostile fire. On 29 April 1965 the 82nd, under the code name Operation Powerpack, deployed to Santo Domingo, the revolution-torn capital of the Dominican Republic. Peace and stability were soon restored and again the members of the Division distinguished themselves in their duty. The 1st Brigade and elements from the 319th Field Artillery Regiment served as part of the Inter-American Peace Force for over a year, returning to Fort Bragg in the summer of 1966.
On 12 February 1968, during the communist Tet offensive in Vietnam, the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division and elements of the 319th Field Artillery Regiment deployed to the North Vietnamese-infected I Corps. After participating in combat operations in the Hue/Phu Bai area, 3rd Brigade moved south where they became part of the pacification efforts near Saigon. On 12 December 1969, the 3rd Brigade returned to Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne after serving almost 22 months in Vietnam.
On 25 October 1983, 2 brigade task forces and elements of the 319th Field Artillery were deployed to the Caribbean Island of Grenada. Within 18 hours of notification, 82nd troopers were not only wheels-up from Fort Bragg, but were in a firefight with enemy forces. After a successful mission, the 82nd was again called upon.
On 20 December 1989, more than 2,000 Division paratroopers conducted a night combat airborne assault onto Torrijos International Airport, Panama. After the jump and the airport seizure, the 82nd successfully carried out multiple follow-on combat missions throughout the country. The Division's decisive action left the Panamanian defense forces destroyed, a ruthless dictator removed, and a duly elected democratic government in power.
The 82nd Airborne also deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. On 8 August 1990, the Division became the vanguard of the largest American deployment since the Vietnam War. As the first unit deployed to Saudi Arabia, the 82nd drew President Bush's "Line in the Sand" to deter Saddam Hussein's million man army from further aggression. On 23 February 1991, the lead elements of the Division, along with the French 6th Light Armored Division had already pushed into Iraq. During the short "100 Hour War" Division units drove deep into Iraq and were responsible for the capture of several thousand Iraqi soldiers and the destruction of massive amounts of equipment, weapons and ammunition. The 82nd began redeployment to Fort Bragg on 7 March 1991, after the liberation of Kuwait was complete and a cease-fire agreed to.
Elements of the 82nd Division Artillery deployed in support of the 82nd Airborne Division on its three deployments to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2003 and 2005.
In 2006 the DIVARTY was inactivated as part of the transformation of the 82nd Airborne Division as a whole to the US Army's new modular force structure. Its 3 battalions and seperate company were all inactivated and reactivated assigned to seperate units. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions, 319th Field Artillery Regiment became organic to the 82nd Airborne Division's reorganized modular 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams respectively. D Battery, 319th Field Artillery Regiment was inactivated and reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, and activated assigned to the similarly reorganized and redesignated modular 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (Seperate).
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