1st Battalion (Airborne), 319th Field Artillery Regiment
The 82nd Division Artillery was organized in 1917. It went on to serve with distinction in World War I, fighting in support of the 82nd Division throughout France. With the drawdown of the armed forces at war's end, the Division, and the 82nd Division Artillery with it, were deactivated.
As America built its military for World War II, the 82nd Infantry Division and its artillery were reactivated in the spring of 1942. In August the Division was redesignated as the Army's first Airborne Division. The 319th Field Artillery became the 319th Glider Field Artillery Regiment, comprised of Batteries A through E, and was trained to deploy in Waco gliders and fire 75mm light howitzers. Rechristened, the 319th sailed for England, in preparation for the invasion of Europe.
On 9 July 1943, the 319th participated in an amphibious landing in Italy, where it first saw action against the Germans. With the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 319th fought at the Chuinzi Pass, Italy. For its valor during this battle it won the first of its Presidential Unit Citations.
Forty gliders full of Redlegs departed England on 6 June 1944, bound for a landing zone near the French town of St. Mere Eglise. Landing in such disarray 3 miles from the designated landing zone that only 7 of the Regiment's 75mm truck-drawn pieces were operational, the troopers of the 319th nevertheless provided unflagging fire support for the Division over the course of the next 37 days. For its troopers' actions at Normandy the 319th won its second Presidential Unit Citation.
The Regiment's respite was short following the Normandy invasion. On 17 September 1944, Redlegs and their guns descended upon Nijmegen, Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. Within 2 hours of landing the Regiment was firing upon Nazi troops. Over the following 2 months of unabated fighting the unit's troopers put 34,000 rounds downrange. The Regiment again joined the fray in December 1944, countering the German offensive in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge.
Troopers of the 319th Glider Field Artillery Regiment distinguished themselves throughout the course of World War II. Seventy earned Distinguished Service Crosses, 894 earned Silver Star Medals, and 2,478 earned Bronze Star Medals. To First Sergeant Leonard Funk, Jr., Private First Class Charles N. Deglopper, and Private John R. Towle went America's highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
In 1948, the 319th Glider Field Artillery Regiment was redesignated as an Airborne unit. Henceforth, its troopers would deploy to battle via parachute. 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment was borne of Battery A, 319th Field Artillery Regiment on 25 May 1964. The only Battalion in the 319th Field Artillery Regiment to remain assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, it took as its motto "Loyalty." Less than a year later, on 20 April 1965, its paratroopers deployed to the Dominican Republic. As part of Operation Powerpack, they left their guns to conduct house-to-house searches, man roadblocks, and perform other such duties.
In October of 1983, 1-319th Field Artillery airlanded in Grenada with the Division's 3d Brigade, remaining on the island until December of that year.
In August of 1990, 1-319th Field Artillery deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. When the ground offensive for Operation Desert Storm commenced on 24 February 1991, the Battalion, in direct support of 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, advanced over 300 miles to its final position in Iraq near the town of Nasuria in the Euphrates River Valley. On 1 April 1991 the Battalion redeployed to Fort Bragg.
In April of 1999 C Battery deployed to Albania as part of Operation Noble Anvil, and then moved into Kosovo as part of Operation Joint Guardian. They returned home in October 1999.
Continuing the proud legacy of the unit, the Loyalty Battalion's paratroopers put their boots on the soil of Afghanistan in June of 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. By August 2002, soldiers from each of the Battalion's 3 firing batteries, as well as its Headquarters and Service Battery, were in country to provide fire support for the paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade.
In 2006 the 82nd Airborne Division began transforming to the US Army's new modular force structure. A part of the new modular force structure included reorganization of Division level units habitually attached to a Division's Brigades, making them organic elements thereof. The 82nd Division Artillery (DIVARTY) was inactivated, and 1-319th Field Artillery was inactivated and reactivated as part of the reorganized 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
In July 2006, elements of the 1-319th Field Artillery deployed with other elements of the reorganized 3rd Brigade Combat Team 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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