69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
"Guarding the Skies"
69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conducts air and missile defense operations in support of global strategic contingencies in order to deter, and then defeat Tactical Ballistic Missile and Air Breathing Threat attacks.
The 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade was first organized on 17 May 1918 in the Regular Army at Fort Worden, Washington as the 69th Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps). Deployed to Europe during the Great War, the 69th Artillery recieved a streamer without inscription for its participation. After returnin to the United States the unit was subsequently demobilized on 5 March 1919 at Camp Eustis, Virginia.
The unit was reconstituted on 16 October 1936 in the Regular Army. It was concurrently consolidated with the 69th Coast Artillery (first constituted on 22 January 1926 in the Regular Army and activated on 1 February 1930 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland), and the consolidated unit designated as the 69th Coast Artillery.
Regiment broken up on 10 September 1943 and its elements reorganized and redesignated. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Group. The 1st Battalion was redesignated as the 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion. The 2nd Battalion was redesignated as the 529th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. The 3rd Battalion was redesignated as the 249th Antiaircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion. The 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion, 529th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, and 249th Antiaircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion thereafter had separate lineages.
The 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was deployed to the Pacific Theater of Operations during the Second World War and recieved participation credit for the Western Pacific campaign. The Group remained in the Western Pacific after the end of the War until Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was inactivated on 5 June 1948 on Saipan.
The 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was reactivated on 1 July 1955 in Germany and inactivated in that country on 1 November 1957. It was redesignated on 1 April 1960 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Artillery Group, and activated, again in Germany. It was redesignated on 15 March 1972 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Air Defense Artillery Group and then reorganized and redesignated on 16 July 1983 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. Eventually the Brigade came to be headquartered at Giebelstadt Army Airfield, just south of the city of Wuerzburg, Germany.
In 1989, the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, in conjunction with elements of the 32nd Army Air Defense Command deployed a task force of over 1,000 soldiers to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. As the dedicated high and medium altitude air defense asset of the VII US Army Corps, Task Force 8-43rd Air Defense Artillery fielded 4 Patriot firing batteries and 2 HAWK batteries. The task force provided critical protection to VII Corps as it executed a classic flanking action and raced into Iraq, crushing the vaunted Republican Guard. At the conclusion of the war, Task Force 8-43rd Air Defense Artillery was deployed well forward on the battlefield, providing integrated coverage against both hostile aircraft and ballistic missiles. No element of the Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company deployed, however, and the Brigade recieved no participation credit for operations in Southwest Asia.
On 1 September 1991, the 69th Air Defense Brigade was reassigned as the air defense brigade for V Corps. Along with the new assignment came a new mission. Instead of providing primarily area coverage from fixed location, the Brigade was now responsible for the air defense of highly-mobile Corps assets. This new mission was born out of increased requirements to provide dedicated coverage to maneuver units over the depth on an ever-expanding battlefield. The men and women of the 69th Air Defense Brigade field two of the Army's most lethal air defense systems: Patriot and Stinger.
1,000 soldiers from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade deployed to Israel in 1998. This deployment was part of Operation Shining Presence a Joint Exercise involving United States and Israeli forces. This was not, however, a routine deployment as US forces were scheduled to remain in the area following the conclusion of the exercise.
As US forces in Europe began to draw down following the end of the Cold War, the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade returned to the United States to be based at Fort Hood, Texas. In 2007, the Brigade was placed under the command of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, which exercised command and control over all CONUS based air and missile defense assets. The 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, relocated from its headquarters located at Wurzburg, Germany in the summer 2008. The Brigade officially uncased its colors at Fort Hood, Texas on 16 September 2008.
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