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ADDITIONAL UNIT INFORMATION
*this information is in no way complete nor up to date
The United States ''173d Airborne Brigade'' serves in Vicenza, Italy. It is EUCOM conventional Airborne strategic response force for the European Theater.
== History ==
The 173d Airborne Brigade was constituted on 5 August 1917 as an infantry brigade and organized on 25 August 1917 at Camp Pike, Arkansas, as an element of the U.S. 87th Infantry Division. The brigade deployed to France in 1918 as part of the Division, but it did not participate in any named campaigns. After its return to the United States, the brigade was demobilized in January 1919 at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
On 24 June 1921 the unit was reconstituted as Headquarters and Headquarters Company (''H&HC'' or ''HHC''), 173d Infantry Brigade, and was again assigned to the 87th Division at Shreveport, Louisiana. It was reorganized in December 1921 at Mobile, Alabama, redesignated 23 March 1925 as HHC 173d Brigade, and redesignated 24 August 1936 as HHC 173d Infantry Brigade.
During World War II, brigades were eliminated from divisions. Consequently, HHC 173d Infantry Brigade was designated as the 87th Reconnaissance Troop in February 1942 and activated 15 December 1942. It entered combat in 1944 and fought in three European campaigns (Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe). After the war, the troop reverted back to reserve status and was posted from 1947 through to 1951 at Birmingham, Alabama. On 1 December 1951 at Birmingham, Alabama, the 173d was inactivated and released from its assignment to the 87th Infantry Division.
On 26 March 1963, the 173d Airborne Brigade was allotted to the Regular Army and activated on Okinawa. Brigadier General Ellis W. Williamson took command the unit, which was chartered to serve as the quick reaction force for the Pacific Command. Under Williamson the unit trained extensively, making mass parachute jumps. They earned the nickname ''Tien Bien,'' or ''Sky Soldiers,'' from the Nationalist Chinese paratroopers.
Deployed to Vietnam in May 1965, the brigade was the first major ground combat unit of the United States Army to serve there. The brigade ws the first to go into War Zone D to destroy enemy base camps and introduced the use of small long range patrols. Its Operation Junction City, which took place on on 22 February 1967, was the only combat parachute jump of the Vietnam conflict.
The unit fought in the Iron Triangle and blocked North Vietnamese Army incursions at Dak To during some of the bloodiest fighting of the war in the summer and fall of 1967, which culminated in the capture of Hill 875. Elements of the brigade conducted an amphibious assault against North Vietnamese Army.
The 1st and 2d Battalions, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. At its peak in Vietnam, the 173d Airborne Brigade (Sep) comprised nearly 3,000 soldiers.
During more than six years of continuous combat, the brigade earned 14 campaign streamers and four unit citations. Sky Soldiers serving in Vietnam received 13 Medal of Honor.
The 173d Airborne Brigade was reactivated on 12 June 2000 at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, where it now serves.
On March 26, 2003, the 173d Airborne Brigade conducted a combat jump into Northern Iraq onto Bashur Airfield as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Comprised of the 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry; and 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry; the brigade served mainly in Kirkuk until February 2004.