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82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

 

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It's Monday! Time to get after it!

It's Monday! Time to get after it!

Posted by 82nd Airborne Division on Monday, April 23, 2018

THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 23 APRIL 2007

Even as he lay dying, Staff Sgt. William C. Moore directed rescuers to first go save his men.

Moore had helped repulse a relentless attack on a patrol base in Iraq and saved the lives of fellow paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division. Events that would bring him the nation's third-highest award for valor began at about 3 p.m. on this day, when the first of two enemy truck bombs penetrated the defensive barriers of the patrol base outside of Baqubah, Iraq.

Paratroopers in a rooftop position opened fire on the enemy vehicle just before it exploded. Moore, who was in the building, was injured in the initial blast.

The reconnaissance troop section leader for B Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry ignored his own wounds, as well as the enemy fire now impacting around him, and took of charge of several Paratroopers at his location.

Moore exposed himself to enemy fire that was now coming from three separate directions on the rooftops surrounding the patrol base, rapidly organized his ad-hoc element, moved them to a covered position, and then directed their fires in order to suppress the enemy.

Refusing medical attention, Moore then rushed back to the building that had been struck by the truck bomb to check on the safety of his Paratroopers. He ran from his covered position under heavy enemy fire and re-entered the building in an attempt to rally his paratroopers and move them to a safe location.

That's when the insurgents launched a second-wave attack.

As soon as Staff Sergeant Moore entered the room, the building was struck by a second vehicle borne improvised explosive device, causing the whole building to collapse upon the Paratroopers that remained inside.

Other members of the unit rushed to the site to find a severely wounded Moore still trying to help his Paratroopers. While dying, Moore was able to alert the rescuers to another Paratrooper's location. He fought to push the rubble off a buried Paratrooper.

Moore and eight other Paratroopers (1st Lt. Kevin J. Gaspers, Staff Sgt. Kenneth E. Locker Jr., Sgt. Randell T. Marshall, Sgt. Brice A. Pearson, Sgt. Michael L. Vaughan, Spc. Jerry R. King, Spc. Michael J. Rodriguez and Pfc. Garrett C. Knoll) were killed that day.

Moore's heroic actions saved lives within his platoon. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

It was Moore's second combat tour in Iraq.

Today we honor his memory.

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On Friday, hundreds of All American Paratroopers came out to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville to honor an All American Legend.

Rock Merritt -- World War II badass, 2-time XVIII Airborne Corps CSM, D-Day Paratrooper, and all around good guy -- was honored with a paver in his name in front of the museum.

Rock called it the greatest honor of his life and said that "The Division today is the best it has ever been. America's Division has the best trained, best-led men and women in the world."

Next month Rock will be immortalized with the inaugural class of the All American Hall of Fame.

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The competitions. The run. The combatives. The Airborne Review. The thousands and thousands of veterans and supporters.

We are one month away from All American Week XXIX. This coming Tuesday, we'll publish the full schedule of events.

Let's see your pics from All American Weeks past. Hit us with your best AAW pics in the comments.

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THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 22 APRIL 1961

MEET THE NEW BOSS: TED CONWAY

Major General Theodore J. Conway, the 19th All American Six in our history, assumes command of America’s Division from Major General Dwight E. Beach in a ceremony on Fort Bragg.

Conway had never served in the Division and he did not lead airborne forces until late in his career. He held key assignments throughout Europe during World War II and then, after the war, went to airborne school as a 43-year-old Colonel. He then went on to command the 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment and became chief of staff of the 11th Airborne Division.

Conway would command the Division until June of 1962. He would go on to become a four-star general and retire in 1969 at age 60 after 42 years of service.

General Conway’s son, John Wright Conway, would serve in our 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam as a Sergeant. Tragically, he was killed in a civilian parachute accident in 1977.

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EVERYONE all over the country is talking about "Caption This." Many people are saying that this idea - which no one had ever come up with before - is the best, most original thing on the Internet right now. Who are we to argue with the American people?

There can be no question that "Caption This" is the best, biggest, funniest thing in the country. So, we did our part and came up with the concept. Now you need come up with some funny, inappropriate captions to this pic.

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THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 21 APRIL 1945

FINAL MISSION: CROSSING THE ELBE

The 82nd Airborne Division was on occupation duty in Cologne, a German city that had already surrendered to America's Division. Our Paratroopers were searching the city for enemy personnel, arms, ammunition, explosives, and attempts at sabotage. Today our men were given a new mission.

The Division was relieved of its occupation duty in Cologne and sent northeastward on an unknown mission which General Gavin was sure would turn out to be an uneventful and anticlimactic end to the war. He was wrong.

For the next three days, the units of the 82nd moved from Cologne via train to the railhead at Lehrte, Germany or via truck to the truckhead north of Weyhausen, Germany. Once they arrived in position, General Gavin received orders for the 82nd to attack across the Elbe River and seize a bridgehead.

So began the 82nd Airborne Divisions’ last offensive of the war. It would be a fitting end to the war for our Paratroopers who really wanted to play a crucial role in the culmination of World War II.

In this picture, Paratroopers from Company B from our 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, pose for the camera before boarding trains to Lehrte.

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Go home! All American Family Time!

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THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 20 APRIL 1919

END OF TOUR: THE ALL AMERICANS ARE COMING HOME!

With World War I over, the 82nd Division in France receives embarkation orders (pictured here) to return to the United States. The orders state that the Division is “relieved from all further duty with the American Expeditionary Forces, France” and, at 7PM on April 21st, will “report to the Bassens Docks area” to board the SS ALPHONSO XIII for transportation back to the United States.

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Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection (JMPI), the toughest part of the Jumpmaster Course, requires practice.

Watch as one Jumpmaster candidate practices with this early morning JMPI Shadow Box Montage. Mr. Miyagi would be proud.

Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection (JMPI), the toughest part of the Jumpmaster Course, requires practice.Watch as one Jumpmaster candidate practices with this early morning JMPI Shadow Box Montage. Mr. Miyagi would be proud.

Posted by 82nd Airborne Division on Thursday, April 19, 2018

THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 19 APRIL 1987

General Maxwell D. Taylor, a daring pioneer commander of airborne troops who became a major force in determining American military and diplomatic strategy from World War II through the Vietnam War and beyond, died at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. He was 85 years old.

Taylor played a critical role in the formation of the 82nd Airborne Division in 1943, when he served as Ridgway’s Chief of Staff. Just prior to the Division’s movement from the US into the war, Ridgway assigned Taylor to be the Division’s Division Artillery Commander. He served in that role through the Sicily and Italy campaigns before his assignment as the commander of the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Overlord.

In September of 1943, during his time within the Division, Taylor was a part of a clandestine mission behind enemy lines to assess the operational conditions prior to the Division’s planned jump north of Rome. Meeting with the Italian Prime Minister and General Staff, Taylor determined that the operation was certain to be a disaster and recommended cancellation to General Eisenhower. Taylor’s decisive action during this dangerous infiltration mission may have saved the 82nd Airborne from being wiped out!

Taylor would go on to be among the most impactful American military leaders of his generation.

As commander of the Eighth Army and United Nations forces in Seoul early in 1953, Taylor helped close the Korean War under remarkably challenging political circumstances.

He would go on to serve as Chief of Staff of the Army and, during a critical portion of the Vietnam War, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After his retirement in 1964, Lyndon Johnson assigned him Ambassador to Saigon.

We should mention that Taylor received fierce criticism in H.R. McMaster's 1997 book “Dereliction of Duty,” which accuses Taylor of intentionally misrepresenting the views of the Joint Chiefs about Vietnam to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

Next month, during All American Week XXIX, Taylor will be enshrined in the All American Hall of Fame.

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All Americans, check out more photos of our 2018 Best Ranger Competition competitors.

The 82nd Airborne Division had three teams compete in this years competition held at Fort Benning, GA April 13-15.

Team #14: SSG Carlos Mercado, D. Co., 1-505th, 3rd BCT
SSG Christopher Hart, C. Co., 1-508th, 3rd BCT (Finished 14th overall)

Team #15: 1LT Colton Motz, D. Co., 1-508th, 3rd BCT
1LT Tye Smarjesse, B. Co., 2-505th, 3rd BCT

Team #16: SFC Anthony Nagle, B. Co., 1/508th, 3BCT
SSG Trent Miller, B. Co., 1-505th, 3rd BCT

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WATCH: The pilot episode of SERGEANT AIRBORNE!!!!

Sergeant Airborne, Ep. 1

WATCH: The pilot episode of SERGEANT AIRBORNE!!!!

Posted by 82nd Airborne Division on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 18 APRIL 1943

The 82nd Airborne Division, under the command of Major General Matthew B. Ridgway, began movement from Fort Bragg to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts to stage for overseas movement and entry into World War II.

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Y'all's haiku game is soft. #HaikuChallenge

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"Green Ramp"

The smell of pine wood


Excitement, boredom, fear, nerves


Waiting for the birds

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When Paratroopers compete, they dominate!

For the second consecutive year, the 82nd Airborne Division won the Army's Best Mortar Competition.

This was a grueling, multi-day test of physical fitness, warrior skills, and mortar proficiency, culminating with 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortar live fires on Fort Benning.

Congratulations to Staff Sergeant Pennington, Sergeant Mosser, Corporal Norton, and Captain Nolan from Headquarters Company, 1 Panther!

They beat out the top mortar sections from across the Army, bringing the trophy to its rightful place: the Center of the Military Universe.

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Alright, listen up. Here in the 82nd Airborne Division we DO NOT play around. This is a legit Haiku Challenge, y'all! Many of you keyboard warriors talk tough about your haiku game.....but it's just that: TALK!

Let's see who can throw down some SERIOUS haiku!

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"From Above"

Removed from the noise

The world looks peaceful from here

Floating down to earth

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THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 17 APRIL 1945

END IN SIGHT

White flags waved all throughout Cologne, Germany, as the city surrendered to the 82nd Airborne Division.

World War II was quickly coming to an end, and our penultimate combat assignment - the crossing of the Rhine River operation to fight into Cologne, Germany - had concluded.

During the operation - which was led by A Company, 504 - 23 All American Paratroopers were killed and 114 were wounded.

Our men - as well as the Germans - knew that end of war in Europe was quickly approaching. We would be back home soon enough.

In this picture, surrendering German officers hand out bread to their soldiers as they wait to be processed as enemies by Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division.

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Alright, All Americans - jump into the work week!

#MondayMotivation

Alright, All Americans - jump into the work week!#MondayMotivation

Posted by 82nd Airborne Division on Monday, April 16, 2018

THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 16 APRIL 1957

WORST PLACE ON EARTH: THE DIVISION JUMPS INTO OPERATION KING COLE

More than 4,000 Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division - along with elements from the 101st Airborne and the 1st Infantry Divisions - jumped into North Fort Polk to participate in Operation King Cole.

Operation King Cole was a 22,000-Soldier multi-day maneuver operation that exercised the ability of the three Division to command and control their forces over large distances. We spoke with four Paratroopers who participated in that jump and we found out that 61 years ago, as it does today, being on Fort Polk absolutely sucked.

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It's all over, All Americans. Staff Sergeants Carlos Mercardo and Chris Hart with a gutsy performance to close out the Best Ranger Competition finished in 14th place.

They finished strong, making up ground at the end.

We're proud of all six Paratroopers who competed.

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THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 15 APRIL 1979

JUDITH BITTERLI: AN ALL AMERICAN PARATROOPER FOR LIFE, A FEARLESS INDUSTRY LEADER

Specialist Judith Bitterli, an All American parachute rigger, becomes the first female to graduate from the 82nd Airborne Division Jumpmaster Course and the first female jumpmaster in the history of the Division!

At the time there were less than 200 airborne-qualified female Paratroopers within the Division. Judith helped pave the way for the current generation of female Airborne leaders.

So, whatever became of Specialist Judith Bitterli? We caught up with her and she is STILL a bad@$$ and STILL leading the way for women. She is the vice president of a $1.2 billion company and leading voice for the advancement of American women in the technology industry. She is a well-known voice in the technology industry where she discusses the challenges women face in the field.

What a remarkable life this All American Paratrooper leads and what a series of accomplishments!

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Alright, All Americans, here is your Facebook update on our Best Ranger Competition teams.

By the end of Day 2, two of our three teams have been eliminated.

Team 14, Staff Sergeant Chris Hart and Staff Sergeant Carlos Mercado, are still in this thing! They are pretty far behind but that can change at tonight's land navigation.

We're pushing updates on Twitter (@82ndABNDiv).

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Caption This, All Americans!

True (and weird) story that is sort of related to this week's "Caption This": one of our married All American Paratrooper couples here in the Division headquarters met during a mid-air entanglement. It was love at first sight and they were married within 2 months. That was 18 years ago.

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THIS DAY IN ALL AMERICAN HISTORY: 14 APRIL 1953

PRELUDE TO A TRAGEDY

In an event that would trigger the Vietnam War (which would eventually pull in our Golden Brigade), the Viet Minh invades Laos with 40,000 troops in a war against French colonial forces. The action signalled that a full-scale conflict was underway in French Indochina. No one could know it but an unstoppable chain of events that would have global impacts had been set in motion.

The Viet Minh were a national Vietnamese independence coalition formed by Ho Chi Minh to free Vietnam from the French Empire. The Viet Minh knew that control over Laos allowed for them to send supplies to the National Liberation Front (the Vietcong) throughout the Republic of Vietnam.

A year later, the Viet Minh militarily defeated the French, ending almost a century of French rule over Indochina and causing the French to seek a negotiated settlement to the war. The 1954 Geneva Conference, called to determine the post-French future of Indochina, divided Vietnam into North and South. A war between the communist North and the anti-communist South soon began.

In 1955, with the Cold War intensifying worldwide, Dwight D. Eisenhower committed the US to keep South Vietnam out of the hands of communists and introduced American forces into Vietnam. The rest is tragedy.

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