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3rd Brigade - 101st Airborne Division 187th Infantry Regiment - Rakkasans

– Right now we have Ryan Lenz (Associated Press) embedded with B/1-33 CAV.  He’s written some great stories since arriving a couple weeks ago – the easiest way to follow him is to use Google News alerts or Yahoo News alerts which will notify you via email when he files an article.  We’ll move him to another battalion in the near future. 


– We also have Dennis Steele from Army Magazine with us for a couple more days.  His work will be published in a future issue of Army Magazine, the official publication of AUSA.  Once I confirm which issue, I’ll send to all. 


– Between 23-25 DEC, we’ll have Soldiers participating in live holiday greetings with their family members in the States.  We may have a group of 4 with families in the Clarksville area on CNN, still working that one.  Stay tuned. 


– Many Soldiers from across the BCT have recorded holiday greetings that have been posted on the DVIDS website (www.dvidshub.net).  When you open the home page, click on the “Holiday Greetings” box in the upper right hand corner.  It will take you to a map of the US, and you simply click on the state in which your Soldier’s family resides.  A list of all Soldiers from that state who’ve recorded greetings will appear with a link to the WMV file for your viewing pleasure. 


I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season.  Merry Christmas! 


Major Tom Bryant
Public Affairs Officer
3rd Brigade Combat Team
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

 

The 187th Infantry Regiment is the only airborne regiment in the history of the US Army to fight in every war since the inception of airborne tactics.

The 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) traces its lineage back to the organization of Headquarters, 160th Infantry Brigade. It was organized on August 1917 as an element of the 80th Division at Camp Lee, Virginia. Through numerous reorganizations and redesignations, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Brigade evolved into its modern configuration on February 1964. The Brigade has traditionally been composed of three infantry battalions. From 1964 until 1971, the Brigade’s battalions were the 3d Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, and the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 506th Infantry Regiment. Between 1964 and 1967 these units conducted challenging and diverse operations, ranging from the Mojave Desert to Norway. Prepared for both conventional and unconventional war contingencies, the 3d Brigade deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in December 1967 during Operation EAGLE THRUST. It was the world’s largest and longest airlift directly into a combat zone.
HHC 3d BDE
Units
HHC 3d BDE
1-187 IN “Leader Battalion”
2-187 IN “Raider Rakkasans”
3-187 IN “Iron Rakkasans”
Brigade Combat Team (BCT)
3-320 FA “Red Knights”
Facilities
Fort Campbell
Official Homepage
3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
Links
3/187 Vietnam “RAKKASANS” 1967-1968 Inc.



1-187 IN “Leader Battalion”
2-187 IN “Raider Rakkasans”
3-187 IN “Iron Rakkasans”

For the next four years, the Brigade’s motto “ready to move and ready to fight” became a reality. Separated in 1968 from the remainder of the 101st Airborne Division, the Brigade became known as the “Fire Brigade” and the “Wandering Warrior.” It fought with the 9th Infantry Division in the delta region, the 4th Infantry Division in the central highlands, and the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi. The Brigade rejoined the Division on 29 August 1968 as the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile); a name selected to reflect the transition from parachute to helicopter. From 1968 until 1971, the Brigade participated in many airmobile combat operations such as APACHE SNOW and MONTGOMERY RENDEZVOUS, which helped destroy North Vietnamese base camps and cut supply lines in the A Shau Valley. Brigade elements also fought beside the 3d Marine Division and the Republic of Vietnam Forces throughout Quang Tri Province.

On 20 November 1971, the 3d Brigade redeployed to the United States and returned to its home at Fort Campbell. It was reorganized, with elements of the 173d Airborne Brigade, as the only parachute-qualified brigade in the Division. The 1st and 2d Battalions, 503d Infantry Regiment replaced the two battalions of the 506th Infantry Regiment. On 1 April 1974, the Brigade lost its jump status and by October the Division’s “Airmobile” designation was changed to “Air Assault.” On 1 October 1983, the 4th Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment was activated as part of the Brigade and the 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment was concurrently relieved from assignment and inactivated. A year later, the 5th Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment was activated and replaced the 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment. The Brigade now consisted of the 3d, 4th, and 5th Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment.

In the summer of 1987, the 1st and 2d Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment were relieved from their assignments to the 193d Infantry Brigade in Panama. This allowed the Department of the Army to realign its combat force. During a memorable ceremony at Fort Campbell, the 4th and 5th Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment were redesignated as the 2d and 1st Battalions, 187th Infantry Regiment, which resulted in the organization present today.

In September 1990, the 3d Brigade began deploying to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during Operation DESERT SHIELD. On 20 and 21 February 1991, two companies from 1st Battalion air assaulted into Objective Weber and captured 434 Iraqi soldiers. On 25 February 1991, the Brigade conducted the largest and deepest air assault operation in history, as it struck 155 miles behind enemy lines into the Euphrates River Valley. This action led to the timely defeat of Iraqi Forces and helped ensure a total allied victory.

The Regimental Combat Patch [distinctive combat insignia], was officially adopted 10 June 1952 by the Department of the Army. The patch was worn on the right sleeve of the Rakksans that had served in combat with the 187th. This shoulder patch had been designed while the 187th was in combat in Korea and the unit was eager for its adoption. General Matthew B. Ridgeway, as Commanding General of the Far East Command gave temporary approval of the patch until the present one was approved. The only difference between the original shoulder patch and the one officially adopted was the blue background color. The original used Infantry Blue and the official patch uses Ultramarine Blue. The Symbolism of the 187th Combat Patch is clearly defined: The white parachute represents the paratroopers that descend from the blue sky into the flames of war, on the (Airborne) wings of war.

The 187th Infantry Regiment was constituted on 12 November 1942 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. On 25 February 1943 it was activated and designated as a glider infantry regiment assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. The first mission of the Regiment was to help convince the War Department that an airborne division could fly over water on instruments at night to a target, drop with minimal casualties, and then wage sustained combat operations while being resupplied entirely by air. On 6 December 1943, the Division’s landings were perfectly executed and by dawn the next morning, the objective was taken. The success of the Knollwood Maneuvers proved the effectiveness of the airborne division concept and compelled the War Department to create other airborne divisions.

In May 1944, the Regiment deployed to the southwest Pacific and on the night of 6 December 1944 was attacked by the Japanese 3d Parachute Regiment. The Rakkasans repelled the enemy force and three months later seized Lipa Airfield on Luzon. The 187th fought continuously until January 1945 on Leyte and suffered heavy casualties taking Purple Heart Hill. At Nasugbu Bay, the Regiment performed a para-amphibious assault and fought their way into the jungle to Tagaytay Ridge. They also captured Fort McKinley in the 11th Airborne Division’s attack on Manila and conquered the heavily defended Mount Macolod. At 0100 hours on 30 August 1945, the first planes carrying 187th soldiers left for Atsugi Airfield. This was a momentous occasion; the Rakkasans were the first foreign troops to enter Japan in 2,000 years.

While serving as part of the American Occupation Force, the Japanese gave the paratroopers of the 187th Infantry Regiment the nickname “Rakkasan”, which loosely translated means “falling umbrella.”

On 27 August 1950, the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. The unit was quickly sent to Korea and within the first month defeated a enemy force of 3,000 soldiers. The Rakkasans then performed a textbook parachute assault and heavy drop at Sukchon-Sunchon. They also defeated the Chinese at the Battle of Wonju, performed another record-breaking airborne operation into Munsan-ni Valley, fought battles at bloody Inje and Wonton-ni, and quelled prison-camp riots at Koje-do. The Rakkasans successes in Korea changed the face of airborne warfare and revitalized interest in the use of paratroopers. It also convinced the Pentagon to reactivate XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

On 13 December 1967, the 3d Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment reported for duty in the Republic of Vietnam. The Rakkasans were called upon to perform many hazardous operations including defense of Bien Hoa Military Base and the US Embassy in Saigon. They were awarded a Valorous Unit Citation for their actions at Dong Ngai and a Presidential Unit Citation for the Battle of Dong Ap Bia Mountain. In battles from the A Shau Valley to the Iron Triangle, the Rakkasans added nine decorations and twelve battle streamers to the Regiment’s proud lineage.

In September 1990, the Rakkasans once again answered the call and began deploying to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during Operation DESERT SHIELD. On 20 and 21 February 1991, two companies from 1st Battalion air assaulted into Objective Weber and captured 434 Iraqi soldiers. On 25 February 1991, the 48th Anniversary of the Regiment, the Rakkasans conducted the largest and deepest air assault operation in history, as it struck 155 miles behind enemy lines into the Euphrates River Valley. This action led to the timely defeat of Iraqi Forces and helped ensure a total allied victory.

The 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002, to provide security to the Kandahar International Airport, as part of Task Force Rakkasans.

 

1st Battalion, 187th Infantry deploys rapidly worldwide by air, land, or sea, occupies an ISB, and on order, conducts air assault or ground operations to destroy enemy forces, seize key terrain or facilities and control specific land areas including populations and resources.

1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, was originally constituted on 12 November 1942 in the Army of the United States as Company A, 187th Glider Infantry. It activated on 25 February 1943 at Camp Mackall, NC, as an element of the 11th Airborne Division.

It was allotted on 15 November 1948 to the Regular Army. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 30 June 1949 as Company A, 187th Airborne Infantry. Thereafter, the 187th Airborne Infantry was relieved on 1 February 1951 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and reassigned on 1 July 1956 to the 101st Airborne Division.

The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 1 March 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry, relieved from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division, and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division (its organic elements were concurrently constituted and activated. It was relieved on 1 July 1958 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and reassigned to the 24th Infantry Division. It was relieved on 8 February 1959 from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division.

It inactivated on 25 May 1964 at Fort Bragg, NC, and was concurrently consolidated with the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry (which was constituted and activated on 1 February 1964 at Fort Benning, GA, as an element of the 11th Air Assault Division), and the consolidated unit was designated as the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, an element of the 11th Air Assault Division (later redesignated as the 11th Airborne Division). It inactivated on 30 June 1965 at Fort Benning, GA.

The unit was relieved on 1 October 1983 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division, assigned to the 193d Infantry Brigade, and activated in Panama. It inactivated on 1 May 1987 in Panama and was relieved from assignment to the 193d Infantry Brigade.

It was reassigned on 16 September 1987 to the 101st Airborne Division and activated at Fort Campbell, KY.


1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment
“Leader Battalion”

 

The mission of 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry is to deploy within 36 hours worldwide as part of a joint multinational, or unilateral task force and destroy enemy forces or seize and retain terrain, to control land, people and resources.

2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry was originally constituted on 12 November 1942 in the United States Army as Company B, 187th Glider Infantry. It activated on 25 February 1943 at Camp Mackall, NC, as an element of the 11th Airborne Division. It was allotted on 15 November 1948 to the Regular Army.

The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 30 June 1949 as Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry. The 187th Airborne Infantry was relieved on 1 February 1951 from the assignment to the 11th Airborne Division, and assigned on 1 July 1956 to the 101st Airborne Division.

The unit reorganized and was redesignated on 25 April 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (its organic elements were concurrently constituted and activated). It was relieved on 1 February 1964 from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division. It inactivated on 3 February 1964 at Fort Campbell, KY.

The unit was redesignated on 1 Oct 1983 as the 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry, assigned to the 193rd Infantry Brigade, and activated in Panama. It inactivated on 10 July 1987 in Panama and was relieved from assignment to the 193rd Infantry Brigade.

Reassigned on 16 September 1987 to the 101st Airborne Division, it was activated at Fort Campbell, KY.

The 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, deployed in late 2001, to the Sinai Peninsula as part of the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers mission there. While there, dyring the Thanksgiving weekend, the unit was visisted by Gen. Shinseki, Sgt. Maj. Tilley, and Maj. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, 10th Mountain Division Commander.

2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment
“Raider Rakkasans”

 

3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry deploys rapidly worldwide by air, land, or sea, occupies an ISB, and on order, conducts air assault or ground operations to destroy enemy forces, seize key terrain or facilities and control specific land areas including populations and resources.

The Iron Rakkasans of the 3-187th Infantry Regiment are assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. The Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) authorizes three infantry line companies (A, B, and C Companies), a headquarters company (HHC), and an anti-tank company (D Company).

The 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment was activated on 25 February 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina as an organic element of the 187th Glider Infantry Regiment. In March of 1944, the Battalion deployed with the regiment to the Pacific Theater of World War II as part of the 11th Airborne division. After six months of training in New Guinea, the 187th was committed to combat in Leyte in the campaign to regain control of the Philippine Islands. In the subsequent fighting, the unit repelled and destroyed a 500-man Japanese parachute assault and earned the battalion’s first Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for an amphibious assault on Luzon, the battle of Tagatay Ridge, and the attack on Manila.

Following the Japanese surrender, the troops of the 187th were the first American soldiers to set foot on Japanese soil, flying there as part of Gen. Macarthur’s advance guard. It was during the first four years of occupation duty in Japan that the soldiers of the 187th Infantry Regiment, now all parachute qualified were given the name “RAKKASANS” by the Japanese. Loosely translated as “falling down umbrella”, the name stuck; the troops liked it and adopted it. Since then, members of the regiment have made the name synonymous with the fighting spirit of America’s airborne and air assault soldiers.

In early 1949, the 187th rotated to Camp Campbell, Kentucky, where it became an Airborne Infantry Regiment and was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Rakkasans returned the Orient as a separate unit, the 187th Airborne Regiment Combat Team. During the conflict, the Rakkasans earned six campaign streamers. They also earned a Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) for an attack up the Kimpo Peninsula as part of the amphibious assault at Inchon, and their second Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for a parachute assault above the enemy capital of Pyongyang at Sukchon-Sunchon in 1950. Months later the regiment made a second combat jump at Musan-ni, cutting off and destroying large number of forces above the 38th parallel.

The Rakkasans returned stateside in 1955, this time to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Their stay there was short-lived, in February 1956 the unit road marched to Ft. Campbell to serve as the first test combat group and the nucleus of the newly reactivated 101st Airborne Division. In 1963, the Rakkasans served under the 11th Airborne Divisions colors when the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry became the Army’s first air assault battalion and participated with the 11th Air Assault Division in the validation of the Army’s airmobile concept.

In December 1967, the 3rd Battalion deployed to Vietnam as part of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Over the next four years the Iron Rakkasans fought with extreme valor in twelve major campaigns, conducting numerous air assaults and search and destroy missions. The battalion colors returned to Ft. Campbell in 1971, bringing home two Valorous Unit Awards, and the Battalions third and fourth Presidential Unit Awards for the battles of Trang Bang and Dong Ap Bia Mountain (commonly known as “Hamburger Hill”). The Iron Rakkasans emerged from the Vietnam War as the country’s most highly decorated airborne battalion.

At 0800 hours on the 10th of May 1969, the first soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment lifted off from Firebase Blaze to a landing zone 1800 meters from Dong Ap Bia. Their mission was to conduct a reconnaissance-in-force of Dong Ap Bia and the surrounding area as part of Operation Apache Snow, one of the largest air mobile operations of the Vietnam War. Operation Apache Snow was a direct attack into the Ashau Valley, a long-held bastion of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) along the Laotian border. The NVA had two choices: 1) abandon their arms caches, as well as their base camps, and flee to Laos; or 2) stand and fight. They chose to stand and fight. This set the stage for the toughest single battle of the Vietnam War. After ten days and four assaults, fighting NVA units in well prepared spider holes, trenches, bunkers and bomb craters, the first elements of 3-187 Infantry reached the top of Hill 973. Through heavy rain and dense jungle, the soldiers of 3-187 Infantry had driven the enemy off Dong Ap Bia, blowing bunkers apart with 90mm recoilless rifles, M79 grenade launchers, and fighting tenaciously for every foot of ground. Assisted by A Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry, the soldiers of 3-187 Infantry had almost single handedly driven the numerically superior, determined enemy from dug in positions. Killing over 350 enemy soldiers through direct contact and hundreds more through indirect fire and close air support, while suffering 56 Americans killed, the Rakkasans had proven their mettle.

For the next 19 years the battalion was assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, training and preparing for the divisions next “rendezvous with destiny”. In August 1990, the battalion deployed to southwest Asia for Operations; Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During Operation Desert Storm the battalion was part of the largest air assault in history, assaulting 175 miles into enemy territory. Here the battalion isolated the Iraqi elite Republican Guard by blocking key routes along the Euphrates River Valley. This action helped support the end of one of the most devastating and quickest victories in modern war. The Rakkasans were the northern most coalition force in Iraq–only 150 miles from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

HHC
A Company
B Company
C Company
D Company