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1-87 Battalion History


87th Infantry Regiment History

The 87th Infantry was constituted on 15th November 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington and designated the 87th Mountain Regiment. The Unit was dubbed "Minnie's Ski Troop" in honor of Charles Minot Dole, President of the National Ski Patrol. Volunteers, many who were who were veteran skiers, mountaineers and woodsmen, arrived from Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. The 87th trained on Mount Rainier's 14408 foot peak. The 1st of the 87th was the first Mountain designated unit in the United States Army, predating the 10th Mountain Division.

On 12 May 1942, the regiment was reorganized as the 87th Mountain Infantry at Fort Lewis Washington. The 87th joined the 10th Mountain at Camp Hale, Colorado and trained there during 1942-43 on winter military operations and mountaineering.

On 29 July 1943, the regiment sailed to the Aleutian Islands as part of the Amphibious Technical Force Nine. Also included in Technical Force Nine were the First Special Service and the 13th Canadian Infantry. The Regiment conducted an amphibious assault along the Kiska coastline and quickly climbed the rock cliffs to obtain its initial objectives. During November and December 1943 the entire regiment moved to Camp Carson, Colorado and was then assigned to the 10th Division at Camp Hale to prepare for deployment to the European theater.

On 3 February 1945, the regiment deployed to Italy with the newly redesigned 10th Mountain Division and entered combat on 28 January 1945 as part of the 5th US Army. In February 1945, after three days of bitter fighting, the regiment helped capture Mount Belvedere and other key mountain peaks. On April 15, 1945 they spearheaded the Northern Apennines offensive and cut the main route to the Brenner Pass. The regiment overcame every obstacle, including the Po River Valley, the old walled city of Verona and the pre-war frontier defenses of the Italian-Austrian border. German resistance in Italy ended on 2 May 1945. After the end of hostilities, the regiment performed occupation duty until its return to the US in August 1945. The unit was deactivated in November 1944 at Camp Hale, Colorado.

The 87th Infantry was again assigned to the 10th Infantry Division on 18 June 1948, reactivating at Fort Riley, Kansas. In preparation for the Korean War 1-87 became part of three regiments that trained 123,000 men in basic training.

In January 1954, the Department of the Army announced that the 10th Division would become a combat infantry division, and be the first sent to Europe under a new rotation policy. In June 1958 the 87th Infantry Regiment was reassigned in the 2nd Infantry Division until 4 September 1963, when it was reassigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. 1-87 as stationed in Jaeger Kaserne, Aschaffenburg and was assigned to NATO land forces in central Europe. On June 14, 1958 the 10th Division was inactivated.

On 22 May 1987 1st Battalion 87th Infantry was reactivated and reunited with the 10th Mountain Division. It became part of the 1st Brigade that was activated one year earlier.

Since its reactivation in 1987, members of the 87th Infantry Regiment have deployed all over the world conducting a variety of missions. On 26 August 1992, two battalions of the regiment deployed to Homestead, Florida to conduct humanitarian relief operations following Hurricane Andrew. Soldiers from 1-87 were responsible for setting up tent city camps, distributing food, ice, water, clothing, and medical necessities.

Leading the 10th Mountain Division into Somalia, 87th Infantry regiment members conducted the first combat operations the regiment has seen since World War II. B Co. and C Co. were attached to 2-14 during Operation Hope and Continue Hope. On 3 October 1993, 3/C/1-87 was dispatched as a QRF to secure a crash site in the city of Somalia that was a result of a daylight raid conducted by Task Force Ranger in an attempt to seize a Somali Warlord.

In 1993, members of the regiment saw combat in Haiti, during operation Uphold Democracy. At 0930 hours on 19 September 1994, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry and 2nd Bn 22 Infantry conducted the Army's first air assault from aircraft carrier. They occupied the Port Au Prince International Airport and were the first US troops to set foot on Haitian soil. The Task Force's presence allowed the Haitian legislature to reopen on 28 September.

In the mid-nineties the 87th Infantry Regiment has deployed soldiers to participate in several Multi-National Training Events in places like Pakistan, Panama, Kyrgystan, and Uzbeckistan. The 87th Infantry Regiment has also been active in keeping peace abroad by conducting the MFO mission in the Sinai. Recently, members of the regiment completed a deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint Forge.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 Task Force 1-87th Infantry deployed to Karsi Khanabad Airfield, Uzbekistan on 5 October 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as one of the first conventional units in theater for OEF. The Task Force consisted of personnel from 1-87 IN, 3-6 FA, 3-62 ADA, 110th MI and ASOS (Air Force). During November 2001 Task Force 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan providing security and support for combat missions. The Task Force actively participated in Operation Anaconda, conducting combat operations in the Lower Shah-e-kot Valley, Afghanistan. After a highly successful deployment, Task Force 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry returned to Fort Drum, New York on 6 April, 2002.

A year later, in July 2003 the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry returned to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom IV. The Soldiers of 1-87 conducted combat and humanitarian assistance operations from frontier firebases in Gardez, Shkin, Orgun-E, and Khowst. The battalion operated in the remote region of Paktika province, frequently patrolling at altitudes above 8,000 feet. The 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry continually worked to improve the conditions throughout the Paktika Province. The battalion improved the security and stability in the region. The 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry returned to Fort Drum, New York in April, 2004 after destroying Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in the their area of Operation and greatly improving the security and quality of life for its people.

On 12 August, 2005, after a year of refit and training, Task Force 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry (Task Force Summit) deployed to Camp Liberty, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Task Force operated in western Baghdad consisting of the districts of Shulla, Khadra, Amariyia, Bakaria and Ghazaylia – a highly complex area consisting of dense urban terrain inhabited by over 800,000 Iraqi citizens in fewer than 30 square kilometers. The aggressive combat and humanitarian operations the Task Force conducted specifically targeted the heart of the insurgency in Baghdad and significantly reduced the number of attacks by nearly one-half within the first four months of operations. In addition to conducting training and combined operations with an Iraqi Army battalion, Task Force Summit ensured the resolute defense of the one of the most strategic sites in Iraq, Abu Ghraib Internment Facility. The 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry facilitated the successful 15 October 2005 Iraqi Constitutional referendum and the15 December 2005 Iraqi National Election. The security provided by the Task Force resulted in the seating of the first democratically elected Iraqi government in 50 years. After a year of highly successful combat operations in western Baghdad, Task Force Summit redeployed to Fort Drum, New York in August of 2006.

The unit deployed in 2007-2008 to the northern Kirkuk area of Iraq,  for 15 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom VII-VIII.

In March of 2010, 1-87 deployed to Kunduz and Baghlan Provinces in Northern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  The Battalion returned to the North Country in March of 2011.


87th Infantry Regiment Coat of Arms

The red castle tower recalls the battle of heavily mined areas. Its three battlements represent campaigns for the Aleutians, North Apennines, and Po River Valley. The fountain (a disc bearing wavy blue and white stripes) stands for the crossing of the Po River that brought the 87th to the foothills of the Alps. The catamount, or wildcat, represents the fighting spirit, cunning, and aggressiveness of the mountain infantry, while the lance and pennant allude to the province of Bologna, where the unit emerged after fighting its way through the Apennines.

The shield bears a snow-capped mountain to represent both the region where the organization first received its specialized training and the normal home of mountain troops. The crossed ski pole and ice ax are some of the tools used by mountain troops, while the horseshoe represents the pack elements of the unit. The single red horseshoe indicates the fact that the 87th Infantry was the first organization of its kind. The motto on the scroll reads "VIRES MONTESQUE VINCIMUS", Latin for "We conquer power and mountains.