The 173D Airborne Brigade was activated on the island of Okinawa on March 26, 1963. From its beginning, it proved to be an aggressive and unique unit led by (then) Brigadier General Ellis W. Williamson who established realistic training throughout the Pacific Region.
The "TIEN BING," as the Nationalist Chinese paratroopers called the 173d, loosely translated to SKY SOLDIER, made thousands of parachute jumps in a dozen different Pacific area countries. The Brigade was the first Army ground combat Unit sent to the Republic of South Vietnam in May, 1965. The major portion of the brigade landed at Bien Hoa Airfield and found an area that had been battered frequently by enemy raids and shelling attacks.
The 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment along with the 3rd Battalion of the 319th Artillery. comprised the foxhole strength of the 173d. They were well supported by their own Support Battalion and Troop E, 17th Cavalry, D Company, 16th Armour. The First Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, and the 105 Field Battery, 1 RAR AUST Group were later attached to the Brigade during the first year. In Late August, 1966, the 173d received another Infantry Battalion, the 4th, 503rd which arrived from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. A 3rd Battalion was formed in early 1967 at Fort Bragg, N.C. and was shipped to Vietnam to join the Brigade on October 2, 1967.
In the combat operations to follow, the paratroopers made their superb training payoff. They were the first to go into War Zone D to destroy enemy base camps. They introduced the use of small, long range patrols. They fought the battles of the Iron Triangle, conducted the only major combat parachute jump in the Tay Ninh area, and blocked NVA incursions during some of the bloodiest fighting of the war at Dak To during the summer and fall of 1967, culminating in the capture of Hill 875. Elements of the brigade conducted an amphibious assault against NVA and VC forces as part of an operation to clear the rice-growing lowlands along the Bong Song littoral.
The troopers of the 173D Airborne Brigade (Sep) wear their combat badges and decorations with pride. During more than six years of nearly continuous combat, the brigade earned 14 campaign streamers and four unit citations. 13 Medal of Honor winners, over 6,000 Purple Hearts, the only Combat Parachute Assault of the War, and sadly, over 1700 names of Sky Soldiers on THE WALL. The Brigade was deactivated on January 14, 1972 at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
The Brigade was reactivated in 2000 in Vicenza, Italy. No longer a seperate Brigade, the 173d became the Southern European Task Force, early intervention element for Europe, Africa and portions of Asia, just as the original unit had the same responsibility in the Pacific priot to deployment to Vietnam. Operation Iraqi Freedom found the Brigade making it's second combat jump. This time into Northwest Iraq to secure the Northern Airfield and area. A year later it was subsequently redeployed to Italy to refit and retrain for deployment to Afghanistan where it is currently engaged in combat operations.
RECIPIENTS OF THE MEDAL OF HONOR
|SGT Larry S. Pierce
20 September 65
|PFC Milton L. Olive
22 October 65
|Sp5/SFC Lawrence Joel
8 November 65
16 March 66
|SGT/CSM Charles B.
29 June 66
|SP4 Don L. Michael
8 April 67
|PFC John A. Barnes III
12 November 67
|MAJ (Chaplain) Charles
19 November 67
|PFC Carlos J. Lozada
20 November 67
|SSG Laszlo Rabel
13 November 68
|CPL Terry T.
20 March 69
|SP4 Michael R.
3 July 69
H. English, JR.
7 September 70
Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross
|DAVIS, Eugene R.||SP4||B-2/503d-173d||July 7, 1965||302/65AP|
|VARMENT, Dixon G.||SP4||A-1/503d-173d||October 5, 1965||45/66AP|
|FULTON, William B.||SP4||1/503d-173d||October 5, 1965||17/66AP|
|WILLIAMSON, Ellis W.||BRIG GEN||HQ173dABNBDE||November 9, 1965||27/66DA|
|GIPSON, Robert P.||SP4||B-2/503d-173d||March 16, 1966||5951/66RV|
|FIELDS, Lloyd Jr.||SSGT||E/17Cav-173d||April 13, 1966||219/66AP|
|DEANE, John R. Jr.||BRIG GEN||HQ173dABNBDE||January 9, 1967||1853/67RV|
|SEVERSEN, Daniel J.||1st LT||B-4/503d-173d||January 16, 1967||1064/67RV|
|HAYDEN, Phillip P.||1st LT||C-2/503d-173d||February 1, 1967||2388/67RV|
|FIELDS, Elija||PL SGT||E-1/503d-173d||February 8, 1967||4454/67RV|
|CAMPBELL, Keith A.||SP4||HHC-1/503-173d||February 8, 1967||1178/67RV|
|STOWELL, Robert D.||1st LT||E/17Cav-173d||March 3, 1967||2321/67RV|
|LITWIN, Robert R.||PL SGT||A-2/503d-173d||June 22, 1967||5285/67RV|
|BOROWSKI, John C.||PFC||A-4/503d-173d||July 10, 1967||4665/67RV|
|JORDAN, Daniel W.||1st LT||A-4/503d-173d||July 10, 1967||4802/67RV|
|SABEL, Joel M.||SP4||HHC-4/503d-173d||July 10, 1967||4663/67RV|
|HOLLAND, Charles J.||SFC(SSGT)||E17Cav-173d||August 18, 1967||15/68DA|
|CECIL, Gerald T.||1st LT||C-1/503d-173d||November 11, 1967||1410/68RV|
|SHAW, Gary F.||PFC||C-1/503d-173d||November 11, 1967||1487/68RV|
|MARTIN , Larry||SGT||D-1/503d-173d||November 11, 1967||698/68RV|
|KELLEY, Jerry C.||SP4||C-1/503d-173d||November 12, 1967||1140/68RV|
|ROGAN, James P.||B-2/503d-173d||November 13, 1967||1079/68RV|
|ROBINSON, John R.||2nd LT||A-1/503d-173d||November 18, 1967||837/68RV|
|BOEDECKER, Billy E.||PFC||A-1/503d-173d||November 18, 1967||1419/68RV|
|LEONARD, Ronald R.||CAPT||B-4/503d-173d||November 20, 1967||611/68RV|
|MURREY, Tracy H.||1st LT||C-4/503d-173d||November 20, 1967||400/68RV|
|GARCIA, Edward.||SP4||B-4/503d-173d||November 21, 1967||873/68RV|
|SCHWELLENBACH, Gary R.||CPL(PFC)||A-3/503d-173d||December 27, 1967||(P)57/68DA|
|JOHNSON, James H.||LT COL||HHC4-/503d-173d||January 30, 1968||2247/68RV|
|JUSTINIANO, Victor A.||PFC||B-3/503d-173d||March 3, 1968||3600/68RV|
|HELMICK, Robert F.||CAPT||D-16Armour-173d||March 4, 1968||1196/69RV|
|BULLARD, Karl L.||1st LT||B-2/503d-173d||May 5, 1968||3765/68RV|
|BRISCOE, Charles H.||CAPT||173dABNBDE||June 17, 1968||31/71DA|
|PONDER, Billy W.||SR SGT||C-2/503d-173d||August 23, 1968||5424/68RV|
|REEDER, Phillip D.||PVT||C-1/503d-173d||September 26, 1968||5750/68RV|
|ANAGNOSOTOPOULOS, James||PFC||HHC-1/503d-173d||February 27, 1969||4758/68R|
|BEERS, Jack B.||Pl SGT||B-3/503d-173d||April 7, 1969||1278/69RV|
|WILLIAMS, Harold D.||SSGT||C-75thInf-173d||August 1, 1969||4389/69RV|
|FLOYD, Robert G.||SP4||C-3/503d-173d||March 31, 1970||2067/70RV|
|DOLAN, James E.||SP4||B-1/503d-173d||May 25, 1970||4504/70RV|
|BURBANK, Kenneth R.||SGT||E/3/503d-173d||August 28, 1970||5305/70RV|
|OVERWEG, Robert D.||SGT||B-1/503d-173d||September 19, 1970||5248/70RV|
|McDONALD, Martin T.||SP4||HHC-2/503d-173d||April 10, 1971||32/72/DA|
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