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What is the 82nd Airborne Division?

Members of the 82nd Airborne Division are able to deploy within 18 hours of notification, and their specialty is parachute penetration of enemy territory.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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The 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army is a division of airborne infantry. The 82nd Airborne is quite famous, and widely considered extremely elite, picking the cream of the army crop. It is based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and it is also known as the “All-American” division. As part of its ongoing mission, the 82nd Airborne Division participates in military operations which are vital to national security, both at home and abroad.

This Army division was originally founded as an infantry division in 1917. Members of the 82nd Infantry played a vital role in securing territory in the First World War, conducting themselves with distinction and winning a number of medals of honor. One famous member of the 82nd Infantry was Alvin Cullim York, a soldier who was later commended for his heroism during the First World War. At the close of the war, the 82nd was disbanded.

The “All-American” nickname from the 82nd Division comes from the First World War, when the division boasted soldiers from every state in the Union. The First World War also gave birth to the 82nd's distinctive red, white, and blue logo with the “AA” insignia, which stands for “All-American.” Each brigade within the division also has its own insignia, and many people design custom combat patches to commemorate the 82nd's combat operations.

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With the outbreak of the Second World War, the Army decided to rededicate the 82nd, turning it into the first Airborne Division in the United States Army in 1942. During the Second World War, almost 2,000 men from the 82nd Airborne Division were killed in action as they deployed on parachute missions into the heart of enemy territory. The Division prides itself on the fact that none of the territory it gained during the Second World War was later lost.

In the years following the Second World War, members of the 82nd Airborne Division continued to distinguish themselves in combat and on various missions at home. The division is organized into four combat brigades, a specialized combat aviation brigade, and a sustainment brigade which supports it. Members of the 82nd Airborne Division are able to deploy within 18 hours of notification, and their specialty is parachute penetration of enemy territory to secure key targets, especially seaports and airfields.

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