Short History: "Gun Devils"
3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
The 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment consists of the 1-319th, 2-319th, and 3-319th Airborne Field Artillery Battalions. In addition, the Regiment has a Headquarters Battery (HHB), and a Delta Battery with the 173d Airborne Brigade in Vincenza, Italy.
The 3rd Battalion 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment provides direct support fires in support of 1st Brigade. The unit is skilled both in the art of integrating and synchronizing all available fire support assets and in the science of delivering accurate and timely fires. As paratroopers in the 82d Airborne Division, it is able to accomplish both of these tasks with no notice, within 18 hours of notification in support of a parachute assault.
The 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment is one of the original units of the 82d Airborne Division. The battalion’s battle honors and campaign participation span two world wars, as well as, conflicts in Vietnam, Panama, and Southwest Asia, making it one of the most decorated Field Artillery units in the United States Army.
The Battalion’s history begins in 1917 during World War I, when the battalion deployed to France with the American Expeditionary Force and newly issued horse-drawn 155mm howitzers. The Battalion received battle streamers for distinguished action during the St. Mihiel, Lorraine, and Meuse-Argonne offensives.
In the early 1940’s during World War II, the battalion sailed to North Africa to begin several long years in combat. The battalion fought in six major campaigns, earning its first Presidential Unit Citation while supporting elements of the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Ranger Battalions and the 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Chuinzi Pass, Italy. By aiding in the victory at the Battle of the Bulge, fighting through Central Europe, participating in the breakthrough of the Siegefried Line, and crossing of the Rhine River, the 319th became one of the most decorated units of World War II.
Later, during 1967, the battalion’s operations centered on Dak To, Vietnam, where the battalion received its third Presidential Unit Citation during Operation MacArthur. Later, the same year, the battalion received the Meritorious Unit Citation. During Operation Junction City in support of the 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate), Charlie Battery was the first United States Field Artillery unit to fire a 105mm projectile during the Vietnam War.
Following the Vietnam era the 3/319th became active during Operation Just Cause in Panama, Alpha Battery was the only field artillery unit to deploy and was instrumental in the success of the fighting centered on the Panamanian Defense Force barracks and Comendancia.
The battalion was called upon to support Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the war, the battalion advanced to Iraq, nearly to the Euphrates River before being ordered to maintain defensive positions in support of 1st Brigade, 82d Airborne Division. The battalion re-deployed from Saudi Arabia in early April 1991.
Charlie Battery deployed to the Province of Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission to support Operation Joint Guardian. Charlie Battery became the first American Field Artillery unit in Task Force Falcon to conduct a training mission with live artillery in Krivolak, Macedonia.