Top 10 Army Air Defense Artillery Units of All Time

First To Fire!

I recently wrote an article about the history of Army Air Defense Artillery. As I was researching that article, I realized that in many wars, battles and skirmishes, Army Air Defense Artillery were normally some of the first arrivals and the last to leave. After all, we must protect our interests from attacks from the skies and space.

In today’s post, we will examine Army Air Defense Artillery units. This is the Top 10 Army Air Defense Artillery Units of all time. I am looking at several aspects:

  • Time in service

  • Leaders

  • Campaigns

  • and, Decorations and awards

So, starting at #10, I will work my way to the #1 unit explaining some history of each one.

#10: 5th Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment

This unit started in March of 1847 as Company M, 2nd Regiment of Artillery. Through 1924, they were based on the coast of Florida where they were inactivated. From 1935 until 1946 they became Battery A, 2nd Coast Artillery Battalion in Virginia. In the 1950’s they were activated at Fort Bliss, Texas as Battery A, 2nd Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. After more movements and inactivation, they were designated their current name and in 1991 activated in Germany. This unit has participated in many campaigns from the War of 1812 up until the Vietnam War. They have been decorated 8 times all for service in the Vietnam War.

#9: 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

This unit started in 1812 as Captain James Barker’s Company, 2nd Regiment of Artillery. Through many years, this unit was a defense of the coasts of California. In 1971, they were designated their current name without Regiment status, and the next year were assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 2005, they received their current status. This unit has more campaign streamers to their credit than I can count 3 times on my fingers and toes. They also have earned 8 decorations with 6 of them for service in Iraq.

#8: 44th Air Defense Artillery

This unit was developed in France in 1918 as the 44th Artillery of the Coast Artillery Corps. There were many changes with this unit through time, and in 1988, they were withdrawn from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized in the U.S. Army Regimental System. They have campaign streamers from WW I, II, Korea, Vietnam and Southwest Asia. Multiple decorations include a Presidential Citation for the beaches of Normandy, and many awards for service in Vietnam.

#7: 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment

They started at Fort Preble, Maine in 1901 as the 107th Company, Coast Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps. They were disbanded in 1944, but in 1958 they were re designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. In 1972, they were given their current name at Fort Richardson, Alaska. In 1982, they were activated at Fort Bliss, Texas. Campaigns streamers came from WW I, II, Korea and Southwest Asia. This unit has 10 decorations with the majority being from service in Korea.

#6: 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment

This unit was developed in France in 1918 as the 43rd Artillery. In 1944, it was disbanded. In the 50’s they were put back into service, and in 1971 they were renamed the 43rd Air Defense Artillery. In 2005, they became a Regiment. Campaign streamers come from WW I, II, Korea, Southwest Asia and the Global War on Terrorism. They have been decorated 11 times from multiple campaigns.

#5: 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

This unit was organized at Fort Totten, New York in 1901 as the 101st Company, Coast Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps. After going through many re designations, this unit was disbanded in 1944 at Camp Livingston, Louisiana. In 1962, they were reactivated at Fort Sill, Oklahoma as 2nd Battalion, 44th Artillery. They were inactivated and reactivated in Korea adding Air Defense to their name. They became a Regiment in 2005. They have campaign streamers that could fill a small book, from the 1st World War all the way to the recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also have numerous decorations from these campaigns.

#4: 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment

They got their start in 1916 at Fort Mills in the Philippine Islands as Fort Command Company, Fort Mills. After going through many name changes, the unit was disbanded in 1944. In 1958, this unit became Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery at Lumberton, New Jersey. Inactivated in 1974 in New Jersey, they were reactivated in 1987 at Fort Bliss, Texas. In 2005 they received their current title. They have many campaigns to their credit along with a plethora of decorations.

#3: 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment

In 1907 at Fort Mott, New Jersey, this unit was organized as the 138th Company, Coast Artillery Corps. Like many other artillery battalions, they were disbanded in 1944. They were activated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery at Redmond, Washington in 1958. They are now a Regiment and based at Fort Bliss, Texas. This unit also has campaign credits from both World Wars, Korea, Southwest Asia and the War on Terror. This unit has 7 Presidential citations along with several other decorations.

#2: 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

In 1898, this unit was Battery A, 7th Regiment of Artillery at Fort Slocum, New York. Going through many years of defending East coast areas, this unit was disbanded in 1944. In 1988, this unit was activated in Germany and in 2005 they gained their current title. They have a lot of campaign streamers with the majority from Vietnam. They also have a load of decorations and awards, with Vietnam being one of the top reasons they gained awards.

#1: 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

This unit was organized in 1899 at Jackson Barracks, Louisiana as Battery O, 1st Regiment of Artillery. In 1916, they became 2nd Company, Fort H.G. Wright, New York. In 1944, they were disbanded at Camp Rucker, Alabama. In 1966, they were activated at Fort Bliss, Texas as 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery. In 1988, they were assigned to the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. In 2005, they became the 1st Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Campaigns:

  • World War I – 5

  • World War II – 10

  • Korean War – 10

  • Vietnam War – 13

  • Iraq War – 3

Decorations include:

  • 3 Presidential Unit Citations

  • 2 Valorous Unit Awards

  • An Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

  • An Army Superior Unit Award

  • The Belgian Fourragere

  • 2 Citations for Belgian Army Order of the Day

  • and a Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm

Final Thoughts

As I see it, these are the top 10 Army Air Defense Artillery Units of all time. Do you agree? Please provide any comments or thoughts you have in the comment section at the end of this article.

I also would love to hear from members of Air Defense Artillery Units. What Unit do you serve with? What is their history?

If you feel that a unit was missed that should be on this list, please tell us why, and what unit.Please also tell us the campaigns they have participated in and any awards they have won.

One thing I do need to say is: each and every unit of Army Air Defense Artillery is great. I wish I could have put them all in this article. If your unit is not on this list, please know that I believe your unit is also wonderful.

Thank you for visiting.

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