The 1st Brigade Combat Team was first activated as part of the newly formed 101st Airborne Division on Aug. 16, 1942, as 1st Brigade, 327th Infantry Glider Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The Brigade had previously consisted of 1st and 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Glider Regiment, 164th Infantry Brigade and 82nd Infantry Division, since Sept. 17, 1917, based in Ft. Gordon, Ga.
The 327th Infantry Regiment saw its first combat in WWI, in the St. Mihiel Offensive, when it defended the Lorraine Front in France and fought the great Meuse-Argonne offensive. During this operation the regiment conducted the flank attack on Argonne and was the first American expeditionary force to reach and pierce the formidable Kriemhilde Stellung.
In June 1944, the 327th once again entered combat during the invasion of Normandy, Operation Overlord, which was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The 327th continued to serve valiantly during WWII, participating in Operation Market Garden, the airborne invasion of Holland, in September 1944. During the operation, 327 gliders, alongside Allied paratroopers, jumped into enemy territory and gained control of the main supply routes and bridges within the German-occupied Netherlands.
Of all the 327th’s heroic endeavors, the sacrifices made at the city of Bastogne, Belgium, from Dec. 16, 1944, through early January 1945, have earned the 327th Airborne Infantry Regiment international fame. The 327th’s accomplishments at Bastogne were essential to the allied victory at the Battle of the Bulge. On Nov. 30, 1945, the 327th Airborne Infantry Regiment was inactivated.
From June 1948 to July 1965, the regiment went through various reactivations and re-designations. In February 1964, the Regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 327th Airborne Infantry and assigned to the 101st airborne Division. 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 327th Infantry became part of the 1st Brigade (Separate) (Airborne), which deployed to Vietnam on 8 July 1965. The Brigade, which also consisted of 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, was deployed in Vietnam from July 1965 until December 1971. During the Vietnam conflict, the Brigade assumed the unofficial motto “Always First.” It participated in numerous operations such as NATHAN HALE (’66), MALHEUR, BENTON, AND WHEELER (’67), NEVADA EAGLE (’68), MONTGOMERY RENDEZVOUS (’69), and TEXAS STAR (’70). While in Vietnam, the Brigade engaged in fifteen highly successful campaigns. The Brigade redeployed back to Fort Campbell in January 1972. 2nd Battalion did not redeploy until April 1972, establishing a record for the longest combat service of any combat unit in the Division.
On Feb. 24, 1991, the 327th Infantry Regiment participated in the largest helicopter air-assault mission in military history as part of the offensive to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.
Since Operation Desert Storm, the 327th Infantry remained actively involved in peacekeeping operations throughout the world, to include Sinai, Egypt, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Kosovo until redeployment on Feb. 15, 2001.
On March 1, 2003, the 327th deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and returned home early the following year. The 327th was noted for liberating 840,000 people in the city of Al Najaf; protecting supply lines for the 3rd Infantry Division, and assaulting north in the Ninewah Province just south of Mosul.
In September 2005, the newly “modularized” Bastogne Brigade 1st BCT returned to Iraq and assumed duties in the most ethnically diverse area in Northern Iraq, centered on the city of Kirkuk. During OIF 05-07, the 1st BCT developed, trained and validated the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, 4th Iraqi Army Division. The 1st BCT left Iraq in September 2006 with Iraqi forces firmly in the lead and the government able to provide basic services to the citizens of Iraq.
In September 2007, the Bastogne Brigade was once again called to arms and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom VI. The brigade was placed in the strategically important crossroads of Tikrit, Iraq. This key city was historically a safe haven for terrorist organizations transiting from north to south and east to west. Through the brigade’s many valiant efforts, control of these key lines of communication was regained. Safe neighborhood projects were emplaced to improve the safety and security of the local citizens, and basic essential services were restored to the surrounding areas. After a 14-month deployment, the Bastogne Brigade re-deployed to Fort Campbell, Ky. in November 2008.
In May 2010, Task Force Bastogne deployed to Afghanistan. They assumed operational control of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman (N2KL) Provinces. These regions are some of the most violent territories in Afghanistan, including a turbulent border with Pakistan used by insurgents for infiltration and smuggling. During its year in Afghanistan, TF Bastogne was instrumental in improving security in N2KL and received tremendous support from Afghan and coalition special forces. They carried out many missions that severely degraded the insurgents’ ability to plan and carry out violent activities.
TF Bastogne’s efforts, along with those of the U.S. State Department, ANSF and GIRoA, helped set the Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, up for success as they came in to take over in May 2011.
From its inception, the Bastogne Brigade Combat Team has played a vital role in numerous combat and non-combat operations. Its long and decorated history serves as a reminder of the countless Bastogne Soldiers who have given their lives in defense of democracy and freedom around the world.