2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment
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|2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment|
87th Infantry Regiment distinctive unit insignia
|Branch||United States Army|
|Motto||"Vires Montesque Vincimus""Farewell MED 1"|
|Decorations||Meritorious Unit Commendation, Valorous Unit Award (2)|
|LTC Brian T. Beckno|
The 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment is a United States Army infantry battalion. Originally formed during World War II, the battalion took part in the Aleutian and Italian campaigns before being deactivated after the war. Later, however, it was reactivated and in recent times has served in the Sinai Peninsula and in Afghanistan.
World War II
The battalion was formed in May 1942 as the 87th Infantry, Mountain, 2nd Battalion, Reinforced at Fort Lewis, Washington. It along with 1–87 Mountain Infantry, comprised the 87th Mountain Infantry. The battalion was made up of world famous skiers, mountaineers, forest rangers, trappers, lumberman, guides, cowboys, muleskinners, horseman, and Regular Army cadre.
As the battalion was conducting maneuvers in Jolan, California in November 1942, the army was preparing a brand new camp to house the 87th on the Continental Divide at Camp Hale, Colorado, at 9,480 feet (2,890 m) above sea level. 2–87 moved to Camp Hale in late December 1942. During the winter of 1942–43, the battalion conducted extreme cold weather and high altitude training and tested over one hundred types of equipment and vehicles.
On 11 June 1943, the battalion deployed to Fort Ord, California for amphibious training in preparation of combat operations. Within weeks after this training, the battalion sailed to the Aleutian Island as part of Amphibious Technical Force Nine. The 2–87 Mountain Infantry took part in regimental amphibious assault of Kiska on 1–16 August 1943 and occupied the island until withdrawal to Camp Carson, Colorado in December 1943.
In February 1944, the battalion joined the 10th Light Division and moved again to Camp Hale. In the winter of 1944, the battalion took part in a maneuver in sub-zero weather. In one night alone, over 100 cases of frostbite were evacuated. All men who completed the maneuver were commended.
In late June 1944, the battalion moved with the newly designated 87th Infantry Regiment, Light as a part of the 10th Mountain Division to Camp Swift, Texas. On 20 December 1944, 2–87 entrained from Camp Swift to Newport News, Virginia and embarked on the USS West Point. The battalion sailed for Naples, Italy on 4 January 1945.
The battalion entered combat on 28 January 1945 as part of the Fifth U.S. Army. On the night of 19 February after 17 days of patrolling in the mountains on snowshoes and skis, the battalion was instrumental in the capture on Mount Belvedere and other key mountain peaks in a night attack.
On 4–5 March, 2–87 participated in their second offensive by capturing Mad Na Di Brasa and Castel d'Alano. Whereas the Battle of Belvedere was a night attack, the Battle of Castel d' Alano was a deadly struggle in the sunlight, from bunker to bunker, hill to hill, objective to objective.
During the first two weeks of April 1945, the battalion planned and prepared for their part in the final spring offensive of the Fifth Army in Italy. The intent was to break through the northern Apennines, drive the Germans out of the mountains, and secure the wide Po Valley. The battalion fought continuously from 4 April to 2 May over mountainous terrain covering 140 miles (230 km).
The battalion learned of the surrender of all German forces at suppertime on 2 May 1945. The Germans had been impressed by the 10th Mountain Infantry soldiers. Using the words from captured enemy documents, the Germans knew they had been up against mountain troops. They believed them to be a hand picked elite corps, made up of physically superior soldiers, sports personalities and young men from politically significant American families. It was no accident that Lieutenant General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin insisted on surrendering in person only to Major General George Price Hays, the Commanding General of what the general called the best American formation in Italy—the 10th Mountain Division.
From May–July 1945, the battalion conducted occupation duties. In July, the battalion was ordered to duty in the Pacific. 2–87 sailed from Italy on 2 August and arrived in the United States on 11 August. On 14 August, the battalion learned that the Japanese had surrendered and that the war was over.
The 2nd Battalion, 87th Mountain Infantry was inactivated in November 1945 at Camp Carson, Colorado. On June 18, 1948, the battalion was designated the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry and again assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Riley Kansas. In June 1958, the battalion was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Germany, and in 1963 reassigned to the 8th Infantry Division. 2–87 Infantry was inactivated in June 1986, only to be reactivated two years later as the sixth battalion of the 10th Mountain Division, Light Infantry, at Fort Drum, New York.
In August 1992 the battalion deployed to Homestead, Florida to provide humanitarian disaster relief during JTF Operation Hurricane Andrew.
In January 1997, 2–87 deployed with 529 soldiers as a Task Force to Sinai in Egypt for a six-month rotation for the Multinational Force Observers mission. The Task Force was part of a 14-country peace keeping force sent to the Sinai to enforce the Camp David Peace Accord signed in 1981. During this deployment soldiers from 2-87 participated in the "Force Skills" competition with the team from HHC 2-87 scouts winning "First Place Team" competing against teams from 14 different countries.
In September 1998, elements of the battalion deployed to Central Asia to participate in CENTRAZBAT '98, a multi-national peacekeeping exercise involving soldiers from six former Eastern Bloc nations. During this exercise, 2–87 forged ties with other nations through shared hardships and training, while setting the stage for the multinational operations and peacekeeping missions that would soon follow.
In late August 1999, the soldiers of 2–87 deployed overseas to the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the former Yugoslavia. The battalion would serve as one unit in the Multinational Division (North) component of the Stabilization Force 6, in support of Operation Joint Forge. Task Force CATAMOUNT was charged with the northern portion of the MND (N) sector, including the towns of Brcko, Srebenik, and Modirchia. During the Task Force's seven month deployment, it participated in several missions designed to bring stability to the Balkans and a lasting peace to the People of Bosnia. Most notably, Operation Harvest which resulted in the destruction of over 5,000 weapons, and the implementation of the Brcko Demilitarization process that disbanded and relocated over 5,000 members of the Entity Armed Forces as well as destroyed 9,000 weapons required by the Brcko Arbitration Decision.
From July 2001 to January 2002, 2–87 Infantry was again ordered overseas. This time it was a six-month deployment in support of the Multi-National Force and Observers in the Sinai desert. During those six months, the battalion took part in pre-deployment and sustainment training and certification, 24 hour operation of all remote sites and the battalion tactical operations center, training and deployment of the quick reaction force (QRF) and were responsible for security and force protection of South Camp. The battalion also prepared and participated in Force Skills Competition, operational readiness checks and SNAP inspections, EIB, EFMB, marksmanship and live-fire training and testing, joint and combined training with other contingents, and many other tasks, duties and responsibilities.
In August 2003 the battalion deployed with 700 soldiers as a task force to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom IV, for a nine month rotation. Task Force 2–87 was part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, working as the northern combat task force. In Afghanistan, the Catamounts took part in combat operations to defeat anti-coalition forces operating in Asadabad, Barikowt, Khowst, Nangalam, and Ghazni provinces.
After their return from Afghanistan, 2–87 was swept up in the army's transformation initiative, where it added a weapons company, received in direct support a forward support company, and was assigned to the newly activated 3rd BCT (Spartans) of the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, NY.
During the period 29 January 2006 to 28 January 2007, Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Toner 2d Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment and its subordinate units deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) VII and VIII. The regiment facilitated the disruption of Taliban operations alongside multinational forces to oversee transfer of authority, successfully captured one of the most significant weapons caches in OEF and detained or eradicated several key insurgent commanders.
Catamount Task Force was active in the region of Khowst as late as May 2007.
A Co. 2-87 was deployed to the Paktika Province of Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border, in January 2006. Operating out of FOB Tillman, they spent 16 months conducting patrols and combat operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom VII and VIII.
B Co. 2-87 (Featured in Outlaw Platoon) was deployed throughout RC East with its main body at FOB Bermel, located on the rugged terrain of the Pakistan border. 1st Platoon "Fightin' First" was detached from B Co. and conducted numerous dismounted and air assault operations throughout all of RC East and South from Ghazni to the Korengal.
C Co. 2-87 was based out of FOB Waza Khwa on in the rugged boarder region of Paktika Province. The company participated in all of the battalions named operation. Most famously the "Comanche" company was selected as the main effort in Operation Medusa. Details of the acts of heroism while being outmanned in the initial clearance of Pajiway can be read in "LIONS of KANDAHAR".
(Additional Overall History*) In August 2004 the battalion was transferred to the newly formed 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Spartans" as the Army transformed to meet the needs of the Global War On Terror. Task Force Catamount deployed to Afghanistan again in February 2006 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VII to defend the Afghan people and thwart enemy attempts to regain influence in Regional Command East and Regional Command South. With an initial area of operations 200 km in length and 200 km in width, and over 750 km of shared border with Pakistan,the battalion effectively deterred enemy infiltration from Pakistan and isolated the interior population of Paktika Province from terrorist attacks and influence. The battalion conducted over 3300 combat patrols during an extended 16 month deployment. TF Catamount's participated in 149 direct-fire engagements, 196 indirect-fire engagements, 167 IED attacks and 11 suicide bomber attacks.
TF Catamount was extended in Afghanistan for an additional four months on 27 January 2007, two days before the planned return home. The battalion returned to the battlefield and continued to conduct combat operations, focusing on the border region. Over the course of 16 months, a total of 86 valor awards were awarded to members of TF Catamount, and 137 Purple Hearts were awarded to soldiers for sustaining wounds in the fierce fighting.
* (Additional Overall History provided from 2007 Catamount Yearbook page 7)
In December 2008, under the command of LTC Kimo Gallahue and as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, the battalion again deployed to Afghanistan, this time taking control of the embattled Wardak Provence. As part of Task Force Spartan (3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Soldiers of the Catamount Battalion took up positions in the Nherk, Maidan Shar, Saydabad, Jalrez, Jaghatu, Chak, and Tangi Valley districts, with the primary missions of securing Afghanistan's primary highway and establishing positive relationships with the people of Wardak Provence in order to drive the insurgency from the area. They returned to Fort Drum in January 2010 where they were awarded the Valorous Unit Citation.
The 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment—Task Force Catamount—deployed to Zhari District (The Birthplace of the Taliban), Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XI-XII from March 2011 to March 2012. The Battalion, under the command of LTC Gregory K. Anderson and CSM Terry W. Sutton, assumed responsibility for the district from Task Force Talon, 1st Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Apache Company assumed responsibility of the historically prominent village of Senjaray at Combat Outpost (COP) Senjaray. Blackhawk Company assumed responsibility of the rugged, rural village areas of Ashoqueh (“Ash-o-qway”) and Makuan (“Maa-Kwan”) at COP Ashoqueh and Strongpoint Makuan. Comanche Company assumed responsibility of the complex and urban, rural and desert terrain of the village of Kandalay at COP Kandalay. Destroyer Company assumed responsibility of the urban and mountainous terrain in the villages of Bag-E-Pul, and Now Ruzi at COP Now Ruzi. Headquarters and Fox Support Company operated from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Pasab, with elements also stationed at COP Zhari Dasht (Za-ree-Da’sh-t).
The battalion’s counter-insurgency mission was conducted primarily through dismounted, light-infantry patrols; partnered with Afghan National Army soldiers, or Afghan national, or local police. Task Force Catamount executed offensive operations in the Arghandab River Valley, focused in the birthplace of the Taliban. During the year-long deployment, the early spring and summer saw intense combat, centralized in the jungle-like terrain of the “Green Zone,” or vegetated portion of the Arghandab River Valley. The battalion conducted over 10 joint air insertion operations, supported a unilateral Afghan Army air assault operation, and deliberate clearance operations of volatile Taliban strongholds throughout the Green Zone.
As the year progressed, successful offensive operations pressured the Taliban to regress south of the Arghandab River, effectively separating them from the local population. This allowed the battalion to train newly recruited Afghan local police, build six new schools and many other new pieces of tactical infrastructure. This facilitated the security of the local population and permitted a new government to take control of their district.
In March 2012, the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division replaced 2-87 Infantry. MED 1 the workhorse of the Battalion was retired in April '13 "Farewell MED 1"
- See Regimental History for Coat of arms
|Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army)||2003–2004||For service in Afghanistan|
|Valorous Unit Award (Army)||2006–2007||For service in Afghanistan|
|Valorous Unit Award (Army)||2009–2010||For service in Afghanistan|
- D12 081310z TF CATAMOUNT IDF IVO OP4 (MOD). wardiary.wikileaks.org
- "Catamount Soldiers visit villages of Wardak, establish relationships". CJTF-82 Public Affairs Office. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010.