87th Infantry Regiment (United States)

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U.S. 87th Infantry Regiment
Coat of arms
Active 1941-
Country United States of America
Branch Army
Role Light infantry
Part of 10th Mountain Division
Garrison/HQ Fort Drum, NY
Motto Vires Montesque Vincimus (We Conquer Power and Mountains)[1]
Engagements World War II
*Italian Campaign
Operation Just Cause (5th Bn)
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
87th Infantry.png
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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86th Infantry Regiment 88th Infantry Regiment

The 87th Infantry Regiment is an infantry regiment in the United States Army. The regiment's 1st Battalion (Bn) and 2nd Battalion (Bn) are light infantry units assigned to the 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) respectively, part of the 10th Mountain Division located at Fort Drum, New York. Around 1991, the 3rd Battalion was active in the U.S. Army Reserve in Colorado.[2]


World War II[edit]

The 87th Mountain Infantry Battalion was activated on 15 November 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington, with Lt Col Onslow S. Rolfe as the commanding officer. This unit was the first American regiment of mountain troops. It was expanded into a regiment in 1943. On 12 May 1942, the regiment was reorganized as the 87th Mountain Infantry at Fort Lewis Washington. The 87th joined the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, Colorado and trained there during 1942–43 on winter military operations and mountaineering.

On 29 July 1943, the regiment sailed to the Aleutian Islands as part of Amphibious Task Force 9. Also included in Task Force Force 9 were the First Special Service Force and the 13th Canadian Infantry Brigade. The regiment conducted an amphibious assault along the Kiska coastline and quickly climbed the rock cliffs to obtain its initial objectives. During November and December 1943 the entire regiment moved to Camp Carson, Colorado and was then assigned to the 10th Division at Camp Hale to prepare for deployment to the European theater.

On 3 February 1945, the regiment deployed to Italy with the newly redesigned 10th Mountain Division and entered combat on 28 January 1945 as part of the 5th US Army. In February 1945, after three days of bitter fighting, the regiment helped capture Mount Belvedere and other key mountain peaks. On 15 April 1945 they spearheaded the Northern Apennines offensive and cut the main route to the Brenner Pass. The regiment overcame every obstacle, including the Po River Valley, the old walled city of Verona and the pre-war frontier defenses of the Italian-Austrian border. German resistance in Italy ended on 2 May 1945. After the end of hostilities, the regiment performed occupation duty until its return to the US in August 1945. The unit was deactivated in November 1945 at Camp Hale, Colorado.

Operation Just Cause[edit]

On 20 December 1989, the executive order was given to put Operation Just Cause into effect. Task Force "Wildcat" (5th Battalion, 87th Infantry) attacked and seized critical objectives in Panama City to include the Balboa DENI (Direccion Especial Nacional de Investigaciones), the PDF's investigative branch, the DNTT (Direccion Nacional de Transporte Terrestre, which served as the Headquarters of the National Police), the Ancon DENI, and the PDF Engineer complex on Albrook AFB. Each of these objectives lay astride the key lines of communication into the center of Panama city. In the days following the initial assault, TF 5-87 conducted stability operations and was involved in the security of the Santa Felipe, Santa Anna, El Marana, and Chorillo sections of the city. During the remainder of the operation, TF Wildcat secured key sites in Panama City and reacted to security and civil military tasking.

On 17 January 1991, 3rd Battalion, 87th Infantry (U.S. Army Reserve, based Colorado), was mobilized.[2] It arrived at Fort Carson for training on 19 January 1991, and moved to Germany on 5 February 1991. There it performed anti-terrorist security missions for V Corps. It returned to Fort Carson on 1 May 1991, and was released for terminal leave on 15 May 1991.

Operation Restore Hope[edit]

In December 1992, 2-87th Infantry, with A Co and C Co 1-87 Infantry deployed to Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope. Charlie Co 1-87 was attached to 2-87 Infantry and participated in numerous missions, including several air assault operations (such as an air field seizure in Belet Weyne, Somalia), cordon and search operations, search and destroy missions and quick reaction force missions. Members of C Co 1-87 were first awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge for actions in the Mogadishu suburb of Afgoye in January 1993. Although the battalion never deployed to Somalia as a unit, its companies deployed as attachments to other units and participated in numerous missions, including the Battle of Mogadishu.

1-87th Infantry with President George Bush

Operation Uphold Democracy[edit]

In September 1994, the 1st Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, which included 1-87 Infantry, conducted the Army's first Air Assault operation from the deck of a naval vessel, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. This was the Army's first air operation from a naval vessel since the Doolittle Raid of World War II.[citation needed]

Twenty-first century[edit]

In the mid-1990s the 87th Infantry Regiment deployed soldiers to participate in several multi-national training events in places like Pakistan, Panama, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The 87th Infantry Regiment has also been active in keeping peace abroad by conducting the MFO mission in the Sinai. In 1999, B 1/87 completed a deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint Forge. C 1/87 completed a similar deployment from October 1998 to March 1999.

Other combat and peace keeping deployments of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 87th Infantry Regiment include Iraq (1991, present), Somalia (1992-93), Haiti (1994-95), Bosnia and Afghanistan (particularly Operation Anaconda, where 1/87 was the first unit on the ground during the initial invasion of Afghanistan).[3] A detachment (3rd Platoon) from C 1/87 was attached to the 2nd Bn 14 Infantry Regiment and served as the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) during the Battle of Mogadishu. The unit never deployed to Somalia as a whole, but all of 1st Battalion was attached to other units while deployed to Somalia, including 2/87 IN, and 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment.

1st Battalion deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from July 2003 to May 2004. Although originally slotted as a six-month deployment they were extended to ten months due to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. From 2005 to 2006 1/87 IN deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III-IV.

1/87 deployed in 2007–2008 to the northern Kirkuk area of Iraq, near the small city of Hawijah. The unit was part of the "Surge" and remained in Kirkuk for 15 months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom VII-VIII.

1/87 IN deployed to Northern Afghanistan in early 2010. The unit's mission was to support Operation Enduring Freedom by partnering with ISAF forces to help establish Afghan government influence in the region. The battalion was tasked with clearing and securing several districts including Aliabad, Char-a-dara, and the City of Kunduz aiding the Afghan secrurity forces in doing so. 1/87 was sent to clear the valley of Gortepa. The battalion successfully cleared villages of Taliban presence then established Afghan local police outposts in the newly acquired areas. This task took several weeks, starting with securing the district of Aliabad to the south to impede the Talibans ability to reinforce and resupply the Gortepa valley. By the end of March 2011, 1/87 had returned to Fort Drum. The New York Times followed 1/87 throughout the deployment in order to produce an online feature titled "A Year at War".[4]


Constituted 31 July 1918 in the Regular Army as the 87th Infantry and assigned to the 18th Infantry Division. Organized September 1918 at Camp Dodge, Iowa from personnel of the 35th Infantry. Relieved from the 19th Division and demobilized 27 January 1919 at Camp Dodge.

Constituted 15 November 1941 in the Army of the United States as the 87th Infantry Mountain Regiment; concurrently 1st Battalion activated at Fort Lewis, Washington. Redesignated 12 May 1942 as the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment. Regiment (less 1st Battalion) activated 25 May 1942 at Fort Lewis, Washington. assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, 22 February 1944.

Reorganized and Redesignated 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment and assigned to the 10th Mountain Division 6 November 1944. Inactivated 21 June 1945 at Camp Carson, Colorado. Redesignated 87th Infantry and assigned to 10th Infantry Division 18 June 1948, allotted to the regular Army 25 June 1948. Activated 1 July 1948 at Fort Riley, Kansas. Relieved from the 10th Infantry Division 1 July 1957 and reorganized as the 87th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

Campaign streamers[edit]

World War II
  • Aleutian Islands
  • North Apennines
  • Po Valley


  • Counteroffensive, Phase II
  • Counteroffensive, Phase III
  • Tet Counteroffensive,
  • Counteroffensive, Phase IV
  • Counteroffensive, Phase V
  • Counteroffensive, Phase VI
  • Tet69/Counteroffensive
  • Summer-Fall 1969
  • Winter-Spring 1970
  • Sanctuary Counteroffensive
  • Counteroffensive, Phase VII
  • Consolidation I
  • Consolidation II
  • Cease Fire


Distinctive unit insignia[edit]

  • Description

A silver color metal and enamel device 1 14 inches (3.2 cm) in height overall consisting of a shield blazoned: Azure, on a mountain issuant from base Argent, an ice axe, and ski pole in saltirewise, points to base Proper, a horseshoe, points to base Gules. Attached below the shield is a silver scroll inscribed "VIRES MONTESQUE VINCIMUS" in red letters.

  • Symbolism

The snow-capped mountains is where the organization first received its specialized training and the normal home of mountains troops. The crossed ski pole and ice axe are symbolic of the tools used by mountain troops and the horseshoe indicates the pack element of the organization. The 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment was the organization of its kind indicated by the single red horseshoe.

  • Background

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment on 21 October 1942. It was redesignated for the 87th Infantry Regiment on 13 December 1948.

Coat of arms[edit]

  • Blazon
    • Shield: Azure, on a mountain issuant from base Argent, an ice axe, and ski pole in saltirewise, points to base Proper, a horseshoe, points to base Gules.
    • Crest: On a wreath Argent and Azure rising from a castle tower of three battlements Gules masoned Or charged with a fountain, a demi-catamountain proper supporting a lance of the fourth with a split pennon parted fesswise of Vert, of the first and of the third.
    • Motto VIRES MONTESQUE VINCIMUS (We Conquer Power and Mountains).
  • Symbolism
    • Shield: The shield bears a snow-capped mountain to represent both the region where the organization first received its specialized training and the normal home of mountain troops. The crossed ski pole and ice axe are symbolic of the tools used by mountain troops, while the horseshoe indicates the pack element of the organization. The fact that the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment was the first organization of its kind is indicated by the single red horseshoe.
    • Crest: The red castle tower is reminiscent of the battle of Castel d'Aiano in Northern Italy, a bloody struggle against prepared positions, rough terrain, heavily mined areas, and enemy artillery fire; its three battlements stand for campaigns in the Aleutians, Northern Apennines, and Po Valley. The fountain (wavy white and blue-striped disc) represents the first crossing of the Po River which brought the 87th to the foothills of the Alps. The catamountain or wildcat personifies the fighting spirit, cunning, and aggressiveness of the Mountain Infantry, and the lance and pennant allude to the arms of the Province of Bologna where the unit emerged after fighting their way out of the Apennine Mountains.
  • Background

The coat of arms was originally approved for the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment on 21 October 1942. It was redesignated on for the 87th Infantry Regiment on 13 December 1948. On 21 May 1956 the symbolism was amended to correct the translation of the motto. On 7 December 1964 the coat of arms was amended to change the wording in the blazonry of the shield and to add the crest.

Current units[edit]


  1. ^ The Army Institute of Heraldry - 87TH INFANTRY REGIMENT, Retrieved 15 November 2014
  2. ^ a b Dinackus, Thomas D. (2000). Order of Battle: Allied Ground Forces of Operation Desert Storm. Hellgate Press. pp. 10–2. ISBN 978-1-55571-493-2. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  3. ^  . "1-87 Battalion History". Drum.army.mil. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  4. ^ Winter, Damon. "A Year at War". The New York Times. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Institute of Heraldry document "87th Infantry Regiment". "Army Study Guide". Retrieved 16 November 2011. 

External links[edit]