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1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment

The 87th Infantry was constituted on 15th November 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington and designated the 87th Mountain Regiment.
Pfc. Chris Smith, from Company A, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, secures the perimeter during a patrol of the Ameriah suburbs of Baghdad. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

The 87th Infantry was constituted on 15th November 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington and designated the 87th Mountain Regiment. The Unit was dubbed “Minnie’s Ski Troop” in honor of Charles Minot Dole, President of the National Ski Patrol. Volunteers, many who were who were veteran skiers, mountaineers and woodsmen, arrived from Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. The 87th trained on Mount Rainier’s 14408 foot peak. The 1st of the 87th was the first Mountain designated unit in the United States Army, predating the 10th Mountain Division.

On 12 May 1942, the regiment was reorganized as the 87th Mountain Infantry at Fort Lewis Washington. The 87th joined the 10th Mountain 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 the Amphibious Technical Force Nine. Also included in Technical Force Nine were the First Special Service and the 13th Canadian Infantry. 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 April 15, 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 1944 at Camp Hale, Colorado.

The 87th Infantry was again assigned to the 10th Infantry Division on 18 June 1948, reactivating at Fort Riley, Kansas. In preparation for the Korean War 1-87 became part of three regiments that trained 123,000 men in basic training.

In January 1954, the Department of the Army announced that the 10th Division would become a combat infantry division, and be the first sent to Europe under a new rotation policy. In June 1958 the 87th Infantry Regiment was reassigned in the 2nd Infantry Division until 4 September 1963, when it was reassigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. 1-87 as stationed in Jaeger Kaserne, Aschaffenburg and was assigned to NATO land forces in central Europe. On June 14, 1958 the 10th Division was inactivated.

On 22 May 1987 1st Battalion 87th Infantry was reactivated and reunited with the 10th Mountain Division. It became part of the 1st Brigade that was activated one year earlier.

Since its reactivation in 1987, members of the 87th Infantry Regiment have deployed all over the world conducting a variety of missions. On 26 August 1992, two battalions of the regiment deployed to Homestead, Florida to conduct humanitarian relief operations following Hurricane Andrew. Soldiers from 1-87 were responsible for setting up tent city camps, distributing food, ice, water, clothing, and medical necessities.

Leading the 10th Mountain Division into Somalia, 87th Infantry regiment members conducted the first combat operations the regiment has seen since World War II. B Co. and C Co. were attached to 2-14 during Operation Hope and Continue Hope. On 3 October 1993, 3/C/1-87 was dispatched as a QRF to secure a crash site in the city of Somalia that was a result of a daylight raid conducted by Task Force Ranger in an attempt to seize a Somali Warlord.

In 1993, members of the regiment saw combat in Haiti, during operation Uphold Democracy. At 0930 hours on 19 September 1994, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry and 2nd Bn 22 Infantry conducted the Army’s first air assault from aircraft carrier. They occupied the Port Au Prince International Airport and were the first US troops to set foot on Haitian soil. The Task Force’s presence allowed the Haitian legislature to reopen on 28 September.

In the mid-nineties the 87th Infantry Regiment has deployed soldiers to participate in several Multi-National Training Events in places like Pakistan, Panama, Kyrgystan, and Uzbeckistan. The 87th Infantry Regiment has also been active in keeping peace abroad by conducting the MFO mission in the Sinai. Recently, members of the regiment completed a deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint Forge.

In keeping with tradition, the 1-87 Skis are hand receipted to the newest 1-87 IN Lieutenant in order to help carry him to success.

On 5 October 2001, Task Force 1-87 Infantry deployed to Karsi Khanabad Airfield Uzbekistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Task Force consisted of personnel from 1-87 IN, 3-6 FA, 3-62 ADA, 110th MI and ASOS (Air Force). During November 2001 Task Force 1-87 deployed to Bagram Airfield Afghanistan providing security and support for humanitarian missions. The Task Force actively participated in Operation Anaconda, conducting combat operations in the Lower Shah-e-kot Valley, Afghanistan. After a highly successful deployment, Task Force 1-87 IN returned to Fort Drum, New York on 6 April 2002. A year later, in July 2003 1-87th returned to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom IV. Its soldiers conducted combat and humanitarian assistance operations from frontier firebases in Gardez, Shkin, and Orgun-E, and Khowst. Task Force Summit returned to Fort Drum in April 2004 after destroying Taliban and Al Queda forces in Paktika Province, Afghanistan and greatly improving the security and quality of life for its people.

Submitted By:
SSG Michael L. Singer

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