Famous Military Units

Distinguished Military Unit: American Forces Network (AFRTS)

Distinguished Military Unit: American Forces Network (AFRTS)

In 1984, the first commercially available DynaTAC audio-only cell phone cost just short of $4,000, with each call billed at 45 cents per minute. Forty years later, anyone in uniform accesses audio-visual news from thousands of sources using a personal cell phone throughout the world, wherever a signal and transmission tower can reach. Yet, for eighty years, the most reliable military broadcast remains the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). AFN Was Founded in 1942 as the Armed...

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Distinguished Military Unit: 2nd Marine Raider Battalion

Distinguished Military Unit: 2nd Marine Raider Battalion

With America thrust into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became interested in creating an American equivalent to the British Commandos; elite, highly mobile, hard-hitting forces, and the Marine Corps was the natural place for this organization. The debate over the creation of these elite units came to a climax when the new commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz, requested a "commando unit" for raids against lightly defended...

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Famous Military Units – HA(L)-3 Seawolves

Famous Military Units – HA(L)-3 Seawolves

Steeped in the political turmoil of an unpopular war and faced with unfamiliar terrain, embedded enemy supply practices, and tactics keying on stealth, by 1965, the US faced new and novel threats from Viet Cong forces with no ready recourse. Striving for any means to achieve supremacy, the Army turned to tried-and-true tactics while seeking a breakthrough military strategy. The answer, formation of the all-volunteer Navy Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron 3 (HA(L)-3), quickly renowned by their...

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Famous Military Units – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11

Famous Military Units – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11

The Naval Mobile Construction Battalions are perhaps one of the most misunderstood military units across the armed forces. More commonly known as Seabees, these units are a reasonably new phenomenon with only eighty years of shared history. And surprisingly, this force has been redesignated multiple times to embrace the spirit of their mission and contend with political maneuvering among US Naval and Marine infrastructure. Moreover, as a support organization, the Seabees are typically not...

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Famous Military Units – 563rd Transportation Company

Famous Military Units – 563rd Transportation Company

The complexion of war has changed significantly through millennia of human conflict and continues to evolve with new technologies and lessons learned on the battlefield. But despite this changing environment, one constant does exist: effective logistics and supply chain integrity can change the tide of battle and determine outcomes. Until World War II, a historical reliance on fixed fortifications led to straightforward solutions for combat support; however, the global scale of conflict and...

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Famous Military Units: MACV-SOG

Famous Military Units: MACV-SOG

Steeped in secrecy and shaped by global Cold War tensions, the Vietnam War was, by all standards of measure, the most clandestine military campaign in US history. After World War II, democratic and communist nations were spoiling for a fight, testing one another, and positioning themselves to gain geographic and political advantage. However, with an indecisive outcome in Korea and escalating international anxiety, further activities became highly secretive on both sides, including CIA...

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Famous Army Air Force Units – 336th Fighter Squadron

Famous Army Air Force Units – 336th Fighter Squadron

The annals of Air Force history are rich with the performance and accomplishments of individual units, but often reflect specific battles, a conflict, or other such moments in time. Due to ever-changing budgets, technology, restructuring, and more, tenure alone is a barrier to the creation of longstanding unit heritage and tradition. Nonetheless, select organizations can trace a significant lineage with associated individual and group exploits. Perhaps not well known to other than their sister...

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Famous Air Force Units – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

Famous Air Force Units – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

To those not deeply immersed in US Air Force operations, the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) may appear a bit of an enigma as Commando is most often associated with ground units. The squadron's title actually derives from roots reaching back to WWII together with hard-fought experience, all leading to a mission that's responsive to contemporary, global needs. Constituted initially as a fighter squadron, the 6th SOS acquired broad skills extending through Vietnam and beyond, keying...

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Famous Military Units – 1st Rhode Island Regiment (The Black Regiment)

Famous Military Units – 1st Rhode Island Regiment (The Black Regiment)

The Continental Army was camped for the 1777-78 winter at Valley Forge, twenty miles from Philadelphia, the British-occupied American capital. At least a third of the eleven thousand men were without shoes, coats, and blankets to protect them from the constant rain. They suffered from exposure, typhus, dysentery, and pneumonia. Food was running out. Men were starving, dying, the desertion rate was escalating, and the States could not meet their enlistment quotas. Able-bodied men were simply...

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Famous Army Units: Department of the Army Special Photographic Office (DASPO)

Famous Army Units: Department of the Army Special Photographic Office (DASPO)

By 1962 the world was becoming a very scary place punctuated by continuing confrontations between global communist and democratic powers, alongside growing civil, racial, and political unrest.  In Southeast Asia, the Korean War brought an indecisive outcome, and the tide of combat in Vietnam now favored communist forces despite US advisors in place since 1956.  Further, in 1961 alone there was an armed conflict between communist and democratic armies along the Chinese-Burma border, UN...

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Famous Army Units: 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (Mash)

Famous Army Units: 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (Mash)

In stark contrast with the mission of combat forces, the US Army Medical Corps are committed to providing aid and comfort to the injured: wounded soldiers, civilians and at times even enemy personnel.  There are no medals, no glory, and heroism is measured in blood, sweat and tears.  Though the Korean War has been regarded as a failure by many because of its indecisive outcomes, in one area it was an unbridled success-saving lives.  When the war broke out in Korea on June 25,...

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Famous Army Units: 1st Alaska Combat Intelligence Platoon

Famous Army Units: 1st Alaska Combat Intelligence Platoon

The Aleutian Islands are unknown to many Americans and in 1941, upon entry of the US into WWII, even fewer. Remote volcanic islands (1200 miles from Alaska), barren and plagued by harsh weather and unforgiving winds make them seemingly unlivable and bear little consideration except to the native Aleuts that call them home.  Nonetheless, with US-Japanese tensions running high, as early as February 1941 efforts were underway to form the Alaskan Defense Command.  Recognizing broad...

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