The Air Defense Artillery branch is the branch of the United States Army that specializes in anti-aircraft weapons. In the U.S. Army, these groups are composed of mainly air defense systems such as the Patriot Missile System, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), and the Avenger Air Defense system which fires the FIM-92 Stinger missile. The Air Defense Artillery branch descended from Anti-Aircraft Artillery (part of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps until 1950, then part of the Artillery Branch) into a separate branch on 20 June 1968.
On 1 December 1968, the ADA branch was authorized to wear modified Artillery insignia, crossed field guns with missile. The Branch Motto, “First To Fire”, was adopted in 1986 by the attendees of the ADA Commanders’ Conference at Fort Bliss. The motto refers to a speech given by General Jonathan Wainwright to veterans of the 200th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) stating they were the ‘First to Fire’ in World War II against the Empire of Japan.