Paratroopers with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (“Sky Soldiers”) conducted sustained airborne training during a field training exercise in the Grafenwoehr Training Area, July 22, 2020. The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army’s Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the United States Europe, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility. Forward deployed across Italy and Germany, the brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is an airborne infantry brigade combat team (IBCT) of the United States Army based in Vicenza, Italy. Activated in 1915, as the 173rd Infantry Brigade, the unit saw service in World War II but is best known for its actions during the Vietnam War. The brigade returned to the United States in 1972, where the 1st and 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry, were absorbed into the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), and the 3d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery was reassigned to Division Artillery in the 101st. The remaining units of the 173d were inactivated.
Since its reactivation in 2000, the brigade served five tours in the Middle East in support of the War on Terror. The 173d participated in the initial invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and had four tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, and 2012–13. The brigade returned most recently from a deployment stretching from late 2013 to late 2014. The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team has received 21 campaign streamers and several unit awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the Battle of Dak To during the Vietnam War.