Unit Details

187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ("Rakkasans")


187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ("Rakkasans")

The 187th Glider Infantry Regiment was redesignated the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment on 30 June 1949.

On 1 August 1950 it and various support units were detached from the 11th Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Ky. A regiment from the 82d Airborne Division was requested, but the 187th was sent in its place in order to retain the 82d as a complete strategic reserve division.

The unit departed the States on 6 September 1950, arriving in Japan on 20 September. [5 days late for the invasion it had been requested for] It deployed to Korea on 18 October.

On 1 January 1951 the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (ARCT) was officially relieved from the 11th Airborne Division and made a separate unit. The Regiment conducted two parachute assaults in Korea." It redeployed to Japan on 26 June 1951 to serve as a FECOM General Reserve.

It redeployed to Korea on 16 to 17 May 1952 to subdue Koje-do (island) POW riots and returned to Japan on 18 October.

It was again deployed to Korea on 22 and 23 June 1953 to reinforce the Eighth U.S. Army reserve.

It returned to the States in July 1955 and was assigned to the newly reactivated 101st Airborne Division the following year.


187th Airborne Infantry Regiment

674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm Howitzer)

Airborne Antiaircraft Artillery Battery, 187th ARCT[1]

Airborne Engineer Combat Company, 187th ARCT[2]

Military Police Platoon, 187th ARCT[3]

Quartermaster Parachute Maintenance Detachment, 187th ARCT

Medical Ambulance Platoon, 187th ARCT[4]

 Medical Clearing Platoon, 187th ARCT[5]

Pathfinder Team, 187th ARCT[6]

8177th Army Unit, 187th ARCT Augmentation Unit[7]

2d and 5th Ranger Infantry Companies (Airborne attached 3 Mar.-4 Apr. 1951)

187th Infantry Counterfire Platoon (attached 3-6 Nov. 1951)

Detachment, 60th (Parachute) Field Ambulance (Indian Army)[8]



Noted units (Remarks 1-6) were redesignated from the below-listed former 11th Airborne Division units on 26 February 1951.

1. Battery A, 88th Airborne Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion.

2. Company A, 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion.

3. Traffic Platoon, l l th Airborne Military Police Company.

4. I st Platoon, Ambulance Company, 11th Airborne Medical Battalion.

5. 1st Platoon, Clearing Company, 11th Airborne Medical Battalion.

6. Pathfinder Team, HQ Company, 11th Airborne Division.

7. Assigned on 26 July 1952. Its personnel were assigned to different units, mainly ARCT headquarters and the field artillery battalion, to increase its capabilities as a separate regiment.

8. A few members of this unit jumped with the 187th ARCT at Munsan-ni on 23 March 1951.


X U.S. Corps Sept. 1950
Eighth U.S. Army Oct. 1950
2d U.S. Infantry Division May 1951
Eighth U.S. Army June 1951
XVI U.S. Corps Oct. 1952
2d U.S. Infantry Division July 1953

Casualties: 422 KIA, 49 DOW, 17 MIA, 1,705 WIA


187th Infantry Regiment (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

187th Infantry Regiment
187INF COA.gif
Coat Of Arms
Active 1943–present
Country United States
Allegiance Regular Army
Branch Infantry
Garrison/HQ Fort Campbell
Nickname Rakkasans
Motto Ne Desit Virtus ("Let Valor Not Fail")
Infantry Colors Blue and White
Engagements World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
War in Southwest Asia
Afghanistan Campaign
Iraq Campaign
Distinctive unit insignia 187INF DUI.gif
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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186th Infantry Regiment 188th Infantry Regiment

Shoulder patch for the 187th Regimental Combat Team (Airborne)

The 187th Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) is a regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) of the United States Army. The nickname "Rakkasans" is derived from the Japanese word for umbrella. The name was given to the 187th during its tour in occupied Japan following World War II. When a translator dealing with local Japanese dignitaries was trying to explain what their unit was trained to do (and not knowing the Japanese word for "airborne soldiers") he used the phrase "falling down umbrella men", or rakkasan. Amused by the clumsy word, the locals began to call the troopers by that nickname; it soon stuck and became a point of pride for the unit.

As of 2012, the 1st Battalion – 187th Infantry, the 3rd Battalion – 187th Infantry and 1st Squadron 33rd Cavalry are active in the 101st Airborne's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

World War II and aftermath

The regiment was originally constituted as the 187th Glider Infantry Regiment on 12 November 1942, and activated on 25 February 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. It was originally a two battalion glider regiment assigned to the 11th Airborne Division, the men of the 187th trained both as glider and parachute troops. They moved to Camp Polk on 9 January 1944 for glider training. The regiment staged at Camp Stoneman, California on 29 April 1944, and departed from the San Francisco Port of Embarkation on 6 May 1944.

The regiment arrived in New Guinea on 29 May 1944 and joined the New Guinea Campaign. The regiment departed New Guinea on 11 November 1944, and arrived on Leyte on 18 November 1944 to join the Leyte Campaign.

The Regiment left Leyte, and joined the Luzon Campaign by assaulting Nasugbu Point Luzon on 31 January 1945, blocking Japanese forces as part of the advance on Manila from the south. From then until April 1945, the 187th fought their way from Nichols Field, Fort William McKinley, and Manila to Mount Macolod and Malepunyo.

In May 1945, the 187th moved into Lipa to refit, rebuild, and prepare for Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of Japan. At this time, the 3rd Battalion was formed and the regiment was redesignated a para-glider regiment.

The regiment was attached to the Provost Marshal General, U.S. Army Forces Far East from 1 June 1945 through 27 July 1945 at Manila. The campaigns in the Philippines were declared completed on 4 July 1945, and the regiment moved to Okinawa on 12 August 1945 for occupation duty. This is where the unit gained its name; Rakkasan, when it was the only unit to parachute onto Japanese soil at the time. After the war ended on 14 August 1945, the regiment subsequently moved to Japan on 30 August 1945, and was alleged to be the first foreign ground combat unit to enter that nation.

In April 1949, the regiment returned to the United States and was stationed at what was then Camp Campbell, Kentucky. It was redesignated the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment on 30 June 1949 and became part of the 11th Airborne Division. In early 1950, the 187th participated in "Operation Swarmer," the largest peacetime airborne maneuver in history.

Korean War

403rd TCW C-119s drop the 187th RCT over Korea, 1952.

The 187th was selected as an airborne regimental combat team responding to the crisis in Korea. On 1 August 1950 the regiment became the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (ARCT) when supporting units were added and deployed to Japan, arriving on 20 September 1950. The advance party of the Third Battalion of the Rakkasans was the first to arrive in Korea, arriving at Kimp'o Airfield on 23 September. On 24 September, it was placed under the operational control of the First Marine Division, relieving the 2d Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment, arriving almost a week after Douglas MacArthur's surprise landing at Inch'ŏn on 17 September 1950.

One month later, on 20 October 1950, the regiment made successful combat parachute assaults near the towns of Sukchon and Sunchon, North Korea as part of the Battle of Yŏngju. The published purpose of that drop was to capture members of the North Korean Government fleeing Pyongyang and also to free American POWs being moved from Pyongyang toward the Manchurian border. Neither objective was realized. Followed by battles at Suan, Wŏnju, Kaesong, Munsan-ni, and Inje.

The 187th led the second and last parachute assault in Korea on 23 March 1951(Operation Tomahawk).

Under BG Thomas J. H. Trapnell, it redeployed to Japan on 26 June 1951 where it became a strategic reserve but returned to Korea on 24 May 1952 to assist in the suppression of the prisoner rebellion at the Geoje POW Camp (aka. Koje Pow Camp during the Korean War) where prisoners had forcibly seized and held Brigadier General Francis Dodd, camp commandant, hostage for 4 days from May 7, 1952 (Koje Island Incident). After this, it once more returned to Japan on 18 October 1952 but made its final return to Korea on 22 June 1953. The unit returned the United States in July 1955 and, the following year, became part of the newly reactivated 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY.

The 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team consisted of the following units: The following units were assigned by General Order 34 (Confidential) Headquarters 11th Airborne Division.

The following units were added on 23 August 1950 by General Order 41, 11th Airborne Division dated 22 August 1950.

The following units were attached on 26 August 1950 per General Order 42, Headquarters 11th Airborne Division dated 25 August 1950.

On 28 August 1950, Operations Order Number 1, IX Corps, the 2348th Quartermaster Air Packaging and Resupply Company was attached to the Command of Colonel Bowen, Sr.

Attached units

Note: Many personnel from the 511PIR in the 11th Airborne Division were transferred to the 187th ARCT to bring it up to full strength for overseas deployment.

During the Korean War, three members of the Regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor, Lester Hammond, Jr., Rodolfo P. Hernandez and Richard G. Wilson.

The 1950s and early 1960s were a turbulent time for 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry. It returned to the US in 1955, this time to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As part of a larger realignment of the Army, under the Pentomic Division Concept, the Iron Rakkasans road marched to Fort Campbell in February 1956 to serve as the nucleus of the newly reactivated 101st Airborne Division.

Post Korean War and air mobility

When the Pentomic concept that replaced regiments and battalions with battle groups was introduced in 1957, Companies A, B, and C of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment were redesignated as HHCs of the 1st, 2d, and 3d Airborne Battle Groups, 187th Infantry, respectively. The 1st ABG, 187th Inf was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division in Germany from 1 March 1957 to 1 July 1958, when the 11th was inactivated and reflagged as the 24th Infantry Division. During its assignment to the 24th it was involved in the Lebanon intervention. On 8 February 1959 it was relieved from the 24th, rotated back to the United States and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. Its colors were inactivated on 25 May 1964 and concurrently consolidated with the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry (constituted and activated 1 February 1964 at Fort Benning, Georgia, as an element of the 11th Air Assault Division, and the consolidated unit designated as the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, an element of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) at Fort Benning, GA. It was inactivated on 30 June 1965 when the 11th Air Assault Division and 2nd Infantry Division were combined to form the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), during which time the elements of both the 11th and 2nd were reflagged with new designations.

The 2nd ABG, 187th Infantry remained assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and was inactivated on 1 February 1964 when the Army abandoned the Pentomic structure in favor of brigades and battalions.

The 3rd ABG, 187th Infantry was not active during the Pentomic era. The colors were redesignated on 1 February 1963 as HHC, 3d Battalion, 187th Infantry, assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) at Fort Benning, GA, and activated on 7 February 1963. Over the next year, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment served as a test unit to help validate the Army’s airmobile concept. It was relieved from the 11th on 1 February 1964 and the colors were assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. There was no transfer of troops or equipment; instead, the existing 3–187th at Fort Benning was reflagged as 1–187th.