173rd makes combat jump into northern Iraq
USAREUR Public Affairs, March 27, 2003
Several hundred “Sky Soldiers” of the 173rd Airborne Brigade parachuted into northern Iraq March 26, securing an airfield and helping to open a northern front in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Although the exact location of the brigade’s drop zone has not been released, initial reports from the unit indicate that the jump was largely unopposed. Officials say the unit followed the jump with efforts to improve their positions at the airfield and receive additional soldiers and equipment.

Headquartered at Caserma Ederle, Italy, the brigade serves as European Command’s only conventional airborne strategic response force for the European theater. The 173rd’s history dates back to World War I. Most recently, the unit has taken part in training deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Hungary, Tunisia, Morocco, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and other nations.

The brigade’s nickname originated with Chinese nationalist paratroopers, who dubbed it “Tien Bien” (Sky Soldiers) during service as the quick reaction force for the Pacific Command in the early 1960s.

Colonel William C. Mayville commands the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is part of the U.S. Army Europe’s Southern European Task Force.

330 days in Iraq.    March 26, 2003 - February 19, 2004.

Each one of these paratroopers is the equivalent of 10 to 15 normal humans.
Colonel William C. Mayville

(Note: Pictures from #'s 164, 180, 187, and 193 removed by request of 173rd Airborne Brigade PAO on 10 May 2004.)
News & Pictures.
23 March 04: Looking Back, one year later.
12 March 04: 173rd Welcome Home Ceremony.
23 January 04: The 'Red Devils' honor their lost Sky Soldiers.
24 December 03: 173rd suffers its 9th casualty!
13 November 03: 173rd suffers its 7th and 8th casualty!
20 August 03: Letter from Brian about 9 and 11 August incidents. Read this.

2003:  Mar  ~  Apr  ~  May  ~  Jun  ~  Jul  ~  Aug  ~  Sep  ~  Oct  ~  Nov  ~  Dec
2004:  Jan  ~  Feb  ~  Mar

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Soldiers of the U. S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade exit the aircraft as they parachute into Northern Iraq last night. In one of the largest airborne operations since World War II, several hundred paratroopers jumped in to seize an airfield in the northern region of Iraq that will be used to support military and humanitarian relief operations. The Army paratroopers were supported by C-17 aircraft and airmen from the United States Air Force.

     26 Mar 2003         Good story here and here about the drop.

     The Road to Kirkuk          Excellent coverage by PBS. Click here.
      Beyond Baghdad           Excellent coverage by PBS. Click here.

Videos of the 173rd in Iraq
(Needs RealPlayer or Windows Media Player and Broadband)

News articles from embedded reporters:
CNN ~  Philadelphia Inquirer ~  Washington Post

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