|Branch United States Army|
|Type Support Battalion|
|Active 1963-1972; 2005-2006; 17 September 2007 - present|
Country United States of America
The 173rd Brigade Support Battalion is a Combat Support Battalion of the United States Army based in Vicenza, Italy. It is a subordinate unit of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
The 173rd Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne) serves to support the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne). The battalion currently consists of 475 soldiers in four companies. Four additional companies are detached in support of the Brigade's maneuver units.
Brigade Support Battalion
Forward Support Companies
History of the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion (Airborne)
The 173rd Support Battalion was constituted on 26 March 1963 in the Regular Army and assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Officially activated on 25 June 1963 in Okinawa, the Support Battalion participated and logistically supported hundreds of Brigade operations in a dozen different countries in the Pacific. In May 1965, the Support Battalion was sent to Vietnam with the Brigade. For its time in Southeast Asia, the 173rd Support Battalion is recognized as having participated in 15 separate campaigns in Vietnam. The Battalion received a Presidential Unit Citation, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, and a Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm streamer and a Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal. On 14 January 1972, the Support Battalion was relieved from assignment to the 173rd Airborne Brigade and subsequently deactivated.
In July 2004, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 51st Maintenance Battalion and 501st Forward Support Company & Headquarters, located in Mannheim Germany were reassigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade to begin the activation of the 173rd Support Battalion, achieved on 16 March 2005. Eight days later, the 173rd Support Battalion deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan to provide combat service support to Combined Task Force Bayonet. The Battalion redeployed on 24 February 2006 after spending eleven months supporting combat operations in southern Afghanistan.
As a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s transformation, the 173rd Support Battalion transitioned into a Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) and moved to Bamberg, Germany on 16 September 2006 to begin training for their deployment to Afghanistan. On 17 May 2007, the newly transformed 173rd BSB (Airborne) deployed to Bagram and Jalalabad Airfields in northeastern Afghanistan. The Battalion redeployed on 4 August 2008 after spending 15 months supporting combat operations throughout regional Command-East in Afghanistan.
On 22 February 2009, the Battalion was notified of a change to their deployment from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation Enduring Freedom. In November 2009, the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd BSB were deployed to Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X and The Global War on Terrorism. The unit performed its mission of manning, arming, fueling, fixing, moving and sustaining over 10,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, civilian contractors, and other government agencies throughout Logar and Wardak provinces of Regional Command-East (RC East), Afghanistan. The Battalion redeployed from combat operations in November 2010.
In July 2013, the 173rd BSB deployed for a fourth time since its 2005 reactivation. This time, BSB Paratroopers deployed from Bamberg, Germany as part of Task Force Repel, back to Afghanistan and Regional Command – East, as a subordinate element of Task Force Bayonet conducting Security Force Assistance and Training (SFAT) Operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XIII. The Battalion aligned a forward logistics element in Wardak Province, Afghanistan and the remainder of the battalion at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar Province Afghanistan, where they executed the difficult task of reducing the footprint of the Brigade and retrograding critical military material while continuing to train their Afghan counterparts.
The Battalion redeployed from combat operations in March 2013 and immediately began preparations to relocate from Bamberg, Germany to Vicenza, Italy to the newly completed Caserma Del Din where the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd BSB continue the distinction of honored service dating back to Vietnam and proudly represent the Airborne fighting spirit wherever they serve.