69TH AIR DEFENSE ARTILLERY, THE LIGHTNING BRIGADE!

The 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade was first organized on 17 May 1918 in the Regular Army at Fort Worden, Washington as the 69th Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps). Deployed to Europe during the Great War, the 69th Artillery received a streamer without inscription for its participation. After returning to the United States the unit was subsequently demobilized on 5 March 1919 at Camp Eustis, Virginia.

The 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was deployed to the Pacific Theater of Operations during the Second World War and received participation credit for the Western Pacific campaign. The Group remained in the Western Pacific after the end of the War until Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Antiaircraft Artillery Group was inactivated on 5 June 1948 on Saipan.

In 1989, the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, in conjunction with elements of the 32nd Army Air Defense Command deployed a task force of over 1,000 soldiers to Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The task force provided critical protection to VII Corps as it executed a classic flanking action and raced into Iraq, crushing the vaunted Republican Guard. At the conclusion of the war, Task Force 8-43rd Air Defense Artillery was deployed well forward on the battlefield, providing integrated coverage against both hostile aircraft and ballistic missiles. 

1,000 soldiers from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade deployed to Israel in 1998. This deployment was part of Operation Shining Presence, a Joint Exercise involving United States and Israeli forces. This was not, however, a routine deployment as US forces were scheduled to remain in the area following the conclusion of the exercise.

In 2007, the Brigade was placed under the command of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, which exercised command and control over all CONUS based air and missile defense assets. The 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade relocated from its headquarters located at Wurzburg, Germany in the summer 2008. The Brigade officially uncased its colors at Fort Cavazos, formerly Fort Hood, Texas on 16 September 2008.

INSIGNIA ORIGIN & MEANING

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Shoulder Sleeve Insignia: The 69th Air Defense Artillery Shoulder Sleeve Insignia features a pair of comets with tails to evoke the image of missiles’ flight trajectories and speedy velocities. The insignia is designed to resemble the number 69. The black discs suggest cannonballs, and the placement of the comets is meant to denote a defensive posture, particularly in regarding to the United States and Europe.

69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade_DUI.pngDistinctive unit Insignia: Red and yellow (gold) are colors used for artillery. The organization’s campaign service in World War I and World War II is commemorated by the two crossbow bolts, the laurel wreath and wavy partition line denote the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Pacific Theater. The unit’s origin in the Coast Artillery is indicated by the gold beams. The red cross botonny alludes to the coat of arms of the 69th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) and the unit’s direct descent from that organization. The blue upper area and nebuly edge together with the crossbow bolts refer to the air defense mission of the unit and the motto.