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Air Defense Artillery Branch (United States)

Air Defense Artillery branch
Branch plaque
Active 1968-present
Country United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type Branch
Role Air defense
Nickname King of Battle
Motto "First to Fire!"
Colors Red and Gold
March ADA March
Mascot Oozlefinch
Anniversaries 17 November 1775- The Continental Congress elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery"[1]
Branch insignia

The Air Defense Artillery branch of the US Army specializes in anti-aircraft weapons (such as surface to air missiles). In the US Army, these groups are composed of mainly air defense systems such as the Patriot Missile System, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), and the Avenger Air Defense system which fires the FIM-92 Stinger missile. The Air Defense Artillery branch descended from Anti-Aircraft Artillery (part of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps) into a separate branch on 20 June 1968. On 1 December 1968, the ADA branch was authorized to wear modified Artillery insignia, crossed field guns with missile.


  • Mission 1
  • History 2
  • Major commands 3
  • Brigade size units 4
  • Battalions 5
  • Shipton award 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


According to the Army's Field Manual 44-100, the mission of Air Defense Artillery is "to protect the force and selected geopolitical assets from aerial attack, missile attack, and surveillance."[2]


On 10 October 1917 an Antiaircraft Service in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was created at Arnouville-Les-Gonesse where an antiaircraft school was established. The antiaircraft units were organized as serially numbered battalions during the war, as follows:

  • 1st Antiaircraft Battalion through the 10th Antiaircraft Battalion
  • 1st AA Machine Gun Battalion through the 6th AA Machine Gun Battalion. These units were organized by Col. James A. Shipton[3] but were disbanded in May 1918.
The National Defense Act of 1920 formally assigned the air defense mission to the Coast Artillery Corps, and 4 battalions were organized in 1921. In 1924 under a major reorganization of the Coast Artillery the battalions were reorganized as regiments.

In 1938 there were only 5 Regular Army and thirteen National Guard regiments, but by 1941 this had been expanded to 37 total regiments. In November 1942, 781 battalions were authorized. However, this number was pared down to 331 battalions by the end of the war. On 9 March 1942 Antiaircraft Command was established in Washington D.C. and in 1944 the AAA school was moved to Fort Bliss. Army Anti-Aircraft Command (ARAACOM) was created July 1950, and in 1957, ARAACOM was renamed to US Army Air Defense Command (USARADCOM).

The serially numbered battalions bore the following titles

  • Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion
  • Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion
  • Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion
  • Antiaircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion
  • Barrage balloon Battalions

and later

  • Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion.

In 1957 the United States Army Air Defense Artillery School was moved from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill. Air Defense Artillery is historically nicknamed the "Emperor of Battle."

Major commands

Army Air & Missile Defense Command
Command SSI Garrison Subordinate to/
corps or army
32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command Fort Bliss, TX FORSCOM
94th Army Air & Missile Defense Command Fort Shafter, HI United States Army Pacific
10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command Kaiserslautern, Germany United States Army Europe
263d Army Air & Missile Defense Command Anderson, SC South Carolina Army National Guard

Brigade size units

Air Defense Artillery Brigades
Brigade SSI Subordinate to/ garrison Component
6th ADA Brigade (ADA School) Fort Sill Training and Doctrine Command
11th ADA Brigade Fort Bliss 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command
31st ADA Brigade Fort Sill 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command
35th ADA Brigade South Korea Eighth United States Army / 94th Army Air & Missile Defense Command[5]
69th ADA Brigade Fort Hood 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command
108th ADA Brigade Fort Bragg
Fort Campbell
32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command
164th ADA Brigade Florida ARNG
174th ADA Brigade Ohio ARNG


Unit DUI Subordinate to/ garrison Component
1-1 ADA
2-1 ADA
35th ADA Brigade Regular Army
A Battery, 2nd ADA
3-2 ADA
11th ADA Brigade (A Battery, 2nd ADA)
31st ADA Brigade, Fort Sill (3-2 ADA)
Regular Army
4-3 ADA 31st ADA Brigade, Fort Sill Regular Army
A Battery, 4th ADA
3–4 ADA
11th ADA Brigade (A Battery, 4th ADA)
108th ADA Brigade (3–4 ADA)
Regular Army
4-5 AMD
5-5 ADA
69th ADA Brigade (4–5 AMD)
31st ADA Brigade (5–5 ADA)
Regular Army
2–6 ADA
3–6 ADA
6th ADA Brigade (ADA School), Fort Sill Regular Army
1-7 ADA (P)
5-7 ADA (P)
108th ADA Brigade (1–7 ADA)
Kaiserslautern, Germany (5–7 ADA)
Regular Army
1–43 ADA
2–43 ADA
3–43 ADA
11th ADA Brigade Regular Army
1–44 ADA
2–44 ADA
69th ADA Brigade (1–44th ADA) Fort Hood
108th ADA Brigade (2–44 ADA)
Regular Army
5–52 ADA
6–52 ADA
11th ADA Brigade (5–52)
35th ADA Brigade (6–52)
Regular Army
1–56 ADA 6th ADA Brigade (ADA School), Fort Sill Regular Army
1–62 ADA 69th ADA Brigade, Fort Hood Regular Army
1–204 ADA 1–204 ADA Mississippi ARNG

Shipton award

The Shipton Award is named for Brigadier General James A. Shipton, who is acknowledged as the Air Defense Artillery Branch's founding father.[6] Shipton felt that the mission of antiaircraft defense was not to down enemy aircraft, but instead to protect maneuver forces on the ground: "The purpose of anti-aviation defense is to protect our own forces and establishments from hostile attack and observation from the air by keeping enemy aeroplanes [sic] at a distance." The Shipton Award recognizes an Air Defense Artillery professional for outstanding performance individual thought, innovation and contributions that results in significant contributions or enhances Air Defense Artillery's warfighting capabilities, morale, readiness and maintenance.

See also


  1. ^ TIOH Air Defense Artillery branch page
  2. ^ FM 44-100
  3. ^ Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
  4. ^ Bob MacDonald. "We Aim to Hit". California State Military Museum. California State Military Department. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Stiller, Jesse H. (2010). "ADA Branch: A Proud Heritage". Air Defense Artillery Online. 
  • Antiaircraft Artillery Battalions of the U.S. Army (Volumes 1,2) 1991 by James A. Sawicki ISBN 0-9602404-7-0

External links

  • ADA museum- [2]
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