As part of the U.S. Army Air Defense Command (USARADCOM), 31st Artillery Brigade had stood ready to repel a Russian missile strike from Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. A year later, USARADCOM totaled nearly 190 units capable of firing air-defense assets, but as Cold-War tensions began to ease little by little the command began to shrink in size. In 1972, the 31st Artillery Brigade was redesignated to the current 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade (ADAB). Two years later, USARADCOM was inactivated except for the 31st, which eventually suffered the same fate in 1979.

But 1988 saw the activation of the unit and its deployment to Ford Hood, Texas, where it served in support of III Corps. After it was redeployed to Fort Bliss, also in Texas, the activation of its 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Battaltion made the 31st the only Air Defense Artillery brigade with two Patriot battalions (which comprised 20 percent of the entire U.S. Patriot missile forces at the time).

The 31st spent a dozen years at Fort Bliss before being sent to its current home at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. There, it prepared about 50 soldiers for action in Qatar during Operation Enduring Freedom. From 2010 to 2011, the 3rd Battalion 2nd Air Defense Artillery served in Southwest Asia. Other units have recently seen action in Kuwait and Turkey, protecting the region from residual damage caused by the Syrian civil war. In all, the 31st ADAB has been the recipient of two Meritorious Unit Commendations for its role in Operation Enduring Freedom, earning one in 2011 and another in 1015—a testimony to its determination to adhere to the unit motto of “Ready And Vigilant.”

The missile on the ACU patch, officially known as a shoulder sleeve insignia, symbolizes the brigade’s weapons-systems specialty, while the four stars have been grouped in order to represent the unit’s numerical designation. Similar to the white segments seen on the brigade’s Unit Crest, the yellow beams on the patch symbolize radar beams, which the battalion utilizes to aid its offensive and defensive systems. (Note: this design is also employed on the CSIB for the brigade.)

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