Unit designations


That was my first assignment in the Army. No, it’s not some secret code. Just shorthand. We talked about the triangular organization of the Army here. Since there are tons of functionally identical organizations around the Army, it’s easier to give a unit a designation rather than a name. So what unit was this?

I was in the 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry, 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division (Light).

Now, we normally don’t spell it out in that much detail. Most folks in the business know that that the 1st Bn. of the 27th Infantry is part of the 25th ID. So when we play the old game of “where were you stationed?”, we just say, “Oh, I was with 1-27IN”. Plus, it’s not unusual to be shifted around quite a bit inside a company or battalion during a tour. I actually spent that whole tour in Hawaii in the first platoon, but spent time in each of the rifle squads, the weapons squad, and the platoon headquarters.

During my tour in Germany, I started out in C/1-6IN, spent time in each platoon and the headquarters platoon, was moved over to our Brigade HQ (1BDE, 1st AD), then loaned out to a sister battalion, A/7-6IN, part of the 3rd BDE.

A few designations for different types of unit:





AV or AVN- Aviation

FA-Field Artillery (as opposed to the now defunct Coast Artillery)

ADA- Air Defense Artillery

MI- Military Intelligence

MP- Military Police (you can’t spell WIMP without MP!)

QM- Quartermaster Corps

TC- Transportation Corps

If I left your branch/corps out, just let me know. This list is by no means exhaustive. I’m happy to add on.

11 thoughts on “Unit designations”

  1. OD is Ordnance Branch (Ammo and Maintenance)
    LG is Logistics Branch (um, OD, QM, and TN all rolled into one)

  2. Really? Guess I missed that one. Of course, I always thought the bullets and diesel and what not just magically appeared when I needed it. 🙂

  3. 2/1/Ops/721st MI/502d MI/INSCOM

    Sad day for me when I found out they reflagged my unit. I have no clue what the 502d is now-a-days, but that was mine. And you’ll note the INSCOM in place of division. We were flagged as a ACEU (Above Corps Echelon Unit).

  4. Mike, there’s been a lot of reflagging. All the infantry battalions I served in are still around, but they’ve been shuffled like a deck at Vegas. I can draw the Org-chart for the army in 91 from memory, but I’m still working on a post showing how it’s organized today.

  5. Oh tell me about it. I still remember getting cheesed off when the 24th Mech Inf ceased to exist. Not that there isn’t a lot of proud history in 3ID, but still…

  6. To be honest, that one didn’t bother me much…
    Still, having seen us go from 18 Divisions and several separate brigades to 10 Divisions, it hurts.

    I also wonder if at some point in the future we’ll go the British route and assign unit honors down a level. That is, in the British army, regimental historys are assigned to a battalion. That lets them keep the history alive with a much smaller force. I can see BCTs carrying on the honors and history of divisions.

  7. I like that idea a lot. We’re moving to smaller unit actions anyhow (does anyone really think XVIII Airborne Corps will ever actually hit the field as a unit again?) so why not?

  8. Mike, I’ve still got to get my post up about going from Regiments, to the Pentomic Battle Group, to Brigades, to the new UA brigade level emphasis.

    Will XVIII Corps ever fight as one unit? Well, probably not as an organic unit with the assets nominally assigned while stateside. Will the Corps headquarters fight as the HQ for a corps sized element? Probably.

    The loyalty of folks for the heritage of some units has lead to quite some confusion about the organization of lots of units. The 10th Mountain isn’t a “mountain division” at all.
    When the 2AD switched to 4thID, they just changed the patch, not the 6/4 mix of armor/infantry to the Mech 5/5 mix. Same with the guys in 1AD who became 3ID, then 1AD and I don’t know how many times they switched.

    Will we eventually settle on the BCT as the repository of units histories? If so, I’d like to see them as the “Regimental” home. We’ll still have divisional headquarters, even if the division doesn’t deploy as one. For instance, instead of calling it the 1st BDE Combat Team, 1AD (or whatever) I’d prefer to see the 37th Armored Regiment (HBCT)

  9. wow,small world,stumbled upon this site and then read that you were in 1/6!
    i was in A co 1/6INF Rose Barracks from 92 -95!

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