With the end of World War II the U.S. Army no longer needed a large standing army. Both the 101st Airborne Division and the 81st Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Tank Battalion were inactivated. For its contributions and sacrifices in the European Theater of Operations, the Battalion earned two Presidential Unit Citations, the French Croix d’ Guerre, two Belgian Croix d’ Guerre, the Belgian Fourragere, and the Netherlands Orange Lanyard.
During the past 60 years, 2-44 ADA has undergone numerous designation changes living up to its motto “Per Ardua,” or “Through Difficulty.” The 1960s and 1970s proved especially difficult as the U.S. Army developed its SHORAD program. By 1971 the 5th Battalion, 562nd Air Defense Artillery, was briefly activated at Fort Campbell as a provisional unit until 1-3 ADA could complete its training. On Dec. 4, 1972, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery was activated at Fort Campbell and joined the “Screaming Eagle” team. 1-3 ADA, originally formed in 1798, remains one of the oldest units to ever serve on Fort Campbell bringing with it 43 campaign streamers dating back to the War of 1812.
The new Battalion was organized into platoons mixed with both Redeye missiles and towed Vulcan air defense guns. These platoons, nicknamed “Strike Platoons,” added a tremendous low-level air defense capability to the 101st Airborne Division. By 1983, the older Redeye missile was replaced with the highly effective and lethal Stinger missile system.
On March 16, 1988, the 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery was activated at Fort Campbell. The battalion would not have to wait for its baptism of fire. In 1991, during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Charlie Battery participated in the largest and deepest Air Assault operation at the time in support of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. In 1993, 2-44 ADA retired its trusty Vulcan systems in order to field the much more effective Avenger system. In 1995 there was the activation of a fourth firing battery, D/2-44 ADA, to provide air defense coverage in a general support role.
In 2003, the unit returned to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom, to provide SHORAD coverage during the combat phase of operations. The battalion secured critical bridges and road junctions during ground combat in Najaf, Karbala and Al Hillah. In meeting diverse mission requirements throughout the region, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, secured the 4th Infantry Division’s (Mechanized) ground routes through Baghdad using a series of well positioned and heavily armored Traffic Control Points. Strike Fear troopers maintained the route to perfection and significantly aided the 4th Infantry Division as it moved through a potentially hostile, major metropolitan area of several million civilians.