The Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, an elite division specializing in air assault.
Based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 82nd Airborne soldiers are easily recognizable by their maroon berets and “AA” arm patches. They have been involved in virtually every U.S. military conflict since World War I.
The history of the “AA” arm patch
The “AA” arm patch, worn by all 82nd Airborne soldiers, stands for “All American,” the nickname given to the division when it was first formed at Camp Gordon, Georgia, in 1917.
During World War I, many units created nicknames for themselves to build camaraderie and boost morale. Shortly after its inception, the newly-formed 82nd, in partnership with the Atlanta Georgian newspaper, held a contest to collect nickname ideas for the division. The winning nickname, “All American,” was submitted by Vivienne Goodwyn and was chosen for its embodiment of the 82nd’s unique makeup. Unlike other divisions at the time, a diverse group of men from all 48 states served in the 82nd.
Listen to this podcast by the 82nd Airborne Division for more information about its “All American” nickname: