The 82nd can trace its root all the way back to the First World War. It's nickname, the "All American", was coined after it was found out that the division contained draftees from all 48 states. It was reorganized into an Airborne Assault Division during the Second World War and was instrumental during the Normandy invasion of 1944. During the Sino-American War, it was used as a rapid assault team on the Chinese mainland during the Shanghai campaign.
The 82nd is now the main Verti-Assault division in the Enclave, and the division a wastelander is most likely to see out in the wastes. Verti-Assault teams are mostly used for shock tactics, breaking sieges and stalemates, and deep strike missions. Needless to say, the 82nd is the most valuable asset, besides Special Agent CRONOS, the Enclave has.