Currahee Military Weekend
DMOR \ HMOR Induction Ceremony - The battalions of the 506th Infantry Regiment conducted a Distinguished and Honorary Member of the Regiment Induction Ceremony on June 23rd at the Currahee Memorial on Fort Campbell. General Brian Winski was the principal speaker at the ceremony. In his remarks, General Winski paid tribute to the Vietnam Veterans and the contribution they made to our nation’s defense and their pioneering work in airmobile & air assault tactics.
Prior to this event, the Charlie Company Veterans of 2nd Battalion, along with their families, held a dedication ceremony at the Currahee Memorial for the more than 100 pavers representing their brothers that were either killed or wounded in action, plus those who have died since Vietnam and those still with us. The ceremony was led by Colonel (Retired) Bob Seitz and Gary Gilliam.
The DMOR Honorees for 2021 were: Dennis Butler, John Schnarr, Dick Cable, Donald Kemp, John Beebe, James O'Brien, Richard Lombard, Mark Bailey, Craig Oglesby, James Owens, Patrick Stackpole, MAJ Louis Garcia, LTC Timothy Troyer, LTC Todd Tompkins, LTC David Brown, LTC James Bithorn, LTC Spencer Wallace, LTC Vincent Thomas, LTC Jeffrey Farmer, & CSM Leonard Zawisza.
The HMOR Honorees for 2021 were: LTC Joseph Da Silva & LTC Daniel Stuewe.
Dinner at Edward's Steakhouse -The Association held a no host dinner for the battalion commanders, command sergeants major, staffs and their guests. Linda and her staff at Edward's did an excellent job and everyone enjoyed the meal and chance to bond with each other. It was a very good evening. Also on that evening, the Charlie Co. vets hosted a memorial dinner at Valor Hall that included a presentation on the company's actions during Lam Son 719 by Dr. Ken Pitetti and Colonel Bob Seitz.
Pins, Patches & Decals -We have placed an order for 11 items to replenish the supply in our Quartermaster Store managed by Tina Daigle. Look for the update on our website around the end of August.
The Stephens County Historical Society has confirmed October 1,2, and 3 as this year's Currahee Military Weekend. Available hotel rooms will fill up fast so get your reservations made soon. For information about the event please go to the museum's website at <www.toccoahistory.com>
506th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The 506th Infantry Regiment, originally designated the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (506th PIR) during World War II, is an airbornelight infantryregiment of the United States Army. Currently a parent regiment under the U.S. Army Regimental System, the regiment has two active battalions: the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (1-506th IR) is assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (2-506th IR) is assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
The regiment served with the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. Regimental elements have served with the 101st in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Regimental elements have also served in peacetime with the 2nd Infantry Division, and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The World War II actions of the regiment's Company E ("Easy Company") were portrayed in the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
World War II
The regiment was initially formed during World War II at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, in 1942 where it earned its nickname, "Currahees", after the camp's Currahee Mountain. Paratroopers in training ran from Camp Toccoa up Currahee Mountain and back with the shout "three miles up, three miles down!". The Cherokee word, which translates to "Stand Alone", also became the unit's motto. Members of the unit wear the spade (♠) symbol on the helmet outer and the Screaming Eagle patch (indicating membership in the 101st Airborne Division) on the left sleeve. Its first commanding officer was ColonelRobert F. Sink, and the 506th was sometimes referred to as the "Five-Oh-Sink". On 10 June 1943, the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment officially became part of the 101st Airborne Division, commanded by Major GeneralWilliam Lee, the "father of the U.S. Army Airborne".
Sink read in Reader's Digest about a Japanese Army unit that held the world record for marching. Sink believed his men could do better, so he marched the regiment from Camp Toccoa to Atlanta: 137 miles (220 km) in 75 hours and 15 minutes, including 33.5 hours of actual marching. Only 12 of the 2nd Battalion's 556 enlisted men failed to complete the march. All 30 officers completed it, including 2nd Battalion commander Major Robert Strayer. Newspapers covered the march; many civilians turned out to cheer the men as they neared Five Points. In Atlanta, they boarded trains for Airborne School in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The 506th would participate in three major battles during the war: D-day landings, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge. (They would have participated in Operation Varsity, but SHAEF decided to use the 17th Airborne Division instead.)
D-Day: Operation Overlord
This section needs expansion with: more information about events other than Brécourt. You can help by adding to it. (August 2015)
Like almost all paratrooper units, the 506th was widely scattered during the Mission Albany night drop on the morning of D-Day. The most famous action for the 506th on D-Day was the Brécourt Manor Assault led by 1st Lieutenant Richard Winters. Later, they fought in the battle for Carentan.
The unit had been promised that they would be in battle for just three days, but the 506th did not return to England for 33 days. Of about 2,000 men who jumped into France, 231 were killed in action, 183 were missing or POWs, and 569 were wounded – about 50% casualties for the Normandy campaign.
Operation Market Garden
The airborne component of Operation Market Garden, Operation Market was composed of American units (82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and the IX Troop Carrier Command), British units (1st Airborne Division) and Polish units (1st Independent Parachute Brigade). The airborne units were dropped near several key bridges along the axis of advance of the ground forces, Operation Garden, with the objective of capturing the bridges intact in order to allow a deep penetration into the German-occupied Netherlands and to capture the key bridge crossing the River Rhine at Arnhem.
The 101st Airborne was assigned five bridges just north of the German defensive lines northwest of Eindhoven. The daylight schedule resulted in well-targeted and controlled drops into the designated zones. The 101st captured all but one bridge, the one at Son, which its German defenders blew up as the airborne units approached. The ground forces of British XXX Corps linked up with elements of the 101st Airborne on the second day of operations but the advance of the ground forces was delayed while engineers replaced the Son bridge with a Bailey bridge. XXX Corps then continued its advance into the 82nd Airborne's area of operations where it was halted just shy of Arnhem due to German counterattacks along the length of the deep penetration.
The 101st Airborne continued to support XXX Corps advance during the remainder of Operation Market Garden with several running battles over the next several days. On 5 October after the operation had ended the 101st then came up to the Nijmegen salient and relieved the British 43rd Wessex Division to defend against the German counter offensive.
Battle of the Bulge
See also: Siege of Bastogne
The 506th fought in the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 to January 1945. In December, the unit, along with the rest of the 101st Airborne Division, was resting and refitting in France after Operation Market Garden. On 16 December, GeneralDwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front, ordered them to move into the Belgian town of Bastogne by 18 December, so that the Germans would not gain access to its important crossroads. The short-notice move left the unit short of food, ammunition, arms, men, and winter clothing. The unit, along with the rest of the 101st Airborne, was encircled immediately. The 506th was sent to the eastern section of the siege. During the siege, there were reports of problems with tying in the gap in between the 501st PIR and the 506th. To stall the Germans so that the defense could be set up, the 1st Battalion of the 506th (along with Team Desobry from the 10th Armored Division) was sent out to fight the Germans in the towns of Noville and Foy. One-third (about 200 men) of the battalion were killed or wounded, but the unit took out 30 enemy tanks and inflicted 500 to 1,000 casualties. The battalion was put into reserve and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were put on the lines. A supply drop on 22 December helped to some extent. After the U.S. Third Army, under General George Patton, broke the encirclement, the 506th stayed on the line and spearheaded the offensive by liberating Foy and Noville in January. They were then transferred to Haguenau and pulled off the line in late February 1945.
Rest of the war
The regiment was put back on the line on 2 April, and continued for the rest of the war, taking light casualties. It helped encircle the Ruhr Pocket and capture Berchtesgaden, then took up occupational duties in Zell am See, Austria. The 506th then began training to be redeployed to the Pacific theater but the war ended in August 1945.
Post World War II
The 506th was deactivated in 1945, then was re-activated as the 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment in 1948–1949, again in 1950–1953 and finally, in 1954 to train recruits. Despite the designation "Airborne Infantry" and its continuing assignment in the 101st Airborne Division, none of these troops received airborne training, nor was the "Airborne" tab worn above the Divisional patch.
The colors of the 101st were reactivated as a combat division in 1956 under the Pentomic structure, which eliminated infantry regiments and battalions in favor of five battle groups per division. The colors of Company A, 504AIR were reactivated as HHC, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 506th Infantry, the only active element of the 506th. Just before the Cuban Missile Crisis, on 1 October 1962, 1-506th was deployed to Oxford, Mississippi to assist in restoring order after James Meredith arrived to integrate the University of Mississippi.
The Pentomic structure was abandoned in 1964 in favor of brigades and battalions, and the 1st ABG, 506th Infantry was reorganized and redesignated as 1st Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry. Additionally, the lineage of Co. B, 506AIR was reactivated as HHC, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry. Both battalions were part of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which was deployed to Vietnam from late 1967 to 1971. 1-506th was recognized for its role during the Tet Offensive in early 1968 and the Battle of Hamburger Hill in May 1969 together with 2-506th, during the battle of FSB Ripcord.
On 1 April 1967 the colors of the former Company C, 506AIR were reactivated at Fort Campbell as HHC, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry. Assigned to the 1st Brigade, it served in Vietnam and was inactivated at Fort Campbell on 31 July 1972.
The division, including the 506th, was reorganized as Airmobile in 1968, later renamed Air Assault in 1974. During the Vietnam War, five soldiers from the 506th were awarded the Medal of Honor.
When the 101st was reformed in 1973 at Fort Campbell (after its return from Vietnam), the 1st Battalion was the only active unit of the regiment, assigned to the division's 2nd Brigade. The battalion deployed to various training missions across the United States. In 1980, for example, deployments included Fort Drum, New York; Camp Grayling, Michigan; and Fort Polk, Louisiana. In addition, members of Charlie Company were present at President Ronald Reagan's inauguration, 20 January 1981. After redeployment from Fort Polk, "Hardcore Charlie" was detached to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, for operation Bright Star'81 in September, to "round out" that unit when it deployed to the Sinai for peacekeeping duties. This was the first U.S. military force to be deployed to the Middle East since the end of World War II. The battalion colors were inactivated on 5 June 1984 when all of the infantry battalions of the brigade were reflagged as elements of the 502nd Infantry.
The battalion was reactivated on 16 March 1987 as part of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, by reflagging the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, at Camp Greaves. The 1st Battalion continued the mission to man Guard Posts Ouellette and Collier, conduct combat and recon patrols, man the southern entrance to the Korean Demilitarized Zone and maintain the bridge platoon that guarded Freedom Bridge. It was later reorganized as an air assault battalion, 1-506 Infantry (Air Assault) and eventually switched brigades in a 2nd Infantry Division reorganization. The majority of the battalion remained north of the Imjin River at Camp Greaves while its Alpha Company moved south of Freedom Bridge to Camp Giant.
In 2004, 1-506th was deployed from Korea to Habbaniyah, Iraq. Instead of returning to Korea, the battalion redeployed to Fort Carson, Colorado, on 30 September 2005 to be reflagged to 2-12th Infantry Regiment. On 30 September 2005 it was relieved (less personnel and equipment) from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division and assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Concurrently, a "new" 1-506th was created by reflagging an existing battalion within the 101st and assigning it to the division's 4th Brigade Combat Team. Additionally, the colors of 2-506th were reactivated within the 4th BCT, again by reflagging an existing battalion.
The 1st Battalion (1-506) deployed to Ramadi, Al-Anbar Province, Iraq, from November 2005 until November 2006. HHC (Hellraisers), Company A (AKA or Ass Kicking Alfa), Company B (Outlaws), Company C (Gunfighters), Company D (Death Dealers) and elements of Company E, 801st BSB (Wrench) occupied Camp Corregidor, the main FOB Camp Manhattan. Companies HHC, A, B, C and D were tasked with missions, mounted in M1114 HMMWV's and on foot in the "Mulaab" District of Ramadi. Company A occupied the combat outpost, which shared the facility with the HHC medical aid station (Voodoo), elements of Company E, 801st BSB (Wrench), and a platoon of sappers from Company C, 876th Engineer Battalion, part of the 2nd Brigade, 28th Division, Pennsylvania National Guard. Company A was tasked with operations ranging from the North of FOB Corregidor to the Euphrates River. Company B (Outlaw), was posted 7 kilometers to the east of the Corregidor FOB at OP Trotter, with a separate mission of protecting the most vulnerable part of the MSR (main supply route) leading into Ramadi, and the occupation of "OP Graveyard," an isolated and abandoned cemetery to the south of the MSR. Time magazine described Ramadi during this time as "The Most Dangerous Place." During this time, forward observers from Task Force 1-506 were the first to call in a GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) strike in combat.
The 2d Battalion (2-506) deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon in South Baghdad, cross-attached to the 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from November 2005 until November 2006 under Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Butts. During the Baghdad clearance operations that set the stage for the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 under General David Petraeus, the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry conducted the first deliberate clear-hold-build operation in the Doura Market as part of Operation Together Forward II under Multi-National Division – Baghdad (MND-B). Careful examination of their TTPs (techniques, tactics, and procedures) for this combined, joint operation with the Iraqi National Police and Iraqi Police resulted in the emulation of their tactics for similar operations across Baghdad for the next six months, a temporary measure until surge forces could arrive and set up joint security stations (JSS).
In early 2008 the 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 101st Airborne Division (the 1-506th and 2-506th being part of that brigade), deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 1st Battalion was deployed to the Ghazni, Wardak, and Western Paktika Provinces with the exception of Company A (Alfa), split in half (1st and 2nd platoons) along with a platoon from Company D (Delta) to assist a team from 10th Special Forces Group in the Northern province of Kapisa in the outpost Forward Operating Base (FOB) Kutchsbach for the first six months of the deployment. After completing their mission in establishing a safe area of operation in the Tagab valley and large compound to support a battalion of French forces, the units rejoined their companies that were scattered in the other provinces. Much of the fighting was with insurgents that have attempted to interdict the main highway that runs from Kabul in the north to Kandahar in the south. One three-man team, known as the Shamsheer team, part of the OCCP, was widely used in collecting intel, finding high-value targets and locating caches with the Afghan soldiers. The 2nd Battalion was deployed primarily in the Khost regions, with elements serving in eastern Paktika and Kandahar provinces. The 2nd Battalion's Company D (Delta) served in some of the most brutal firefights of the deployment, losing seven soldiers during rotation. The 506th returned to Fort Campbell in March 2009. In 2011 Charlie Company was deployed to FOB Khayr-Khot Castle where they assisted 5th & 20th Special Forces group.
In Spring 2013 the 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 101st Airborne Division, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. With operations in southeastern Afghanistan, Task Force (TF) Currahee executed Security Force Assistance (SFA) operations to develop the capability of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), to include the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), the National Directorate of Security (NDS), and local, district, and provincial government officials. TF Currahee enabled the ANSF to assume security responsibility in the critical provinces of Khowst, Paktya, Paktika and South Ghazni and prepare for Afghanistan national elections in 2014. Through a campaign that balanced both the requirement to develop ANSF tactical and operational capacity as well as the necessity to defeat a very active enemy force, TF Currahee attacked into enemy support zones alongside its partnered ANSF, despite operating at a reduced strength of 2,400 soldiers. TF Currahee soldiers removed over 600 enemies of Afghanistan from the battlefield while simultaneously training, advising, and assisting their ANA partners of the 1st Brigade, 203rd ANA Corps. This resulted in ANSF conducting operations in areas Coalition forces had not been since the beginning of OEF, as well as an ANSF unilateral combat operation in Paktya and Logar, the first since the arrival of Coalition forces since 2001.
1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, "Red Currahee," deployed to Paktya and Khowst Provinces at the end of April 2013. TF Red Currahee assumed responsibility of over two thirds of the entire Brigade AOR on 22 May 13. The initial battlespace encompassed an area approximately 2,809 square miles, to which the task force added responsibility for five additional districts, encompassing approximately 560 square miles, within Paktika Province in the final months of the deployment. TF Red Currahee maintained responsibility for three assistance platforms (APs), with their ANSF counterparts. The ANSF numbered approximately 8,500 strong, and consisted of the ANA, AUP, Provincial Response Company (PRC), Afghan Border Police (ABP), CRC, NDS, ALP, and an OCC-P HQ. TF Red Currahee executed over 270 partnered patrols, 180 partnered named operations, and over 70 quick reaction force and time sensitive target missions. Each company within the battalion immediately partnered with their ANSF partners to improve their capacity through advising and assisting them as the ANSF executed offensive combat operations. TF Red Currahee targeted high-value individuals from each of these cells and killed approximately 150 enemies of Afghanistan and five high-value individuals. Combined with ANSF and other task forces' operations, over 300 enemies were killed and nearly 250 detained. TF Red Currahee fired over 2,291 rounds of artillery in support of ANSF and against enemy forces and executed 14 close-air support strikes and 11 ISR kinetic strikes. In the time during which TF Red Currahee was responsible for the battlespace, kinetic activity increased at a rate of 144 percent compared to previous years, making it the most kinetic province in RC-East. Without losing focus on lethal targeting, TF Red Currahee focused on the closure of its three APs. AP Chamkani was the first AP in the AO to be transferred to the ANSF, followed by AP Zormat and AP Wilderness. By TOA, Red Currahee retrograded over 106,458,842.44 million dollars worth of government property.
2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, "White Currahee," in conjunction with three SFAAT teams, advised and assisted 2nd BN, 1st BDE, 203rd ANA Corps, 3rd BN, 1st BDE, 203rd ANA Corps, the Khowst OCC-P, the Afghan Border Police, and the Afghan Uniformed Police across the districts of Jaji Maidan, Bak, Sabari, Musa Khel, Qalandar, Terayzai, Gorbuz, Tani, and Matun. TF White Currahee built ANSF capabilities and confidence leading to long-term capacity by teaching, and mentoring ANSF to disrupt enemy networks in the crucial border province of Khowst. TF White Currahee worked heavily with the ANSF to strengthen rule of law in the province through a warrant based targeting methodology that assisted the combined ANSF pillars to detain 53 enemy combatants. The majority were convicted, and imprisoned and therefore weakened the enemy's ability to move materials and fighters into the interior of Afghanistan.
In honor of a fallen ANSF soldier, the "Hero of Khowst" competition was created by CSM Lamont Christian to mirror the U.S. Army's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club award. Select NCOs from 3rd BN, 1st BDE, 203rd ANA Corps, were put through physical and mental tests and the top four competitors were recognized and awarded at FOB Salerno in the beginning of October. The first ever NCO recipients of the award will carry on the event every year beyond U.S. presence. TF White Currahee successfully transferred eastern Khowst province from ANSF security primacy to full ANSF control with the successful transfer of AFCOP Sabari, AFCOP Matun Hill, and FOB Salerno to the ANA. Following the transfers, the ANSF performed independent intelligence driven combined operations. On the 10th anniversary day that the first U.S. task force sized unit arrived at FOB Salerno, TF White Currahee departed to conduct ANSF training across the remainder of Regional Command – East.
As part of the Army-wide reduction of brigade combat teams, 4th Brigade Combat Team "Currahee", 101st Airborne Division was inactivated on 25 April 2014.
Presently, the 506th Infantry Regiment legacy continues through its infantry battalions which continue to serve within the 101st Airborne Division.
Current assignments of active units of the regiment:
- 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry [Regiment] "Red Currahee", 1st BCT "Bastogne", 101st Airborne Division
- 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry [Regiment] "White Currahee", 3rd BCT "Rakkasan", 101st Airborne Division
Lineage, honors, and heraldry
Constituted 1 July 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 506th Parachute Infantry
Activated 20 July 1942 at Camp Toccoa, Georgia
Assigned 10 June 1943 to the 101st Airborne Division
Inactivated 30 November 1945 in France
Redesignated 18 June 1948 as the 506th Airborne Infantry
Allotted 25 June 1948 to the Regular Army
Activated 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
Inactivated 1 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
Activated 25 August 1950 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
Inactivated 1 December 1953 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
Activated 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Relieved 25 April 1957 from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division; concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 506th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System
Withdrawn 16 March 1987 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System
Constituted 16 September 2004 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (The 4th BCT, 101st Abn Div was the next highest echelon above 1-506th and 2-506th and has a separate lineage from the 506th Infantry Regiment.)
Redesignated 1 October 2005 as the 506th Infantry Regiment
Re-aligned 16 April 2014 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky under 1st and 3d BCTs, 101st Abn Div.
Campaign participation credit
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered NORMANDY
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BASTOGNE
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered TRANG BANG
Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered DONG AP BIA MOUNTAIN
Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered PHAN THIET
Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered DEFENSE OF SAIGON
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered IRAQ 2005-2006
French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY
Netherlands Orange Lanyard
Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm, Streamer embroidered BASTOGNE; cited in the order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Bastogne
Belgian Fourragere 1940: Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in France and Belgium
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered AFGHANISTAN 2008-2009
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered AFGHANISTAN 2010-2011
Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered AFGHANISTAN 2013
Coat of arms
- The blue field is for the Infantry, the 506th's arm of the service. Thunderbolt indicates the regiment's particular threat and technique to attack: striking with speed, power, and surprise from the sky. Six parachutes represent the fact that the 506th was in the sixth parachute regiment activated in the U.S. Army, of which, the unit is proud. The green silhouette represents the Currahee Mountain -- the site of the regiment's activation (Toccoa, Ga.) -- and symbolizes the organization's strength, independence, and ability to stand alone for which paratroops are renowned.
- The winged sword-breaker represents airborne troops. The conjoined caltraps stand for the enemy line of defense behind which paratroopers are dropped. They are two in number in reference to the unit's two air assault landings. The fleur-de-lis is for the Normandy invasion and the bugle horn, from the arms of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, refers to the organization's capture of that objective. The six large spikes of the caltraps stand for the unit's six decorations. The demi-roundel represents a section of the hub of a wheel. It stands for Bastogne, Belgium, strategic crossroads of highways and railways. The hub, surmounted by the winged sword-breaker, commemorates the organization's heroic defense of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge.
- CURRAHEE. American Aboriginal, Cherokee Tongue meaning Stands Alone.
The coat of arms was originally approved for the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment on 20 Apr 1943. It was amended on 23 Aug 1943 to correct the blazon. The coat of arms was redesignated for the 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment on 18 Mar 1949. On 27 Feb 1958 it was redesignated for the 506th Infantry.
Medal of Honor recipients
Of the twenty-two Medals of Honor awarded to soldiers of the 101st Airborne, seven were Currahees.
- Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion
- Place and date: Near Bruyeres, France, 25 October 1944
- Rank and Organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 3d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division
- Place and Date: 10 May 1970, Se San, Cambodia
- Rank and Organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)
- Place and date: Near Dak To, Quang Trang Province, Republic of Vietnam, 29 June 1968
- Rank and Organization: Sergeant (then Sp4c.), U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division
- Place and Date: Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam, 11 July 1969
- Rank and Organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division
- Place and Date: Thua Thien province, Republic of Vietnam, 7 May 1970
- Rank and Organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 2d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division
- Place and Date: Fire Support Base Ripcord, Republic of Vietnam, 1 to 23 July 1970
- Rank and Organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company D, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)
- Place and date: Quan Tan Uyen Province, Republic of Vietnam, 18 May 1968
World War II
- Donald Burgett, of Company A, fought from Normandy to the end of the war. He wrote four books on his time in the company.
- Sergeant Joseph Beyrle, of Company I, fought for US and Russian forces.
- Colonel (later Lieutenant General) Robert F. Sink, regimental commander for all of World War II.
- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lee Wolverton, commanding officer of 3rd battalion.
- Easy Company, 2nd Battalion
- First Lieutenant Lynn "Buck" Compton, officer with Company E during World War II and chief prosecutor in the case of Sirhan Sirhan. He has published a book called "Call of Duty: My Life before, during and after the Band of Brothers".
- Staff Sergeant William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, a colorful noncom of Company E who maintained a website devoted to the history of the 506th until his death in 2014. The website continues to be maintained.
- First Lieutenant Carwood Lipton, company first sergeant, later promoted to 2nd Lieutenant via battlefield commission.
- Technical Sergeant Donald Malarkey, non-commissioned officer, served in Easy Company for the entire war. He has published a book called Easy Company Soldier.
- Captain Lewis Nixon, intelligence officer and close friend of Major Richard Winters.
- Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Sobel, initial commanding officer.
- Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Speirs, took command of Company E during their assault on Foy, Belgium in January 1945. Final commanding officer. Went on to become commandant of Spandau Prison.
- Private First Class David Webster, a rifleman and diarist of Company E whose book Parachute Infantry deals in detail with the 506th.
- Major Richard Winters started out as a platoon leader in Company E. Was made company commander when the commander's (Lieutenant Meehan) plane was shot down on D-Day. He was made 2nd Battalion Executive Officer during Operation Market Garden in October 1944. Took over as acting battalion commander during the siege of Bastogne. Became permanent 2nd battalion commander in March 1945, and stayed in that position until the end of the war. He published a memoir of his war service (Beyond Band of Brothers) and has also been the subject of a biography (Biggest Brother).
- Filthy Thirteen
In popular culture
- The book Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, and was the basis of a successful TV miniseries, aired on HBO.
- In the film Saving Private Ryan, the titular Pvt. James Francis Ryan of Iowa states he was assigned to Baker Company (B Co.) 1-506th. Captain Miller also encountered 506th Pathfinders early on in the movie during the search for Pvt. Ryan.
- In the video game Call of Duty, the player character in the American campaign is depicted as a soldier from the 506th as denoted by the Poker Spade insignia on his M1 helmet. Call of Duty: WWII celebrated the Veterans Day, where there are three different videos, one of them of Paul Martinez from the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
- in the film Saints and Soldiers the characters are from the 506th Infantry Regiment, as depicted by the black Spade on their helmets.
- In the Tom Clancy novel Without Remorse, Emmet Ryan, father of Jack Ryan, claimed to have jumped on D-Day with "E 2-506th".
- In the Company of Heroes computer game, the player controls paratroopers from 506th's Fox Company in some of the main campaign missions.
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document: "Lineage and Honors of the 506th Infantry Regiment (Currahee)".
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document: "Headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division".
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Welcome to the 1st BCT, 504th PIR, the best Regimental Association supporting any organization of the U.S. Army
The purpose of the Association is to establish a permanent organization to preserve the History of the Regiment and further develop the common bond which exists among soldiers who served and are serving in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and its supporting units; to provide continuing support of troopers currently serving; to perpetuate the memory of the members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment who have died in the service of their country; to maintain contact with the members through the gathering and dissemination of information of concern; and to provide for their patriotic assembly in local and national reunions, thereby perpetuating the Airborne Spirit as to heritage and tradition for future generations. The Association shall actively promote membership by all those eligible.
New 1 BCT/504 PIR Association
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CO 506th PIR
R E L A T E D
B I O S
Col Robert F Sink
Gen Maxwell D Taylor
Gen Matthew B Ridgway
Lt Gen Lewis H Brereton
101st Airborne WW II
Medal of Honor Recipients
Lt Col Robert G Cole
Pfc Joe E. Mann
R E L A T E D
S I T E S
USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II
The Drop Zone
ETO Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)
D-Day and Beyond (Memories)
Carentan Historical Center
olonel William C Lee was given command of all airborne units in March 1942. This new organization was designated the Airborne Command and established at Fort Benning GA. Rapidly moving world events accelerated the need for trained airborne units and two more parachute regiments were activated. On 20 July 1942 the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated and Lt Col Robert F Sink was named regimental commander. Lt Col Sink, who had been a member of the original 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion relinquished his command of the 503rd PIR to Lt Col Kenneth Kinsler and immediately began the task of thoroughly conditioning his new recruits. Like many of the Airborne regimental commanders of his day, Col "Bounding Bob" Sink instilled his own unique style of leadership on his troops who took their training camp reviews on the double. Besides setting a world record, this demanding style of training would serve the men well during the war when they were renowned for marching great distances in short periods of time.
This training took place in Camp Toccoa, Georgia which was adjacent to the Currahee Mountains. Ironically, "Currahee" meant "stand alone" in the local Indian language and the troopers immediately adopted it as their regimental motto since that was their objective behind enemy lines.
( << Click Picture (left) for aerial view of Camp Toccoa circa 1943 << )
Toward the end of November 1942, the 506th PIR was ordered to Fort Benning for parachute training. Upon arrival at Fort Benning, the 506th immediately started their parachute training. They learned to pack their own chutes and to prepare their equipment to be dropped in an airborne operation. Once their advanced airborne training at Fort Benning was completed, the unit moved to Camp Mackall, NC. It was here that extensive tactical training was conducted, including many night jumps.
The 506th PIR was attached to the 101st Airborne Division on 1 June 1943. Later that month the regiment moved west to participate in the Tennessee maneuvers. After participating in the maneuvers, the 506th moved to Fort Bragg, NC until the end of August 1943 when the unit reported to Camp Shanks, NY to prepare to be transported overseas. The 506th crossed the Atlantic on the S.S. Samaria during September, arriving at Liverpool, England, on 15 September 1943.
In England, the 506th was stationed in Wiltshire County, with units in such villages as Aldbourne, Ramsbury, Froxfield, and Chilton-Foliat. Here the unit took part in such exercises as "Operations Wadham and Rankin" in preparation for the coming invasion of occupied Europe. June 5, 1944, found the men of the 506th parked by the aircraft that were to carry them into their first combat mission.
)( picture above right: The Square in Aldbourne, England circa 1943.(^^ Click Above Picture to Enlarge ^^) (>> Click Here for additional pictures <<)
Normandy - D-Day
The 506th PIR took off for their first combat jump at 0100hrs, 6 June 1944. In the predawn hours of D-Day a combination of low clouds, and enemy anti-aircraft fire caused the break-up of the troop carrier formations. The scattering of the air armada was such that only nine of the eighty-one planes scheduled to drop their men on the Drop Zone (DZ) found their mark. Consequently, the sporadic jump patterns caused most of the troopers to land far afield of their designated DZ. Some of the sticks landed as far away as 20 miles from the designated area. Only the 3rd Battalion landed in close proximity to their designated DZ. However, the area had long been recognized by the Germans as a likely spot for a parachute assault. The Germans set a strategic trap and in less than 10 minutes managed to kill the battalion commander, Lt Col Wolverton, his executive officer Maj George Grant and a large portion of the battalion. The only part of the battalion that survived were those who were dropped in the wrong DZ. These two planeloads of troopers under the leadership of Capt Charles Shettle managed to accomplish the battalion's objective of capturing the two bridges over the Douve River. The men of the remaining battalions fought valiantly in small groups, and as others joined them, they moved towards their objectives. Just prior to the landing of seaborne forces, the high ground overlooking the beaches was seized and held by the men of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
On 29 June the 101st was relieved from the VIII Corps and sent to Cherbourg to relieve the 4th Infantry Division. The 506th PIR remained as a First Army reserve until 10 July, when it returned to England for rest and training. At about the same time General Eisenhower called for a headquarters that would oversee the Allies' airborne troops. In August 1944 he established the First Allied Airborne Army, controlling elements of the American and British (and Polish) Armies. The new army was put to the test in September 1944 during the Allied thrust in northern Europe: Operation Market-Garden.
(picture above right: Men of D Company of the 506th PIR in Aldbourne, England circa May 1944. They are (left to right) Kneeling: Pfc John Sherborn (KIA Bastogne), Pfc Gilbert Van Every (DSC), Pvt Jack Sandridge and Cpl Jack E Mattz (KIA Holland); Back Row: Sgt Willis Phillips (KIA Holland), Pvt Benny Niesner, Pfc Jack Miller, Cpl Foster M. Sist and Pvt Frederick Linacre. (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) )
Operation Market Garden
This was an audacious plan concocted by British Field Marshal Montgomery (picture left) that would be the first major daylight air assault attempted by a military power since Germany's attack on Crete. Similar to the Germans assault of four years earlier, the Allies initial plan for September 17,1944 was to use the paratroopers and glidermen of the 82nd and 101st U.S. Airborne Divisions and England's First Airborne Division in a daring daylight drop into Holland. The airborne Allied troops were to seize roads, bridges and the key communication cities of Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem, thus cutting Holland in half and clearing a corridor for British armoured and motorized columns all the way to the German border.
The 101st mission was to secure the fifteen miles of Hell's Highway stretching from Eindhoven north to Veghel. After less than three months in England, the 506th was to make its second combat jump. This time the unit was to land in Holland on DZ B, seize the Wilhemina Canal Bridges at Zon, then move South and take Eindhoven with its four highway bridges over the Dommel River. Shortly after 1315 hours on the afternoon of 17 September 1944, the entire regiment landed on one field, and the unit pushed south to Zon with little difficulty.
Upon arriving at Zon, the 1st Battalion, led by Maj James L LaPrade, found the two bridges had been blown when the leading group was within 50 yards of securing it. Undaunted by this setback, Col Sink ferried his Five-O-Sink troopers across the canal, however, the regiment was a day late in arriving at its objective, Eindhoven. By noon on D plus 1, the Eindhoven bridges were secured, and at 1830 hours, the British were able to move an armored unit into the town. From D-Day until November, 1944, the men of the 506th became familiar with such names as St Oedenrode, Uden, Veghel, Koevering, Nijmegen, Opheusden and Randwijk, as they fought from town to town and repelled every counter-attack the enemy launched. The end of November found the unit at a former French artillery garrison just outside the village of Mourmelon. Here they rested, reorganized and received replacements.
The Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge
On 16 December, 1944, The Germans had launched a major offensive at dawn on 16 December, west through the Ardennes Forest, in the lightly held sector of our VII Corps. At that time Shaef's Reserve consisted of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. The 101st was ordered to the vitally important town of Bastogne which was the key to the German counteroffensive. From Bastogne radiated several roads that were essential to the German juggernaut. The 101st was jammed into trucks for an overnight rush to Bastogne in Belgium on Dec. 18th. The defense of Bastogne by the 101st presented a formidable obstacle to the surging Fifth Panzer Army of Hasso von Manteuffel (picture left). In the ensuing days the encircled Currahees and for that matter the entire 101st engaged in vicious fighting. The Screaming Eagles suffered heavy casualties including the Currahees highly regarded 1st Battalion Commander, Lt Col James L LaPrade, as the 506th defended Bastogne on the eastern sector of the circular airhead established by General McAuliffe. Like their "brothers" in the other units the 506th fought with what they had and prayed that the C-47s would get through with the vital supplies necessary to sustain them. Finally, on December 26th Patton's 4th Armor Division broke through the encirclement and the lifting of the siege of Bastogne began.
On 15 January 1945, the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment took the town of Noville, Belgium, a longtime Division objective. Then on the 20th of January, the 506th moved to the Alsace Province of France where Hitler's "Operation Nordwind" offensive, under the personal direction of Heinrich Himmler, was threatening a sector of the Seventh Army front. While holding the line the regiment changed positions several times while also sending out many patrols. Although the enemy continually shelled their positions, the 506th PIR did not conduct any major operations during this time.
On 23 February, the men of the 506th were relieved, and returned to Mourmelon, France. Here General Eisenhower spoke to the 101st Airborne Division when the unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its stand at Bastogne. This was the first time in the history of the United States Amy that an entire Division had been so honored.
As the war in Europe was nearing its end,the 506th moved to the Ruhr Pocket on 2 April to help in mop-up operations. Here the 506th went on the line facing the Rhine River south of Dusseldorf, Germany. On the 4th and 5th of May, the 506th received and carried out its final wartime mission - the capture of Berchtesgaden, Hitler's Eagles Nest.
(picture above right: Men of the 1st Platoon, A Company of the 506th PIR in Taxenbach, Austria circa May 1945. They are (left to right) Kneeling: Pfc D.B. Straith, Cpl C.H. Shoemaker, Cpl E.J. Janssen (partialy hidden), S/Sgt G.G. Janes, Pfc D.L. Cofone and Cpl A. Claeys; Back Row: Pfc C.E. Blankenship, Pfc N.F. Alexander, Sgt R.R. Bruni, S/Sgt V.P. Pasciarelli and Pvt R.V. Runyan. (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) )On 8 May, Colonel "Bounding Bob" Sink accepted the surrender of the German LXXXII Corps, commanded by Lt General Theodor Tolsdorf. The 506th established its command post in Zell Am See, where it remained until the end of July, when it moved to Joigny, France. On 30 November 1945 the regiment was deactivated, and its few remaining members were reassigned to other units.
( Sources: " Paratroopers" by Gerard M. Devlin & Joe Beyrle, I Co., 3rd BN, 506th, 1942-1945.)
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment - Pictures
- A Company - 506 PIR - Group Photo of members of the 506th PIR Company A (March 1945) at Mourmelon-le-Grand, France. [Standing: 4th from left Sgt Jack Bram; Eugene Heon and Melvin Willard. Crouching: 3 troopers unknown.] (Photo courtesy of Donald Straith)
- A Company - 506 PIR - Group Photo of members of the 506th PIR Company A (Date Unknown) (Photo courtesy of Kevin S Mazur)
- C Company - 506 PIR - Group Photo of members of the 506th PIR Company C (Before D-Day) (Photo courtesy of Ken Dryden)
- D Company - 506 PIR - Group Photo of members of the 506th PIR Company D (Date Unknown)
- E Company - 506 PIR - Photo of Sgt D. Malarkey, Sgt Burr Smith & Sgt W "Skip" Muck (KIA) of E Company - 2nd Platoon - the 506th PIR at Ft Benning, GA.
- E Company - 506 PIR - Photo of members of E Company - the 506th PIR in the Normandy Hedgerows. Cpl W H Dukeman 2nd from left (KIA-Holland) (Photo courtesy of Art Hight)
- E Company - 506 PIR - Photo of members of E Company - the 506th PIR on the LZ in Holland. 1st Lt James H Moore 3rd from left (KIA-Holland) (Photo courtesy of his son Peter Maidman)
- E Company - 506 PIR - Photo of members of E Company - 2nd Platoon - the 506th PIR.
- G Company - 506 PIR - Group Photo of members of the 506th PIR Company G (Date Unknown)
- G Company - 506 PIR - Western Union Telegram - Informing of 1/Sgt Woodrow H Smith's capture.
- G Company - 506 PIR - Miscellaneous photos - 1/Sgt Woodrow H Smith.
- I Company - 506 PIR - Group Photo of members of the 506th PIR Company I (Date Unknown) (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Westhuis)
R E L A T E D B O O K S
Alexander, Larry Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led the Band of Brothers NAL Hardback (April 2005), 320 p. ISBN: 0451215109
Ambrose, Stephen E D-DAY June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of WW II. 6/93, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0671673343
Ambrose, Stephen E Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster, (June 2001) 336 p. ISBN: 0-743-21638-5
Ambrose, Stephen E Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945. Simon & Schuster, (Nov 1997) 528 p. ISBN: 0-684-81525-7
Badsey, Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor) Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Bando, Mark A Avenging Eagles: Forbidden tales of the 101st Airborne in World War 2. Bando Publishing, (2006) 183 p. ISBN: 0977911705
Bando, Mark A 101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Press, (Apr 2001) 156 p. ISBN: 0760308551
Bando, Mark A Vanguard of the Crusade: The US 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The Aberjona Press, (June 2003) 320 p. ISBN: 0971765006
Black, Wallace B.& Blashfield, Jean F. Battle of the Bulge (World War II 50th Anniversary Series). Crestwood House, 48 pp May,1993 ISBN: 0896865681
Bowen, Robert Fighting With the Screaming Eagles: With the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne. Greenhill Books/Lionel Leventhal, (Sept 2001) 256 p. ISBN: 1853674656
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, (1989) 621 p. ISBN: 0-312-03350-8
Breuer, William B Unexplained Mysteries of World War II. John Wiley & Sons, Sept 1998 256 p. ISBN:0471291072
Burgett, Donald R Currahee!. Presidio Press, (Sept 1999) 256 p. ISBN: 0-891-41681-1
Compton, Lt Lynn (Buck) & Marcus Brotherton Call of Duty: My Life Before, During and After the Band of Brothers . Berkley Hardcover, (May 6, 2008) 288 p. ISBN: 0425219704
D'Este, Carlo Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel American Warriors: Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers Prior to Normandy July, 1998, D-Day Pub, 212 p. ISBN: 2960017609
De Trez, Michel Cpl Forrest Guth: E Company 506 PIR 101st Airborne Division (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series) March, 2002, D-Day Pub, 56 p. ISBN: 296001765X
De Trez, Michel Orange is the Color of the Day: Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Holland April, 2004, D-Day Pub, 506 p. ISBN: 2960017633
De Trez, Michel At the Point of No Return : Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Normandy 7/98, D-Day Pub, 200 p. ISBN: 2960017617
Devlin, Gerard S Paratrooper! St Martin's Press, (P) c1976 ISBN: 0312596529
Gabel, Kurt The Making of a Paratrooper: Airborne Training and Combat in World War II Univ Press of Kansas (Jan 1990), 282 p. ISBN: 070060409X
Gardner, Ira & Roger Day Tonight We Die As Men: The untold story of Third Battalion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment from Toccoa to D-Day. Osprey Press, (April 21, 2009) 344 p. ISBN: 1846033225
Gavin, James M. On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Giard, Régis & Frédéric Blais Helmets of the ETO: A Historical & Technical Guide Histoire & Collections (Jan 2008), 216 p. ISBN: 2352500621
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
Kershaw, Alex The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon Da Capo Press, 288 pp November 30, 2004 ISBN: 0306813041
Killblane, Richard Mc Niece, Jake The Filthy Thirteen: From the Dustbowl to Hitler's Eagles Nest: The 101st Airborne's Most Legendary Squad of Combat Paratroopers Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 288 pp May 1, 2003 ISBN: 1932033122
Koskimaki, George E D-Day With The Screaming Eagles Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 356 pp September 11, 2002 ISBN: 1932033025
Koskimaki, George E Hell's Highway: Chronicle of the 101st Airborne Division in Holland, September-November 1944 Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 453 pp March 1, 2003 ISBN: 193203305X
Koskimaki, George E The Battered Bastards of Bastogne: A Chronicle of the Defense of Bastogne, December 19, 1944 - January 17, 1945 Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 484 pp December 1, 2002 ISBN: 1932033068
MacDonald, Charles B A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
Malarkey, Don & Bob Welch Easy Company Soldier: The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant from WW II's "Band of Brothers" . St Martin's Press, (May 13, 2008) 288 p. ISBN: 0312378491
McKenzie, John On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
McLaughlin, Jerome J D-Day+60 years Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, April 20,2004. 300 p. ISBN: 1418402699
Megallas , James All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe 336p., Presidio Press, March, 2003. ISBN: 0891417842
Mehosky, Ivan P The Story of a Soldier. BookSurge, (Aug 2006) 348 pp. ISBN: 1419621491
Nordyke , Phil All American All the Way: Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II Zenith Press, April 2005. 880 pgs ISBN: 0760322015
Post, Robyn, Guarnere, William & Heffron, Edward Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends Berkley Hardcover, 10/2/2007. 320 p. ISBN: 0425217280
Ryan, Cornelius A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Stokes Jr, G G Camp Toccoa: First Home of the Airborne.: 1942-1944 CreateSpace, 3/14/2011. 28p. ISBN: 1461005868
Webster, David Kenyon Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D- Day and the Fall of the Third Reich 352p. ISBN: 0385336497
Infantry regiment organization parachute
E Company, 506th Infantry Regiment (United States)
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division
"Easy Company" redirects here. For the DC Comics fictional unit, see Easy Company (comics).
E Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the "Screaming Eagles", is a company in the United States Army. The experiences of its members during World War II are the subject of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers based on the book of the same name by historian Stephen Ambrose.
The 506th PIR was an experimental airborne regiment created in 1942 to jump from C-47 transport airplanes into hostile territory.
E Company was established at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Before attending paratrooper training, the unit's troops performed the standard battle drills and physical training that comes with being in the parachute infantry. One of the exercises was running Currahee, a large, steep hill whose trail ran "three miles up, three miles down". E Company, while training at Toccoa, was under the command of Herbert Sobel, who was known for his extreme strictness.
Also as part of their physical training, the members of E Company performed formation runs in three-four column running groups. This innovative type of training was adopted by the Army in the 1960s.
As a result of the harsh physical training Easy Company underwent while at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, the unit was in such impeccable physical condition that they were able to skip the physical training portion of Jump School.
One of its commanders, Major Richard Winters, said E Company originally "included three rifle platoons and a headquarters section. Each platoon contained three twelve-man rifle squads and a six-man mortar team squad. Easy also had one machine gun attached to each of its rifle squads, and a 60mm mortar in each mortar team."
World War II
Mutiny protesting Sobel's leadership
While waiting for the invasion of Normandy, Easy Company was located at Aldbourne, Wiltshire, England.
The tension that had been brewing between Winters and Sobel came to a head. For some time, Winters had privately held concerns over Sobel's ability to lead the company in combat. Many of the enlisted men in the company had come to respect Winters for his competence and had also developed their own concerns about Sobel's leadership. Winters later said that he never wanted to compete with Sobel for command of Easy Company; still, Sobel attempted to bring Winters up on trumped-up charges for "failure to carry out a lawful order". Feeling that his punishment was unjust, Winters requested that the charge be reviewed by court-martial. After Winters' punishment was set aside by the battalion commander, MajorRobert L. Strayer, Sobel brought Winters up on another charge the following day. During the investigation, Winters was transferred to the Headquarters Company and appointed as the battalion mess officer.
Following this, though Winters tried to talk them out of it, a number of the company's non-commissioned officers (NCOs) gave the regimental commander, Colonel Sink, an ultimatum: either Sobel be replaced, or they would surrender their stripes. Sink was not impressed and the two Platoon Sergeants that were considered to be the ringleaders of the NCOs, Terrence 'Salty' Harris and Myron Ranney were subsequently demoted to Private and transferred out of the company, to A Company and I Company respectively. Shortly after being transferred, both men joined the Pathfinders, which consisted of around 80 volunteers from every unit, who would land first and guide the way for the main waves of the invasion. Being a Pathfinder was a very difficult job, and it meant being out in front and facing the German Army alone. However, shortly before the invasion, Ranney wrote to Winters, pleading his case, and five days before the invasion, orders came in transferring Ranney back to Easy Company.
Sink realized that something had to be done and decided to transfer Sobel out of Easy Company, giving him command of a new parachute training school at Chilton Foliat.: 57 Winters' court-martial was set aside and he returned to Easy Company as a Lieutenant of 1st Platoon. Winters later said he felt that despite his differences with Sobel, at least part of Easy Company's success had been due to Sobel's strenuous training and high expectations.: 287
In February 1944, First Lieutenant Thomas Meehan was given command of Easy Company.: 57
For Operation Overlord, E Company's mission was to capture the entrances to and clear any obstacles around "Causeway 2", a pre-selected route off Utah Beach for the Allied forces landing from the sea a few hours later.
The company departed from Upottery airbase in Devon, England, and dropped over the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy, France, in the early hours of the morning of 6 June 1944. Easy Company flew in eight aircraft in Sticks #66-73, with about 17 paratroopers per stick.
Destruction of Stick 66
Most of Easy Company headquarters section was assigned to Stick #66, with Robert Burr Smith and Joseph "Red" Hogan assigned to other planes to save weight. The 17 members of Stick #66 included company commander Meehan and three of its most senior non-commissioned officers: 1st Sergeant Bill Evans, Staff Sergeant Murray Roberts (the Supply Sergeant) and Sergeant Elmer Murray (the Operations Sergeant). Sergeant Carwood Lipton recalled later that he had strategized various combat situations with Sergeant Murray while the rest of Easy Company went to the movies the day before the jump.
Plane 66 led a diamond formation that also included 67 to the left, 68 to the right, and 69 in trailing position. Over France, the plane carrying Stick #66 was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The pilot did a 180-degree turn and turned the landing lights on as the plane lost altitude, but it hit a hedgerow and exploded, killing all aboard. The crash was witnessed by Ed Mauser of E Company's 2nd Platoon, who had leapt from plane (#69) after it was hit by flak and the pilot turned on the green jump light. Mauser's neck was snapped back by his plane's prop blast and he faced backward as he floated downwards, giving him a view of plane 66.
Brecourt Manor Assault
With Meehan missing (it was only discovered later that he had been killed), Richard Winters was the most senior officer in Easy Company and took command. After assembling on the ground, the men of E Company disabled a battery of four German heavy guns on D-Day that threatened forces coming along Causeway 2.
The loss of so many officers and NCOs on D-Day brought a few changes to Easy Company. Technically, Lieutenant Raymond Schmitz, 2nd Platoon Leader, was still with Easy Company, but got injured the day before D-Day after demanding Richard Winters wrestle him, and was replaced by Buck Compton.
|Position||D-Day incumbent||New leader||Market Garden||Bastogne||Hagenau|
|Commanding Officer||1st Lt. Thomas Meehan||1st Lt. Richard Winters||Capt. Richard Winters||1st Lt. Norman Dike Jr||1st Lt. Ronald Spiers|
|1st Platoon Leader||1st Lt. Richard Winters||2nd Lt. Harry Welsh|
|2nd Platoon Leader||2nd Lt. Warren Roush||2nd Lt. Buck Compton||2nd Lt. Buck Compton||T/sgt Donald Malarkey|
|3rd Platoon Leader||2nd Lt. Robert Mathews||2nd Lt. Warren Roush|
|1st Platoon Assistant||2nd Lt. Harry Welsh||Vacant|
|2nd Platoon Assistant||2nd Lt. Buck Compton||Vacant||2nd Lt. Henry Jones|
|3rd Platoon Assistant||S/Sgt. C. Carwood Lipton (acting)||2nd Lt. Francis O’Brien|
|1st Sergeant||1/Sgt. William Evans||S/Sgt. James Diel||1/Sgt. C. Carwood Lipton||1/Sgt. C. Carwood Lipton|
|1st Platoon Sergeant||S/Sgt. Leo Boyle||S/Sgt. Leo Boyle|
|2nd Platoon Sergeant||S/Sgt. James Diel||Sgt. William Guarnere||Sgt. William Guarnere|
|3rd Platoon Sergeant||S/Sgt. C. Carwood Lipton||S/Sgt. C. Carwood Lipton|
The capture of Carentan would allow the Americans to link Omaha and Utah beaches, providing access for armor and equipment. The Germans were aware of its strategic importance and had established defenses. Donald Malarkey wrote later that Lieutenant Winters made him mortar sergeant of second platoon. E Company, along with Dog and Fox companies, were walking down the road to Carentan when they came to an intersection and one or two German machine gun teams began firing on them. Mortars and tanks soon joined the fight. The American soldiers all jumped into ditches for cover. Winters saw this and as Malarkey wrote, Winters "got hotter than I've ever seen him." It was a fast attack, at the end of which Malarkey said that he could hear moans and groans of wounded soldiers and occasional gun shots. Also at the end of the battle Winters was slightly wounded in his lower right leg by a ricocheting bullet fragment. The Germans mounted a counterattack, but 2nd Battalion held onto Carentan.
By the time the company was pulled off the line, they had taken 65 casualties including 22 killed in action, including the 17 of Stick 66. Out of the 139 men of Easy Company who had left England on the night of 5 June, Winters' roster shows that there was only five officers left (Winters; his three platoon leaders Buck Compton, Harry Welsh, and Warren Rousch; and Rousch's assistant Francis L.O’Brien), as well as 69 enlisted men.
Eindhoven, the Netherlands
As part of the ultimately unsuccessful Operation Market Garden, E Company was assigned to support the British forces around Eindhoven by defending the roads and bridges that would allow British armored divisions to advance into Arnhem and force a crossing over the major bridge across the Rhine in September 1944.
E Company landed on its designated drop zone in the Sonsche Forest, northwest of Son, and marched down the road into Son behind the 2nd Battalion's other two companies. On reaching the Son Bridge they were met by enemy harassing fire while the bridge was destroyed by the Germans. After the Regiment's engineers constructed a makeshift crossing, E and the rest of the 506th moved out for Eindhoven. These events were omitted from the Band of Brothers series, with E having been portrayed as landing in the Netherlands and then marching into Eindhoven to join up with the British Army advancing from the south.
On 19 September, the company departed for Helmond accompanied by six Cromwell tanks of the British 11th Armoured Division. Their advance was halted by the German 107th Panzer Brigade outside Nuenen and they were forced to retreat to Tongelre. During the days following the link up, E Company successfully defended the towns of Veghel and Uden until XXX Corps infantry took up the task of defending the area. As Market Garden progressed, the company and the rest of the 101st joined the 82nd Airborne on "the island" north of Nijmegen.
At the conclusion of Market Garden, the company relieved the British 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division in Zetten. On 5 October 1944, 1st platoon fought in the battle of "the island" that lay between the Lower Rhine and the Waal river. Along with a platoon from Fox Company and support from the Royal Artillery, they routed two Waffen-SS companies on 5 October 1944. Colonel Sink issued a general order citing the company's 1st platoon for gallantry in action, describing their attack a "daring act and skillful maneuver against a numerically superior force".
E Company was involved in the rescue of over 100 British troops trapped outside Arnhem. Operation Pegasus was a military operation carried out on the Lower Rhine near the village of Renkum, close to Arnhem in the Netherlands. Overnight on 22–23 October 1944, the Allies evacuated a large group of men trapped in German-occupied territory who had been in hiding since the Battle of Arnhem. On the south bank of a Dutch river, Canadian engineers and a patrol of E Company observed the signal and immediately launched their boats, but the British were some 500-800m upriver of the crossing point.
Upon reaching the north bank E Company established a small perimeter while men headed east to locate the evaders. The men quickly moved downstream and in the next 90 minutes all of them were evacuated, with the exception of a Russian who was captured by the Germans. The Germans opened fire sporadically and some mortar rounds fell near the crossing, but the fire was inaccurate. The men were later flown back to the UK, rejoining the men who had escaped in Operation Berlin. Nine members of E company were killed in action in Holland with at least 40 wounded.
Battle of the Bulge
During December 1944 and January 1945, E Company and the rest of the 101st Airborne Division fought in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. The 101st was in France in December when the Germans launched their offensive in the Ardennes. They were told to hold the vital cross-roads at Bastogne and were soon encircled by the Germans. E Company fought in frigid weather under German artillery fire without winter clothing and with limited rations and ammunition.
Between the days of 1 to 13 January, the company took control of the Bois Jacques woods in Belgium, between the town of Foy and Bizory. E Company was assigned to capture the town of Foy.
Division Headquarters ordered the attack to begin at 0900 hours. During the assault, newly appointed company commander Lieutenant Norman Dike led E Company forward, then ordered 1st platoon (led by Lieutenant Jack Foley) to the left and lost contact with them. Dike ordered the remainder of the company to take cover after coming under fire. With the unit unable to proceed, he was informed by his subordinates that they would get killed if they didn't advance into the town, as they were now unprotected from enemy fire. At the same time, Captain Richard Winters, former company commander and now battalion executive officer, radioed to Dike, telling him the same thing. Dike ordered 1st platoon on a flanking mission around the town, and then found cover and froze, ignoring Winters' orders. As Carwood Lipton, first sergeant at the time, later put it: "He fell apart."
According to Clancy Lyall, Dike stopped because he had been wounded in the right shoulder (which Lyall saw), not because he had panicked.
In either case, Dike was immediately relieved by First Lieutenant Ronald Speirs under orders from Captain Winters. To countermand Dike's previous orders, Speirs himself ran through the town and German lines (as 1st platoon had no radio), linked up with the Item Company soldiers and relayed the order. Having completed this, he then ran back through the German-occupied town. Carwood Lipton later stated that "the Germans were so shocked at seeing an American soldier running through their lines - they forgot to shoot!" Speirs was reassigned as commanding officer of E Company and remained in that position for the rest of the war.
With the capture of Foy, the Allies defeated the German line in Bastogne. Afterward, E Company and the rest of the 506th PIR moved into Germany. The 101st Airborne Division was awarded a unit citation for holding the line at Bastogne. E Company suffered 82 casualties including 15 killed in action.
Toward the end of the war, E Company was assigned to occupation duty in Germany, specifically to Berchtesgaden, which was home to Adolf Hitler's famous Eagle's Nest. Following Berchtesgaden, the company moved into Austria for further occupation duty. The company mostly attended to various patrols, awaiting the end of the war.
E Company and the rest of the 506th PIR was disbanded in November 1945, and reactivated in 1954 as a training unit. Under the Combat Arms Regimental System and U.S. Army Regimental System. Currently Easy Company's lineage and history is carried on as Alpha "Easy" Company, 2-506 Infantry, in Third Brigade Combat Team, "Rakkasan" in the 101st Airborne Division.
140 men formed the original E Company in Camp Toccoa, Georgia. 366 men are listed as having belonged to the company by the war's end, due to transfers and replacements. 49 men of E Company were killed in action.
- In order of rank, then alphabetically by last name.
- ^Ambrose, Stephen (1992). Band of Brothers. Simon & Schuster. pp. Chapter 2, second paragraph.
- ^Beyond Band of Brothers, pages 16–17. ISBN 978-0-425-21375-9
- ^ abA Company of Heroes: Personal Memories About the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us (2010, Marcus Brotherton, Chapter: S/Sgt Mike Ranney, P.156
- ^A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories About the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us (2010, Marcus Brotherton, Chapter: S/Sgt Terrence "Salty" Harris, P255
- ^ abcWinters, Richard D.; Kingseed, Cole C. (2006). Beyond Band of Brothers. Waterville, Maine: Large Print Press. ISBN .
- ^The Biggest Brother:The Life of Dick Winters, The man who led the Band of Brothers (2005), Larry Alexander, Chapter 3, P60 of 290
- ^The Biggest Brother:The Life of Dick Winters, The man who led the Band of Brothers (2005), Larry Alexander
- ^Band of Brothers (1999), Stephen Ambrose P.65
- ^ abThe Biggest Brother:The Life of Dick Winters, The man who led the Band of Brothers (2005), Larry Alexander, P79 of 290
- ^https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2016/11/16/ed-mauser-easy-companys-silent-brother/. Retrieved 9 September 2020
- ^Gal Perl Finkel, 75 years from that long day in Normandy – we still have something to learn, The Jerusalem Post, 12 June 2019.
- ^The Biggest Brother:The Life of Dick Winters, The man who led the Band of Brothers (2005), Larry Alexander, P85 of 290
- ^"Easy Company in France - After D-Day". The History Reader.
- ^ abAmbrose, Stephen. page 127.
- ^Ambrose, Stephen. page 143.
- ^Ambrose, Stephen. page 149.
- ^Ambrose, Stephen. page 153.
- ^Ambrose, p159
- ^Ambrose, p.208
- ^Ambrose, p.209
- ^"Belgium - Lieutenant Ronald C Speirs". ronaldspeirs.com.
- ^Winters, Richard D., with Cole C. Kingseed (2006). Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters. St. Martin's Press. ISBN .CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- ^perspective, We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers
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