1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
The mission of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment is to, reset and retrain an Airborne Infantry Battalion, capable of conducting forced entry and full spectrum combat operations anywhere in the world. It was previously to, on order, deploy rapidly within the Pacific Theater, or elsewhere as directed, to conduct military operations in support of the US national interests.
The 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was an elite unit, making its first combat jump into Normandy 5 hours before the seaborne landings of 6 June 1944. The unit was scattered, forcing groups of paratroopers to fight individual actions aginst German defense plans and protect the beaches from German counter-attacks. The 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was awarded its first Presidential Unit Citation for this action.
The 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment made its second combat jump into Holland on 17 September 1944, to protect the advance of British forces on the way to Arnheim during operation Market Garden.
The 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was the first Battalion into Bastogne, hand-picked to spearhead the assault that halted Germany's last major offensive of World War II. Outnumbered 4 to one, critically low on supplies, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment showed extraordinary heroism and gallantry at Bastogne between 22 and 27 December 1944. Completely isolated, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment and other units from the 101st Airborne Division repulsed constant attacks from elements of 8 German divisions. For this action, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was awarded the Belgian Fourragere and its second Presidential Unit Citation.
The Regiment deployed to Vietnam from December 1967 through February 1972. While there, it participated in 12 campaigns and produced 2 Medal of Honor winners. After Vietnam, the unit was inactivated on 5 June 1984.
On 1 October, 1989, the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was reactivated. It was assigned to the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Two years after the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism, Battery B, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment and Task Force 1-501st Parachute Infantry, Task Force Geronimo, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. By late 2003 Task Force 1-501st Parachute Infantry was fully established at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno, in the vicinity of the city of Khowst near the eastern border of Afghanistan. To get there, the Geronimos deployed all the way from Alaska, gathered their vehicles and equipment at Bagram, and then proceeded to drive to FOB Salerno over 150 miles of some of the most treacherous roads on earth. Task Force 1-501st Parachute Infantry conducted combat operations in the vicinity of FOB Salerno and was to expand to a much larger area. During the deployment, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was detached from the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Seaprate).
After returning from Afghanistan in 2004, the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment was inactivated as part of the transformation of the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. It was subsequently reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment. It was reassigned to the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which was activated in 2006 at Fort Richardson, Alaska.
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