1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
"Red Devils" / "Strike Hold"
According to their mission, the 1st Battalion deploys within 18 hours of notification, executes a parachute assault, conducts combat operations, and defeats enemy forces. On order, the battalion redeploys all paratroopers back to Fort Bragg to fight another day. They stand ready to answer their country's call, anywhere in the world, 18 hours wheels up.
The 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was first constituted as Company A, 504th Parachute Infantry in February 1942. The Battalion was activated later that year under the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.
The Red Devil's World War II Campaign Participation proudly recorded Sicily (with arrowhead), Naples-Foggia, Anzio (with arrowhead), Rhineland (with arrowhead), Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe to its credit.
The Red Devil's initial World War II combat mission, Operation Husky II, was the airborne invasion of Sicily under Battalion Commander LTC Warren R. Williams in July 1943. Tragically, the flight was mistakenly fired upon by allied vessels and shore troops as it neared the Sicilian coast. Although paratroopers were dropped far from their drop zones, they utilized initiative and wreaked so much havoc that initial German reports estimated the number of paratroopers to be over 10 times their actual strength.
The Red Devil's next operation was to secure the 5th Army's tenuous beachhead at Salerno. In exactly 8 hours, the Battalion was notified of its mission, loaded aircraft, jumped on its assigned drop zone, and committed against the enemy to turn the tide of battle.
The Battalion continued its defeat of the enemy in 1944 at Anzio and Nijmegan. December 1944 saw the Red Devil's face the heaviest enemy fire encountered by the Regiment to that time at Cheneux, Belgium. The Red Devil's grimly pressed forward and handed the Germans their first defeat of the "Battle of the Bulge." The Battalion continued to drive across Belgium and attacked the formidable Siegfried Line. After repulsing all enemy counter-attacks, the Red Devils were given a brief respite before moving to Koln (Cologne), Germany. Staging from Koln, the Battalion launched its final attacks of the war across the Rhine River.
The post World War II era saw the Battalion transition through a series of reorganizations and redesignations, acting as America's strategic reserve during Korea and Vietnam. In 1965, the Red Devil's again answered the call of duty in quelling civil strife in the Dominican Republic.
On 17 March 1988, Red Devils deployed to Honduras in a show of force that motivated Nicaragua to withdraw its invasion force. 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 504th Infantry were joined by soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California in a deployment to Honduras as part of Operation Golden Pheasant, a deployment ordered by President Reagan in response to actions by the Cuban and Soviet-supported Nicaraguan Sandinistas that threatened the stability of Honduras' democratic government.
On 20 December 1989, the Battalion conducted a nighttime airborne assault in Panama during Operation Just Cause. The Red Devil's conducted combat operations in Panama for over 20 days in the successful effort to oust dictator Manuel Noriega.
In August 1990, the Red Devils were again summoned to combat duty in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as part of Operation Desert Shield/Operation Desert Storm.
The Battalion was alerted in 1994 to conduct an airborne assault on Haiti. Although the mission was cancelled in flight, the threat posed by the airborne forces ensured the Haitian regime's peaceful surrender.
The Red Devil's continued to exert their influence throughout the world, deploying in Eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border in Operation Mountain Sweep. The Battalion deployed along with 2 battalions from 3rd Brigade, to conduct combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Red Devils were instrumental in the capture of known Al Queda, and Taliban terrorists, and sympathizers.
As of October 2003 the Red Devils were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Task Force welcomed the attachment of A/1-16th Infantry (Mechanized) and 1/C/1st Engineer (Mechanized) from Fort Riley, Kansas. The combat power they brought to the fight was awesome and made a difference during numerous combat operations. Life at the forward operating base was also significantly improved, including showers, air conditioning, satellite TV and the addition of e-mail. Thanks to the hard work of the HHC 1SG, Signal Platoon, S-4 shop and numerous carpenters the soldiers continued to work to provide the best quality of life they could offer the soldiers.
As of November 2005, the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was operating in the Kurdish area, northern Iraq. A task force comprised of elements of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment were working aside a multinational and inter-agency Task Force. Their first task was to establish and firm a lasting relationship with our Kurdish population.
On 15 January 2006 the 82nd Airborne Division began transforming to the US Army's new modular force stucture. 1st Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment remained with the reorganized 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, itself being nominally reorganized to meet the changing requirements.
In 2007, 1-504th Parachute Infantry deployed to Iraq with other elements of the 1st Brigade as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They continued to serve in that country into 2008.
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