2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment is a rapid deployment Parachute Infantry Battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division "America's Guard of Honor." Its mission is to, within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault and secure key objectives for follow-on combat operations in support of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 82nd Airborne Division, and US National interests.
The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was first constituted on 24 June 1942 in the Army of the United States as Company B, 505th Parachute Infantry and activated on 6 July 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 505th Parachute Infantry was assigned on 10 February 1943 to the 82d Airborne Division).
During World War II, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in 7 major campaigns and 4 regimental airborne assaults. On 28 April 1943, the 505th Parachute Infantry left the New York Port of Embarkation for Casablanca, North Africa where the Regiment underwent 6 weeks of grueling training. The Regiment then flew to Kairouan, Tunisia where final preparations were conducted for the 505th's entry into battle.
On 9 July 1943, just over a year after it's activation the 505th Parachute Infantry made the first regimental size combat parachute attack as it landed behind enemy lines at Gela, Sicily. In it's first trial-by-fire, the 505th, though out-manned and outgunned, used raw courage and fighting spirit to block the German Herman Goering Panzer Division and to save the beachhead and the Allied landings. With Sicily secure, the Allies continued the attack on the Axis powers with landings on the Italian mainland. The 505th Parachute Infantry conducted it's second combat parachute attack on 14 September 1943, into Salerno, Italy becoming the first unit to enter Naples.
During the early months of 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division was moved to England as the allies were preparing for the assault on Western Europe. The largest combined military operation in history, "D-Day", was to be spearheaded by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. 6 June 1944, at 0300 hours, found the paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry landing on the Normandy Peninsula. It was one of the first airborne units to hit the ground and liberated the first town in France, St. Mere-Eglise. The paratroopers jumped prior to the actual start of the invasion "H-Hour." That tradition of being the first into the fight led to the 505th Regimental motto of "H-MINUS." For their performance in the invasions the 505th Parachute Infantry was awarded the Presidential unit citation, the unit equivalent of the Medal of Honor awarded to individual soldiers. In the words of author Clay Blair, the paratroopers emerged from Normandy with the reputation of being a pack of jackals, the toughest, most resourceful and bloodthirsty in Europe.
On 17 September 1944, as part of "Operation Market Garden," the 505th Parachute Infantry made its fourth jump at Groesbeck, Holland, the largest airborne assault in history. During that fierce combat, 2 lightly armed platoons, at most 80 men, were surrounded by an entire German Infantry Battalion supported by tanks. The paratroopers fought back 3 savage German assaults and held their ground until relieved. The 505th received a second Presidential unit citation.
Later that winter the airborne troopers were thrown into the breach of the famous " Battle of the Bulge." Despite a lack of cold weather equipment once again airborne spirit, courage, and hard-nosed determination won the day as the 505th Parachute Infantry withstood the bleak winter and stopped the fanatic German attacks cold. For its valor in the 7 major campaigns the 505th was awarded 2 Distinguished Unit Citations and 3 Foreign decorations: the French Forragere, Netherlands Military Order of William, and Belgium Forragere.
After World War II, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 2-505th Parachute Infantry was reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1947 as Company B, 505th Airborne Infantry and allotted on 15 November 1948 to the Regular Army. It was again reorganized and redesignated on 1 March 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 505th Infantry, relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division, and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division (later redesignated as the 11th Air Assault Division), with its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated. This unit was inactivated on 1 July 1958 in Germany.
On 25 May 1964 , the 505th Infantry was reassigned and redesignated as the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. The Brigade was organized into 3 battalions, 1-505th, 2-505th, and 1-508th Parachute Infantry. At 0200 hours, on 30 April 1965, the 3rd Brigade was alerted for combat as part of "Operation Powerpack," the defense of the Dominican Republic against communist insurgents. Within 18 hours, the first C-130 landed at San Isidro Airfield, Dominican Republic. After 2 months of bitter fighting, the 3rd Brigade returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
On 24 July 1967, the 3rd Brigade deployed to Detroit, Michigan to assist local authorities in quelling a civil disturbance.
Less than a year later, on 12 February 1968, the 3rd Brigade was alerted for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam in response to the Tet Offensive. After 13 months, the Brigade had helped secure the region south of the DMZ and redeployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in March 1969, the only Brigade of the 82rd Airborne Division to participate in the Vietnam conflict.
The 3rd Brigade deployed to Washington, DC in May 1971 to help local and federal officials in their efforts to keep demonstrators from disrupting the daily operation of the Government.Nine years later in August 1980, the lst Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry was alerted and deployed to conduct civil disturbance duty at Fort Indian Gap, Pennsylvania during the Cuban refugee internment.
In October 1983, the 3rd Brigade deployed to the country of Grenada to evacuate US citizens and restore free government during operation Urgent Fury. The Brigade remained in Grenada for the duration of the campaign serving first in combat, then in peacekeeping operations until December 1983.
On 3 October 1986, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was reactivated under the auspices of the 3rd Bde with the lst and 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry and the l-508th Parachute Infantry reflagged as the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry.
In December 1989, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry participated in Operation "Just Cause" and assisted in freeing the country of Panama from the dictator Manuel Noriega. Their efforts assisted the country of Panama to pursue its democratic destiny.
In August 1990, the 505th Parachute Infantry was airlifted to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation "Desert Shield." The 82nd Airborne Division spearheaded a coalition of multinational military forces aimed at deterring further IRAQI aggression and expansion into Saudi Arabia and the enforcement of sanctions against Iraq. The ground phase of operation Desert Storm began 25 February 1991 and saw the Brigade move north to conduct combat operations through the Euphrates River Valley. After 8 months, the Brigade had helped secure US objectives and redeployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in April 1991.
In September 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division was alerted as part of "Operation Restore Democracy." The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was scheduled to make combat parachute jumps into 2 locations in Haiti, Pegasus Drop Zone and Papia Airport, in order to help oust the military led dictatorship and then restore the democratically ejected president. The 82nd's first wave was in the air, with the 505th at Green Ramp loaded on aircrafts awaiting take off. Once the Haitian military dictators verified that the 82nd was on the way to invade, they agreed to step down and averted the invasions.
In December 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was once again called upon to participate in "Operation Restore Hope." The 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment departed Fort Bragg for Panama in order to restore order against the upsurge of the Cuban refugees. The Battalion participated in the safegurading of the Cuban Refugees and the active patrolling in and around the refugee camps.
The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) was an independent international peacekeeping organization established by the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel to monitor the security arrangements of their 1979 Treaty of Peace. The US Battalion (USBATT) monitored the Southern Sector, focused on the South Camp, with 5 CPs and 7 OPs supplemented by vehicle patrols and day and night TOPs. Like similar committments in Colombia and Fiji, the United States had provided an infantry battalion to the MFO since its commencement in 1982.
In contrast to the other battalions, the USBATT rotates as a unit every 6 months. The USBATT rotates as a battalion size task force from among the Light Infantry Battalions throughout the US Army. The 1-32nd Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, assumed the USBATT mission in January 1999 from Task Force (TF) 2-1st Infantry, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The fiscal year started with the 1-502nd Infantry from the 101st Airborne Division, in place until January 2000. In that month, Task Force 1-5th Infantry from the 25th Infantry Division (Light) took its post in the Southern Sector and served until it, in turn, was replaced by 2-505th Parachute Infantry Regiment from the 82nd Airborne Division in July 2000. The 2-505th served in the MFO until January 2001.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, units with the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment helped in the effort to rebuild the city by conducting humanitarian missions and patrolling various parts of the city, including the French Quarter.
On 15 January 2006, the 82nd Airborne Division became part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force. While other elements of the Division and Brigade were reorganized more dramatically, 2-505th Parachute Infantry was reorganized, but remained with the reorganized 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
In July 2006, elements of the 2-505th Parachue Infantry deployed with other elements of the reorganized 3rd Brigade Combat Team to Iraq for a 15 month tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In May 2008 the Department of Defense announced 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division as one of a number of units scheduled to rotate to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom starting in fall 2008.
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