2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (Air Assault)
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); cased their colors during an inactivation ceremony, 25 April 2014. The 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion realigned with 1st Brigade and 3rd Brigade.
The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated on 20 July 1942 at Mount Currahee, Camp Toccoa, Georgia, as part of the newly formed 101st Airborne Division. Currahee is a Cherokee Indian word meaning "Stands Alone," a phrase which later became the Regiment's motto. Led by their Regimental Commander, COL Robert F. Sink, the Regiment conducted a 137-mile forced march from Camp Toccoa to Fort Benning to begin Airborne training. They were the first Parachute Infantry Regiment to complete Airborne training as a unit. The 506th was the sixth parachute regiment constituted in the US Army.
Their training continued in England until 5 June 1944 when the 506th suited up for a different kind of parachute jump. At 0100 hours, 6 June 1944, the Regiment jumped into the skies over France as the lead element of the massive Allied D-Day invasion. Their objective was to seize the high ground immediately behind the Normandy beach. By the evening of 6 June 1944, the Regiment had secured its objectives, and had linked up with other elements of the invasion force who had established a beachhead at Normandy. For its exploits at Normandy, the 506th Infantry Regiment received a Presidential Unit Citation, and 25 of its members received the Distinguished Service Cross.
After 10 weeks of refitting and training the 506th was once again called upon to parachute into combat, this time into Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. The Regiment went on to liberate the town of Eindhoven on 18 September 1944, and aided in the withdrawal of the beleaguered British 1st Airborne from Arnhem on 7 October 1944.
On the morning of 18 December 1944 the unit was hastily loaded onto trucks and transported to the vicinity of Bastogne to stem a major German attack on the critical city. The mission of the 506th Infantry Regiment was to hold the town of Neville, 4 miles to north. The Regiment successfully resisted the vicious German assaults, and earned its second Presidential Unit Citation for its actions at Bastogne.
The final significant event of World War II occurred when the Regiment drove into southeastern Germany and overran Hitler's famed "Eagle's Nest" and accepted the surrender of the German 82nd Corps from its commander, General Tolsdorff, at Gestein. In November 1945, the 506th Infantry was inactivated at Auxerre, France.
The Regiment was reactivated on 25 August 1950 as part of the Korean War buildup. The 506th Infantry remained in the States as a training unit throughout the Korean War and was inactivated again on 1 December 1953. On 25 April 1957, the 506th Infantry was reactivated, once again as part of the 101st Airborne Division, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In addition to being an Airborne unit, it tested new Army airmobile concepts, and was part of the Army's strategic reserve.
In December 1967, the 506th Infantry arrived in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. While in Vietnam, the Regiment was converted from Airborne to Airmobile Infantry. Here they would serve for 4 years, earn 12 more battle streamers, and be awarded a third Presidential Unit Citation for action at Dong Ap Bia Mountain (Hamburger Hill) in the Ashau Valley.
The 506th Infantry soon found itself involved in thwarting the Tet Offensive. The Regiment prevented the Viet Cong from seizing Phan Thiet. It was also during this action that SP4 Gordon R. Roberts earned the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the Thua Thien Province on 11 July 1969. Four others, 2LT John Harrison, SGT Alan Mayfield, and SP4 John Milguard all were awarded the Silver Star for gallantry during the execution of a night patrol to recover the bodies of fallen comrades. The Regiment participated in numerous actions during the period of Vietnamization and in December 1971, the 506th Infantry redeployed to Fort Campbell.
The 506th Infantry was deactivated in May 1984. During its relatively short history, the 506th Infantry had fought in 2 wars on 2 continents, participating in 16 campaigns. Each of these honors served as a distinct reminder of the unit's proud heritage, and its dedication to the preservation of freedom.
The 2-506th Infantry was reactivated as part of the 506th Regimental Combat Team, which became the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campell, Kentucky as part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force in September, 2005. The unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 as part of the United States contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), located in Regional Command East.
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