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505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
505 Inf Rgt DUI.png
505th Infantry distinctive insignia
Active 1942–present
Country USA
Branch Army
Type Parachute infantry
Garrison/HQ Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Motto(s) H-Minus
Engagements World War II
Vietnam War
Armed Forces Expeditions - Grenada
Armed Forces Expeditions - Panama
War in Southwest Asia
Armed Forces Expeditions - Somalia
Afghanistan Campaign
Iraq Campaign
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation (2)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Military William Order

Red and Green woven citation cord with brass tip French Croix de guerre Fourragère

Red and Green woven citation cord with brass tip Belgian Fourragère
Col. Michael Fenzel
James M. Gavin
Melvin Zais
Thomas J. H. Trapnell
Bryan R. Owens

The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (505th PIR) is one of four infantry regiments of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army.[1]

Activated in 1942, the regiment participated in the campaigns of Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, the Netherlands and the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. During the 1960s, the 505th one of the units who played a role in Operation Power Pack in the Dominican Republic and later assisted local authorities during the civil disturbances which occurred within the United States. The regiment was sent to the Republic of Vietnam in 1968 during the Vietnam War. After the Vietnam War the 505th participated in various military operations. Among them were Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The regiment's most recent engagement has been in OEF in Afghanistan.

Unit history


The regiment was activated at Fort Benning, Georgia on 6 July 1942, as part of the US Airborne Command based at Ft. Bragg.[1] In 1943, the 505th was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. Of note, the first colonel of the regiment was James M. Gavin, later commander of the 82nd Airborne division for much of World War II.

World War II

In preparation for the invasion of Sicily, the regiment was moved to Tunisia, in North Africa, where they completed six weeks of training.[2] The regiment made a combat jump into Sicily, which was the first regimental sized combat jump in history.[1] The unit then returned to North Africa for refit before participating in the assault on Salerno, where they made their second combat jump.

In the American airborne landings in Normandy, the 505th actually jumped before its scheduled "h-hour", thus earning their motto "H-minus".[1] Upon completing operations in the Ste. Mere-Eglise area, the unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.[3] In September 1944, the unit then participated in Operation Market Garden,[3] in which the regiment received a second Presidential Unit Citation.[3] By the end of the war, the 505th was awarded three foreign distinguished unit citations: the French fourragère, the Netherlands Military Order of William, and the Belgium fourragère.[3] Following the German surrender, the regiment served as part of the Allied occupation force in Berlin.

Colonel (pictured here as Major General) Gavin led the regiment in Operation Husky

Three of the five members of the 82nd Airborne to receive the Distinguished Service Cross twice during World War II were members of the regiment: Regimental commander James M. Gavin, 1st Battalion commander Arthur F. Gorham and 2nd Battalion commander Benjamin H. Vandervoort.

Post World War II

After World War II, the 505th returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1947 the separate 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (the "Triple Nickles") the Army's only all-black Airborne unit, was merged into the 82nd when it was reflagged as the 3rd Battalion, 505 PIR. In June 1957, the regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 505th Infantry and relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division. This marked the end of the era of infantry regiments as tactical units and the beginning of the Pentomic era, in which regimental numbers were used for the purpose of perpetuating lineages and honors.

555th P.I.B. patch

Effective 1 September 1957 the lineage of Company A, 505 PIR was reorganized and redesignated as HHC, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 505th Infantry, and remained assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated). It was relieved on 15 January 1959 from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany as part of a rotation that saw both 1-505th and 1-504th depart the 82nd. When the Pentomic era ended, 1-504th and 1-505th were reflagged respectively as 1st and 2nd Battalions (Airborne), 509th Infantry, elements of the 1st Brigade (Airborne), 8th Infantry Division on 1 April 1963. The colors of 1-505th returned to the 82nd, where they were reorganized and redesignated on 25 May 1964 as the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, an element of the 3rd Brigade.

On 30 April 1965, the 3rd Brigade was alerted for combat as part of "Operation Power Pack", the defense of the Dominican Republic against communist insurgents. Within 18 hours, the first C-130 landed at San Isidro Airfield, Dominican Republic. After two months of bitter fighting, the 3rd Brigade returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[4]

On 24 July 1967, the 3d Brigade deployed to Detroit, Michigan to assist local authorities in quelling a civil disturbance.

Vietnam War

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. Many members of the 3rd Brigade had recently returned from Vietnam and were not required, by the Army's own regulations, to return so soon if they did not wish to do so. About two-thirds of those eligible accepted transfers out of the brigade, which was largely back-filled and sent to Vietnam with non-Airborne-qualified personnel. In reality, the brigade sent to Vietnam was light infantry and Airborne in name only.

The infantry battalions assigned to the 3rd Brigade during its Vietnam tour were 1-505th, 2-505th, and 1-508th.

After 22 months of fighting, the brigade had helped secure the region south of the DMZ and redeployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in December 1969, the only brigade of the 82d Airborne Division to participate in the Vietnam War.[4]


Following its return from Vietnam, the 3rd Brigade again participated in controlling civil disturbances, deploying to Washington, D.C., in May 1971 to help local and federal officials in their efforts to keep demonstrators from disrupting the daily operations of the government. In August 1980, the brigade's 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry was alerted and deployed to conduct civil disturbance duty at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania during the Cuban refugee internment.[4]

The 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry deployed to the Middle East in March 1982 as the first United States member of the multi-National Forces and Observers (MFO) rotation in the Sinai. 1-505 returned home in August 1982 from the most important peacekeeping mission in history.[4]

In October 1983, the 3d Brigade deployed to the country of Grenada to evacuate US citizens and establish a US-aligned government during Operation Urgent Fury.[4] B Company deployed initially, and took command of the island of Carriocou north of Grenada. The remainder of 2/505 air-landed on Point Salines airfield and captured General Hudson Austin on Westerhall Point as a direct result of an airmobile block and sweep which captured General Austin holding hostages in a waterfront haven. Once surrounded, Austin sent an emissary to LTC Keith Nightingale with the message "Let us leave or we will kill all the hostages." LTC Nightingale called in Cobra Assault Helicopters and sent back the message, "You and everyone and the house surrenders now, or else I will blow you and everyone in the house to Hell".[citation needed] General Hudson Austin capitulated at that point, thus ending the revolt. The 2/505 established bases around the rest of the island, and the young communications officer Jim Adams managed to secure the communications facility at the top of Mount Saint Catherine's and secure communications back to Fort Bragg, thereby establishing a communications links back to the Special Operations Division at Fort Bragg. LTC Keith Nightingale eventually retired as an colonel after commanding Ranger battalions. Mike Cavanaugh a "mustang" eventually became a lieutenant general overseeing special operations.

In December 1989, Company A, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry participated in Operation Just Cause and assisted in overthrowing Manuel Noriega as the leader of Panama. This marked the first combat jump for the 505th since World War II.[4]

In August 1990, the 505th was airlifted to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation Desert Shield 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 eight months, the brigade had helped secure U.S. objectives and redeployed to Fort Bragg in April 1991.[4]

In March 1994 the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was tasked to serve as part of the Multi-National Forces and observers in the Sinai Peninsula. TF 4-505th, bearing the lineage of the WW II-era Company D, 505PIR, was activated on 4 November 1994 and was made up of 88% National Guard and Reserve soldiers from 32 different states as well as 12% active duty soldiers. The 4-505th deployed to the Sinai from January 1995 through July 1995.[4]

In September 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with the rest of the 82d Airborne Division was alerted as part of Operation Uphold Democracy. The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was scheduled to make combat parachute jumps, supposedly in order to help oust the military-led dictatorship and restore the democratically-elected president, although Haiti had never had democracy in any form. The 82d's first wave was in the air, with the 505th loaded on aircraft awaiting takeoff when the Haitian military dictators, upon learning the 82d was on the way, agreed to step down and averted the invasions.[4]

In December 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in Operation Restore Hope. The 2d 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 safeguarding of the Cuban refugees and the active patrolling in and around the refugee camps.[4] Operations Safe Haven and Safe Passage: guarding Cuban refugees

In December 1994, the 2/505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, deployed as part of Operations Safe Haven and Safe Passage. The battalion deployed from Fort Bragg while on Division Ready Force 1 to restore order against thousands of Cuban refugees who had attacked and injured a number of Air Force personnel while protesting their detainment at Empire Range along the Panama Canal. The battalion participated in the safeguarding of the Cuban refugees and the active patrolling in and around the refugee camps near the Panamanian Jungle for two months, enjoying a 92-degree Christmas Day and returning to Fort Bragg in February 1995.

Operation Helping Hand

In September, 2005, the 505th PIR deployed a brigade size element, minus the rear detachment, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Soldiers either flew or convoyed, for three days, to the city to assist in rescue and recovery operations of "displaced Americans", as well as restoring order to the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Upon arrival, paratroopers of the 505th PIR established a command and control environment for the senior leaders of the unit to work effectively in, making decisions that were vital to the restoration of law and order as well as being able to efficiently provide needed medical attention to the citizens of New Orleans. It was at this time that the unit was also reunited with Archbishop Philip Hannan who had served in the 505th PIR as a chaplain in World War II. Archbishop Hannan was sometimes referred to as the "Jumping Padre" and was involved in the liberation of several German concentration camps. Archbishop Hannan remained in the city during Katrina and was instrumental in recovery work immediately after the storm.

Subordinate units were directed to maintain different portions of the city; these units were tasked with guarding key infrastructure, stopping the looting and providing aid to the civilian population. One of the key buildings being guarded was the badly damaged Louisiana Superdome, guarded by the 3rd battalion of the 505th PIR; later redesignated the 5th Squadron 73rd Cavalry Regiment and 1st Squadron 73rd Cavalry Regiment respectively.

Emergency responders, police and other assets were given to COL Owens to manage and direct as necessary. COL Owens and his staff directed paratroopers and civilians to recover the remains of the dead, provide water rescues, provide vehicle detoxification sites and patrol the street for security purposes and, secure major civil and municipalities buildings. Army engineers were also sent to begin the cleanup of the area.

During the operation; Hurricane Rita a second weaker hurricane, was heading to the same area that Katrina had just battered. COL Owens ordered that all paratroopers were to remain indoors during the storm, except for key personnel who needed to be outside. Engineers and commanders waited nervously, sending and receiving reports on whether the already badly damaged levies would hold. When the storm had ended, the levies had held.

The operation lasted for approximately thirty days, then the paratroopers of the 505th returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The paratroopers of the 505th PIR were awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for service in Operation Hurricane Katrina.

Global War on Terrorism

From July 2002 to January 2003 the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Based in south eastern Afghanistan, the 505th helped curb the flow of Taliban fighters as they crossed over from Pakistan.

505th Infantry soldiers take up defensive positions during Operation Enduring Freedom.

From August 2003 to April 2004, the 505th PIR deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[4] The unit was sent to areas with heavy insurgent presence. On 4 September 2003 the 1/505 was stationed at Forward Operating Base Volturno on the outskirts of Fallujah and tasked with maintaining control of this important city. The 3/505 was stationed at FOB St. Michael, near Al Mahmoudiyah, known as "The Gateway to Baghdad". Receiving moderate casualties, and retaining a city-wide stability, the 505th was relieved by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force whom, even with over twice the personnel and support, lost control of Falluja in under a week.

In early September 2004, the 1/505 was deployed to Eastern Afghanistan to provide security and support for Afghanistan's first free elections. Elements of the 2/505 PIR deployed in April 2006 for a 15-month tour with other elements of the reorganized 3/505 combat team in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From August 2006 to November 2007, the 1/505 again deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The brigade combat team deployed again in November 2008 for a one year tour. The 505th PIR took over the responsibilities of the Global Response Force mission on 1 October 2010.[5] 1-505 deployed in May 2011 to Feb 2012\ The 2/505 PIR deployed once again in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in June 2012. The battalion returned in late September 2012 and successfully finished its mission without loss of life.

Distinctive unit insignia

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment on 24 January 1952. It was redesignated for the 505th Infantry on 20 May 1958.[6]

The 505th PIR distinctive unit insignia is, according to the U.S Army Institute of Heraldry

"A Silver color metal and enamel device 1 5/16 inches (3.33 cm) in height overall, consisting of a shield blazoned: Argent, four bendlets Azure surmounted by a winged Black panther salient inverted Proper, that part on the bendlets fimbriated of the first. On a wreath Argent and Azure, a winged arrowhead point down Gules, in front of a cloud Proper. Attached below the shield a Blue scroll turned Silver and inscribed "H-MINUS" in Silver."[6]

The colors blue and white are used to symbolize Infantry. The black panther symbolizes stealth, speed and courage, all characteristics of a good Paratrooper. The wings are added to represent entry into combat via air, and the bendlets symbolize the unit's parachute drops into combat. The winged red arrowhead is used to represent the regiment's first combat attack in Sicily during World War II.[6]

The official insignia is in fact not the insignia first designed by the men of the unit, which was simply a black panther on a shield, with the original motto, "Ready" inscribed below it. However, the Institute of Heraldry refused to approve the crest known by the men of the World War II 505th and replaced it with the above-referenced insignia.


External links

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