HISTORY OF THE 505TH PIR AND 3RD BRIGADE
On 6 July 1942, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated under the Airborne Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 4 February 1943, the Regiment was assigned to the 82d Airborne Division. The Regiment arrived at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 12 February 1943.
During World War II, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in seven major campaigns and four regimental airborne assaults. On 28 April 1943, the 505th left the New York Port of Embarkation for Casablanca, North Africa where the regiment underwent six 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 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 outmanned 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 attack on the Axis powers with landings on the Italian mainland. The 505th 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 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 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions. 6 June 1944, at 0300 hours, found the paratroopers of the 505th 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". Because of that tradition, of being the first into the fight, the 505th Regimental motto is "H-MINUS". For their performance in the invasions the 505th 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 made its fourth jump at Groesbeck, Holland, the largest airborne assault in history. During that fierce combat, two lightly armed platoons, at most 80 men, were surrounded by an entire German Infantry Battalion supported by tanks. The paratroopers fought back three 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 withstood the bleak winter and stopped the fanatic German attacks cold. For its valor in the seven major campaigns the 505th was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations and three 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. In June 1957, the regiment was reorganized and redesignated as the 505th Infantry and relieved from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division. On 25 May 1964, the 505th Infantry was reassigned and redesignated as the 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division. The Brigade was organized into three battalions, 1-505, 2-505, and 1-508. At 0200 hours, on 30 April 1965, the 3d 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 3d Brigade returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
On 24 July 1967, the 3d Brigade deployed to Detroit, Michigan to assist local authorities in quelling a civil disturbance. Less than a year later, on 12 February 1968, the 3d Brigade was alerted for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam in response to the TET Offensive. After 22 months, 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 conflict.
The 3d Brigade deployed to Washington, D.C. 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.
The 3d Brigade deployed the lst Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry 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.
In October 1983, the 3d 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 3d Bde with the lst and 2nd Battalion 505th PIR and the lst Bn 508th PIR redesignated as the 3d Bn 505th PIR.
In December 1989, Company A, 3d Battalion, 505th PIR 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 was airlifted to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation "DESERT SHIELD". The 82d 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 eight months, the Brigade had helped secure U.S. objectives and redeployed to Fort Bragg in April 1991.
In March 1994 the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was tasked to implement a new concept for the Army as part of the New World Order. The Regiment was tasked to Organize, train, certify, and deploy a task force made up of National Guard, Army Reserve and Active duty troops to serve as part of the Multi National Forces and observers in the Sinai Peninsula. TF 4-505th was activated on 4 November 1994 and was made up of 88% National Guard and Reservist from 32 different states, as well as 12% active duty soldiers. The 4-505th deployed to the Sinai from January 1995 through July 1995. On 15 July 1995 the Battalion was deactivated.
In September 1994, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with the rest of the 82d Airborne Division was alerted as part of "Operation Restore Democracy". The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was scheduled to make combat parachute jumps in order to help oust the military-led dictatorship and restore the democratically elected president. The 82d's first wave was in the air, with the 505th loaded on aircrafts awaiting takeoff when the Haitian military dictators, upon learning the 82d was on the way, agreed to step down and averted the invasions
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 safegurading of the Cuban Refugees and the active patrolling in and around the refugee camps.
From July 2002 to January 2003, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment deployed to Afghanistan for "Operation Enduring Freedom". As part of the multinational force, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment engaged in combat operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces, trained troops for a new Afghan National Army, and set the conditions for Democracy by bringing peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.
From August 2003 to April 2004, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment again deployed as part of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to engage in combat operations against terrorists and forces loyal to the former Saddam Hussein Regime; train elements of the Iraqi Police, Facilities Protection Service, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and New Iraqi Army; and set the conditions for Democracy by bringing peace and stability to the people of Iraq.
Acknowledged and respected, the paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment stand ready, as always, to demonstrate they are the best fighting soldiers in the world.