502nd Infantry Regiment (United States)
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (December 2012)|
|502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment|
Coat of arms
|Part of||101st Airborne Division|
|Nickname||"Five-Oh-Deuce" or "The Deuce"|
|Engagements||World War II
War in Southwest Asia
|COL Peter Benchoff|
|George Van Horn Moseley, Jr.
John H. Michaelis
Steve A Chappuis
|Distinctive unit insignia|
|U.S. Infantry Regiments|
|501st Infantry Regiment||503rd Infantry Regiment|
The 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (502nd PIR) was established during World War II as a regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army. The regiment saw substantial action in World War II and went on to deploy in the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Since 1974, the regiment has been classified as air assault infantry; and at present, the regiment's two battalions are under the command of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
- 1 Unit history
- 2 Battalions
- 3 Lineage
- 4 Honors
- 5 Notable soldiers
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
World War II
The conceptual history of the American airborne started with thinkers ranging from Benjamin Franklin through WWI Army Air Corps General Billy Mitchell. Mitchell had wanted to load up the entire infantry strength of the 1st Division, the “Big Red One”, into the back seats of biplanes, fly over the lines of trenches, then land and unload them to attack the German rear. The Soviet Union had used combat parachute assaults in Finland in the Winter War, and Germany had seized bridges and obstacles for its westbound armored units in 1940. But the real beginning was the German invasion of Crete in May 1940. This isolated rocky island in the Mediterranean was British held and heavily fortified, so rather than attempt a beach landing, the Germans dropped several parachute regiments on top of it. The terrain heavily favored the defenders, and the German Fallschirmjäger (“hunters from the sky”) units took losses so heavy that Adolf Hitler never approved another large scale parachute operation again. That didn’t matter to Allied war planners. What mattered was that a key piece of terrain had been taken entirely by airborne assets. This was a revolutionary development that America couldn’t match yet. Within thirty days, the original 48-man Parachute Test Platoon was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia. Four parachute infantry battalions were planned to follow.
On 1 July 1941, the 502nd Parachute Infantry Battalion which had been authorized on 15 April was activated at Fort Benning under the command of Major George P. Howell. He’d been the former Executive Officer of the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion (not to be confused with the later 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, and his new unit was initially comprised of two skeleton companies sliced off from the 501st. Plans for the next two battalions had to be put on hold because there were no more men or equipment on hand. "The Deuce" lacked everything from parachutes to small arms. This kept the 502nd understrength until more men could be recruited at Forts Jackson and Bragg.
One piece of “equipment” developed in this period that has accompanied the 502nd into combat ever since was the round winged-skull patch known variously as “bat wings”, the “death’s head”, and “The Widowmaker”. Retired Colonel Glenn McGowan told the story in 1988 and it was reprinted in various "newcomers briefing" handouts afterward:
"In March of 1941, the 501st PIB was qualifying its members as parachutists at a physical fitness course,
and a two week parachute packing course. In order to qualify, one had to make five jumps, with one night
jump and a water jump. The Army Air Force (AAF) supplied the Battalion with three C-39 type airplanes per
week. The planes came from different air transport and cargo commands. Each group that came to Fort
Benning had a different identifying patch that was worn on the left breast of the flying suit. MAJ William
M. Miley, Commander of the 501st PIB, decided that the 501st should have a patch to identify it and stand
out among the troops at Fort Benning. CPT William P. Yarborough was given the assignment. He drew up a
patch which was approved and is still the patch of the 501st.
"When the 502nd PIB was activated 1 July 1941, MAJ George P. Howell, 502nd Commander, gave me the task
or assignment of coming up with a distinctive patch. I designated the one that is now worn and cherished
by the 502nd Regiment. Our operations sergeant, an artist, did the finishing work on it. MAJ Howell approved
it and I ordered a supply from the company in New York that made the AAF patches. They were all leather.
The red, white, and blue circles were borrowed from the AAF patches. We called the insignia "Bat Wings" as
a bat descends fast and silently on its prey. If I must say so, it was a most unusual patch and was the
forerunner of all other airborne units in designing their insignias (patches). The officers of the 502nd wore
the patch on their leather Air Corps jackets. The enlisted men wore it on their [field] jackets. We also
wore it on our field uniform (fatigues)."
note- insert clip art of it
December 7, 1941, prompted an acceleration of every kind of military planning. On 30 January 1942, realizing a battalion was too small to conduct offensive operations and survive to fight again, the War Department hurriedly authorized the activation of four Army parachute regiments. A month later, on 2 March 1942, the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was activated from the assets of the 502nd Battalion. Each company (A, B, and C) provided the nucleus of the three battalions. Through pure luck, the 502nd became the only one of the four parachute infantry battalions to have an unbroken tie to the later regiment of the same number. Staying in command, Howell was promoted to colonel but left that same month to command Benning’s parachute school. He passed command to his XO, LTC George Van Horn Moseley, Jr.. “Old Mo” would command for the next two years
In August 1942, following the activation of the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, the 502nd PIR moved from Fort Benning, GA to join the rest of the division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The integration of a selected parachute unit into a division that for the most part was not jump qualified led to problems, some of which could only be solved through training. Throughout the rest of 1942 and into 1943 the 502nd PIR took part in a grueling training program, which consisted of individual, unit, and combined division training. During March of 1943 the 502nd took part in a series of wargames across the Carolinas, and then across Tennessee later that year. Pictures exist at the Division Museum of the 502nd conducting a simulated combat jump at Gallatin, Tennessee, now the Nashville suburbs.
On September 4 1943 men of the 502nd boarded the SS Strathnaver bound for their new home in England. After breakdowns and saltwater contamination of the ship’s drinking water, the regiment was stuck in St. John’s, Newfoundland. On October 4th the SS John Ericsson picked them up, and they arrived in Liverpool on October 18th. They settled into quarters in the small villages of Chilton Foliat and Denford in Berkshire, England. This would be their home for the next seven months. The Five-O-Deuce's troopers continued their rigorous training which included 15–25 mile hikes and daily close combat exercises. Instructions were given on a wide variety of items ranging from first aid, map reading, chemical warfare, and demolitions. Other training was held on the use of German weapons, since enemy dead were considered a source of emergency resupply. Company and battalion size parachute drops were rehearsed heavily. The largest of these rehearsals was a division combat drop in May, Exercise Eagle. It didn't go well. In particular, H Company was dropped nine miles short of the objective. High winds and rough landings injured over 400 paratroopers across the division, many of whom were then not available for the Normandy jump three weeks later.
Flying out of Membury and Greenham Common air bases in the first wave to depart, the 502nd PIR headed for Drop Zone A. The Deuce’s mission was to secure two northern causeways leading inland from Utah Beach and destroy a German battery of 122mm howitzers near Ste Martin-de-Varreville. Captain Frank Lillyman, officer in charge of the Regiment’s pathfinder platoon, was the first American jumper of the night. He hit the ground at fifteen minutes after midnight on the 6th, his habitual jump cigar clenched in his teeth. The pathfinders soon learned they’d been misdropped, so they made no effort to get the rest of the Regiment lost with them and left their radios and beacons turned off. Coming in unguided in an age before GPS, the formations of C-47’s broke up in a combination of low clouds and heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. Some planeloads, including two sticks of A Company, were dropped over the English Channel and drowned. Consequently, most of Colonel Moseley's troops landed way off their designated DZs, up to five miles away. Colonel Moseley badly broke his leg and had to relinquish command to his XO, LTC John H. “Iron Mike” Michaelis.
1st Battalion, under LTC Patrick “Hopalong” Cassidy, was the only battalion of the entire 101st to come down on target, and that through blind luck. 1st Battalion secured Saint Martin-de-Varreville by 0630, sent a patrol under SSG Harrison C. Summers to seize a German barracks at Mésières, "XYZ" objective, and set up a thin line of defense from Fourcarville to Beuzeville.
2nd Battalion, under the taciturn LTC "Silent Steve" Chappuis, moved inland from its drop zones,
Meanwhile, the 3rd Battalion led by LTC Robert G Cole was responsible for securing the two causeways coming inland from Utah Beach. Undaunted by the confusion, LTC Cole gradually collected whatever men he could find both from his unit and anyone else’s (at one point including Dick Winters of the 506th). Cole eventually achieved his objective in time to secure the beach landing of the 4th Infantry Division.
LTC Cole was in the lead five days later as the 502nd was part of the Division’s effort to capture the town of Carentan. Moving the 3rd Battalion down the causeway toward the Ingouf farm under heavy German fire, LTC Cole ordered a bayonet charge. Capturing the objective, LTC Cole was nominated for the Medal of Honor. His XO, Major John Stopka, was nominated for the Distinguished Service Cross. On 29 June the 101st was relieved from the VIII Corps and sent to Cherbourg to relieve the 4th Infantry Division elements who had the German garrison pinned down in that seaport city. The 502nd PIR returned to England shortly thereafter for refitting, earning a Presidential Unit Citation for the campaign.
Operation Market Garden was a British plan that would be the first major daylight air assault attempted by a military power since Crete four years before. Set for September 17, 1944, the airborne troops were to seize roads, bridges and the key communication cities of Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem, thus cutting Holland in half and clearing a corridor for British armoured and motorized columns all the way to the German border.
The 101st mission was to secure the fifteen miles of Hell's Highway stretching from Eindhoven north to Veghel. Under the command of Colonel Michaelis, the unit was to land in Holland on DZ C, seize the small highway bridge over the Dommel River north of Saint Oedenrode and the railroad and road bridges over the Wilhelmina Canal at Best. The 502nd was also given the mission of guarding DZs B & C for the subsequent glider landings. Shortly after 1315 hours on the afternoon of 17 September 1944, after an uneventful daylight drop, the men of the 502nd gathered up and headed for their objectives. 1st Battalion went north to capture the little town of St Oedenrode. 2nd Battalion secured the glider LZ. 3rd Battalion sent patrols through the Zonsche forest, trying to move toward the town of Best and the bridge. German resistance was tough in the vicinity of Best but the 3rd Battalion spearheaded by Captain Robert Jones’ H Company fought their way to within 100 yards of the bridge before the Germans blew it up. In fierce fighting around the bridge, Private Joe Mann, already hit twice, was killed when he threw himself on a German grenade to save the other soldiers in his foxhole. That same day, LTC Cole was shot and killed elsewhere in the Zonsche Forest. Cole died before formally receiving his Medal of Honor for the Carentan charge. Private Mann would never know he would receive it posthumously. They were the only two Screaming Eagles of the Second World War to earn the nation’s highest honor.
On 26 September, a German artillery shell, possibly the luckiest German shot of the war, hit a tree by the 502nd’s Regimental CP. LTC Michaelis, 1st Battalion’s “Hopalong” Cassidy, the Regimental S2 and S3, the Division G2 and G3, and the commander of the supporting 377th Artillery Battalion were all hit. Without a regimental XO, and with Cassidy and Cole both down, 2nd Battalion commander Steve Chappuis took command of the regiment. Michaelis recovered to return as Division Chief of Staff and later served as a decorated regimental commander in Korea before going on to four stars. Cassidy ended up the three-star commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps. After securing their hard-won objectives, the men of the 502nd moved north with the rest of the 101st to take hold of defensive positions on 'The Island', southwest of Arnhem. It was here that the 101st would fight some of its toughest battles during its time in Holland. Living in trenches and eating British rations, it was like WWI all over again. Eventually they were withdrawn to Camp Mourmelon, France for rest and refit.
Just after dawn on 16 December 1944, the Germans launched a major offensive west through the Ardennes Forest. Their goal was the port city of Antwerp where they hoped to choke off the Allied supply lines. Almost the only theater reserve was the refitting airborne divisions. The 101st was ordered to the vitally important town of Bastogne, the central road junction in the Ardennnes. The 101st was jammed into trucks for an overnight rush to Bastogne in Belgium on Dec. 18th. They weres soon surrounded along with elements of several armored and artillery outfits. The 502nd held positions on the north and northwest portion of the surrounded city. In an attack that took place on Christmas morning in the Hemroulle, numerous German tanks penetrated the line. Simultaneously farther north strong German infantry elements infiltrated the town of Champs. Two of the German tanks which drove north from Hemroulle attempted to bypass the Regimental CP at the Rolle Chateau, only to be tracked down by bazooka and grenade-toting paratroops. Finally, on December 26th, the 4th Armored Division of Patton’s Third Army broke through the encirclement to reinforce the defense. To this day, no Screaming Eagle who served at Bastogne
wants to hear that they needed to be “rescued”. After all, they say Airborne Soldiers are supposed to fight surrounded behind enemy lines.
On January 14, the 3rd Battalion lost another commander. LTC John Stopka and some of his troopers were advancing through along an elevated rail line when enemy tanks began advancing along the other side. Someone called in for air support and the planes strafed too close to the friendly positions, resulting in the death of LTC Stopka and thirty other soldiers near Michamps. With that unfortunate incident, the command of the 3rd Battalion was given to Major Cecil L Simmons, who’d started with the battalion as a lieutenant in the Benning days.
The 101st Airborne held a line along the Moder River for over a month as part of the Seventh Army. On 23 February, the Screaming Eagles were relieved and returned to Mourmelon, France. They began a refit period while the leadership began planning for potential combat jumps in and around Berlin to end the war. There was also a ceremony in which General Eisenhower awarded the entire 101st Airborne Division the Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action during the fighting for Bastogne. This was the first time an entire division had been so honored.
As the war in Europe was nearing its end, the 502nd moved to the Ruhr Pocket on 2 April to help in mop-up operations. Here the 502nd went on the line facing the Rhine River south of Dusseldorf, Germany. On the 4th and 5th of May, the 502nd followed the 506th into the securing of Hitler’s private residence in the town of Berchtesgaden. The area was home to many high-ranking Nazi Party officials and German military officers, and the detainee camps filled quickly.
The 502nd spent the summer of 1945 on occupation duty near Mittersill, Austria. Returning to France in September, the soldiers continued waiting for transport stateside. However the reduced peacetime Army only had room for one of the European Theater’s four airborne divisions, and the 82nd was senior. The 101st Airborne Division was deactivated 30 November 1945 at Auxerre, France.
Post-World War II
While on inactive status, the regiment was redesignated on 18 June 1948 as the 502nd Airborne Infantry Regiment and allotted to the Regular Army on 25 June that same year. It was activated on 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, as a training that was airborne in name only. Less than a year later, it was inactivated on 1 April 1949. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, it was again activated on 25 August 1950, again as a training unit at Camp Breckinridge, and then inactivated on 1 December 1953 at Camp Breckinridge following the truce declared in July. It was activated yet again as a training unit on 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
On 21 September 1956, the Army reactivated the Screaming Eagles. The departure of the 11th Airborne Division for NATO duty in Germany and according to a display board at the Fort Campbell museum, the loss of jump pay on the local Hopkinsville-Clarksville economy caused the local Congressmen to go to the Pentagon asking for a favor. Fort Campbell's straddling of the Kentucky-Tennessee border made it of interest to three Congressional districts (two Tennessee, one Kentucky) and four Senators. In those days, the hundred bucks a month almost doubled a private’s take-home pay, and most of that got spent in town. The fact that the division’s wartime commander, then-Major General Maxwell Taylor, was now the Army Chief of Staff surely played a part in the 101st’s return to active duty.The reactivated 101st was formed using the assets of the 187th ARCT and the 508th ARCT, plus volunteers from the deactivating 6th Infantry Division run through parachute school either on Campbell or at Fort Benning.
The Division of 1956 was much different from the wartime pattern. There were tight military budgets for conventional forces in the Nuclear Age since the predominant belief was that battlefield nuclear weapons would be used early and often. This in turn made riflemen obsolete. This, combined with the fact the new 101st would be built from scratch, made the Screaming Eagles a test of what was called a “Pentomic”, for “pentagonal atomic” division. The Division was made up of five “battle groups”, each one consisting of five companies (1 headquarters company, four rifle companies) plus a heavy mortar section. There was even a nuclear-armed rocket battery in Division Artillery.
There was only room for one “battle group” of each of the 101st’s old regiments. The lineage of the 502nd was revived with the activation on 25 April 1957 of HHC, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 502nd Infantry (bearing a lineage going back to A Company of the original 502nd PIB) as a unit within the 101st. As the rest of the Army converted to the Pentomic structure, the 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 502nd Infantry was activated on 1 March 1957 in Germany by reflagging existing elements of the 11th Airborne Division. Perpetuating the lineage of B Company, 502nd PIB and thusly the WWII 2nd Battalion, it was inactivated on 1 July 1958 when the 11th itself was inactivated. Its personnel and equipment were reflagged to other lineages as an airborne brigade under the 24th Infantry Division.
By 1964, the Army had reached the conclusion that the Pentomic arrangement just didn’t work, and the 101st returned to a more recognizable structure. Never one to admit to a mistake, the Department of the Army announced that brigades would be the building blocks of the new style divisions. Critics suggested the name change was an attempt to justify a brigadier general’s star for the new units’ commanders, though it didn’t work. Consisting of three battalions with wartime attachments, they looked an awful lot like what used to be called a regiment or regimental combat team. However the 502nd found itself split. 2nd Battalion was in 1st Brigade with two battalions of the 327th, and 1st Battalion was in 2nd Brigade with two battalions of the 501st. 3rd Battalion remained inactive.
In April 1965 the 1st Brigade was deployed to Vietnam to relieve the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Instead as the war expanded, both units stayed. 2/502 quickly made a name for itself under the command of the flamboyant LTC Hank “The Gunfighter” Emerson. Emerson went on to retire as a four-star general. He wasn’t the only “Strike” veteran of Vietnam to rise to high rank.
Early in June of 1966, Charlie Company, 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry Regiment was conducting a mission to locate elements of the North Vietnamese 24th Regiment. Charlie Company made contact with what was estimated to be a battalion-sized enemy element. Under heavy enemy fire and unable to maneuver in any direction, CPT William Carpenter called for air strikes on top of his position in an attempt to force the enemy to withdraw. "We might as well take some of them with us", he radioed to the 2nd Battalion command post. The napalm attack injured seven of Carpenter's men, but the enemy ceased fire long enough to allow Charlie Company to consolidate, reorganize and establish a position from which to defend and begin evacuation of wounded personnel. 1SG Walter Sabalauski, a WWII and Korea vet, played a critical role in the defense. For their extraordinary heroism in destroying the enemy and in evacuating the mass causalities, both Carpenter and Sabalauski received both the Distinguished Service Cross. Sabalauski later had the Fort Campbell Air Assault School named in his honor. Carpenter, despite a West Point football career that had two NFL teams awaiting his return from Vietnam, elected to stay in the Army and retired with four stars. Another remarkable character in 2/502 was CPT Tommy Taylor, son of General Maxwell Taylor who wanted to serve with his father’s wartime command. Starting with Scout Platoon, and moving on to command of B Company, he left the Army, went to law school, and retired as a colonel in the Reserves.
In 1967, Operation EAGLE THRUST moved the rest of the Division to Vietnam aboard chartered airliners as part of the American buildup. At that time it was the largest single airlift in US military history. Unfortunately the orders for it found the remainder of the Division on Fort Campbell not ready to enter the fight. It was a skeletal formation that had been drained of personnel to support the war effort. To bring it up to full strength prior to deployment, it was necessary to fill it with non-airborne-qualified personnel from other units in the Third Army area. The division effectively ceased being an airborne unit, although the official transformation to the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) did not take place until mid-1968.
2nd Battalion served almost seven years in the Republic of Vietnam. 1st Battalion did five years. Fighting scattered actions under two different brigade headquarters from the Mekong River delta in the south to the DMZ up north, they racked up 27 campaign streamers, six American, and eight Vietnamese unit citations between them, including two Presidential Unit Citations earned by 2nd Battalion for An Khe and Dak To. Three 2nd Battalion soldiers earned the Medal of Honor. Specialist Dale E. Wayrynen, Private First Class Milton A. Lee, and Corporal Frank R. Fratellenico are all now familiar names with Fort Campbell landmarks named for them. In December 1971, after having drawn down in country, the 101st returned home to Fort Campbell.
During the late 1970s until the early 1980s, two battalions, the 1st and 2nd, were assigned to the division. The 1st battalion was part of the 2nd brigade, while the 2nd battalion was assigned to the 1st brigade. Both units made several off post deployments from Panama to Alaska. The 1st battalion ("Taskforce Strike") deployed to Egypt in September 1980 as part of Operation "Bright Star", a joint training exercise with Egyptian forces culminating in a live fire exercise supported by B-52 bomber low level strikes from aircraft flying long duration missions from U.S. bases. The unit was the first U.S. force in the region since World War II.
In February 1982 the first battalion deployed to Panama as part of Task Force 1-502 in support of Operation "Kindle Liberty" to demonstrate U.S. ability and resolve to defend the Panama Canal in the light of spreading pro-Soviet/Cuban influence in Nicaragua and other parts of Central America. The task force deployed on 24 flights of giant Air Force C-5 cargo aircraft air lifting the 1/502 Infantry Battalion, an artillery battery, an Engineer Platoon, UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopters, and AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters to Howard Air Force Base in Panama. This marked the first deployment of the UH-60 helicopter to Panama.
In September 1982 the first battalion ("First Strike") deployed to Egypt again, this time to the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping force. Their mission was to enforce the Camp David Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.
May 1984 saw the first major realignment of the Division since before Vietnam. The brigades regimentally aligned, with both 1st and 2nd Battalions coming under 2nd Brigade, and 3rd Battalion reactivating from the assets and personnel of 1-506 Infantry to complete the set. For the first time since Auxerre, France in 1945, the regiment’s three battalions were together under one headquarters. The original WWII blue silk regimental colors, saved from a disposal bonfire in 1945 by a souvenir-hunting NCO, were presented back to the Regiment and are on display in the Brigade headquarters.
Concurrent with the reflagging within the 101st, the 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions, 502nd Infantry were activated within the Berlin Brigade by reflagging the existing 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions, 6th Infantry. This was part of a wider Army plan to regimentally pair units based within the United States with those stationed overseas for battalion rotational purposes. These three battalions, perpetuating the lineages of World War II Companies D, E and F, 502nd PIR, were neither airborne nor air assault. The rotation plan was found to be unworkable and was quietly abandoned.
On 12 December 1985, a chartered airliner carrying 248 members of Task Force 3/502 crashed and exploded after takeoff at Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. Mostly from HHC and A Companies, they were on the final leg returning from six months of peacekeeping duty in the Sinai Peninsula between Egypt and Israel. The official Canadian government report said it was ice buildup on the wings that caused the crash, but other investigators have pointed to signs of an explosion and suggested everything from terrorism to smuggled souvenir ordnance instead. Whatever the reason, it is the deadliest single day in Division history by some counts, outdoing both 6 June 1944 and Vietnam’s “Hamburger Hill” battle. LTC Marvin Jeffcoat became the third of the five officers who’d commanded 3/502 to that point to die in command. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan attended an emotional memorial service on Fort Campbell. Memorials for the fallen were subsequently constructed at Gander Lake, Newfoundland, Canada; near Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and on post between Screaming Eagle and Normandy Roads.
Desert Shield/Desert Storm
The "Strike" Brigade moved to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield in late summer 1990 to deter a possible Iraqi invasion. During Operation Desert Storm, the 2nd Brigade and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) cut the enemy’s lines of communications, struck deep into the country, threatened a lethal strike against the capital, and shut off any escape. On 25 February 1991, the "Strike" Brigade participated in the largest helicopter air assault in military history to establish FOB Cobra. The brigade redeployed to Fort Campbell in March 1991.
The Peacekeeping Years
5th and 6th Battalions drew down and deactivated in Germany, while 4/502 moved to Fort Campbell and cased its colors, the personnel moving to other assignments in the Division.
In 1994, the regiment deployed to Panama in support of Operation Safe Passage the repatriation of Cuban refugees. In 1996, the 2/502nd Infantry Regiment deployed to Panama in support of Operation Jungle Warrior, The Infantry augmentation of U.S. forces during the draw down of United States military in Panama. In 1999, Alpha Company, 2/502nd Infantry Regiment deployed to Bosnia-Herzgovina as the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for Stabilation Force 6 (SFOR6). This deployment fell under the command of the United Nations. The deployment did not conclude until 2000, after the new year's millennium celebration. In 2001, 2/502 deployed to Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia, where they participated in a Kosovo Forces rotation.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
The 502nd were called on again in 2003, when it headed the 101st's combat air assault into Iraq. Colonel Joe Anderson's brigade was selected to provide light infantry support to the 3d Infantry Divisionduring the 2003 Iraq War It returned a year later having fought in the key battles of An Najef, south Al Hillah, Karbala, and Mosul. It also completed the two longest air assaults in division history. While deployed, the 502nd was instrumental in rebuilding the city of Mosul, Iraq. They formed a city council and held the first free elections in the country since the fall of the regime. Over the subsequent nine months, the regiment rebuilt the city’s hospitals, schools and water system. It also built a regional police force that became the model for the rest of the country. Under the watchful eye of the Soldiers from the 502nd, former Iraqi military personnel were paid for their service and the new Iraqi Dinar was introduced. Above all, the regiment fostered a secure environment that allowed the citizens of Mosul to live in a free and safe city which became a beacon of hope throughout Iraq. Upon their redeployment to Fort Campbell, the 502nd underwent transformation as part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
The newly formed 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed again to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in fall 2005 for 12 months. While deployed, the soldiers of the 502nd continued to improve security conditions within their assigned area of operations and began to train Iraqi security forces within Southern Baghdad and the infamous area of Mahamudiyah, Lutafiyah and Yusifiyah. During their deployment, the Strike brigade lost 67 soldiers with numerous injured to combat operations in an area where over 4,200 IEDs were found during their tenure. Strike soldiers once again deployed for 13 months in late 2007 north of Baghdad where they continued to train Iraqi security forces while fighting the Jaish al Mahdi paramilitary force.
Operation Enduring Freedom
In 2010, 2nd Brigade deployed to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan as part of the troop surge into the most unsecured areas. "Strike" Brigade successfully flushed out the Taliban fighters from the birthplace of the Taliban. Strike Brigade continued operations that had begun in late 2009 when TF12 (1-12IN), a detached element from 4-4ID, became the first American battalion to occupy areas within Zhari District of Kandhar Province. After relieving 1-12IN in place, Strike Brigade breached further into the "green zone", an fertile area that bordered the northern bank of the Arghandab river, and held a strategic area of land Taliban fighters had been using for years.
Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the regiment was transformed and refitted along with the rest of the division. At that time, the 3rd Battalion was again deactivated and the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry activated in its place as the Strike Brigade's RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) Squadron. It also adopted 1st of the 320th FAR (Field Artillery Regiment), the 526th BSB (Brigade Support Battalion, consisting of a number of logistical and maintenance personnel), and the 2nd of the 101st Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The BSTB was formerly the 311th Military Intelligence Battalion and reactivated with four companies consisting of engineers, communications and signal, military intelligence, military police, and several other specialized and low-density military occupational specialties. These units were again deployed to Iraq in support of the 4th Infantry Division in September 2005.
World War II
The battalion was formed on 4 March 1941 as Company A, 502d Parachute Infantry, an experimental unit established to test the doctrine and tactics of parachute assault, and was later activated on 1 July 1941, at Fort Benning, Georgia as the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, and joined the 101st Airborne Division in August 1942.
On the early morning of 6 June 1944, under the command of LTC Patrick J. Cassidy, 1st Battalion jumped into Normandy, France on D-Day. 1st Battalion took Saint Martin-de-Varreville by 0630, sent a patrol under SSG Harrison C. Summers to seize the "XYZ" objective, a barracks at Mésières, and set up a thin line of defense from Fourcarville to Beuzeville. The soldiers of the "O'Deuce" fought gallantly through the night and into the morning, accomplishing all of their D-Day missions.
On 17 September 1944, 1st Battalion participated in the largest airborne assault of World War II by jumping into Holland during Operation MARKET-GARDEN. The battalion consolidated and moved north to capture the bridge and the town of St. Oedenrode. In December 1944, the battalion played a pivotal role in the division's heroic defense at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, during which the battalion withstood heavy armor and infantry attacks launched by surrounding German forces.
For its participation in World War II, the battalion, as part of the regiment, received two Presidential Unit Citations, the French Croix de Guerre, the Belgian Fourragere, the Netherlands Orange Lanyard, and recognition in the Orders of the Day of the Belgian Army. After World War II, the battalion was inactivated.
In September 1956, 1st Battalion was reactivated with the 101st Airborne Division, and in December 1967, deployed to Vietnam for five years. "First Strike" participated in twelve major campaigns and literally hundreds of unit engagements, including the 1968 Tet Offensive and operations in the A Shau Valley including the Rescue of Dustoff 65. In February 1972, the Battalion redeployed to Fort Campbell, having earned the Valorous Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation, and four Republic of Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry.
Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm
In August 1990, 1st Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of the 101st Airborne Division in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From August 1990 to January 1991, the battalion conducted desert training and continued to refine Air Assault operations for the defense of Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. On 24 February 1991, 1st Battalion took part in the initial spearhead into Iraq as part of the largest combat air assault operation ever conducted. The battalion successfully secured parts of Forward Operating Bases (FOB) Cobra and Viper deep behind Iraqi lines during Operation Desert Storm.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
In response to a continued threat in the Middle East, "First Strike" soldiers again deployed to Kuwait in February 2003. On 27 March 2003, elements of 1st Battalion along with thousands of other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division began the assault north of Kuwait into Iraq in a massive ground assault convoy that covered over 350 kilometers to an assembly area north of An Najaf. Following close behind on 29 March, the remainder of the battalion followed by conducting an air assault to Al Kifl, Iraq to secure main avenues of approach from the north of the city. Members of C Company were attached to 2-70 Armor in order to push north as a part of a large feint maneuver from the south and west which facilitated the 3rd Infantry Division's attack into Baghdad. On 31 March 2 Platoon, C Company, mounted atop M1A1 Abrams tanks from an armored company with 2-70 AR, were engaged in a 360-degree ambush in Al Hillah, Iraq, by a battalion of the Republican Guard enemy. The battle resulted in over 50 enemy killed and the 1st Battalion's first casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After securing the northern avenues of approach, on 1 April, the battalion moved south into the city of An Najef to clear the north-west portion of the city. On 5 April, the battalion moved farther north and attacked into sectors of Karbala and then later into south Baghdad in search of enemy personnel and weapons caches. Thousands of enemy weapons were found hidden in various buildings to include government buildings, homes and schools. Later, the battalion moved farther west to secure Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam near the city of Haditha and from there, air assaulted into the city of Mosul, Iraq.
There, they would spend the next 10 months conducting stability operations and support operations to improve the quality of life for Iraqi citizens. "First Strike" was directly responsible for capturing dozens of former Baath party leaders, as well as over 50 terrorists and insurgents who were attacking coalition forces and Iraqi law enforcement. The battalion redeployed on 3 February 2004, after awarding 21 Purple Hearts throughout the campaign and dozens of awards for heroic actions.
In September 2005, "First Strike" was called upon again to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. As part of OIF 05-07, the battalion assumed control of a sector Southwest of Baghdad in the Euphrates River Valley. During the deployment, the battalion conducted numerous combat patrols, cordon and searches, and search and attacks. During these missions, 1st Battalion captured over 518 suspected insurgents and encountered 797 IEDs in sector, 57% of which were discovered by the soldiers. The battalion's efforts opened intelligence channels, forced insurgent cells to shift operations and locations, and expanded lines of communication in a sector previously dominated by the enemy. These efforts also established an enduring Iraqi Army presence in the Euphrates River Valley, which had not been seen since 2003. "First Strike" redeployed to Fort Campbell on 26 September 2006. Also and not mentioned, The Mahmudiyah killings and gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl by U.S. troops (1st BN / 502nd) occurred on 12 March 2006, in a house to the southwest of Yusufiyah, a village to the west of the town of Al-Mahmudiyah, Iraq. Five United States Army soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment were charged with the crimes: (i) Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, (ii) Spc. James P. Barker, (iii) Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, (iv) Pfc. Brian L. Howard and (v) Pfc. Steven D. Green (whom the army discharged before the crime's discovery). Abeer Qasim Hamza, 14, was raped and murdered, after her family was murdered: her mother, Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 34; father, Qasim Hamza Raheem, 45; and six-year-old sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza. Spielman and Green have been convicted and three others have pled guilty.
In October 2007, the battalion deployed to northwest Baghdad as part of the 07-09 rotation. The battalion operated with elements of the Iraqi Security Force (ISF) that included partnering with up to four Iraqi Army battalions, a National Police battalion, an Iraqi Army brigade and an Iraqi National Police division headquarters. The battalion executed operations in the largest area within the "Strike" Brigade area of operations, facing a problem set of Shia extremist special groups that differed markedly from the AQI.
The battalion also assumed an area that was full of Shia Special Groups Militia and criminal elements and devoid of capable and competent Iraqi security forces. Through battalion and company focused shaping operations aimed at re-enforcing local governance and the execution of raids to dismantle militia and criminal element cells, partnership with Iraqi security forces flourished. Upon leaving AO Talon, Iraqi Army units were on the verge of operating independently of coalition forces and capable of executing security and civil military operations.
"First Strike" redeployed to Fort Campbell on 15 November 2008.
Operation Enduring Freedom
On 15 May 2010 1st Battalion was ordered to deploy to Afghanistan 30 days earlier than the rest of 2nd Brigade. Upon arrival in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1st Battalion began conducting combat operations in Zhari District, an area known for years as a Taliban sanctuary. "First Strike," partnered with the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police to bring security to the area. During the deployment, the battalion conducted numerous combined shaping operations, deliberate clearance operations, and security and counterinsurgency operations to establish local security, protect the population, and facilitate governance, reconstruction, and development. Through these efforts, the partnered "First Strike"—ANSF team cleared multiple IED laden areas; discovered over 200 caches exceeding 100 tons, captured 14 Taliban commanders; and established numerous economic programs.
"First Strike" redeployed to Fort Campbell on 23 April 2011. For its participation in operations in Kandahar Province the battalion earned the Valorous Unit Citation.
In December 2011, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment was ordered to deploy security forces advisory and assistance teams (SFAs) the following spring to the strategically important and volatile Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar, and Laghman Provinces (N2KL) along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This mission to help the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) become capable of standing on their own against the enemy in Regional Command East (RC-E) would pose new challenges for 1st Battalion, so immediately upon receiving the mission 1st Battalion executed a rapid training program to prepare its team members to advise the ANSF. This training included intensive marksmanship, advising, culture, and language training.
On 29 April 2012, the members of Team Talon (Battalion Headquarters), Team Hardrock (Alpha Company), Team Bulldog (Bravo Company), Team Cobra (Charlie Company), and Team Wardog (Delta Company) deployed to Afghanistan from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Team Regulators (Headquarters Company) followed shortly after, deploying in early June. Team Talon was stationed at Jalalabad Garrison, Nangarhar Province, advising 2nd Brigade, 201st Afghan National Army (ANA) Corps. Team Regulators was stationed at COP Pirtle-King, Kunar Province, advising the Ghaziabad District Afghan Uniform Police (AUP). Later, Team Regulators moved to advise 3rd Kandak (the US equivalent of a battalion), 2nd Brigade, 201st ANA Corps, at FOB Bostick, Kunar Province. Team Hardrock was stationed at COP Kalagush, Nuristan Province, advising 1st Kandak, 1st Brigade, 201st ANA Corps. Later Team Hardrock moved to advise 2nd Kandak, 1st Brigade, 203rd ANA Corps, at FOB Tagab, Kapisa Province. Team Bulldog was stationed at COP Mehtar Lam, Laghman Province, advising 2nd Kandak, 1st Brigade, 201st ANA Corps. Team Cobra was stationed at FOB Bostick, Kunar Province, advising 1st and 7th Kandaks of Afghan Border Police (ABP) Zone 1. Team Wardog was stationed at COP Monti, Kunar Province, advising the 2nd Kandak of ABP Zone 1. Together, 1st Battalion was responsible for advising units totaling over 8,000 Afghan soldiers, border policemen, and patrolmen.
Over the course of its eight months in Afghanistan, 1st Battalion successfully transitioned three ANA kandaks and two ABP kandaks to independent status. With the assistance provided by 1st Battalion, the kandaks were ready to secure the people of eastern Afghanistan without direct US assistance. 1st Battalion also coached and mentored 2nd Brigade, 201st ANA Corps to the point where they were ready to take over the responsibility as the battle space owner (BSO) for Kunar Province and portions of eastern Nuristan from American and coalition forces. 1st Battalion was also instrumental in assisting the Afghans in securing the strategically crucial and typically volatile Pech River Valley. The success of 1st Battalion and 2nd ANA Brigade in the Pech River Valley dealt a crippling blow to the insurgents in Kunar Province and disrupted a safe haven for international terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda. With their mission accomplished, 1st Battalion redeployed to Fort Campbell from November 2012 to 13 December 2012.
2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry deploys rapidly worldwide by air, land, or sea, occupies an ISB, and on order, conducts air assault or ground operations to destroy enemy forces, seize key terrain or facilities and control specific land areas including populations and resources.
2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry was originally constituted on 14 March 1941 in the Army of the United States as Company B, 502nd Parachute Battalion. It activated on 1 July 1941 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The unit was consolidated on 24 February 1942 with Company B, 502nd Parachute Infantry (and concurrently constituted in the Army of the United States), and the consolidated unit was designated as Company B, 502d Parachute Infantry (502nd Parachute Infantry was assigned on 15 August 1942 to the 101st Airborne Division). The unit inactivated on 30 November 1945 in France.
Redesignated on 18 June 1948 as Company B, 502d Airborne Infantry, and allotted on 25 June 1948 to the Regular Army, it activated on 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. It inactivated on 1 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky.
The unit reactivated on 25 August 1950 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, and inactivated there on 1 December 1953.
It reactivated on 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was reorganized and redesignated on 1 March 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Airborne Battle Group, 502nd Infantry, relieved from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division, and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division (later redesignated as the 11th Air Assault Division) (its organic elements concurrently constituted and activated). It inactivated on 1 July 1958 in Germany.
The battalion was redesignated on 21 January 1964 as the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, and it was concurrently relieved from assignment to the 11th Air Assault Division and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. It activated on 3 February 1964 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The unit inactivated on 21 January 1983 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and was relieved from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division.
The unit was reassigned on 5 June 1984 to the 101st Airborne Division and activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm
The "Strike" Brigade moved to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield in late summer 1990 to deter a possible Iraqi invasion. On 25 Feb. 1991, the "Strike" Brigade participated in the largest helicopter air assault in military history to establish FOB Cobra.
During Operation Desert Storm the 2nd Brigade and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) cut the enemy’s lines of communications, struck deep into Iraq, threatened a strike against the capital and shut off any escape. The brigade redeployed to Fort Campbell in March 1991.
In November 2000, 2nd Battalion deployed to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California as a part of rotation 01-03. In January 2001, key leaders and staff conducted the first visit in preparation for deployment. This leader's recon gleaned pertinent information integral to mission success from the current occupation force.
In the first week of January 2001, the battalion jumped back into training and began a demanding individual readiness training (IRT) program to prepare to serve as peacekeepers in the upcoming deployment. IRT forced soldiers and leaders alike to 'think out of the box' and learn the tools necessary to be successful in peacekeeping. A few of the things that the soldiers learned from IRT are how to search both personnel and vehicles, how to react to civil disturbances, and how to react when confronted with the media.
Upon completion of IRT, the skills and knowledge of the battalion were tested during a platoon situational training exercise program. The program consisted of very fluid and dynamic situations, forcing leaders to take charge of their platoons and react appropriately. The platoons learned how to execute presence patrols, convoy operations, bomb threats, and unauthorized training. Immediately following platoon STX, the battalion began week one of the two-week marksmanship cycle.
In 2003 the 2-502nd Infantry deployed to Iraq with other elements of the 101st Airbrone Division under Operation Iraqi Freedom. It returned to Fort Campbell in 2004 as part of the transition of the entire division to the US Army's new modular force structure. The battalion returned to Iraq with other elements of the reformed 2nd Brigade Combat Team in 2005, and served there through 2008.
In 2010 the 2-502nd Infantry deployed to Afghanistan to the Kandahar region. It completed operations around June 2011, and returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
By direction of the Secretary of the Army, the Valorous Unit Award is awarded to:
3D BATTALION, 502D INFANTRY REGIMENT, 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION
for extraordinary heroism in action:During the period of 5 April 2003 to 6 April 2003, the 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry displayed extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Immediately upon approaching the outskirts of the city, the lead element of the task force came under intense rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire from a prepared and determined enemy. Still separated from the city by nearly a kilometer of open ground, close air support was called in, followed by a devastatingly accurate combination of attack aviation, battalion mortar, and artillery fires. While still under withering fire, all elements of the battalion continued advancing toward the city. Through sound tactical execution and bold leadership, 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry fought its way into the city with undaunted courage, closing with and inflicting heavy casualties upon the fanatical Fedayeen Saddam with a fierce and indomitable fighting spirit. Overhead, Kiowa Warrior pilots from the 2d Battalion, 17th Cavalry displayed phenomenal courage and utter disregard for their own safety while observing and adjusting indirect fires, and placing their own fire on key enemy strong points, facilitating the advance of the task force within the city. Fierce fighting continued throughout the day, along with the treatment and evacuation of friendly casualties, but the intrepid acts of so many brave soldiers resulted in 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry inexorably closing in on their objective while destroying all enemy that lay in their path. The 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry valor, stamina, devotion to duty and professional excellence shown throughout this battle reflect great credit upon themselves, the 101st Airborne Division, and the United States Army.—Secretary of the Army, Valorous Unit Award for actions in the Battle of Karbala
- Constituted 24 February 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment 1st Battalion concurrently consolidated with the 502d Parachute Battalion (constituted 14 March 1941 in the Army of the United States and activated 1 July 1941 at Fort Benning, Georgia) and consolidated unit designated as the 1st Battalion, 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment (less 1st Battalion) activated 2 March 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
- Assigned 15 August 1942 to the 101st Airborne Division.
- Inactivated 30 November 1945 in France
- Re-designated 18 June 1948 as the 502d Airborne Infantry Regiment.
- Allotted 25 June 1948 to the Regular Army
- Activated 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
- Inactivated 1 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
- Activated 25 August 1950 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
- Inactivated 1 December 1953 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky
- Activated 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
- Relieved 25 April 1957 from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division; concurrently reorganized and re-designated as the 502d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.
- Withdrawn 29 June 1984 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System
Campaign participation credit
- World War II:
- Counteroffensive, Phase II
- Counteroffensive, Phase III
- Tet Counteroffensive
- Counteroffensive, Phase IV
- Counteroffensive, Phase V
- Counteroffensive, Phase VI
- Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969
- Winter-Spring 1970
- Sanctuary Counteroffensive
- Counteroffensive, Phase VII
- Consolidation I
- Consolidation II
- Southwest Asia:
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- OIF I (Invasion)
- OIF V Northwest Baghdad (troop surge)
- OIF 07-09
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- OEF X Kandahar (troop surge)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for NORMANDY
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for BASTOGNE
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for AN KHE
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for DAK TO, VIETNAM 1966
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for KANDAHAR (Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11)
- Valorous Unit Award for QUANG THUONG DISTRICT
- Valorous Unit Award for TUY HOA
- Valorous Unit Award for NAM HOA DISTRICT
- Valorous Unit Award for BA LONG DISTRICT
- Valorous Unit Award for KARBALA (3rd Battalion)
- Valorous Unit Award for KANDAHAR
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for VIETNAM 1965–1966
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SOUTHWEST ASIA
- Army Superior Unit Award for 1985 (3rd Battalion)
- Army Superior Unit Award for 1993–1994
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for NORMANDY
- Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm for BASTOGNE; cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Bastogne
- Belgian Fourragere 1940; Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in France and Belgium
- George Van Horn Moseley, Jr., original commander, on D-Day led the 502 PIR into Normandy
- Robert G. Cole, commander of 3rd Battalion, 502nd PIR and Medal of Honor recipient
- Joe E. Mann, Private First Class, 502nd PIR, Medal of Honor recipient
- Colin Powell commanded 2d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which included elements of the 502d, and later became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State under George W. Bush.
- Harrison C. Summers, hero of D-Day
- Thomas Lowell Tucker and Kristian Menchaca, two soldiers kidnapped and murdered during an attack on a roadside checkpoint on 18 June 2006, in Iraq's Triangle of Death.
- Steven Dale Green murder and rapist of 14 years old girl in Iraq, firstly defending with words "I didn't think of Iraqis as humans" and war stress conditions.
- Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30, video game based on the true story of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment who were dropped in Saint-Côme-du-Mont behind German lines on D-Day
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 502nd Infantry Regiment (United States).|
- Summary of World War II unit history
- Lineage and Honors Information at the United States Army Center of Military History
- "West Alliierte in Berlin". The history of the three Western Allied Forces and their civilian employees in Berlin from 1945–1994.
- Re-enactment unit of the 502nd in video game Day of Defeat: Source
- Living History Group portraying 502nd PIR (D-DAY Pathfinders and regular parachute infantry) in World War II, based in Poland
- Official 2nd BCT "Strike" Page
- The Chicago 502 - Support organization for the soldiers and families of the 502nd Infantry Regiment