507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (United States)

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507th Parachute Infantry Regiment
507 INF REG COA.gif
507th Infantry Regiment coat of arms
Active 1942–45
1948–49
1985–present
Country USA
Branch Army
Type Parachute infantry
Part of 199th Infantry Brigade
Garrison/HQ Fort Benning
Nickname Raff's Ruffians
Motto "Down to Earth"
Engagements World War II
Commanders
Current
commander
LTC Cummings
Notable
commanders
Edson Raff
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 507 INF REG DUI.gif
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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During World War II, the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (507th PIR) was a regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division and, later, 17th Airborne Division of the United States Army.

The regiment was initially formed at Camp Toccoa, Georgia on 20 July 1942. It would participate in three operations during the war: D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Varsity.

As part of the 2nd Airborne Infantry Brigade, the 507th was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division to replace the 504th Parachute Infantry regiment that had suffered many casualties in Italy. After arriving in Britain, their D-Day objective was to help secure the Merderet River crossings. Although their target was supposed to be in Drop Zone T, north of Amfreville, the confusion caused by clouds and flak resulted in a wide scattering of the unit. Colonel George V. Millett Jr., the initial commander of the regiment, was captured in Amfreville a few days after being deployed. Colonel Edson Raff, who had recently led the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, then took command of the regiment. The 507th later became known as Raff's Ruffians. After returning to England, the 507th was permanently assigned to the 17th Airborne Division, because another of the 82nd's regiments, the 504th, had returned by then from Anzio.

As part of the 17th, the 507th was not utilized in Operation Market Garden and was still in England training with the new division when the Battle of the Bulge began. The unit redeployed to France on 25 December 1944, and was used in the counter-attacks against the Germans in January and early February 1945.

Finally, the regiment dropped near Wesel, Germany on 24 March to spearhead the division's assault during Operation Varsity. During this action, Private George J. Peters earned the Medal of Honor for single-handedly attacking a German machine gun emplacement.

The regiment was shipped home and inactivated in September 1945.

Recent history[edit]

The regiment was briefly re-activated in the late 1940s, then again in 1985. On 23 October 1985, it was reorganized and redesignated as the 507th Infantry, a parent regiment under the United States Army Regimental System, and transferred to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. The 1st Battalion serves as the U.S. Army Airborne School.

In 2004, two documentaries aired on the 507th. PBS aired the documentary, D-Day: Down to Earth — Return of the 507th. This film connects the regiment's contribution in the war with their journey back to Normandy for the unveiling of a monument in 2002. On 1 June 2004, Investigating History aired, D-Day: The Secret Massacre. The story focuses on the Nazi massacre of French civilians, and wounded paratroopers of the 507th, in retaliation for battle at the village of Graignes.

References[edit]

  • Martin K. a. Morgan (2004). Down to Earth: The 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Normandy: June 6-July 11, 1944. Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 0-7643-2011-4. 

See also[edit]