- 503rd Infantry Regiment (United States)
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=503d Infantry Regiment
caption=503d Infantry distinctive insignia
August 21, 1941- December 24, 1945; February 1951 - 1984; December 19, 1986- present
World War II Vietnam War
George M. Jones
previous=502nd Infantry Regiment
next=504th Infantry RegimentThe 503rd Infantry Regiment, formerly the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) is an airborne unit in the
United States military. It is one of the most decorated units of its kind with a disinguished battlefield record notably in World War IIand the Vietnam War.
World War II
On February 14, 1942, the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment was formed.
The Regiment's 1st and 2nd Battalions were formed at
Fort Benning, Georgia, from the 503rd and 504th Parachute Battalions, respectively. Unlike many other airborne units, who were deployed in the European Theater of Operations, the 503rd was the first airborne regiment to fight in the Pacific, and as an independent unit.
The unit's first operation was an unopposed landing at Nadzab,
New Guinea, on 5 September 1943. It was also dropped at Kamiri Airfield, during the Battle of Noemfoor, off the coast of Dutch New Guinea, 3 July 1944. It is most notable for liberating the island of Corregidor in Manila Bay, in 1945. The unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation (US)for this action and got its nickname, "the Rock Regiment" from it.
Inactivated at Camp Anza, CA, in December 1945, it was reactivated and redesignated as the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment in February 1951 and assigned to the
U.S. 11th Airborne Divisionat Fort Campbell, Kentucky, following the departure of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment to Korea as a separate Airborne regimental combat team. In 1956 the 503rd went with the rest of the 11th Airborne Division to posts in southeastern Germany.
The 503rd was relieved on 1 March 1957 from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and was concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 503d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. The lineage of Company A, 503AIR, was reorganized and redesignated on 1 March 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 503d Infantry, and remained assigned to the 11th Airborne Division (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated). The lineage of Company B, 503rd AIR was redesignated 1 September 1957 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Airborne Battle Group, 503d Infantry (1-503rd), assigned to the 82d Airborne Division, and activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (organic elements concurrently constituted and activated). This year marked the point during which infantry regimental numbers ceased indicating actual tactical units but instead were used in designating battle groups of Pentomic divisions, which did not have regiments and battalions.
On 1 July 1958 the 1st ABG, 503rd Inf was relieved from assignment to the 11th Airborne Division and assigned to the 24th Infantry Division when the 11th was reflagged as the 24th. The battle group's stay was short, and on 7 January 1959 it was relieved from assignment to the 24th Infantry Division and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division. The move was accompanied by the rotation of the only other Airborne battle group, 1-187th, from the 24th to the 82nd. Concurrently 1-504th and 1-505th were relieved from the 82nd and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in central Germany. At Fort Bragg, 1-503rd joined 2-503rd, already assigned to the 82nd, as one of the division's five battle groups.
The two active elements of the 503rd remained together under the 82nd until the following year, when 2-503rd was relieved on 24 June 1960 from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. The following year, on
1 July 1961, it was relieved from assignment to the 25th Infantry Division and assigned on 26 March 1963 to the 173d Airborne Brigade on Okinawa.
The 1st ABG, 503rd Inf remained with the 82nd Airborne Division until
26 March 1963, when it was relieved from assignment to the 82d and joined 1-503rd in its assignment to the 173d Airborne Brigade. Shortly thereafter, on 25 June 1963, it was reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry. On that same date, 2-503rd was reorganized and redesignated as the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry.
In May 1965, two battalions of the 503rd Infantry deployed as part of the
173rd Airborne Brigadeto Vietnam as the first major U.S. Army ground combat unit to be deployed, joined later by 4-503rd Inf and 3-503rd Inf (bearing the lineages of the former Co D and Co C, 503rd PIR, respectively). During its six years in Vietnam, the four battalions of the 503rd participated in fourteen campaigns, earning two more Presidential Unit Citations and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. The 2nd Bn (Abn), 503rd Inf participated in the only combat jump of the war during "Operation Junction City" in 1967. It redeployed to the United States in July 1971, having the distinction of being one of the last units to leave Vietnam.
Following the return of the 173rd to the United States was its inactivation when its assets were used to form the 3rd Brigade (Airborne), 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). Both 1-503rd and 2-503rd were relieved from the 173rd effective
14 January 1972and assigned to the 101st. The other two battalions, 3-503rd and 4-503rd, were inactivated following the 173rd return from Viet Nam. The 3rd Brigade, along with other supporting division units, saw its jump status terminated on 1 April 1974 when the 101st became a completely Airmobile division (renamed Air Assault on 4 October 1974).
The lineage of 2-503rd was inactivated on 1 October 1983 and relieved from assignment to the 101st, followed by 1-503rd on 16 November 1984. The existing battalions were reflagged as units of the 187th Infantry during the implementation of the Army Regimental System (ARS).
Reactivation in Korea, Assignment to Italy
On 16 December 1986 both 1-503rd and 2-503rd were reactivated and assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea when two existing infantry battalions were reflagged. (Note: On
16 March 1987another former 101st unit, 1-506th Inf, was also assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division and activated in Korea.) The 2nd Bn, 503rd Inf was inactivated on 29 September 1990 in Korea and relieved from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division, but 1-503rd and 1-506th remained and became Air Assault battalions within the division. The 2nd Bn, 503rd returned to active status as an Airborne battalion on 16 December 2001when it was assigned to the 173d Airborne Brigade in Italy when its colors were used to reflag the existing 3-325th Inf.
Global War on Terror
In the summer of 2004, the 1st of the 503rd deployed to Iraq, where its troopers took part in the battle of
Fallujahand conducted combat operations in the violent Al-Anbarprovince. The battalion suffered above average losses during the deployment. Based in the outskirts of Ramadi, 1-503rd was targeted by daily mortar attacks and received a significant amount of Vehicle-Born Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as VBIEDS or car bombs. Despite this, the 1-503rd was very successful in their mission to curb insurgent activity. According to an interview with Lieutenant Colonel James Raymer [ [http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:HFaxq8cJ8dAJ:cgsc.cdmhost.com/cgi-bin/showfile.exe%3FCISOROOT%3D/p4013coll13%26CISOPTR%3D117+ltc+gubler+503+iraq&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=9 Interview with LTC James Raymer] Combat Studies Institute 24 February 2006] , as of February 2006, insurgent activity is markedly lowered from the year that 1-503rd conducted operations in Ramadi. Additionally, the 503rd played a critical role in the 2005 elections in Iraq in Ramadi. [ [http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=25890&archive=true "U.S. Troops Fortify Iraqi Polling Stations"] , "Stars and Stripes", 28 January 2005]
Upon completion of its year-long deployment to Iraq, 1-503 did not return to Korea, but instead relocated to Fort Carson, CO, with the rest of the brigade. It was redesignated on 1 October 2005 as the 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, inactivated on 15 November 2005, relieved from assignment to the 2d Infantry Division, and assigned on 15 June 2006 to the 173d Airborne Brigade when the existing 1-508th Inf was reflagged.
In May of 2007, the 173rd ABCT (including both 1- and 2-503) deployed to Afghanistan. Both units fell under the NATO
ISAFmission. 2-503 remained as part of TF Bayonetand the unit was the subject of several articles detailing [ [http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/01/afghanistan200801 "Into the Valley of Death"] Junger, Sebastian; Vanity Fair; January 2008] [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/magazine/24afghanistan-t.html "Battle Company Is Out There"] ; Rubin, Elizabeth; New York Times Sunday Magazine; February, 2008] their operations during OEF VIII. 1-503 was attached to the 4th BCT, 82nd Airborne and then 4th BCT, 101st Airborne as part of TF Fury and TF Currahee, respectively.
Medal of Honorrecipients
John Andrew Barnes, III
Michael R. Blanchfield
Glenn H. English Jr.
Ray E. Eubanks
Carlos J. Lozada
Lloyd G. McCarter
Don L. Michael
Charles B. Morris
Milton L. Olive III
Larry S. Pierce
* [http://www.173abnbde.setaf.army.mil/1-503rd/home.htm The 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment home page]
* [http://www.173abnbde.setaf.army.mil/2-503rd/home.htm The 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment home page]
* [http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=23651&archive=true "'The Rock' is Ready"] , " Stars and Stripes",
21 September 2004
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