From: "Press Service" <afisnews_sender@DTIC.MIL>
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2001 8:41 PM
Subject: President's Proclamation for National Airborne Day, Aug 16
Sixty-one years ago, 48 brave volunteer members of the U.S.
Army Parachute Test Platoon pioneered a new method of
warfare. Their successful jump led to the creation of a
mighty force of more than 100,000 paratroopers. Members of
this force were assigned to the legendary 11th, 13th, 17th,
82d and 101st Airborne Divisions and numerous other units
that fought in every theater during World War II.
The soldiers of the Parachute Test Platoon also forged a
unique warrior spirit, a relentless passion for victory,
and a reputation that still strikes fear in potential
adversaries. Beginning with the first combat jump by the
men of the *2d Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment,
over North Africa in November 1942, airborne and special
operations soldiers have made a total of 93 combat jumps.
Since World War II, paratroopers have continually
distinguished themselves in battle, earning 69
Congressional Medals of Honor and hundreds of other awards
Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the first
official Army parachute jump, I join all Americans in
recognizing these heroes. We salute our Nation's sky
troopers, both past and present, for their great service
and personal sacrifice in the defense of freedom and
liberty around the world.
Best wishes to all for a memorable observance.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Gerard M. Devlin has a footnote to chapter 5, in his
excellent book PARATROOPER!, which states the following in reference to the
"During its brief life. this battalion held three separate numerical
designations. When first activated on October 5, 1941, it was the 504th
Parachute Battalion. Then, on February 24, 1942, it was redesignated as the
2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry. And finally, on December 10, 1943,
it became the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the designation by which it
is best known to American airborne veterans, and the designation it held when
disbanded on March 1, 1945. To the consternation of proper historians, and
in the interest of clarity, I have chosen to use the battalions' final
designation throughout this history."
Extracted from The Paratroopers of the 50's Web Site
Unit: 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion (PIB)
Operation: Torch Troopers: 556
Dropzone: Tafaraoui, La Senia