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502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment
502 Parachute Infantry Regiment COA.PNG
Coat of arms
Active 1942–1945
Country United States
Branch Army
Type Parachute infantry
Part of 101st Airborne Division
Garrison/HQ Fort Campbell
Nickname(s) "Five-Oh-Deuce" or "The Deuce"
Motto(s) Strike
Engagements World War II
Vietnam War
War in Southwest Asia
Iraq Campaign
Afghanistan Campaign
COL Peter Benchoff
George Van Horn Moseley, Jr.
Colin Powell
John H. Michaelis
Steve A Chappuis
Distinctive unit insignia 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment DUI.PNG

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.

Unit history[]

World War II[]

The 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment originated in July 1941, as the 502nd Parachute Battalion, an experimental unit formed to test the doctrine and tactics of parachute assault. On 2 March 1942, the unit was re-designated as the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. The 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment was activated on 1 July 1941, at Fort Benning, Georgia, and joined the 101st Airborne Division 16 August 1942.

The regiment would participate in three major battles during the war: Battle of Normandy, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge. The 502nd was often referred to as the "Five-Oh-Deuce" or simply, "The Deuce".

Gen Eisenhower speaks with 1st Lt. Wallace C. Strobel and men of Company E of the 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division on the evening of 5 June 1944. The placard around Strobel's neck indicates he is the jumpmaster for chalk 23 of the 438th TCG.

At the war's end in Europe, the 502nd was inactivated on 30 November 1945 with the rest of the division.

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 at Camp Breckinridge. 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.

In 1956 the division's colors were transferred, less personnel and equipment, to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as a combat airborne division tested for the new Pentomic division concept, which eliminated the three infantry regiments and their subordinate battalions in favor of five battle groups. The reactivated 101st was formed using the assets of the 187th ARCT and the 508th ARCT.

The lineage of the 502nd was revived with the activation on 25 April 1957 of HHC, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 502nd Infantry (bearing the lineage of Co A, 502PIR) as a unit within the 101st. As the rest of the Army converted to the Pentomic structure, the 2nd ABG, 502nd Infantry (perpetuating the lineage of Co B, 502PIR and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division in Germany) was activated on 1 March 1957 by reflagging existing elements of the 11th Airborne Division. It was inactivated on 1 July 1958 when the 11th itself was inactivated and reflagged as the 24th Infantry Division.

The Pentomic configuration was soon found unworkable and a brigade configuration was adopted. Cynical observers believed it an attempt to allow more brigadier generals into the Army, but these commanders remained colonels as their predecessors had commanded regiments.

The reorganization from battle groups to brigades and battalions placed two battalions of the 502nd in different brigades of the 101st. The 2nd Battalion was in the 1st Brigade with 1–327th and 2–327th Infantry. Deployed to Vietnam in 1965, it was most notably commanded by LTC Hank "The Gunfighter" Emerson. 1-502nd Inf was in 2nd Brigade with 1–501st and 2–501st Inf and didn't arrive in Vietnam until late 1967 with the remainder of the division.

Vietnam War[]

When the remainder of the 101st was alerted for movement to Vietnam in late 1967, 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 did not take place until mid-1968. When U.S. forces returned from Vietnam, the 1st Cavalry Division went through a testing process as a TRICAP (Triple Capacity: Armor, Infantry, and Air Cavalry) unit before being converted to an armored division, leaving the 101st as the only airmobile (renamed air assault in 1974) division in the Army.


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.

In November 1984, through a complex "reflagging" process, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 502nd Infantry (bearing the lineages of Companies A, B, and C, 502nd PIR of WW II fame) were placed under the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Tragically, more than 248 service members, most from the 3rd battalion 502nd Infantry were killed in December 1985 in a plane crash in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada while returning from peace keeping duty in the Sinai, Egypt. It was the deadliest single crash in peacetime involving the U.S. Army. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan attended an emotional memorial service at Ft. Campbell, Ky. Memorials for the fallen were subsequently constructed at Gander Lake, Newfoundland, Canada, and near Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

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 and were inactivated in the draw down of the early 1990s. The rotation plan was found to be unworkable and was quietly abandoned.

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.

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]


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.


1st Battalion[]

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.[citation needed] 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.[1] Spielman and Green have been convicted and three others have pled guilty.[2][citation needed]

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[]

File:1-502nd Soldier Afghanistan.jpg


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[]

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.

3rd Battalion[]

The 3rd Battalion received the Army's Valorous Unit Award and Meritorious Unit Citation for the battles in Karbala against Saddam's insurgents attacking 3rd ID's supply lines.

By direction of the Secretary of the Army, the Valorous Unit Award is awarded to:


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 ArmyValorous 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[]

  1. Defense
  2. Counteroffensive
  3. Counteroffensive, Phase II
  4. Counteroffensive, Phase III
  5. Tet Counteroffensive
  6. Counteroffensive, Phase IV
  7. Counteroffensive, Phase V
  8. Counteroffensive, Phase VI
  9. Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969
  10. Winter-Spring 1970
  11. Sanctuary Counteroffensive
  12. Counteroffensive, Phase VII
  13. Consolidation I
  14. Consolidation II
  • Southwest Asia:
  1. Defense of Saudi Arabia
  2. Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom
  1. OIF I (Invasion)
  2. OIF V Northwest Baghdad (troop surge)
  3. OIF 07-09
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  1. 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

Notable soldiers[]

See also[]

  • 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


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "Lineage and Honors of the 502d Infantry".

External links[]

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