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ADDITIONAL UNIT INFORMATION
*this information is in no way complete nor up to date
The 509th started out in early 1941 as the experimental 504th Parachute Battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia. Later, the group merged with another early regiment, the 503rd, and they were the first US airborne forces for more training. In late 1942, the unit was renamed as the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and would remain an independent unit throughout the war, since it was never attached to one of the US airborne divisions.
The 509th carried out the first US combat drop during the invasion of Operation Torch. The transport planes flew all the way from English airfields to the African coast. This first operation was a fiasco, with the planes widely scattered. Some later, smaller jumps during the campaign were more effective.
Later, the 509th saw many more combat jumps in the Italian Campaign (World War II).
During the Battle of the Bulge, the 509th went in with about 700 men to counter-attack the Germans. The war ended for the 509th at the end of January 1945 near Sankt Vith, with only about 50 survivors. At this time, the 509th was disbanded, and the men left were used as replacements for the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.
WWII commanders include:
* Edson Raff
* Doyle Yardley, captured at Avellino
* William P. Yarborough
The unit has been reformed several times since WWII, and been deployed to bases in Europe. Since 1993, the ''509th Infantry'' helped train other troops by posing as enemy or terrorist forces during live engagements at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Since mid-2004, the 509th has been deployed to 2003 Invasion of Iraq.