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Col Louis G. Mendez - 3rd Battalion

Colonel Mendez graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York in the class of 1940.

At Camp Blanding, Florida he assumed command of the 3rd Battalion of the 508th upon the activation of the regiment in 1942.

He forged the men under his command into a combat-ready unit of soldiers whose esprit de corps would serve them well under their baptism of fire in Normandy.

On June 6th, 1944, (D-Day) he parachuted into France with his Battalion 10 miles behind the German lines.

For 33 days without relief Col Mendez and his men distinguished themselves as they pushed back the enemy, thereby sparing the seaborne landings at Utah and Omaha Beaches from further assault.

At great cost in human lives, the largest airborne armada in the history of warfare helped secure the beaches and guaranteed the breakthrough onto the Normandy Peninsula.

No ground gained by the 508 was ever relinquished.

Col Mendez was awarded the second highest medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, for leading the attack on June 20th 1944, which captured the town of Pretot, France.

On September 17th, 1944 Col Mendez parachuted into the Nijmegen area in Holland.

Again the 508th fought valiantly, liberating many Dutch towns.

The finale assault took place in December, 1944, The Battle of the Bulge, where Col Mendez's 3rd Battalion distinguished themselves at Their Du Mont Ridge and at Lanzerath, Belgium.

At the wars end on May 8th, 1945, the 508th was assigned to SHAEF Headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where it served as honor guard to General Eisenhower.

Col Mendez then took over command of the 508 Regiment.

Col Mendez passed away on 19th September, 2001.

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