Noted Airborne Combat Team,
508th, To Pass Through City
Annistonians will see units of one of the
most famous existing military units Wednesday when the 508th "Red Devil"
Airborne Regimental Combat Team passes through.
The 508th --- commanded by Col. Glenn J. McGowan --- is being
transferred from Fort Benning, Ga. to Fort Campbell, Ky, and will make a stop
for gas at Fort McClellan tomorrow afternoon.
Component units of the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team are
the 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 320th Airborne Field Artillery
Battalion, 598th Airborne Engineer Company and the 510th Airborne
Formed in 1951
The combat team was born Aug 1, 1951, when the 508th Airborne
Regiment and the 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion were combined at
The original 508th Infantry Regiment jumped into Normandy on D-Day
with the 82nd Airborne Division and went on to Frankfurt-am-Main after VE
Day to become honor guard unit for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters.
The 508th Regiment came to Fort Benning from Fort Bragg, N.C. in May, 1951.
The colorful history of the 320th Airborne Field Artillery
Battalion dates back to World War I when it fought at St. Mihiel, Meuse -
Argonne and Lorraine. Known as the 320th Glider Artillery Battalion
during World War II, it saw action in Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Normandy,
Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe campaigns. It was
reactivated at Fort Benning in August, 1951, to become part of the combat
First Such Unit
Organized at Fort Benning in November, 1952 the 19th
Airborne Quartermaster Company was the first such unit in the Army.
Its job is to pack and maintain all parachutes and airborne equipment for
the 508th and supervise all the heavy equipment drops.
During World War II, the 508th Airborne Engineer Company served at Fort
Mitchell, NC and was activated in August, 1951 as part of the 508th.
One of only two airborne regimental combat teams on active duty,
the 508th showed its combat readiness during maneuvers in December 1951, at
Camp Rucker when it took the role of aggressor forces and opposed the 47th
[Source: The Anniston Star, Anniston, AL, Tuesday,
February 16, 1954, Page 7]
Two Airborne Pioneers With 508th At Fort
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Nov. 15, When airborne was in its infancy in the American Army, two master sergeants now serving with the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team were among those pioneers who paved the way for its development. Master Sergeants George W. Ivy and Ernest L. Dilburn embarked upon their airborne careers in 1940 when they became enlisted volunteers from the 29th Infantry Regiment, then stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.
The adventurous sergeants joined the first parachute test platoon of forty-eight enlisted men and two officers. Their mission was to study the parachute, master it, and show how it could be used most effectively as, a combat weapon.
In mld-1940 the platoon, moved to a special training field outside Hightstown, N.J. There they trained on jump towers perfecting the techniques of controlled descents and landing without injury.
The Hightstown session completed, the special platoon returned to Fort Benning. On August 14, 1940, they made their first jump from a static-rigged aircraft. This mass jump was largely instrumental in "selling" the War Department the potentials of the parachute in combat.
In September 1940, organization of the 501st Parachute Battalion was authorized. The test platoon was delegated as cadre to airborne-qualify the newly-formed unit.
When the Army staged its first major airborne training exercise in the Panama Canal Zone in August 1941, Sergeants Ivy and Dilburn were part of the group. Following this successful exercise, paratroop training swung into high gear. The Parachute School was set up under the Infantry and airborne in the American Army was on its way.
Reminiscing, over the growth of airborne in fifteen years, the "Red Devil' sergeants believe jumping techniques haven't changed. The only modifications are the training aids now employed.
Today having accumulated more than 500 jumps between them, the veteran paratroopers have fond memories of the small platoon that paved the skyroads for the airborne armadas in World War II.
Currently. a member of Headquarters company, 2nd Battalion, Sergeant Ivy serves as battalion intelligence sergeant and is an active member of the 508th High Powered Rifle Team. Sergeant Dilburn, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters company, serves as regimental Communications chief.
[Source: The Leaf Chronicle, Clarkesville, TN,
Wednesday, November 17, 1954, Page 1]