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FORT CAMPBELL NEWSLINE (4)

508th ARCT Renews Mission Upon Arrival At Campbell

   The espirit de corps of the service is found in the regiment. The proud battle heritage of our airborne fraternity is heralded by the polished boots and immaculate uniform of the volunteer parachutist.
   When this stamp of allegiance is affixed the 508th "Red Devil" Airborne Regimental Combat Team, that "team" spirit generated by the Infantry, artillery, riggers and engineers Is the essence of "Diablo," "Geronimo," "Airborne," "Follow Me", and every other proud motto In the vanguard of unit pride.
   The 508th. "Red Devil" Abn RCT Is one of only two in the army. Component units of the three year old 508th ARCT are the 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion. 598th Airborne Engineer Company and the 619th Airborne Quartermaster Company.
   The combat team was born August 1, 1951 when the 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the 320th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion were combined at Fort Benning. Ga.  With the 598th Airborne Engineer Company joining their forces later the regiment expanded to the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.
   During this period Lt. Col. Clyde M. Dillender Jr., originated the motto "Fury From the Sky", for the new 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment. This motto suited the Red Devils to a "T" for the 508th is one of the most talked about outfits in the army.
   It is a team that truly Is "Fury From the Sky'' and continuing to add to the glorious history put forth by the fallen heroes of the 508th at Normandy, Ardennes, Central Europe and the Rhineland.
   The first combat jump of the original 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment was into Normandy. France June 6, 1944 with the 82nd Airborne Division.  Airborne actions during the first three days of the Normandy invasion decisively Influenced the success of that campaign and won for the 508th the Distinguished Unit Citation for heroism and gallantry.
   On September 17, 1944, the 508th jumped south of Nijmegen, Holland into the finest of the German army and later, following the Von Rundstedt counterpush Into the Bulge, the 508th was designated Honor Guard for the General of the Army (then) Dwight D. Eisenhower at Frankfort-on-the-Main. The unit began de-activation in October 1946 finally completing it at Camp Kilmer, New jersey.
   The Red Devils slumbered In their glory until May 5, 1951 when the regiment was brought to life at Fort Bragg, North Carolina under the command of Colonel Joseph P. Cleland.
   The 320th first was activated as the 320th Field Artillery Regiment, assigned to the 82nd Division, at Camp Gordon, Ga., on August 29, 1917. It was demobilized on May 12, 1919, at Camp Dix, New Jersey, It was again organized in December 1921 at' Columbia, South Carolina, then reorganized and redeslgnated the 320th Field Artillery Battalion, January 30, 1942, then ordered Into active service at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, on March 25, 1942. It was again organized in December  redeslgnated the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, and soon, as back in 1917, its destiny merged with the 82nd Division which had been converted to airborne.
   Carrying campaign streamers of World War I vintage for St. Mlhiel, Meuse-Argonne and Lorraine, the new 320th Glldermen wrote even

greater glory in World War II at Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. The 320th Glider was deactivated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on December 15, 1948 after having been designated a Regular Army Unit on November 15, 1946.
   Reactivated under the command of Lt. Col. John W. Grady, on August 1, 1951. the 320th "para-tlllery-men" reached an efficiency of training in six months that ordinarily would have taken World War II red-leg outfits a year or more to attain. With such training the 320th has become the sledgehammer of the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team; under the command, of Lt. Col James T. Hennessey.
   The 598th was reactivated August 1951 and assigned to the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team under the command of Captain Allen P. Liberty.  Original cadre came from the 307th Airborne engineers, 82nd Airborne Division. Early training consisted of advance Engineer training in road and bridge construction, mine warfare, rigging and demolitions. Following the Engineer training and preceding Operation Long Horn, the company participated m extensive infantry training.
   During Operation Long Horn, the Engineers, acting as an advance party, set up a marshaling area which consisted of some 200 tents, a water point, latrines and shower units. During the tactical phase of Long Horn, the 598th supported the 508th by keeping routes ot communications open and performing combat engineer missions.
   After Operation Long Horn the company moved for a brief stay at Harmony Church assisting the 508th by keeping route of communications open and performing combat engineer missions.
   After Operation Long Horn the company moved for a brief stay at Harmony Church assisting the 508th in the support of ROTC troops.
   The company returned to Sand Hill at Benning and started a 12 week basic engineer training cycle. Upon completion of this training cycle the company along with the Infantry Battalions started supporting the Infantry Center as school troops.
   The 598th Airborne Engineer Company is presently commanded by Capt. Robert P. Monfore.
   Organized at Fort "Benning in August, 1952. the 19th Airborne Quartermaster Detachment (now the 619th Airborne Quartermaster Company) was the first such unit in the army. It's first commanding officer was 1st Lt. John T. Harper. On September 23, 1953, the 19th Airborne Quartermaster Detachment was redeslgnated as the 519th Airborne Quarter-master Company making lt a component of the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. Its job Is to pack and maintain all parachutes and airborne equipment for the 508th and supervise all the heavy equipment drops.
   In reviewing the records of this magnificent QM company it is easy to understand why their morale Is exceedingly high. They have rigged more than 20,000 parachutes for the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and have not had one serious accident to result from poor rigging. They have also gone through the past twenty-three months without a single AWOL. We feel that they are living up to their motto "Be Sure Always."

   Commanding this reliable unit Is 1st Lt. Landrum R. Landreth who assumed this position in December when the original commander left for overseas duty. 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, Alabama, when it took the role of aggressor forces and opposed the 47th "Viking" Infantry Division.
   The hard hitting 47th "Viking" Division met a worthy adversary in a much smaller but furious 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.
   The aggressors usually lose these mock wars but the "Red Devils" were so skillful at Infiltration tactics and surprise raids that the "Vikings" were officially conceded to have lost the exercise.
   Warhoops and "Tl-yl-yl-yo" were the cries of the Red Devil parachutists who jumped out of the sky for Exercise Long Horn in the spring of 1952, "Long Horn" was the largest Army-Air Force maneuver in U. S. history and the 508th, cast in the role of a "goodie", jumped on elements of the 82nd Airborne Division to successfully bottle up that aggressor force.
   The Long Horn maneuver will always be remembered for the high winds.  Landing after the jump, their chutes would not deflate and the Red Devils rode "bronco-buster" prairie for a hundred yards and more to the stiff breeze.
   In the field of athletic endeavor, the 508th ARCT has forged a sterling record of participation and victories. Recorders in days to come will note that the combat team entered every athletic contest even when severe troop commitments cut Into the number and caliber of contestants. At Operation Long Horn to 1952, in Texas, after being favored to win the 1952 Fort Benning Track and Field Meet, the Red Devil thinclads came back to sweep the 1953 meet. The swimming team won the post title three years running and won permanent possession of the Fort Benning TrophyThe aquamen were the defending champions in several Georgia community meets. Representing the 508th, riggers of the 519th Abn Quartermaster Company won first place in the post volleyball tournament. The 1953 football team emerged from the gridiron fracas as co-champions with the Student Brigade at Fort Benning. The boxing and basketball teams were leading the other post contenders In their respective sports at the time of the move to Fort Campbell.
   The role of the 508th before leaving Fort Benning was to directly support The .Infantry Center. This mission was carried out with the same diligence and enthusiasm as were the most difficult missions on the battle field. Their present mission at Fort Campbell is to act as a general reserve unit In the continental United States and maintain combat proficiency of all units and individuals.
   The history of the 508th "Red Devil" Airborne Regimental Combat Team Is a colorful and glorious one. Historians have preserved its past records and achievements with the pen so that in days to come the meritorious accomplish-ments of this truly great outfit will forever be in the annals of American warfare.

[The Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville, TN, 31 Aug 1954, Tue, Page 55]

 

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