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Category: Army History/WW2

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503rd Parachute Regiment, US Army in WW2

The WW2 patch of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. Worn from:  Late 1943 - December 1945 (Unauthorized). The design is a caricature of an angry wild cat rapidly descending toward its target. Campaigns:  World War II (New Guinea, Leyte, Luzon, Southern Philippines). Decorations:  Distinguished Unit Citation (streamer embroidered Corregidor) and Philippine Presidential Unit Citation (streamer embroidered 17 October 1944 - 4 July 1945).

Worn from: Feb 45 - Dec 1945. Approved for local wear only. The design incorporates the unit's motto, "The Rock," which refers to its airborne drop on the island of Corregidor.

The current 503rd patch

The 503d Parachute Infantry Battalion, one of the original formations of the expanding U.S. Army Airborne forces, was activated and organized in August 1941. On 24 February 1942, the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment was formed. The Regiments 1st and 2nd Battalions were formed at Fort Benning, GA, from the 503d and 504th Parachute Battalions, respectively. Shortly thereafter, the Regiment was deployed as an independent parachute regiment to join General MacArthur's forces in the South Pacific theater. 

After several months of preparation, the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment assaulted Corregidor Island, the Philippines, for which the unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. 

The two other airborne operations included an assault on the Japanese-held Nadzab airstrip, New Guinea, 5 September 1943, and Kamiri Airfield on Noemfoor Island off the coast of Dutch New Guinea, 3 July 1944. 

Inactivated at Camp Anza, CA, in December 1945. it was reactivated and redesignated as Company B, 503d Airborne Infantry in February 1951 and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY.

Atherton Tableland, Qld. 1943-07-02.

 Colonel Hensler, 503rd United States Parachute Unit. 

AWM photo 053736

Original unauthorised WW2 arm patch


Nadzab, New Guinea. 1943-09-05. 

US C47 aircraft flying in over the Nadzab drop zone behind a smoke screen laid down by A20 (BOSTON) aircraft during the assault delivering men of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. 

One Battalion is jumping from the transport aircraft in the foreground and another can be seen in the left background ringed by smoke. A Detachment of the  2/4th Field Regiment also jumped with eight of their short 25 pounders to provide artillery support. (Donor L. Waterhouse)
Markham Valley, New Guinea. 1943-09-05. Screened by dense smoke, paratroopers of 503 US Paratroop Infantry Regiment and Gunners of 2/4th Australian Field Regiment with their 25 pounders land unopposed at Nadzab, during the advance of 7th Australian Division on Lae.
Noemfoor Island, Dutch New Guinea. 1944-07-03. 

RAAF and American aerodrome construction workers look on while paratroops of the 503rd Parachute Regiment. US Army glide to earth on Kamiri airstrip.


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces