502nd Infantry Regiment (United States)

502nd Infantry Regiment (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment

caption=502nd Infantry coat Of arms
nickname="Five-Oh-Deuce" or "The Deuce"
motto= Strike
type=Parachute Infantry
dates=1942–1945; reactivated 1957-
command_structure=101st Airborne Division
garrison=Fort Campbell
battles=World War II
Vietnam War
War in Southwest Asia
Iraq Campaign
notable_commanders= George Van Horn Moseley, Jr.
John H. Michaelis
identification_symbol_label=Distinctive Unit Insignia
US Regiments
previous=501st Infantry Regiment
next=503rd Infantry Regiment
During World War II, the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (502nd PIR) was a regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army.

Unit history

The 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment originated in July 1941, as the 502nd Parachute Battalion, an experimental unit formed to test the doctrine and tactics of parachute assault. On 2 March 1942, the unit was re-designated as the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. The 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment was activated on 1 July 1941, at Fort Benning, Georgia, and joined the 101st Airborne Division in August 1942.

The regiment would participate in three major battles during the war: D-Day, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge. The 502d was often referred to as the "Five-Oh-Deuce" or simply, "The Deuce".

At the war's in Europe, the 502nd was inactivated on 30 November 1945 with the rest of the division.

While on inactive status, the regiment was redesignated on 18 June 1948 as the 502d Airborne Infantry Regiment and allotted to the Regular Army on 25 June that same year. It was activated on 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, as a training that was Airborne in name only. Less than a year later, it was inactivated on 1 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge. Shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, it was again activated on 25 August 1950, again as a training unit at Camp Breckinridge, and then inactivated on 1 December 1953 at Camp Breckinridge following the truce declared in July. It was activated yet again as a training unit on 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

In 1956 the division's colors were transferred, less personnel and equipment, to Fort Campbell, KY, as a combat Airborne division testbed for the new Pentomic division concept, which eliminated the three infantry regiments and their subordinate battalions in favor of five battle groups. The reactivated 101st was formed using the assets of the 187th ARCT and the 508th ARCT. [http://www.bragg.army.mil/4BCT/new_page_1.htm] The lineage of the 502nd was revived with the activation on 25 April 1957 of HHC, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 502nd Infantry (bearing the lineage of Co A, 502PIR) as a unit within the 101st. As the rest of the Army converted to the Pentomic structure, the 2nd ABG, 502nd Infantry (perpetuating the lineage of Co B, 502PIR and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division in Germany) was activated on 1 March 1957 by reflagging existing elements of the 11th Airborne Division. It was inactivated on 1 July 1958 when the 11th itself was inactivated and reflagged as the 24th Infantry Division.

The Pentomic configuration was soon found unworkable and a brigade configuration was adopted. Cynical observers believed it an attempt to allow more brigadier generals into the Army, but these commanders remained colonels as their predecessors had commanded regiments.

The reorganization from battle groups to brigades and battalions placed two battalions of the 502nd in different brigades of the 101st. The 2nd Battalion was in the 1st Brigade with 1-327th and 2-327th Inf . Deployed to Vietnam in 1965, it was most notably commanded by LTC Hank "The Gunfighter" Emerson. 1-502nd Inf was in 2nd Brigade with 1-501st and 2-501st Inf and didn't arrive in Vietnam until late 1967 with the remainder of the division.

When the remainder of the 101st was alerted for movement to Viet Nam in late 1967, it was a skeletal formation that had been drained of personnel to support the war effort. To bring it up to full strength prior to deployment, it was necessary to fill it with non-Airborne-qualified personnel from other units in the Third Army area. The division effectively ceased being an Airborne unit, although the official transformation to the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) did not take place until mid-1968. When U.S. forces returned from Viet Nam, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) went through a testing process as a TRICAP (Triple Capacity: Armor, Infantry, and Air Cavalry) unit before being converted to an armored division, leaving the 101st as the only airmobile (renamed air assault in 1974) division in the Army.

In November 1984, through a complex "reflagging" process, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 502nd Infantry (bearing the lineages of Companies A, B, and C, 502PIR of WW II fame) were placed under the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Concurrent with the reflagging within the 101st, the 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions, 502nd Infantry were activated within the Berlin Brigade by reflagging the existing 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions, 6th Infantry. This was part of a wider Army plan to regimentally pair units based within the United States with those stationed overseas for battalion rotational purposes. These three battalions, perpetuating the lineages of WW II Companies D, E and F, 502PIR, were neither Airborne nor Air Assault and were inactivated in the drawdown of the early 1990s. The rotation plan was found to be unworkable and was quietly abandoned.

The 2nd Brigade deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 and drove deep into the Iraqi rear during Operation Desert Storm. Later peacekeeping missions took the Strike Brigade to Panama and Kosovo.

The 502nd would see sand again in 2003, when it spearheaded the 101st's combat air assault into Iraq. The 3d Infantry Division needed extensive light infantry support during the 2003 Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and COL "Fighting Joe" Anderson's brigade got the nod. The 3rd Battalion in particular received the Army's Valorous Unit Award and Meritorious Unit Citation for the battles in Karbala against Fedayeen Saddam insurgents attacking 3rd ID's supply lines. Later the 2nd Brigade was instrumental in the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein in Mosul.


2nd Battalion in Operation Iraqi Freedom I

The 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) distinguished itself with conspicuous gallantry and valor during combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 19 March 2003 to 2 May 2003. The “Strike Force” battalion fought with honor and courage to liberate and secure the cities of An Najaf, Karbala(2nd battalion did not liberate karbala; that task was carried out by the now inactive 3rd battalion "widowmakers", southern Baghdad, and Mosul. Leaders and soldiers alike courageously accomplished demanding and challenging missions in the face of enemy direct and indirect fire, limited intelligence, uncertain enemy disposition with the presence of non-combatants, and a fast-paced timeline offering little recovery.

With little notice and preparation time, the “Strike Force” battalion facilitated the 101st Airborne Division’s initial entry across the Iraq border by tasking Charlie Company to secure the division tactical assembly area and attack positions along the Kuwait-Iraq border from 18-20 March. For 72 hours, the company operated independently with platoons dispersed over 10 kilometers through intense sandstorms and near impacts of Iraqi long range missiles (SCUD derivatives). The company’s rapid movement, flexibility, and sound positioning of direct and indirect fire systems enabled the rapid passage of the 101st Airborne Division’s Third Brigade Combat Team into Iraq.

On 25 March, 2nd Battalion again supported the division, this time tasking Bravo Company, two Delta Company anti-tank platoons, an engineer squad, a small Forward Logistics Element (FLE), and a command and control element to move critical supplies to Task Force Rakassan. Driving for 20 continuous hours over 150 kilometers of very rough, undeveloped, and unsecured terrain to Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) EXXON, the company displayed superb perseverance and commitment to deliver much needed fuel and water. With only 10 hours to prepare 180 “Strike Force” soldiers and 37 vehicles to conduct a Ground Assault Convoy (GAC) into Iraq, Bravo Company demonstrated incredible flexibility, organization, leadership, and warrior spirit in accomplishing the mission without losing a single vehicle or injuring a soldier. They remained temporarily attached to Task Force Rakassan, relentlessly digging and patrolling for three days to defend their assigned sector of the FARP against Fedayeen technical vehicle attacks and impacting enemy mortar rounds.

By 26 March, the remainder of the 2nd Battalion Task Force crossed into Iraq. Conducting both air assaults and GACs to reach the area of operations, the battalion immediately moved from the landing zone to conduct combat operations. Alpha Company quickly attacked to secure a critical bridge leading to An Najaf at Jisr Al Abbass. Despite sporadic enemy direct fires, the bridge and towns in the vicinity were quickly secured, displacing Fedayeen forces further south into An Najaf. Multiple Fedayeen positions, weapons, munitions and supplies were captured and this critical choke point on a major avenue of approach into An Najaf was secured.

By the morning of 29 March, Charlie Company attacked south another ten kilometers to seize the eastern abutment of the Abbas Bridge, a second critical bridge leading to Al Kufah and An Najaf. Fedayeen forces engaged Charlie Company with light small arms and automatic weapon fire. Immediately returning effective suppressive fires, Charlie Company quickly seized the western bridgehead, forcing the Fedayeen soldiers to withdraw towards An Najaf. Employing effective direct fires and two AH-64 gunships to conduct observation and target identification, Charlie Company dominantly maneuvered to secure the bridge, an adjacent Fedayeen headquarters, and abandoned fighting positions within other buildings. Charlie Company captured over 30 weapons, a Fedayeen vehicle, multiple enemy maps and information, military supplies, and hundreds of rounds of small arms ammunition, RPG rounds, and mortar rounds. Squad leaders, team leaders, and soldiers demonstrated aggressive and unflinching leadership, confidence, and bravery under fire, allowing the company to secure the objective without a single friendly casualty. This action set the conditions for the battalion’s advance to Al Kufa, the eastern portion of An Najaf. Charlie Company’s successful attack also secured the eastern flank of the brigade task force, eliminating enemy mortar fires from positions that could range the brigade’s eastern flank.

On 30 March, Bravo Company arrived by air assault from FARP EXXON to rejoin the battalion efforts in attacking An Najaf. Upon arrival at an LZ near the bridge at Jisr Al Abbass, Bravo Company conducted a zone reconnaissance and facilitated a scout insertion on critical objectives southwest of the bridge. During the insertion, the scouts were engaged by enemy small arms fire from a building complex before encountering a minefield that prevented them from getting into positions to observe targets. Despite the challenges and an unclear enemy situation, the next evening Bravo Company conducted a deliberate attack of the facility that eliminated the enemy threat and pushed the Fedayeen forces further south into Al Kufa. Based on obvious indications of Fedayeen presence in the complex building network of An Najaf University, Bravo Company continued the attack south and quickly secured the university on 1 April. Although the university offered no overt resistance, Bravo company located and captured a land mine production facility with over 1200 AP mines and 400 AT mines within the university grounds. This seizure provided significant intelligence and evidence that the Saddam regime was using protected sites to support military operations and the production of weapons. Bravo Company, 2-502nd and Delta Company, 1-502nd Infantry capitalized on the initial success and continued to attack along a southern axis of advance to the east side of the Al Kufa bridge, allowing the battalion to preserve momentum and commence further attacks into Al Kufa and An Najaf 24-hours ahead of schedule.

On 2 April, 2nd Battalion attacked across the Al Kufa Bridge, a mined bridge defended by enemy forces overwatching from a large multi-building government complex. Realizing the minefield could not be cleared by conventional means without destroying the bridge, the engineer platoon bravely used field expedient methods to create a lane for the main effort’s attack. Delta Company, 1-502nd secured the eastern side of the mined bridge, allowing Bravo Company to move across the bridge and attack using both direct and indirect fires to suppress Fedayeen forces defending from the west side of the government building. The battalion provided effective indirect 81mm mortar fire and sniper fire to clear positions on the building tops, supporting Bravo and Charlie Companies’ assault across the bridge. The battalion continued to push, attacking east to west through the next night into Al Kufa with Bravo, Charlie, and both Delta companies from 2nd and 1st Battalions. 2nd Battalion’s rapid advance seized multiple munitions and weapon caches in Ba’ath Party houses, paramilitary headquarters, and in elementary schools converted into military strongholds. Based on quick, decisive maneuver with overwhelming combat power, the battalion task force quickly pushed Fedayeen forces out of the area of operation.

On 3 April, the battalion conducted split operations, launching another attack into an urban area west of An Najaf as the brigade’s western flank while simultaneously continuing security and seizure operations in Al Kufa on the brigade’s eastern flank. Bravo Company, D/2-502nd, an FLE, an engineer squad, and aviation observers attacked in the west while Charlie Company and D/1-502nd continued to conduct cordon and search operations within Al Kufa to find and eliminate military and paramilitary forces and equipment in the east. On the western flank, 2nd Battalion located four large caches inside schools that had been converted into Fedayeen strongpoints, captured five enemy soldiers, and secured over eight truckloads of munitions and military equipment.

On the eastern flank, the battalion attacked and seized three large Fedayeen company-size training compounds interspersed between water pumping facilities and warehouse type facilities along the Euphrates River. Each of these compounds contained large stockpiles of 60mm, 82mm, 120 mm, 57mm, and small arms munitions.

2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry distinguished itself in the attacks on An Najaf and Al Kufa by its rapid movement in the attack as well as it’s ability to split forces and fight on both the east and the west flank of the brigade task force at the same time, maintaining command and control to accomplish both missions.

After being relieved in place by elements of the Bastogne Brigade, the battalion moved north to stage for the attack in southern Karbala. Delta Company, task organized with two anti-tank platoons, a platoon from Bravo company, an armor platoon from 2-70 Armor, an engineer squad, an FLE, sniper team, and a Tactical Psychological Operations Team (TPT), moved by ground and attacked to seize Al Hindiyah, a small city on the Euphrates River between Al Hillah and Karbala. During this mission, the Delta Company team aggressively moved and attacked to secure a critical bridge rigged for demolition over the Euphrates River. The aggressive attack resulted in seizure of the bridge and capture of the enemy soldiers in position to defend and then demolish the bridge. Al Hindiyah was a hornet’s nest of Fedayeen buildings, training camps, and equipment. Delta Company’s team quickly dominated the city, seized the camps and defeating any will to resist by its aggressive and overbearing combat power. The discovery of several camps that contained toxic chemicals suspected to be materials for field expedient weapons of mass destruction made the mission inherently more dangerous. They secured these critical sites until division chemical units could analyze their contents, selflessly protecting the task force and denying the enemy ability to move or use these chemicals.

On 6 April, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry next attacked by air assault and GAC to seize objectives within AO FALCON in southern Karbala, maneuvering as part of a five-battalion task force. Bravo and Charlie Companies attacked north, reaching the initial day’s march objectives by nightfall. Charlie Company attacked as the main effort on the western flank, while Bravo company attacked as the supporting effort on the eastern flank. Moving quickly, both companies cleared multiple schools with light resistance, as well as Ba’ath Party houses at interim march objectives. They located three major weapons and munitions caches and took eight prisoners. Additionally, the companies captured multiple maps and enemy operations orders, providing significant intelligence and greatly facilitating targeting objectives for the next day.

Delta Company, 2-502nd Infantry concurrently screened the eastern and western flanks of the rifle companies as they attacked. On the eastern flank, 1st platoon, Delta Company hit an unexploded DPICM bomblet remaining from a prior indirect fire attack by other U.S. forces, completely destroying one vehicle and injuring four crew members – one crew member critically burned. Demonstrating true selflessness and valor, the other platoon members heroically extracted the casualties from the burning vehicle amidst severe secondary explosions (TOW missiles, AT4s, 40mm HE, and .50 caliber) and conducted an emergency aerial MEDEVAC of three of the casualties. Despite the situation, the remaining three vehicles continued to screen and secure the eastern flank, allowing the main effort to accomplish the mission.

On 7 April, the battalion continued to attack north and northwest along the axis of advance to link up with 1st Battalion attacking from the east and 3rd Battalion attacking from the west. The rifle companies conducted an Urban Movement to Contact for over 5 kilometers in a very densely populated area within just one day. 2nd Battalion forces continued to receive sporadic sniper and small arms harassment fire throughout the operation. In all cases, the units aggressively returned suppressive fire and hastily maneuvered into positions of domination to clear houses, commercial buildings, and roof tops, mutually supporting each other’s movements. As a result, the battalion captured eight large caches and cleared abandoned weapons and ammunition from multiple houses and facilities, wounding three enemy soldiers and capturing eight prisoners throughout the day. The battalion then spent two more days conducting cordon and search operations within the urban environment, denying re-entry of military or paramilitary forces and capturing enough munitions and weapons to fill 16 large trucks.

On 9 April, the battalion conducted a forced reconnaissance of the town of Al Masayyib, a critical transportation hub along the Euphrates River and potentially a primary line of communication to Baghdad for the Brigade Task Force. During the reconnaissance, the battalion located two significant Ba’ath Party houses and two terrorist training facilities, quickly conducting a cordon and search. These previous government houses were heavily stocked with food, weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies. “Strike Force” turned the food and medical supplies over to the oppressed and impoverished people of Al Masayyib, emphasizing a humanitarian aspect even in war. The battalion completed the mission that afternoon having eliminated the paramilitary presence and then turning over the Ba’ath Party houses to a liberated and rejoicing people.

On 11 April, the battalion again conducted an air assault and GAC as the brigade main effort into Area 43, south of Baghdad (west of Baghdad Airport). By noon, the battalion had searched and secured over 15 separate military facilities, most of which were artillery and air defense artillery. Multiple munitions caches and weapons (ZSU-23-4, D-30s, T62 tanks, ROLAN ADA systems, and military trucks) were located and destroyed. By late afternoon, the battalion attacked north deeper into Baghdad (Area 39), 24 hours ahead of schedule and exceeding all expectations. 2nd Battalion secured the area within 24-hours, rapidly capturing multiple large munitions caches in schools and industrial type facilities. Despite operating under a fast-paced time line and sporadic enemy direct fire, the “Strike Force” captured 10 enemy personnel and 17 truckloads of artillery, mortars, RPG rockets, and other stockpiles of ammunition. The battalion continued to operate in Baghdad for 2-weeks, conducting multiple cordon and search operations within this densely populated area. Over seven areas contaminated by unexploded ordnance were cleared using friendly demolitions. In addition, the soldiers conducted both mounted and dismounted patrols that regained civil order and lawfulness in the area.

On 14 April, 2nd Battalion conducted an out of sector attack on Iskandariyah to destroy military and paramilitary forces in order to prevent disruption to a corps main supply route. The battalion formation included Delta and Alpha companies, battalion mortars, an attached Armor platoon, an engineer squad, PSYOP, CI team, an FLE, and continuous AH-64 aerial support. The one-day mission was a complete success in destroying over 30 armored vehicles that included tanks, personnel carriers, anti-aircraft guns, and missiles.

On 21 April, the battalion conducted a final air assault and 121 vehicle GAC from Baghdad to Mosul, a movement of over 350 kilometers. Upon air assaulting into Mosul airfield, the rifle companies immediately received the fragmentary order to attack areas of operation within the city with less than 24 hours preparation time. The situation was further challenged by limited U.S. presence in the area prior to the mission. Within only 4 hours of notification, the battalion attacked in zone as part of an urban movement to contact. The battalion flooded the assigned area of operation with over 750 soldiers by early evening. The battalion secured critical city infrastructure facilities (power, water, hospitals, and food storage facilities) in order to prevent terrorist attacks and looting. Units conducted cordon and search operations in order to demilitarize the area, locate and remove all caches, and restore law and order. Over the next week, the battalion task force secured the area by locating and destroying multiple munitions caches, confiscating hundreds of weapons at check points, and apprehending hundreds of looters and black market dealers for illegal weapons and fuel sales in sector. The battalion conducted hundreds of dismounted and mounted patrols, securing and controlling over 17 square kilometers of densely populated urban area.

Upon the official end of Combat Operations on 01 May 2003, the daunting task of securing and rebuilding Mosul (the third largest city in Iraq at 1.25 million people) was at hand. 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry assumed control of the northwest region of Mosul and its surrounding territory, including over 752 square kilometers and 32 villages, towns, and neighborhoods.

Operating out of company-level base camps within the city, 2nd Battalion soldiers began the task of creating a safe and secure environment throughout the city. This required constant patrolling of miles of streets and thousands of structures to locate and destroy former regime loyalists and prevent further looting. Between May and October 2003, 2nd Battalion soldiers conducted over 3,432 various types of patrols to include mounted, dismounted, day, night, and joint patrols with local Iraqi police. This constant presence in the city not only improved stability, but it also improved relations with the Mosul citizens.

Patrolling was also critical in countering a new threat to 2nd Battalion soldiers—Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). From May to October 2003, 2nd Battalion encountered over 25 separate IED incidents throughout their sector. Many of these improvised bombs, capable of remote detonation, were discovered prior to ignition. Unfortunately, 2nd Battalion suffered 1 KIA on 23 June 2003. As a support convoy was transporting Charlie Company soldiers to a range west of Mosul, the convoy was struck by a remotely detonated IED attached to a street light pole. The driver of the first LMTV in the convoy, SGT Brett Christian, was struck by multiple pieces of shrapnel in the head and neck, killing him instantly. Six other soldiers received minor shrapnel wounds from the IED, all being awarded Purple Hearts for their wounds. 2nd Battalion conducted hundreds of patrols daily along the main supply routes through Mosul to eliminate the IED threat to both U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians.

In conjunction with patrols, 2nd Battalion provided immediate security to key infrastructure and sensitive sights that were vulnerable to theft, vandalism, and sabotage. This security was placed at fuel stations, police departments, food storage facilities, water plants, and the City government building while security forces were being organized and trained by the Brigade Combat Team.

While simultaneously securing the city, 2-502 began an intense assessment of the governmental, public, and private agencies and businesses that previously operated or were still in operation. This information included locations, operating times, and deficiencies of all gas stations, police stations, fire departments, schools, banks, water facilities, electrical plants, and health services. This information-gathering operation was critical in identifying shortcomings in these structures and the requirements to get them operational in a timely manner. Additionally, 2-502 conducted over 20 air-movements into outlying villages, often being the first coalition forces to step foot into these areas. These operations provided much-needed presence while garnering valuable information, which assisted 2nd Battalion in providing rebuilding assets to these smaller villages.

To facilitate the information gathering operation, the battalion opened the Mosul Northwest Regional Information Center, or RIC. The RIC, which was established and operated by the battalion’s Fire Support Element, offered an open door to all Iraqis and encouraged two-way communication between Mosul civilians and U.S. forces. The RIC was in operation from 02 May 03 through the end of July 2003. During that period of time, 2nd Battalion forces welcomed thousands of walk-in Mosul citizens who were able to express their concerns and receive timely responses. In addition, the RIC allowed for 2nd Battalion leaders to establish critical contacts with Iraqi leaders in the areas of government, infrastructure, and security. Additionally, the RIC processed hundreds of HUMINT reports, often resulting in the detainment or capture of criminals and/or weapons.

In May 2003, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion air-assaulted into Al Fallujah, Iraq and joined the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as they struggled to secure the most violent city in the Sunni Triangle, which had recently suffered from a string of attacks on multiple convoys which left several U.S. soldiers dead. On June 05,2003, Bravo Company suffered their only KIA, PFC Branden Oberleitner, as a nighttime patrol came under a combined RPG and small arms fire from Former-Regime Loyalists. Five other soldiers were wounded, one critically, as Bravo Company soldiers reacted bravely, suppressing the enemy and evacuating their casualties to safety. The Bravo Company Renegades continued to fight in Al Fallujah as the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division conducted a relief-in-place with 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR. While attached to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Bravo Company participated in Operation Desert Scorpion, a large-scale cordon and search operation designed to systematically search and clear the extremely dangerous neighborhoods in Al Fallujah. The Renegades acted with unrivaled bravery during the operation, detaining 35 personnel, including 17 Fedayeen of which 6 who were responsible for the earlier execution of 2 4th Infantry Division soldiers. The Renegades also confiscated 3 RPK machine guns, 52 AK-47s, 1 .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol, 6 7.62mm pistols, 1 9mm pistol, 232 105mm artillery rounds, 200 hand grenades, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, 2 shotguns, and 6 flare guns with 300 flares. Bravo Company returned to join 2nd Battalion on 07 July 2003 in order to continue its mission of security and stabilization of Mosul.

Security was the number one priority in Mosul, and in June 2003, as part of the new CPA weapons regulations, 2-502 infantry began overseeing a 14-day weapons-amnesty program, which provided Iraqi citizens 14 days to turn in all illegal weapons without fear of retribution. During this amnesty, 2nd Battalion collected over 100 pieces of arms and ammunition including AK-47s, RPG rounds, artillery and mortar rounds, grenades and grenade fuzes, and anti-aircraft ammunition. With national weapons laws established and the amnesty period concluded, 2nd Battalion began an aggressive enforcement of the newly established weapons policy. This search included daily randomly placed Traffic Control Points to control the flow of illegal weapons into and out of the city.

Additionally, 2nd Battalion conducted over 40 coordinated Cordon and Search operations, including Operation Soda Mountain in July 2003, Operation Knee Jerk in July 2003, and Operation Locked Claw in September 2003, searching hundreds of homes suspected of harboring illegal arms, ammunition, and equipment and the individuals that intended to use them. As a result of these operations, 2nd Battalion detained over 50 Former-Regime Loyalists and other criminals who were positively identified as having either conducted or were planning to conduct attacks on U.S. forces.

As a result of aggressive Cordon and Search operations, combined with a thorough recon and clearance of over 80 caches in sector, 2nd Battalion confiscated or destroyed over 2,500 assault rifles and machine guns, 800 RPG-7 systems, 5,000 artillery and mortar rounds, 800 hand grenades, 1 SA-3 anti-aircraft system, thousands of rounds of ammunition of various types, multiple pieces of communication equipment, and hundreds of documents providing valuable intelligence information.

As a part of the search for Former Regime Loyalists, 2nd Battalion quickly targeted Saddam Hussein’s Defense Minister, Sultan Hashim, # 27 on the CJTF-7s Top 55 Most Wanted list in Iraq. 2nd Battalion conducted an aggressive surveillance and reconnaissance campaign to detect the movements of Hashim and his family. Charlie Company conducted 3 major cordon and search operations at Hashim’s former residence and that of his family, culminating in thorough interrogation of Hashim’s family members and an insistence that Hashim turn himself in for the benefit of all involved. 2nd Battalion maintained constant pressure on Hashim’s family through constant traffic control points and observation positions on his former residences. 2nd Battalion’s efforts were rewarded as #27 turned himself into the 101st Commanding General on 23 September 2003.

With the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, over 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers assimilated back into civilian life, unemployed. The addition of 30,000 unemployed soldiers caused civil unrest, resulting in a formal protest in front of the Mosul Government building on 12 June 2003. Hundreds of protestors gathered outside of the government seat, voicing their complaints. Former Regime Loyalists captured this opportunity to instigate violence in the city, turning the relatively peaceful protest into a violent demonstration involving the use of weapons, hand-grenades, and Molotov cocktails. 2nd Battalion was first on sight as they provided initial containment and overwatch of the riot. As the riot progressed, four 2nd Battalion soldiers were injured on separate occasions as Iraqi’s within the crowd hurled rocks and hand-grenades at the 2nd Battalion soldiers. 2nd Battalion remained steadfast, and contained the riot until late afternoon, thus preventing the riot from becoming out of control. By the evening, 2nd Battalion, with elements from the Brigade Combat Team, dispersed the crowd and followed up the evening with an aggressive Traffic Control Point and patrol plan that restored order to the city.

As part of a larger attempt to assuage the former Iraqi fighters, 2nd Battalion once again led the way as they established Mosul’s first Military Stipend Payment Sight in July 2003. During 2nd Battalion’s operation of the sight, over $736, 560 was paid out to over 30,000 former Iraqi Army Veterans in a 7-day period. Despite the potential hazards from the large crowds, the stringent security requirements, and an unsuccessful attack by the first suicide-bomber on U.S. forces in Mosul, 2nd Battalion conducted the payment sight without incident.

To provide for permanent security presence in the city, 2-502 Infantry played a key role in the implementation of the new Facility Protection Security Forces, or FPSF. This new program hired and trained Iraqi citizens and former Iraqi Army veterans to protect their own government facilities. From 05 July 2003 to 19 September 2003, 2-502 Infantry soldiers screened, recruited, trained, equipped, and integrated over 541 Iraqi civilians into the FPSF program. The guards were trained in professional ethics, first aid, reacting to explosives, and weapons familiarization. 2-502 was the first in the Brigade Combat Team to conduct a mobile-training team in order to recruit and hire FPSF guards for cities miles outside of Mosul proper. When the program was officially transferred to Iraqi control on 20 September 2003, 2-502 had conducted 15 classes including 5 MTT courses in the villages of Badoush, Rahaniya, and Mayrarin. This program placed trained security guards at over 13 key sights throughout Northwest Mosul and surrounding villages, thus securing government sights, providing hundreds of job opportunities for Iraqis, and freeing up 2-502 forces to continue their aggressive search for Former Regime Loyalists and for rebuilding the city.

In addition to the FPSF, 2-502 was at the forefront of integrated security efforts as they were the first to adopt and work with the Free Iraqi Fighters (FIF) who assisted in the overthrow of the regime during the war. Soon after the battalion’s arrival, the FIF became the New Iraqi Security Forces (NISF), and eventually, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC). 2nd Battalion integrated the ICDC into all operations, including patrolling, security, and reconnaissance. 2nd Battalion ICDC were among the first to operate undercover in order to assist in the detection of locations and activities of Former Regime Loyalists operating in Mosul. The 2nd Battalion ICDC worked side by side with U.S. forces to stop a city-wide counterfeit operation based on reports obtained by 2-502 ICDC.

While security provided immediate stability within Mosul, the ongoing restructuring and rebuilding efforts of the city promised long-term stability for citizens of Mosul. Rebuilding Mosul meant repairing war damage, improving government services and the systems that supported the city, and removing the remaining influences of the old regime. 2nd Battalion’s rebuilding effort was required immediately as the fuel delivery systems in Mosul were brought to a virtual halt during the war. The shortage of benzene and propane was a potential flash point for Mosul citizens, who relied on fuel for their transportation, agriculture, and cooking. 2nd Battalion soldiers provided security at five fuel stations, hundreds of mobile propane distribution points, and provided security escort for over 180,000 liters of fuel being transported into the Battalion sector daily. This presence provided organization to a potentially riotous situation.

Many other government services were suffering from disrepair and a lack of resources as a result of the prior regime’s neglect of basic human needs. 2nd Battalion contracted over 18 projects including the repair and resourcing of 2 schools, 11 health clinics and hospitals, 3 police stations, 2 major water-treatment plants, and multiple small-scale water system repairs. These projects, totaling over $191,527 dollars, brought immediate and tangible benefits to the Iraqi people, as it improved the operation and quality of education, police protection, health service, and water delivery for all Mosul citizens. The 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment valorously fought through An Najaf, Al Kufa, Karbala, Baghdad, and Mosul to effectively eliminate hostile enemy forces and weapons threats in these areas of operation. Challenged by the complexity of urban warfare and the added difficulty of discriminating combatants from non-combatants, the “Strike Force” battalion overcame all obstacles to valiantly fight forward and accomplish the mission under very stringent time constraints and limited intelligence. 2nd Battalion displayed the amazing versatility of their soldiers by seamlessly transitioning from combat to stability operations, stabilizing the city of Mosul and drastically improving the way of life for all Iraqis in Mosul in only six months time. 2nd Battalion’s resolve and gallantry in the face of adversity exemplified the highest standards and traditions of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the United States Army.


The regiment was transformed and refitted along with the rest of the division. At that time, the 3rd Battalion was again deactivated and the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry activated in its place as the Strike Brigade's RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) Squadron. This unit was again deployed to Iraq in support of the 4th Infantry Division in September 2005.

On June 30, 2006, the United States military began criminal military investigations of five U.S. soldiers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, including Steven D. Green, regarding the alleged rape of a 15 year old Iraqi girl (local officials and relatives had said she was 15 or 16, her identity card and a copy of her death certificate, however, show she was just 14), Abeer Qasim Hamza, and the murder of her mother, father and seven year old sister in Mahmoudiyah. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/02/AR2006070200673.html] One of the soldiers admitted to the crime. One of the soldiers has been discharged. [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/4015022.html] [http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/special_packages/iraq/14950779.htm]


*Constituted February 24, 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment (1st Battalion concurrently consolidated with the 502d Parachute Battalion (constituted March 14, 1941 in the Army of the United States and activated July 1, 1941 at Fort Benning, Georgia) and consolidated unit designated as the 1st Battalion, 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment (less 1st Battalion) activated March 2, 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

*Assigned 15 August 1942 to the 101st Airborne Division.

*Inactivated 30 November 1945 in France

*Re-designated 18 June 1948 as the 502d Airborne Infantry Regiment.

*Allotted 25 June 1948 to the Regular Army

*Activated 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky

*Inactivated 1 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky

*Activated 25 August 1950 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky

*Inactivated 1 December 1953 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky

*Activated 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

*Relieved 25 April 1957 from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division; concurrently reorganized and re-designated as the 502d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

*Withdrawn 29 June 1984 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System

Source: U.S. Army Center of Military History
* www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/inf/0502in001bn.htm
* www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/inf/0502in002bn.htm
* www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/inf/0502in003bn.htm


Campaign Participation Credit

*World War II:

# Normandy (with arrowhead)
# Rhineland (with arrowhead)
# Ardennes-Alsace
# Central Europe


# Defense
# Counteroffensive
# Counteroffensive, Phase II
# Counteroffensive, Phase III
# Tet Counteroffensive
# Counteroffensive, Phase IV
# Counteroffensive, Phase V
# Counteroffensive, Phase VI
# Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969
# Winter-Spring 1970
# Sanctuary Counteroffensive
# Counteroffensive, Phase VII
# Consolidation I
# Consolidation II

*Southwest Asia:

# Defense of Saudi Arabia
# Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
# 2003 Invasion of Iraq


*Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for NORMANDY
*Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for BASTOGNE
*Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for AN KHE
*Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for DAK TO, VIETNAM 1966
*Valorous Unit Award for QUANG THUONG DISTRICT
*Valorous Unit Award for TUY HOA
*Valorous Unit Award for NAM HOA DISTRICT
*Valorous Unit Award for BA LONG DISTRICT
*Valorous Unit Award for KARBALA (3rd Battalion)
*Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for VIETNAM 1965-1966
*Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SOUTHWEST ASIA
*Army Superior Unit Award for 1985 (3rd Battalion)
*Army Superior Unit Award for 1993-1994
*French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for NORMANDY
*Netherlands Orange Lanyard
*Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm for BASTOGNE; cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Bastogne
*Belgian Fourragere 1940; Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in France and Belgium

Notable soldiers of the 502d

* George Van Horn Moseley, Jr., original commander, on D-Day led the 502 PIR into Normandy
* Robert G. Cole, commander of 3rd Battalion, 502nd PIR and Medal of Honor recipient
* Steven D. Green, charged on July 3, 2006 with raping an Iraqi girl, then killing her and three members of her family.
* Colin Powell commanded 2d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which included elements of the 502d, and later became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State under George W. Bush.
* Harrison C. Summers, hero of D-Day
* 2LT George P. Terrebonne, highly decorated platoon leader, led numerous MACV Special Operations Group missions in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos Fact|date=February 2007
* Thomas Lowell Tucker and Kristian Menchaca, two soldiers kidnapped and murdered during an attack on a roadside checkpoint on June 18, 2006, in Iraq's Triangle of Death.

External links

* [http://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/502/502.html Summary of WWII unit history]

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