History of the 502nd Regiment, 101st Airborne

The 502d Infantry Regiment was formed in 1941 as the 502nd Parachute Battalion, an experimental unit formed to test the doctrine and tactics of parachute assault. The unit was redesignated as the 502d Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and joined the 101st Airborne Division in August 1942.


World War II:

World War II: The 502d was deployed to England and participated in airborne operations during D-Day in Normandy, France. The unit later participated in the largest airborne assault of the war - Operation Market Garden. In December 1944, the 502d played a pivotal role in the Division's heroic defense at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.


The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which included the 502d, deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in December 1967 and participated in twelve major campaigns, including the 1968 Tet Offensive.

  • The unit was awarded the Government of Vietnam's highest national award for valor the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class.
  • The brigade returned to Fort Campbell in April of 1972.

Desert Storm:

The 502d Strike Brigade moved to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield in late summer 1990 to deter a possible Iraqi invasion.

  • On February 25, 1991 the Strike Brigade participated in the largest helicopter air assault in military history.
  • The Brigade redeployed to Fort Campbell in March of 1991.

Operation Iraqi Freedom:


In February 2003, the brigade deployed to the Middle East with the remainder of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). It returned a year later having led the Division through the key battles of An Najaf, south Al Hillah, Karbala, southern Baghdad, Mahmoudiya and Mosul.

Other operations of this brigade have included:

  • Completed the two longest air assaults in Division history
  • In Mosul, was instrumental in forming the City Council by holding the first free elections in the country since the fall of the regime.
  • Over a 9 month period the Brigade rebuilt the city's hospitals, schools and water system. It built from scratch a regional police force that became the model for the rest of the country to follow.
  • The 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed in September 2005 for one year and was assigned an operational area south of Baghdad. This area, due to the intensity of the insurgency, was labeled as the "Triangle of Death." The Strike brigade established and fostered relationships with Iraqi Army leaders, local Sheiks, mayors, and city council members.
  • In October of 2007 the Strike Brigade deployed for its 3rd time to Iraq. The brigade combat team was the main effort for the division and partnered with Iraqi Security and government officials to protect the population and disrupt enemy activity.
  • In May of 2010 the Strike Brigade began to fully deploy to Afghanistan to embark on its next “Rendezvous with Destiny”

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