503 - The Rock Regiment in the Southern Philippines
by Paul Whitman and Steven Foster
Standard Landscape 10x8 in, 25x20 cm format,  200 pages.
Fixed-layout eBook, 200 pages



          It has not been easy to ensure that the recorded history of the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team in World War II is an accurate one, or widely known.

         Unlike the Airborne Divisions of the ETO, which came with every Headquarters, Supply and Intelligence accessory known to the army TOE & A., and a coterie of well-connected Officers of field rank who were each naturally motivated to record their part for posterity,  the 503d was a bastard unit in the Pacific - it had no fathers in the Pentagon, no rich uncles in Congress, and very few career cousins.  The 503d was commanded only by a Colonel,  and did not have its own supply chain - supplies literally had to be begged, borrowed and, at times, stolen.  The 503d did not obtain the reputation of "Colonel Jones and his 3,000 Thieves" lightly. It was a sobriquet of which the team's members became immensely proud as the years passed. In time, it became a repute which cut both ways, for just as their relationship with the Army had been hard won, they became deeply sensitive to any group - official or otherwise - who sought to appropriate their repute without earning their respect.

          One of the continuing effects of the short shrift was that when it came to recording the history of the Airborne in the SWPA, the 503d was dealt the low card again. Post-war, it was 'inactivated', and its remaining personnel were assigned to the 11th Airborne. Thus, for many years, it did not exist. Its Rock Patch was never officially awarded recognition, even though it remained central to the essence of what the Regiment had become. There was another, more insidious effect -  in the corridors of power of the Pentagon, it lacked representation of general field rank to fight for its entitlements, one of the more important being the promotion of its Heritage. When push came to shove, its story was drowned out by the promotion of the very Brigade that sought to inherit its WWII repute.

          This collection of personal snapshots was contributed by the men of "G" Company, 3d Bn., 503d PRCT. The images aren't exclusively of "G" Company, but they are what the men of "G" did and saw when they weren't being shot at. Nor were the images taken by Frank Foster. They are only spoken of as "The Foster Collection" because they were donated to us in his memory. The images are largely the result of the efforts of Chet Nycum and Mike Levack, around whom the core of the images originated. This book is our contribution towards the preservation of the 503d PRCT Heritage, so that people may have a glimpse of what is essentially a forgotten campaign of the 503d.

 

     
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