1st Bn, 503d Infantry Regiment (Air
The 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment (Air Assault) is one of two Air
Assault Infantry Battalions forwardly deployed as part of the 2nd Infantry
Division on the Korean Peninsula. 1-503d IN (AASLT) transitions to war and
secures enclaves to expedite division movement to combat; on order, evacuates
noncombatants, and supports division counterfire operations for decisive
combat; be prepared to move to tactical assembly area (TAA) to prepare to
attack or defend.
American forces have been guarding and patrolling the American sector of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) since the Armistice signing in 1953. The 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry, was the last 2d Infantry Division battalion to man the guardposts and patrol the American sector of the DMZ in October 1991. The Battalion is currently located at Camp Casey and remains one of two Air Assault Battalions in the Warrior Division.
The 503d Parachute 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 Ginea, 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.
In 1959, the regiment again reorganized as the 1st and 2d Airborne Battle
Groups, 503d Infantry, and was assigned to the 82d Airborne Division at Fort
Bragg, NC. In March 1963, both battle groups were redesignated and reorganized
as the 1st and 2d Battalions, 503d Airborne Infantry, and reassigned to the
newly formed 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate).
In May 1965, the 503d Infantry deployed with the 173d Airborne Brigade to Vietnam as the first major U.S. Army ground combat unit to be deployed. During its six years in Vietnam, the 503d Infantry participated in fourteen campaigns, winning two more Presidential Unit Citations and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. It redeployed to the United States in July 1971, having the distinction of being one of the last units to leave Vietnam. Subsequently, the 503d Infantry served as part of the 101st Airborne Division until 1984 when it was inactivated.
Reactivated 19 December 1986, it was assigned to the 2d Infantry Division as the 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry.
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Last Updated: May 26, 2002