Donald E. Abbott*




The author was the executive officer of "E" Company ,  2nd battalion, 503rd PRCT.


The 501st Battalion, being the first Battalion formed of U.S. Paratroopers, as the Second Battalion of the 503d Parachute Regiment, participated in all the wartime action of the 503d Regiment and Regimental Combat Team.

 This history is widely reproduced on the Web, its source unacknowledged. The Author's original text,  contained in Don's manuscripts and papers in our collection, appears here. 


To see this history in its intended typeface











94.jpg (30946 bytes)

Lt.  Abbott  jumped Corregidor and led the third stick out of his C-47.





92.jpg (35859 bytes)

His decision to delay the stick until the C-47 was almost across the parade ground  meant that the high winds blew his men only to the edge of Btty. Wheeler.





93.jpg (38486 bytes)

Colonel Jones required  XO's of the 2nd wave to jump with the first wave, so that they could be fully familiar with the situation before their men landed.





toplz.jpg (67677 bytes)

Both Landing Zones can be seen in this photograph






dropzone.JPG (88135 bytes)

Landing Zone "A" (1999)






Don Abbott has been a major contributor of articles to the website. He deceased 2 Sept 2005.



The 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team, World War II began with the activation of the 503d Parachute Battalion in Fort Benning, Georgia on 21 August 1941. The Battalion was the third of four Parachute Battalions formed prior to the beginning of World War II. The others were 501, 502 and 504.

On 2 March 1942 the 503rd Parachute Battalion was the nucleus around which the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment was formed. This was the first of a number of such regiments organized over the next few years. The Regiment was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in March 1942.

On 20 October 1942 the Regiment left the POE San Francisco on the MS Poelau Laut. The first stop was the Panama Canal Zone where the 501st Parachute Battalion was picked up. This battalion was re-designated as the Second Battalion of the 503d PIR, replacing the original 503d's Second Battalion which had been sent to England and, eventually, re-designated as the 509. The Regiment landed in Cairns, Australia on 2 December 1942 after a voyage of 43 days and 42 nights. Later the Regiment was expanded into a Combat Team with the assignment of the 462d Parachute Artillery Battalion on 29 March 1944 and the 161st Parachute Engineer Company on 13 September 1944.

During its more than three years service in the Southwest Pacific Theater, the 503d served in five major combat operations. A number of other missions were planned but called off by higher headquarters.

1. The Regiment jumped in the Markham Valley, New Guinea, on 5 September 1943, in the first successful Airborne Combat Jump. The Regiment forced the Japanese evacuation of a major base at Lae to take a route which proved to be disastrous for them. The third Battalion of the 503d had a major skirmish with the rear guard of this exodus. The successful employment of Parachute troops, in the Markham Valley, has been credited with saving the concept of vertical envelopment from being abandoned following several less than successful engagements in Europe.

2. Two rifle Battalions of the 503d Regiment jumped on the Island of Noemfoor off the coast of Dutch, New Guinea early in July 1944, followed by an amphibious landing by the other rifle Battalion a few days later. The Regiment was employed in the elimination of the Japanese garrison on that Island. Airfields constructed on Noemfoor after its capture played a significant role in supporting the advance of Allied troops from New Guinea to the Philippines. Sergeant Ray E. Eubanks was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his actions on Noemfoor.

3. Following a non-combat landing on the Island of Leyte, in the Philippines, the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team made a major amphibious landing on the Island of Mindoro, in the central Philippines on 15 December 1944. Originally, it was intended for the 503rd to jump on Mindoro but due to inadequate airstrip facilities on Leyte an airborne landing was not possible. The purpose of this landing was to secure sites for air strips providing forward Air Corp bases to support later landings at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. The Combat Team was subjected to intense air and naval actions during this operation, at one point being shelled for 25 minutes by a Japanese Naval task force.

One Company of the Combat Team engaged in a fierce battle against a Company-size enemy air raid warning station on the North end of Mindoro.

4. The Combat Team jumped on Fortress Corregidor on 16 February 1945 to liberate that Island from occupying Japanese forces. This was the most vicious combat action in which the Combat Team engaged during its existence. Corregidor was the bastion which withstood a fierce Japanese siege for nearly five months in 1941 and 1942, thereby interrupting the Japanese advance toward Australia. The 503rd was proud to have been allowed to have the honor of recapturing the Island. Japanese sources, within recent years have estimated there were 6550 Japanese on the Island when the 503rd landed. Of those, only 50 survived. The 503rd, however, lost 172 men killed and many wounded or injured. The 503rd was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions. Private Lloyd G. McCarter was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery on Corregidor.

5. Almost immediately after returning to Mindoro from Corregidor, the Combat Team was called upon to bolster the 40th Division which was bogged down on the Island of Negros, in the Central Philippines. The Combat team was inserted into Negros by landing craft, although it had been alerted for another combat jump. The objectives of the proposed jump, a strategic bridge and a large lumber mill, were destroyed by Japanese forces, thereby eliminating the first objectives of the 503d. The 503rd engaged in fierce battles against frantic Japanese resistance in the mountainous areas of Negros for more than five months. The 40th US Division convinced higher headquarters there were only a few enemy troops remaining on the Island and were moved to Mindanao, leaving the 503rd to battle the Japanese alone. At the end of the War with Japan in August 1945, about 7,500 of the surviving Japanese troops surrendered to the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team.

Official U.S. War Department sources estimated the 503rd killed over 10,000 Japanese troops during its combat operations in the Southwest Pacific. Unfortunately, the 503rd lost a lot of good men in accomplishing its missions. The names of 392 of these men have been identified.

By early November 1945 the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team ceased to be operational. All men with lengthy service in the Southwest Pacific had been rotated to the United States while those who had served the Combat Team for a shorter time had been reassigned to the 11th Airborne Division and sent as occupation troops to Japan. The Regiment was inactivated on 24 December 1945 at Camp Anza, California.

Veterans of the 503rd, who served during World War II, began holding informal get-togethers almost immediately after 1945. An Association was established and National Reunions have been held each year since 1957.





1997 by Donald E. Abbott
Reprinted by permission of the Author










Corregidor Then and Now

Don Abbott

The Lost Road

Battlebook - Corregidor

Bulletin Board / Feedback Forum

503d PRCT Heritage Bn.

Gerry Riseley

Combat Over Corregidor

Japanese Unit & Troop Strength

503d WWII Honor Roll

Rock Force

William T. Calhoun

Amid th' Encircling Gloom

Ft. Benning Monographs


Coast Artillery Manila & Subic Bays

John Lindgren

The Rock Patch

503d PIR as a Case Study

Rock Force Honor Roll

4th Marines on Corregidor

George M. Jones

By Order of Maj. Kline

Engineers' Report - Corregidor

Site & Navigation Info

Bless 'Em All

James P. Lowe




503d PRCT Assn Official Website

Robert W. Armstrong




Concrete Battleship

Verne White

1936 Corregidor Map

503d Jump at Nadzab

by Article Title

Battle of Manila

Jim Mullaney

2/503 Vietnam Newsletter

Cleaning Up Corregidor

by Author Name

Fall of the Philippines


1945 Jump Map

Interview - Clevenger

by List of Recent Articles 



The 503d PRCT Heritage Battalion is the Official Website of the 503d Parachute RCT Association of WWII Inc. Join with us and share the 503d Heritage and values.

So that the last man standing shall not stand alone.



Copyright , 1999-2013 - All Rights Reserved to The Corregidor Historic Society, 503d PRCT Heritage Bn. & Rock Force.Org
Last Updated: 18-01-14