503rd PIR patch
Many members of MacArthur’s staff were not enthusiastic about the plan. Allied resources were thin, and Japanese air and ground strength was formidable. Many military planners were skeptical of airborne operations. Some questioned the viability of the entire concept. German paratroops had suffered unsustainable casualties assaulting Crete in May, 1941. Allied airborne operations had met with disaster invading Sicily in July, 1943. Experience argued against establishing additional airborne units. Nevertheless, Kenney was convinced that with proper planning and support his plan would succeed. Fifth Air Force firepower was committed to provide close air support, and the troopers would be dropped in one lift to achieve mass and surprise.
This was the first combat jump for the 503rd PIR.
The U.S. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was tasked to jump on Nadzab, New Guinea, to seize, clear and defend the airstrip. The 503rd PIR was one the first…
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