The 501 Parachute Infantry Regiment (501 PIR) was activated in Toccoa, GA in November 1942 where the young men who volunteered for hazardous duty were given basic training. They earned their paratrooper wings at Fort Benning in May, undertook unit training at Camp McCall in North Carolina throughout the summer and went on maneuvers in Tennessee thereafter. The 501 PIR, commanded by Colonel Howard Johnson (Jumpy Johnson), was attached to the 101st Airborne Division during WWII. They made their first jump into Normandy in the early morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944. After combat in Normandy, they returned to England to prepare for the jump into Holland on September 17, 1944.
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