Photos taken 30 years ago by our Association Historian Chris Lewis, while assigned to B Co 3-505th PIR, 82d Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm - AATW! ... See More from 551See Less from 551
77 years ago on February 7, 1944 Ernest Scango married the love of his life in Pennsylvania, just after enlisting in the Army. Following their wedding he and Mary travelled together to North Carolina where they met up with the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion at Camp Mackall. Their daughter shared that the extra paratroop pay and the bonus of furlough influenced their decision to join the paratroopers. Little did they know, at the time, that Furlough was a puppy, not days off. All kidding aside, they received actual furlough, and the GOYAs gained another hero in Mr. Scango. He was welcomed to Baker company with open arms and was soon fighting for his life in WWII. Happy Anniversary once again to these two GOYAs!! ... See More from 551See Less from 551
Little walk in the rain yesterday afternoon. There are days of strolling in search of the past which give pleasure and which give moments of emotion when you release a piece as historic as this one in Dairomont. ... See More from 551See Less from 551
Much thanks to Eddy Lamberty for sharing this video showing the Phase Line (PL) for the 551st PIB on 3 January, 45. A tough day for the 551st as the spearhead to the counter-offensive for the Battle of the Bulge began...GOYA!!
"And the XVIII Airborne Corps is moving out. Our last great battle is being fought – our last great victory is at hand. This is the end of the War, and the end of the 551st, and the end of a legend; for they were reckless in those golden hours of their youth – and they were proud – and they were loyal to the last." - Dan Morgan, 'The Left Corner of My Heart'.
Capt Marshall Dalton, Company A Commander (combat notebook, undated):
[3 January 1945] “Here we go again. I wonder if I’ll make it this time??"
Sgt Bill Hatcher, Company B communications (interview):
“When we went into the attack on the 3rd, I couldn’t believe my ears – there was actual shouting – the battle yell. I thought that went out with the Civil War – the rebel yell. But here was the 551st, this spirited outfit, going into the attack yelling. I remember all the cooks and bookkeepers and others coming up to the front being called up as replacements, but mostly I remember that particular scene of the attack and then yelling, like something out of the 19th Century or like the Marines with John Wayne. Then the Battalion was just holding on doggedly as its numbers decreased. To my knowledge, no one deserted or surrendered and I think that is just amazing. It was obvious to all of us that our days were numbered – we were fewer each day, and the weather was just miserable.”
1st Sgt Roy McCraw, Company A (interview):
“We went up to a farmhouse there on an asphalt road and we held up right there. Then we were ordered to keep moving and go up. Basse-Bodeux was Phase Line (PL) 1. After we crossed PL 1 the Germans started firing on us from way over on the opposite hill. They were straight ahead. So we knocked them out, but in the meantime the Germans threw in an artillery round and wiped out our whole 60mm Mortar Squad. Lt Luening was killed right there.
Then we went up a valley to PL 2. We got up there that same morning, reorganized some, got some more ammunition and were preparing to go to PL 3. It was across an open field and up on a hill and the purpose of getting to PL 3 was to open up our supply lines so the trucks could bring our ammunition and supplies right up there.
When we got into the attack and moved out into the field, the Germans had four tanks over on our flank that opened up on us. We fired bazookas at them and so did Company B, and they finally withdrew. They were big ones – Royal Tigers – and I didn’t know if we knocked any of them out. Then we got into the middle of the field and all hell broke loose. German armor and infantry were firing from PL 3 and from everywhere. That is where Dalton got shot in the chest, but with his field jacket and everything, the bullet just fell out. I think a shell hit very close to him then, and he had a case of shell-shock. Then we withdrew back to PL 2, about 200 yards. From PL 2 to PL 3 was about 1,000 yards.
That night after we had moved back, we reorganized and shipped the wounded back to our aid station at the farmhouse in Basse-Bodeux. Lt Harsh went back. He was hit in the head, legs and arms.”