To the Family and Friends of
the 508th PIR Association,
The 508th Prcht Inf
soldiers killed in WWII and buried at the ABMC
Cemeteries in Europe have the word Regt at the end
of their Headstones. Yet the 501st Prcht
Inf has 101st Abn Div at the end, not Regt.
There are one of three options
for the 501st and the 508th
Prcht Inf Regts.
They have to be uniform across
the board for their headstones in Europe. Since
they were all only atchd to their respective
Divisions the 82nd Abn Div and the 101st
Abn Div their headstones should match.
The 501st and the
508th were part of the 2nd Abn
Bde until after Normandy. So their headstones have
to match and as mentioned and they don’t match. For
both the 501st and the 508th
Prcht Inf Regts they can either say Regt, or
Division (82nd or the 101st)
or the 501st and the 508th can
list 2nd Abn Bde.
In the first option all of the
508th headstones at the ABMC have to be
changed to 82nd Abn Div through out
Europe. They would then have the 501st
and 508th uniformly listed.
The second option is that the
508th Prcht Inf remains the same and all
of the 501st Prcht Inf needs to be
changed to Regt and remove the 101st Abn
Div on the headstones.
Then for the 501st
and the 508th for Normandy headstones
have to match and since they were both still organic
to the 2nd Abn Bde is should say for both
the 501st and the 508th Prcht
Inf 2nd Abn Bde. After Normandy it
should list Regt at the end. So the 501st
would have to be completely redone and for the 508th
changed for Normandy only.
Attached is documentation
showing that the 501st and the 508th
were part of the 2nd Abn Bde until after
Normandy. To most this doesn’t seem like a big deal
but to the soldiers killed in Europe and who were
buried wearing the insignia of their respective
Divisions (82nd Abn Div and 101st
Abn Div) that is a big deal for their families.
The 508th Prcht Inf
Regt was deactivated in November of 1946 while the
501st was deactivated August of 1945.
Yet the 501st men when the permanent
headstones were erected at the ABMC were given the
honor of having the 101st Abn Div. The
508th who was in service more than 17
months longer were not given that same honor.
I’m sure if we dig deep enough
you will find someone working with the ABMC in the
early 1950s doing this. What other reason can there
be when two different Regts were not given the
credit for being in a Division while the 101st
Abn Div was given to the 501st.
The 501st Prcht Inf headstones shouldn’t
be changed as they were part of the 101st
Abn Div while in Combat and were allowed to wear the
101st Abn Div Insignia. This means of
course that the 508th Prcht Inf Regt for
their time in the 82nd Abn Div for all of
Europe should like the 501st Prcht Inf be
afforded the same honor on their headstones.
Attached is a letter to the ABMC, CMH & US Army War
College that was sent today to them.
Abn – Airborne
atchd – attached
Bde – Brigade
Div – Division
Inf – Infantry
Prcht – Parachute
Regt – Regiment
WWII – World War Two
Brian N. Siddall
September 22, 2017