4 BCT “Currahee”
Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) “Currahee”
The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated at Camp Toccoa, Ga. on July 20, 1942. The Regiment was given the motto “Currahee,” a Native American Cherokee word which means “stands alone”—a name that would become synonymous with its combat history. On March 1, 1945, the 506th was assigned to the newly formed 101st Airborne Division. The Division’s first commander, Major General William C. Lee observed that “the 101st has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny.” The 506th Infantry was destined to write its history in places such as Normandy, Arnhem, Bastogne, the Central Highlands of Vietnam and Cambodia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Under Colonel Robert F. Sink’s command, the Regiment proved itself over the skies of France as the lead element of the massive Allied D-Day invasion, June 6, 1944. With the objective to seize the high ground immediately behind the Normandy beach in order to prevent the Germans from reinforcing their shoreline defensive positions, the Regiment distinguished itself as the Soldiers of the 506th successfully conducted a night airborne insertion into German occupied France and secured their objectives. For its exploits at Normandy, the 506th Infantry Regiment received a Presidential Unit Citation. The 506th later parachuted into combat as a part of Operation Market Garden and earned its second Presidential Unit Citation for actions while successfully resisting the vicious German assaults at Bastogne. The final significant event during World War II occurred when the 506th drove into Southeastern Germany and overran Hitler’s famed “Eagle Nest” in Berchtesgaden. On Nov. 30, 1945, the 506th Infantry was inactivated at Auxerre, France.
The Regiment was twice reactivated as a training unit at Breckenridge, Ky., July 1948 to April 1949 and August 1950 to December 1953, and later reactivated in May 1954 at Fort Jackson, S.C. On April 25, 1957, the 506th was reorganized as part of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell. In December 1967, the 506th deployed to the Central Highlands of Vietnam. While in Vietnam, the Regiment was converted from Airborne to Airmobile Infantry. They served four years in Vietnam, earned twelve battle streamers and were awarded a third Presidential Unit Citation for actions at Dong Ap Bia Mountain at the north of the A Shau Valley.
The 506th was deactivated in 1984. The 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry regiment was later reactivated in 1987, to serve at Camp Greaves in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. They served in Korea until August 2004 when they deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. From August 2004 to July 2005, the 506th made huge strides in reducing the insurgent menace in their battle space. They conducted numerous search, raid, and sweep missions resulting in the detention of hundreds of insurgents and the destruction of tons of weapons and ordinance caches. The 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment deactivated Sept. 15, 2005.
The 506th Infantry Regiment was re-activated on Sept. 15, 2005 at Fort Campbell as the 506th Brigade Combat Team, providing regimental designation to the newly created 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The entire Brigade, structured under the Army Modularity Concept, deployed for combat a short two months later to Iraq for a year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07. The Brigade's Soldiers added to the rich legacy of the 506th, setting the Army standard for route sanitization, conducting thousands of combat missions in Baghdad and Ar Ramadi, capturing or killing over 1,000 insurgents, and training Iraqi Army and Police forces. The Brigade's task organization included 22 battalion-sized elements. The 1-506th Infantry Battalion fought in Ar Ramadi, while 2-506th Infantry Battalion fought in South Baghdad. The remainder of the Brigade fought in East Baghdad, securing a population of over 4.9 million residents and landmass of over 1,600 square kilometers. Soon after a successful redeployment, the Brigade, in the midst of personnel and equipment reset, became the Army’s Division Ready Brigade, once again poised for short-notice worldwide operations.
In early 2008, the 4th Brigade once again deployed, this time to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of Task Force Currahee. During its relatively short history, the 506th has fought in three wars on two continents, participating in sixteen campaigns. Each of these honors serves as a district reminder of the unit’s proud heritage, and its dedication to the preservation of freedom.
CURRAHEE Fourth Brigade Combat Team Units:
1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment
1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment
4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment
4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion
801st Brigade Support Battalion