The 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was activated on July 20, 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Lieutenant Colonel George V. Millett, Jr was given command. After jump-training at Fort Benning the regiment deployed to the Army Air Base at Alliance, Nebraska and became part of the 1st Airborne Brigade. After arriving in North Ireland in December, 1943, the 507th was attached to the 82nd Airborne along with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Still under the command of Colonel Millett, the 507th moved to Nottingham, England in March, 1944 to prepare for the Allied invasion of Europe.
The 507th first saw combat during the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944. The 507th and the 508th PIRs were to be dropped near the west bank of the Merderet River. The objectives of both regiments was to establish defensive positions in those areas and prepare to attack westward sealing off the Cotentin Peninsula.
In the predawn hours of D-Day the sporadic jump patterns of the 507th and 508th PIRs left troopers spread out over a twenty mile area. Some who overshot the Drop Zone (DZ) dropped into the Merderet River and its adjoining marshes. Many troopers who jumped with heavy equipment were unable to swim free and drowned. Others roamed the countryside until they encountered other units and joined their effort. Even Colonel Millett, the commanding officer of the 507th was unable to muster his troops and was captured three days after the drop in the vicinity of Amfreville. Only the 2nd Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles J Timmes was able to function as a team and began digging in around Cauquigny on the west bank of the Merderet River...
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