See here for a Short History of the 517 PRCT
The 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT), one of the U.S. Army's first elite combat units, began its existence in March of 1943, training in the backwoods of Georgia. Although it began as an element of the 17th Airborne Division and was eventually incorporated into the 13th Airborne Division, the 517th saw most of its combat (in Italy, southern France, and the Battle of the Bulge) as an independent unit.
Before its dissolution after only thirty-three months, the outfit of 2,500 men endured some of the heaviest fighting of the European campaigns - from Italy through the invasion of Southern France, then the bitter winter in the Ardennes (in the Battle of the Bulge) and the final thrust into Germany.
During its relatively brief lifetime, the 517th Regimental Parachute Combat Team collected one Medal of Honor, six Distinguished Service Crosses, five Legion of Merits, 131 Silver Stars, 631 Bronze Stars, 2 Air Medals, 4 Soldiers Medals, 17 French Croix De Guerre, and 1,576 Purple Hearts -- at the cost of 252 killed.
The 517th was formally deactivated in 1946.
-- intro borrowed (paraphrased) from Kirkus Review of 'Battling Buzzards'
Note: Eight soldiers from the 517 went on to attain a General's rank in the U.S. Army.
|Rome-Arno||WDGO 99||6 November 1945|
|Southern France||WDGO 87||16 October 1945|
|Parachute Assault||WDGO 70||20 August 1945|
|Rhineland||WDGO 118||12 December 1945|
|Ardennes-Alsace||WDGO 114||7 December 1945|
|Central Europe||WDGO 116||11 December 1945|
|* War Department General Order #|
Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star
streamer embroidered DRAGUIGNAN
|French Decision No. 247|
|517 PRCT||Belgian Croix De Guerre||Belgian Decree No. 6185|
|1/517 PIR||Belgian Croix De Guerre||Belgian Decree No. 1329|
|2/517 PIR||Belgian Croix De Guerre||Belgian Decree No. 7253|
streamer embroidered SOYHOTTEN, BELGIUM
|Executive Order No. 9396|
|460 PFAB||French Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star||French Decision No. 247|
|460 PFAB||Belgian Croix De Guerre||Belgian Decree No. 6185|
|596 PEC||French Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star||French Decision No. 247|
|1/596 PEC||French Croix de Guerre with Gold-Gilt Star||French Decision No. 246|
|596 PEC||Belgian Croix De Guerre||Belgian Decree No. 6185|
|Congressional Medal of Honor||Distinguished Service Cross||French Croix de Guerre||Legion of Merit||European Theater of Operations||World War II Victory Medal||Purple Heart|
The following is from the book WORLD WAR II ORDER OF BATTLE by Shelby L. Stanton
517th Parachute Infantry Regiment: