Jan. 22, 1944: Allied forces, including the U.S. VI Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas (of Lt. Gen. Mark Clark’s Fifth Army), begin a series of landings along a stretch of western Italian coastline in the Anzio-Nettuno area. Codenamed Operation Shingle, the Allies achieve complete surprise against and encounter little initial resistance from the Germans. But the landings kick off what will become one of the most grueling campaigns of World War II.

It is during the subsequent fighting (which continues for several months) that a dead German officer’s diary is found, a portion of which reads:





Welcome to the 504th PIR, the best Regimental Association supporting any organization of the U.S. Army

The purpose of the Association is to establish a permanent organization to preserve the History of the Regiment and further develop the common bond which exists among soldiers who served and are serving in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and its supporting units; to provide continuing support of troopers currently serving; to perpetuate the memory of the members of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment who have died in the service of their country; to maintain contact with the members through the gathering and dissemination of information of concern; and to provide for their patriotic assembly in local and national reunions, thereby perpetuating the Airborne Spirit as to heritage and tradition for future generations. The Association shall actively promote membership by all those eligible.