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Lee Erwin Reporting
Fort Campbell, KY. – Throughout the week of April 21-April 25, 2014 one of the most historic brigades in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) with a long and storied legacy in the U.S. Army will hold a number of events as it prepares for the brigade’s inactivation.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT) “Currahees” is one of ten brigades across the Army to inactivate as part of the Army’s announcement to downsize which is in line with the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.
In the coming days Clarksvillenow.com will chronicle some of the amazing history of the “Currahees” as well as the move toward their inactivation and what lies ahead for the future of many of the close to 3,500 Soldiers, families and veterans of the 4th BCT.
Before we say any more about the inactivation of the “Currahee” regiment let’s find out when and where it all began. The regiment was activated in July of 1942 as the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and became the Army’s 6th Parachute Regiment.
The regiment saw its beginnings at Camp Toccoa, Georgia which is where the nickname “Currahee” originated. Currahee Mountain was found inside the camp and “Currahee” is a Cherokee Indian word meaning “Stand Alone” which became the unit’s motto.
The first regimental commander of the unit was Colonel Robert F. Sink who commanded the regiment throughout WWII. The Robert F. Sink Memorial Library, named in his honor remains an important part of the Fort Campbell community.
In late 1942 the 506th PIR moved to Fort Benning, Georgia for parachute training and on June 1 of 1943 the 506th PIR became part of the 101st Airborne Division. Later in 1943 the 506th moved to Camp Shanks, New York in preparation for traveling to England in WWII.
The story of the unit was featured in the HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers” chronicling their service in Normandy during the D-Day landings, Operation Market Garden in Bastogne, Belgium and the capture of Hitler’s “Eagles Nest” in Germany.
The Curahees served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1971 and earned two Presidential Unit Citations, one for operations in the A Shau Valley, also known as “Hamburger Hill”. In 1984 the 506th faced its first inactivation but three years later was reactivated in Korea with only the 1st Battalion of the 506th on active duty.
The Currahees served in Korea until late 2004 when they were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Fort Campbell, Kentucky became the 506th Infantry Regiment’s home when they were reactivated in September of 2005 as the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
Three more deployments were in the cards for the brigade as they served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their last deployment was in 2013 when the Currahee Soldiers served a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Coming up in our next installment on the 4th BCT will be an interview with the Brigade Deputy Commander Lieutenant Colonel Lance Oskey about the inactivation of the brigade.
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See photos from the history of the brigade here.