Recon 1/502 101st Airborne Division, Vietnam 1969-70. Photo by Ruben Yzaguirre The 502nd Infantry Regiment (502nd INF), previously titled the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (502nd PIR), is an airborne infantry regiment of the United States Army. The regiment was established shortly after the American entry into World War II, and was assigned as a regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, "The Screaming Eagles", one of the most decorated formations of the U.S. Army. The regiment saw substantial action in the European Theater of World War II and was deactivated in 1945, shortly after the end of the war. Reactivating in a new form in 1956, the 502nd Infantry has served in the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. It was removed from parachute status with the rest of the 101st Airborne Division in 1969, and since 1974, the regiment has been classified as an Air Assault unit. Currently, its 1st and 2nd battalions are active. Both battalions are assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) 2nd Battalion served almost seven years in the Republic of Vietnam. 1st Battalion did five years. Fighting scattered actions under two different brigade headquarters from the Mekong River delta in the south to the DMZ up north, they earned 27 campaign streamers, six American, and eight Vietnamese unit citations between them, including two Presidential Unit Citations earned by 2nd Battalion for An Khe and Dak To. 1/502 fought in the A Shau Valley and the Rescue of Dustoff 65. Three 2nd Battalion soldiers earned the Medal of Honor. Specialist Dale E. Wayrynen, Private First Class Milton A. Lee, and Corporal Frank R. Fratellenico all have Fort Campbell landmarks named for them. In December 1971, after having drawn down in country, the 101st began returning home to Fort Campbell.
Portrait of successful Utah Technical College at Salt Lake Alumni, Al Thacker. Digitization completed with funds from a 2017 USHRAB (Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board) Grant that was awarded to Salt Lake Community College, Library Services.