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502d Widowmakers

  • 995

502nd PIR "Widowmakers"
On 1 July 1941, the 502nd Parachute Infantry Battalion was activated at Fort Benning, GA under the command of MAJ George P. Howell, under orders dated 15 April. He’d been the former XO of the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion (not to be confused with the later 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment). This new unit was initially composed of two skeleton companies from the 501st. "The Deuce" lacked everything from parachutes to small arms. This kept the 502nd under-manned until more troops could be recruited from Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Plans for the next two battalions (503rd and 504th) had to be put on hold because there were no more men or equipment on hand at Fort Benning.

One piece of "equipment" developed in this period that has accompanied the 502nd into combat ever since was the round winged-skull patch known variously as "Bat Wings", the "Death’s Head", and "The Widowmaker"

*Approx 2″ diameter, chrome plated, zinc alloy, black enamel
*Attaches with 3M adhesive

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