Woodrow Smith served as the 1st Sergeant for
G Company, 3rd Battalion,
506th PIR. However, before being assigned to the 506th PIR,
Woodrow was a participant in the formation of the US Army Airborne.
The beginning of the US Army Airborne:
- 25 June 1940: the Parachute Test Platoon, the Army's
first parachute unit, was authorized
- 1 July 1940: a 48-member Test Platoon was formed at
Fort Benning, GA, home of the US Army Infantry School, from volunteers
from the 29th Infantry Regiment.
- 16 August 1940: the Test Platoon carried out the first
live parachute jump from a B-18 bomber aircraft.
- 16 September 1940: the US War Department authorized
the development of the 1st Parachute Battalion (soon after to
be re-designated the 501st Parachute Battalion). The members
of the Test Platoon were absorbed into the new unit, and the
parachute project was rapidly expanded.
- 1 July 1941: the 501st Parachute Battalion provided
a Cadre for the activation of the 502nd Parachute Battalion
- August 1941: the 501st Parachute Battalion was moved
to the Panama Canal to reinforce defenses.
- 30 January 1942: the War Department directed that the
parachute trained Battalions should be brought together to form
four Parachute Regiments.
- 20 July 1942: the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
was activated at Camp Toccoa, GA.
Although Woodrow Smith was not a member of the Test Platoon,
he was one of the soldiers from the 29th Infantry Regiment
who volunteered for the 1st Parachute Battalion/501st
Parachute Battalion in 1940 before being re-assigned to the
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in 1942.
Other members of the 506th PIR who first served in the 501st
Parachute Battalion include LTG(R)
Robert F. Sink (Regimental Commander,
506th PIR) and David M. "Buck" Rogers (1SG,
HQ, 1st BN, 506th PIR).