Woodrow H. Smith
29th Infantry Regiment
1st Parachute Battalion/501st Parachute Battalion
Fort Benning, GA
1940-1942


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).


items from Woodrow L. Hall, nephew of CWO2(R) Woodrow H. Smith
(G Co, 3rd BN, 506th PIR, 1942-1945; POW Jun 44-Apr 45)
Woodrow H. Smith

Woodrow H. Smith

The back of the photo indicates that he was in Company A, 501st Parachute Battalion




Woodrow Smith in Training

Woodrow Smith in training



Woodrow Smith at Benning

Woodrow Smith on the steps of a building at Fort Benning



The following four photos are 501st Parachute Battalion photos.

Ground Training

Ground training



Ready for a Training Jump

Ready for a training jump



Douglas C-47 Skytrains

Training jumps were made from Douglas C-47 Skytrains



? Company A, 501st Parachute Battalion

Woodrow Smith is in the front row, 4th from the left.
It looks as if only the officers [(L-R) the first 3 men in the front row] are wearing jump wings.

Is this a photo of Company A, 501st Parachute Battalion?



Certificate of Proficiency

Parachute Group Headquarters Certificate of Proficiency, Fort Benning, GA,
signed by LTC William C. Lee, Commander ot the Provisional Parachute Group


GEN(R) William C. Lee, known as the "father of the American Airborne,"
was the original commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division.



Discharge Papers

Front of Discharge Papers from the 501st Parachute Battalion

Signed by 1LT W. D. Jones and LTC William M. Miley



Discharge Papers

Back of Discharge Papers from the 501st Parachute Battalion

Signed by MAJ J. H. McCall and 2LT James C. Hite



U.S. PARATROOPS handkerchief

8"x 8" U.S. PARATROOPS handkerchief



Certificate

THE ORIGINAL
501st PARACHUTE BATTALION

FORT BENNING, GEORGIA U.S.A
FORT KOBBE, PANAMA CANAL ZONE
1940-1941-1942

Certificate signed by MG(R) William M. Miley and sent to former
members of the original 501st Parachute Battalion in August 1984.



Cover Letter

Cover letter that accompanied The Original 501st Parachute Battalion Certificate

SGM Harris T. "Mitch" Mitchell wrote the book The Story of the First Airborne Battalion




These pages are maintained the
506th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association (Airmobile - Air Assault)
This page updated 04/06/13