GLIDER INFANTRY REGIMENT
<- Colonel James R. Pierce
194th Glider Infantry Regiment was formed on December 16, 1942. It was activated with Camp Mackall in North Carolina on April 15, 1943 under the command of Colonel James R. Pierce (Which was graduate of West Point in 1922 with the General Taylor). The 194th GIR was immediately assigned to the 17th Airborne Division. It took part in maneuvers in Tennessee on February 7, 1944 before being sent first of all to Camp Forrest, Tennessee on March 24, 1944, then it carried out a stage with Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts on August 14, 1944 before leaving for Boston on August 20, 1944 to embark there on a boat toward England on August 28, 1944.
Arrived in England, the 194th was sent to Camp Chisledon, the 17th Airborne staging area. There, they continued the training with in addition flight and tactical formation and night maneuvers. When operation “MARKET GARDEN” was initiated, the 17th Airborne was still in formation, it was thus used in strategic reserve.
Belgium – Decembre 1944 – Battle of the Bulge :
On December 16, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive by the Belgian Ardennes surprising the Allies. The 17th Airborne was always in England. 82nd and 101st Airborne were in Sissone, France were sent precipitately by trucks to contain the German advance.
Between the 17 and 23 December, the 82nd Airborne blocked the German advance close to St-Vith. As for 101st Airborne, it was encircled with 7th Armored Division in Bastogne. To help to reinforce Bastogne, the 17th Airborne was sent on European Theatre of Operation.
From the 23 at 25 December, the units of 17th Airborne were sent by plane in France, in the Reims area. But meanwhile, the general Patton’s 3rd US Army surrounding had broken of Bastogne.
While arriving in France, the 17th Airborne was attached to the Patton’s army and accepted and ordered to immediately close in at Mourmelon. It ensured defense along Meuse in a sector going from Givet with Verdun until December 25 then was sent in Neufchateau, Belgium, from there, to foot in snow, they went to Morhet, relieving the 28th Infantry Division on 3 January 1945. It to establishing the HQ of Division there.
Following days, the 194th GIR have are baptism of fire. General Patton order had given to the 17th Airborne to take the city of Flamierge where the 11th Armored Division and 97th Infantry Division encountered a strong resistance.
The plan included the use of two regiments, the 513rd PIR on the right and 194th GIR under the orders of Colonel James R. Pierce (with 550th PIR attached) on the left side. Almost immediately after the regiments jumped-off they encountered a relentless fusillade of mortars. The 194th was hit hard and along with the 17th Airborne's two glider regiments sustained heavy casualties but they galantly achieved their objectives.
The 17th Airborne was finally raised by 6th Armored Division and turned back to the Camp to Chalons-sur-Marne, France on 11 February 1945.
It prepared for the last airborne operation, operation “VARSITY”.
Germany – March 1945 – operation Varsity :
At the beginning of February, the situation on the front made it possible to evaluate precisely where and when the 2nd British army would be ready to force a passage to cross The Rhine River. It was given that crossed would coincide with an airborne operation by XVIII Airborne Corps.
The sector selected for the attack passed near Wesel, in the North of The Ruhr. The operation was to begin on 24 March 1945. The airborne operation was the last of the Second World War. The task returned from there to 17th Airborne.
It was the last complete airborne operation of the World War II, but the first for the 194th GIR.
Their Landing Zone was a great flat sector with the junction between the Issel River and the Issel Canal merge. Their objective is to take the points of passage to the top of Issel and protect the right side from division.
While it General Eisenhower watched the operation from a church tower on the west side of The Rhine River, the 194th had the misfortune of flying over a concentration of German antiaircraft weapons. Two-thirds of the C-47's were either damaged or in flames. The pilots remained with the aircrafts until they released the gliders which landed amid German Artillery units. The German gun crews immediately repositioned their guns for direct fire. It was a fluid situations for a period but the glider troops prevailed and were able to overrun the German positions.
By mid-afternoon on 24 March 1945 the 194th had laid down all its objectives destroyed 42 artillery pieces and panzers and capture 1.000 German prisoners. By 26 March, the British’s forces crossed the Rhine. The 194th who was at the head in front of the town of Lembeck was confronted with a strong resistance. The company “I” launched three frontal attacks and was each time pushed back with heavy casualties.
<- T/Sgt Clinton M. Hendrick
<- T/Sgt Clinton M. Hendrick
It was during this fighting that Technical Sergeant (T/Sgt) Clinton M. Hendrick was distinguished with the combat. He charged on the right the German positions with his machine-gun (BAR). Remaining members of his company the overflowing follow him enemy positions. Then a German soldier lured Hendrick and his men into a trap by attempting to surrender. Hedrick sensed the trap but was immediately wounded. Although he was mortally wounded, he was able to signal his men to pull back while he single-handedly engaged the enemy forces. By the time that his BAR was silenced he had wiped-out the remaining German forces. Bleeding profusely Hedrick's died shortly after. For this heroic action T/Sgt Hedrick was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
During the following weeks, the 194th continued to advance, capturing the Nazis diplomat and the Hitler confidant, Franz von Papen, on his estate east of Essen.
Little time after, the regiment was attached during a time to the 95th Infantry Division. (Of the 5 at April 13, 1945)
The 194th GIR served in the Army of Occupation of Germany from 2 May to 14 June 1945. Then, the regiment was sent to Vittel, France on 15 June 1945. It was back to the United States on 14 September 1945 and was dissolves at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts on the same year.