On 15 January 1973, the 3rd Battalion (Airborne) 509th Infantry was activated in Mainz, Germany and was attached to the 8th Infantry Division. The initial home of the 3/509 was at Rhein Kaserne, Wiesbaden, Germany where the unit was formed and grew to become a 1,200-man unit. Training and airborne jumps were all conducted in the local area as the unit prepared to move to its designated home in Vicenza, Italy where it would be the only US airborne unit in Europe. The unit became an Airborne Battalion Combat Team with 3 Infantry Companies, an Artillery Battery, a Combat Support Company with an Engineer Platoon, a Rigger Detachment (located in Verona) and a Medical detachment as part of the structure. Once deployed to Italy the unit became part of the Southern European Task Force (SETAF) and was also the US contingent in the European Allied Mobile Force. The designation for the unit switched to become the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry (Battalion Combat Team) on 31 August 1973. - Ward M. LeHardy, BG, USA (Ret.), Bn. Cmdr. 3/509 and 1/509 (15 Jan 1973-15 August 1974)
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