Original U.S WWII D-Day 508th PIR Pathfinder Named Grouping
Original Items: One-of-a-kind. Lieutenant Robert "Bob" D. Shields (enlisted ASN 32192739, Officer ASN 0-2011106) served in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion. During his service he was promoted from Private to Staff Sergeant to Second Lieutenant. Bob Shields participated in all of the 508th PIR’s campaigns and battles including D-Day by jumping into Normandy on the night of June 5th, 1944, Operation Market Garden by parachuting into Holland September 17, 1944, the Battle of the Bulge and served in General Eisenhower's Honor Guard during Occupation Service at the end of the war.
Lt. Shields is easily researched; a photo of him appears in the book The Faces of D-Day edited by JoAnna McDonald, on the American D-Day site at this link and in numerous places on the 508th site such as these link 1, link 2. His service is perhaps best summarized in his obituary which appears at this link on the 508th veteran website. It reads as follows:
A member and hero of the Greatest Generation Mr. Robert Daniel Shields died at home in Tappan, NY on January 17, 2010 after a long illness. He was 89 at the time of his death and was surrounded by those he loved and those who loved him.
On the Eve of the Normandy Invasion, the 5th of June 1944, then Staff Sergeant Shields, a pathfinder, parachuted into St. Mere Eglise, France behind German lines. The plane was struck by enemy fire and his group jumped at an extremely low altitude. SSG Shields' parachute got caught on the roof gable of a French house and he was forced to cut his way out of the parachute harness. A quick dash into another French house almost led to his capture as German soldiers questioned the occupants of the house and they pointed in the direction of SSG Shields and yelled "Americana". SSG Shields jumped through a window and as he stumbled away from the building, he landed in a German observation post where he was forced to kill an enemy soldier.
With the help of his comrades in HHC, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, the observation post was eliminated. During the ferocious combat in and around Chef Du Pont, SSG Shields was captured, beaten and then escaped to rejoin his comrades.
On September 17th, 1944 he again parachuted into combat, this time in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden, sometimes referred to as "The Bridge Too Far". In the fierce fighting around the Nijmegen Bridge he was again wounded.
Upon recovery from his wounds he rejoined his unit in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge where he received a Battlefield Commission to Lieutenant. In this fighting, his unit was sent to the relief of the surrounded 101st Airborne Division. His brother George, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division was with the surrounded unit and was wounded in the Battle.
Mr. Shields was awarded numerous military decorations including: two Bronze Stars with "V" device for valor, the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and Senior Army Parachute wings with two combat stars.
Upon cessation of hostilities, Lieutenant Shields was assigned to General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Honor Guard and upon return to Sparkill, NY in January 1946, he became an Army Reservist assigned to Company A, an engineer company in the 860th Aviation Engineer Battalion where he continued to serve for 16 years.
Included in this incredible historically significant set are the following items:
- Enlisted Man's Ike jacket hand dyed from enlisted man's green to Officer's Chocolate brown. The interior is ink marked S-1106 which was his Officer ASN O-2011106. The Patches, ribbons, awards are as follows: Paratrooper Sterling Silver Wings, Bronze Star Medal Ribbon with Valor device, Purple Heart Medal Ribbon, Army Good Conduct, European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal Ribbon with Invasion Arrowhead and 4 Battle Campaign Stars, Army of Occupation Medal Ribbon, American Campaign Medal Ribbon, WWII Victory Medal,Sterling Silver Combat Infantry Man's Badge, Presidential Unit Citation, Four overseas combat service bars (on left sleeve cuff) meaning 24+ months of combat service, Lieutenant's bars. The "Belgian Fourragère 1940" which is comprised of one round smooth cord, partially braided, and of TWO other cords, of which one is terminated by a knot and a brass ferret - it is made of wool and cotton for NCOs and EM, and of silk for Officers - all threads are tinted in colors resembling the ribbon of the Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 (i.e. basic red, dotted with green threads) - the Fourragère encircles the LEFT shoulder and passes under the armpit, and is fixed by 2 tiny loops onto the button of the shoulder loop. "Order of the Orange" shoulder cord awarded by the Dutch government for surviving Operation Market Garden.
- Overseas officer garrison cap with Parachute patch and lieutenant bar.
- Original aluminum dog tags from after his battlefield commission to 1st Lieutenant. Which read ROBERT D. SHIELDS O-20111106 T48-44 A
- 2 Original photos, one of Shields and his men the other of Shields and his bother George Shields who served with the 501st PIR, 101st Airborne.
- Original unattached 508th PIR embroidered patch.
- Copy of the book The Faces of D-Day edited by JoAnna McDonald where Bob appears on page 83.
- Binder of research which includes dozens of pages of copies of original wartime documents as well as modern research.
- Web belt, buttons and other bits and pieces.
Overall an exceptional well documented and researched D-Day Airborne grouping from a soldier that is documented as having jumped in the hours before the amphibious landings in on June 6th, 1944 who then went on to fight in some of the most well known battles for World War Two!
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