Original U.S. WWII Named 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division M1 Westinghouse Liner with “Currahee” Decal
Original Item: Only One Available. The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was initially formed during World War II at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, in 1942 where it earned its nickname, "Currahees", after the camp's Currahee Mountain. Paratroopers in training ran from Camp Toccoa up Currahee Mountain and back with the shout "three miles up, three miles down!".
The Cherokee word, which translates to "Stand Alone", also became the unit's motto. Members of the unit wear the spade (♠) symbol on the helmet outer shell and the Screaming Eagle patch (indicating membership in the 101st Airborne Division) on the left sleeve. Its first commanding officer was Colonel Robert F. Sink, and the 506th was sometimes referred to as the "Five-Oh-Sink". On 10 June 1943, the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment officially became part of the 101st Airborne Division, commanded by Major General William Lee, the "father of the U.S. Army Airborne".
Sink read in Reader's Digest about a Japanese Army unit that held the world record for marching. Sink believed his men could do better, so he marched the regiment from Camp Toccoa to Atlanta: 137 miles (220 km) in 75 hours and 15 minutes, including 33.5 hours of actual marching. Only 12 of the 2nd Battalion's 556 enlisted men failed to complete the march. All 30 officers completed it, including 2nd Battalion commander Major Robert Strayer. Newspapers covered the march; many civilians turned out to cheer the men as they neared Five Points. In Atlanta, they boarded trains for Airborne School in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The 506th would participate in three major battles during the war: D-day landings, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge. (They would have participated in Operation Varsity, but SHAEF decided to use the 17th Airborne Division instead.)
This liner is a correct "high pressure" WWII issue and stamped with a W under mold number 28, for the Westinghouse Electric Co Manufactured in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this "high pressure" manufactured M-1 helmet liner is identified by an embossed W in the crown (which is still Westinghouse's logo to this day). Westinghouse was the largest M-1 helmet liner producer and had two production divisions; Micarta and Bryant Electric. The Micarta Division produced about 13,000,000 M-1 helmet liners and the Bryant Electric Division about 10,000,000. Westinghouse Electric Company started M-1 helmet liner delivery in May 1942.
This true US WWII M-1 helmet liner can be identified through the frontal eyelet hole. Other correct WWII features include OD Green #3 cotton herringbone twill (HBT) cloth suspension liner, with the webbing in good condition, but is missing the liner chin strap as well as the leather sweatband. This HBT suspension is held tightly within the M-1 helmet liner by rivets and a series of triangular "A" washers. The three upper suspension bands are joined together with the correct OD green string. This way the wearer could adjust the fit. “WEAVERLING” is written in white on the inside. Due to the popularity of the last name we were unable to locate any service information on this trooper, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have any luck!
Featured on the right side of the liner is the partial Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Coat of Arms
The blue field is for the Infantry, the 506th's arm of the service. Thunderbolt indicates the regiment's particular threat and technique to attack: striking with speed, power, and surprise from the sky. Six parachutes represent the fact that the 506th was in the sixth parachute regiment activated in the U.S. Army, of which the unit is proud. The green silhouette represents the Currahee Mountain -- the site of the regiment's activation (Toccoa, Ga.) -- and symbolizes the organization's strength, independence, and ability to stand alone for which paratroops are renowned.
- The winged sword-breaker represents airborne troops. The conjoined caltraps stand for the enemy line of defense behind which paratroopers are dropped. They are two in number in reference to the unit's two air assault landings. The fleur-de-lis is for the Normandy invasion and the bugle horn, from the arms of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, refers to the organization's capture of that objective. The six large spikes of the caltraps stand for the unit's six decorations. The demi-roundel represents a section of the hub of a wheel. It stands for Bastogne, Belgium, strategic crossroads of highways and railways. The hub, surmounted by the winged sword-breaker, commemorates the organization's heroic defense of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge.
- CURRAHEE. American Aboriginal, Cherokee Tongue meaning “Stands Alone”.
- The coat of arms was originally approved for the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment on 20 Apr 1943. It was amended on 23 Aug 1943 to correct the blazon. The coat of arms was redesignated for the 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment on 18 Mar 1949. On 27 Feb 1958 it was redesignated for the 506th Infantry.
The left side features the ghosting of the famous Screaming “Old Abe” Eagle, the 101st Airborne insignia. There is very little color left to this decal but there are raised edges showing an outline of Old Abe. The decal could very well be painted over and we have not attempted to remove any paint to check. If you’re up to the task and believe there is a decal under the paint, be careful!
We are uncertain if either of these decals were painted post-war for parade use, but they are still beautiful regardless! This lovely M1 helmet liner comes more than ready for research and display!
The Story of "Old Abe," Famous Wisconsin War Eagle on 101st Airborne Division Patch
The Screaming Eagle insignia of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is perhaps the most recognized and famous shoulder sleeve insignia in the United States Army.
However the history and symbolism of the patch is often forgotten. The eagle on the shoulder is not just any American Bald Eagle, but instead, it commemorates the most famous animal mascot that ever served in the United States Army.
In 1861, an American Indian named Ahgamahwegezhig -- or Chief Sky -- a member of the Flambeau band of the Chippewa tribe, cut down a tree in an attempt to capture two American Bald Eaglets in their nest. Chief Sky later traded the surviving eaglet to Daniel McCann of Eagle Point, Wisc., for a bushel of corn. McCann took the bird to Eau Claire, Wisc., and briefly kept it as a family pet. Caged inside a modified oaken cask, the bird grew larger and quickly became too expensive to feed. McCann actively sought to sell the as yet unnamed bird to the many units of Wisconsin troops passing through the area enroute to their muster site at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisc.
After many unsuccessful attempts to rid himself of the bird, McCann eventually sold the eagle for $2.50 to Capt. John E. Perkins, commanding officer of a militia company called the "Eau Claire Badgers." Part of the money was, reluctantly, given by local tavern-keeper S.M. Jeffers.
In light of their newly acquired mascot, the unit renamed themselves the "Eau Claire Eagle."
Perkins' unit entered federal service and was re-designated as Company C, 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The Eau Claire Eagles' mascot was adopted by the new 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment which was quickly nicknamed the "Eagle Regiment." After much deliberation, the mascot was named "Old Abe," in honor of President Abraham Lincoln.
During its time awaiting muster into Federal service at Camp Randall, the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment purchased a special, shield-shaped perch on which to carry their mascot. It was here, in Madison, Wisconsin where "Old Abe" was named in honor of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.
The 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment spent its entire military service in what was then known as the Western Theater of the American Civil War comprising: Missouri; Arkansas; Tennessee; Mississippi; Louisiana; and Alabama. "Old Abe" was present during all of the 8th Wisconsin's battles and was carried into combat by a sergeant on a special perch alongside the 8th Wisconsin's National and Regimental colors.
Seeing "Old Abe" atop his perch during the battle of Corinth, Mississippi, General Sterling Price remarked, "that bird must be captured or killed at all hazards, I would rather get that eagle than capture a whole brigade or a dozen battle flags."
During "Old Abe's" service, the 8th Wisconsin participated in many battles, expeditions, and pursuits of Southern forces. Among these were the battles of: Iuka; Corinth; Island Number 10; Big Black; Champion's Hill; the Red River and Meridian expeditions; and the Battle of Nashville. "Old Abe" was there every step of the way.
The 8th Wisconsin's most famous fight came in June of 1863, when the regiment participated in a futile frontal assault along Vicksburg's Graveyard Road. "Old Abe" and his regiment, then part of Mower's Brigade, failed to penetrate the center of the Southern fortifications near a 90-degree bend in the Southern defensive positions known as Stockade Redan.
Their enlistments having expired, the men of the 8th Wisconsin were mustered out of federal service in late-1864. The 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment was no more. On Sept. 26th, 1864, a contingent of 70 8th Wisconsin veterans marched "Old Abe" to the state and presented him to Governor James Lewis. "Old Abe" was donated to the people of Wisconsin by the loving comrades alongside whom he had fought for four years.
In 1865 an enterprising Chicagoan, capitalizing on "Old Abe's" fame, sought to enlist him in support of the United Sanitary Commission's efforts to provide aid and comfort to wounded Veterans. Thus the "Army of the American Eagle" was formed. Children were "enlisted" to sell paper photographs of "Old Abe" in much the same way that schools raise funds today. Proceeds from the sale of these photographs went to benefit local veteran's charities.
The Wisconsin War Eagle's post-war life was punctuated by frequent nation-wide travel in support of veteran reunions, patriotic gatherings, Soldier relief benefits, and special exhibitions during which he achieved a rock star-like status. In 1876, "Old Abe" again toured the country as part of America's Centennial Exposition.
"Old Abe" lived out the remainder of his life in an aviary in the Capitol building. In 1881, a fire broke out in a paint and solvent storage area near "Old Abe's" aviary. A month later the famous Wisconsin War Eagle, weakened by fumes, died in the arms of his handler, George Gilles.
Many newspapers and Veterans groups wondered aloud "what would become of this famous, flesh and blood war relic?" Upon his death, "Old Abe" was preserved and exhibited in the Capitol building's Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall until a fire destroyed the display in 1904. Sadly, only a few of "Old Abe's" feathers survive, carefully preserved by the Wisconsin Veterans' Museum in Madison.
Today, large sculptures of "Old Abe" stand atop the Wisconsin monument at Vicksburg, Miss., and atop the entrance to old Camp Randall, now the main entrance to the University of Wisconsin's football stadium. Since 1865, Wisconsin-based J.I. Case farm implement company has used "Old Abe" as part of their corporate logo. "Old Abe" also serves as the mascot of several Wisconsin high schools.
Since 1921, "Old Abe's" head, in profile, has served as the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). A large-scale diorama of the 8th Wisconsin's Color Guard, complete with "Old Abe," is on exhibit in the atrium of the division headquarters building on Fort Campbell.
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