194th Glider Infantry Regiment
17th Airborne Parachute Maint. Company
411th Airborne Quartermaster Company
517th Airborne Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
389th Quartermaster Company (attached)
550th Infantry Airborne Battalion (attached)
The 17th Airborne Division was activated 15 April 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. The 194th GIR was constituted 16 December 1942 and activated on 15 April 1943 under the command of Colonel James R. Pierce as one of the core units of the 17th Airborne. After completing basic training, specialist training, and a variety of training maneuvers, the unit left with the Division for England on
20 August, 1944.
When the 194th arrived in England, the Regiment was sent to Ogbourne St. George on 29 August, 1944. Flight and tactical training continued and night maneuvers were added to the training schedule. They remained in England until leaving for France in late December.
As part of the Division, the 194th engaged in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns. In the early days of January, the 194th would gain their baptism of fire that would have tested the mettle of the most experienced airborne units. General Patton had ordered the 17th Airborne to seize the town of Flamierge where the 11th Armor and the 87th Infantry Divisions had encountered brutal resistance from the Germans. The plan called for two regiments to push forward; the 513th PIR on the right, and the 194th GIR (with the 550th Glider Infantry Battalion attached) on the left. Almost immediately after the regiments jumped off they encountered a relentless fusillade of mortars. The 194th was hit hard and sustained heavy casualties, but they fought on and achieved their objectives.
In March of 1945, the Regiment had a successful landing as part of Operation Varsity. Despite taking heavy enemy fire, the 2nd Battalion of the 194th was able to achieve all but one of its objectives within the first two days after landing.
It was during this fighting that Technical Sergeant Clinton M Hedrick made a charge straight at the German positions while firing a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) from his hip. This inspired the remaining members of his company and they followed him, overrunning the enemy positions. Some of German forces retreated into a castle with T/Sgt Hedrick close behind. A German soldier lured Hedrick and his men into a trap by attempting to surrender. Although he was mortally wounded, Hendrick 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 died shortly after. For this heroic action T/Sgt Hedrick was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
During the ensuing weeks the 194th continued to push forward, even capturing the Nazi diplomat and Hitler confidant Franz von Papen, on his estate east of Essen. Shortly after this incident the Regiment was attached to the 95th Infantry Division, and served with them from 5-13 April, 1945.
The 194th served in the Army of Occupation in Germany from 2 May - 14 August 1945. The regiment then went to Vittel, France on 15 August 1945. It returned to the United States via the Boston Port of Embarkation on 14 September 1945 and was inactivated at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts on the same date. The 194th left Europe from Marseilles, France on 6 September 1945. The 194th and the remainder of the division were deactivated on 15 September, 1945 at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts.