The 550th Airborne Infantry Battalion was activated on July 1, 1941 at Fort Kobbe, in the Panama Canal zone. The battalion was originally formed as an 'Air Landing' unit rather than a parachute or glider battalion. The mission of the unit was to disembark if necessary in the countries of Central America, Latin and South America as well as in the Caribbean, in particular in Martinique. As threats to the Caribbean and Latin American regions abated in 1943, the 550th was renamed the 550th Glider Infantry Battalion and began glider training in Sicily.
Dday - August 15, 1944
At 10 a.m. on August 15, the officers received orders and just after lunch each officer took their platoon outside of each group, handing out cards announcing that the paratroopers had jumped early that morning, 14 miles away. interior of the French coast in an area west of Nice. A model on a table split into 4 parts shows roughly that each blade of grass was to be studied by these groups for about 20 minutes each. Everything must be memorized because very few receive maps.
The mission of the battalion had been largely designed to be held in reserve. The armed groups were tasked with unloading equipment from gliders, recovering containers of equipment, or supporting a British unit's attack on the key town of Le Muy. The 550th IAB leaves Follonica at 2:30 p.m. taking Corsica as a landmark.
The first glider of the 550th landed at 6 p.m. 40 minutes later all landed. Within two hours of the main force landing, the area is secured and under battalion control.
Six men from A Co. are aboard glider # 47 during Mission Dove. The flight over the Mediterranean went smoothly until the glider reached the coast and the tow cable was removed. The glider gradually approaches the ground but the latter does not slow down and crashes ... There is only one survivor; Pvt. Edward L. Lanter.
The area around Le Muy had been cleared, but the unit assigned to capture the town had failed and the Glider Riders were given their first combat mission: to take the town of Le Muy. Due to the large number of gliders on the LZ, 12 gliders were forced to land near La Motte, a km or two away. These men were not able to rejoin the battalion until the morning of August 16. These few men who landed on the Muy side had to go through the village to join the rest of the battalion. Since they don't have any of the 5 jeeps with trailers, nor the radio jeep, they have to run through town. Not daring to risk themselves at night, they waited 9 o'clock in the morning. The next day, when a patrol of 14 partisans went to town to clear a passageway, they were all put to flight by machine guns. However, several Germans were hit and the patrol captured one. Eventually, they find a path that leads them to the assembly area without passing through Le Muy to reach the battalion, arriving just in time for the attack on the town.