Forces: January 3, 2002


The Army plans to reactivate the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Infantry, a historic parachute unit, to reinforce the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The US kept an independent parachute battalion in northern Italy during the Cold War, upgrading it to a brigade a few years ago. (The upgrade was primarily in name, the brigade had one parachute battalion, a headquarters company, and a support company.) When the 2/503 was activated on 16 December, it had only its headquarters and one rifle company. Company B will be formed in October 2002 and Company C in October 2003. The problem is the total limit on US military manpower in Europe; slots are being transferred out of other units to create the new battalion.--Stephen V Cole




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