WWII 3rd Zouave Regt , 2/503, 509 Prch Badge Sterling
This is badge of the 3rd Zouave Regt, a French Colonial unit from North Africa. During WWII they fought alongside the 2nd Bn 503rd Prcht Inf Regt (PIR) and as a result the 2/503rd was authorized to wear the badge. On Novemer 15, 1942 the battalion parachuted into the airfield at Youks les Bains, Algeria. The field was surrounded by forces of the 3rd Zouave of Vichy France. Colonel Berges, Cmmanding Officer of the French troops pinned on the jump suit of Lt. Colonel Edson Raff, US Commander of the paratroopers one of thee badges. Later during that day other US officers were present the badge. As French were falling back from Tunisia they stopped at this location and turned their guns against the Germans. On 6 February 1944 orders were issued by French General of the Army H. Giraud authorizing the 2nd Bn of the 503 to wear this badge as a symbol of the common struggle. That order still stands.
When the 2/503rd was re-designated the 509th Prcht Inf Bn (PIB) authority to wear the badge was transferred to the 509th which is still authorized to wear the badge today. 1 5.16 in diameter, this badge is a museum quality reproduction of a very older version with a solid back and therefore rather heavy, not the thin copies made today. Screw backs and nuts are provided.