D-DAY, JUNE 6, 1944.
The 326 Engineers were constituted in the U.S National Army on 23rd July 1918 as an element of the 101st Division. The Regiment was divided on 31st March 1942. All Regimental units (less the 2nd Battalion) were allotted to the Army of the United States on 15th August 1942, and were redesignated as the 326 Airborne Engineer Battalion, where they were activated at Camp Clairborne, Louisiana. After extensive training in the United States, the 326 AEB deployed to England on 5th Sep 1943 from Pier 90, North River, New York.
The Ship 294 (HMS Samaria) landed at Liverpool, England and the battalion moved by train to Basildon Park near Reading, Berkshire. It was here that they trained for the D-Day Invasion of France, under the command of Lt-Col. John Pappas, along with a number of new officers & NCO's (veterans of Sicily & North Africa) who had been transferred from the 82nd Airborne, 307 AEB specifically to train the 101st & 326th.
The Battalion's training focused on physical conditioning (including long and short marches), weapons training, bridge demolition, glider loading, glider flights, unit and division tactical exercises. Training in England for the Normandy invasion included a two-week exchange with the Royal Engineers in which Americans worked with their British counterparts and vice versa. After extensive training, the Battalion deployed to Europe, and C. Company 326 AEB were divided and dispersed into other units for D-Day and jumped into Normandy, alongside the 501st, 502nd, 506th & Pathfinders. Boarding C47's at Greenham Common, Merryfield, Upottery, Exeter and other Airfields, where C. Company 326, participated in the airborne assault into Normandy. HQ staff officers and personnel from A & B Co.'s were taken by sea, initially sailing aboard the USS Susan B Anthony. The ship hit a mine off Omaha Beach in the early hours of June 7th and all 2000 aboard were rescued by HMS Narborough, eventually making it safely to Utah Beach, without any equipment as this was lost. The main objectives of C. Co. however were bridge demolition, in order to slow the German counter attacks, but they mainly fought as infantry with Lt-Col. Pappas being killed on June 13 on the outskirts of Carentan.
Major Hugh A. Mozley, assumed command also leading the battalion during Operation Market Garden, and the Screaming Eagles heroic stand at Bastogne.
Taking part in Operation Market Garden and in the defense of Bastogne, the battalion served as an entire unit in the southern sector. They were the first in and the first to meet General Patton's tanks once the encirclement had broken.
For its outstanding accomplishments at Normandy and Bastogne, the Battalion was twice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
For its contribution to the success of the European War, the Battalion was awarded the French Croix de Guerre (with Palm), the Netherlands Orange Lanyard, and the Belgian Fourragere.
The 326 Airborne Engineer Battalion was deactivated in Germany on November 30. 1945.