Commonly referred to as “The Lost Battalion of WWII”, the independent 551 Parachute Infantry Battalion never received enough credits for its actions during the fierce battles in 1944-1945. On 5 January 2019, they will be remembered and their story will be told by walking the steps of these GOYAs- Great Outstanding Young Americans (Get Off Your Asses) during the Battle of the Bulge. – By Reg Jans & Eddy Lamberty
“While victorious in capturing Rochelinval and eliminating the last German bridgehead for over 10 miles (16 km) on the Salm River, the unit was virtually eliminated, having suffered more than 85% casualties. Relieved on 9 January 1945, of the 643 men who entered the battle on 3 January, only 14 Officers and 96 men remained. “Nowhere were casualties higher than in Wood Joerg’s 551st Battalion.”- Orfalea/Blair.
The Battalion was inactivated on 27 January 1945 and the remaining survivors were absorbed into the 82nd Airborne Division. At the Aid Station in Dairomont, Battalion Commander Col Wood Joerg died after being wounded at Rochelinval.
The 551 PIB is one of the many units that fought during the Battle of the Bulge, hence, their history was not much preserved in the archives and because of the high casualty rate there weren’t many survivors to pass on the details. They became ‘The Lost Battalion’.
5 January 2019
In order to preserve the history of the 551 PIB, the non-profit association C-47 Club Ardennes Salm River Chapter organizes the 3rd Commemorative GOYA March on 5 January 2019.
“One of the goals of the association is to perpetuate the memory of our liberators who valiantly fought in Europe and more particularly during the Battle of the Bulge. Our association has been active in many projects and in February 2016, Claude Orban and I (Eddy LAMBERTY) were talking to Ginni FIELD, daughter of Richard “Dick” FIELD, veteran of Co B, 551st PIB. She was wondering why the 551st PIB had no specific event in the Ardennes. Claude and I told her that we had already thought about such an event and it would be a good project for the future.
The project was finally launched in the spring of 2016 and the first edition of the GOYAs REMEMBRANCE WALK- the name of the event was endorsed by one of the last surviving veterans of the 551- Colonel Douglas C. Dillard.
The first edition of the march was attended by Colonel Doug Dillard, his family and five more family members of GOYA veterans: William H. DEAN, Richard J. FIELD, Richard W. GOINS, Leslie I. MEADE & John F. McATEE (KIA in Rochelinval on Jan 07, 1945). A total of twenty people of the 551s family spent the weekend in the Ardennes. On the second edition in 2018, six representatives of the 551st PIB attended.” – Eddy Lamberty
The 2019 March
Start Time : 9:30 AM
Start Location: Cafetaria Soccer Team U.S. HALTHIER, Rue de l’Entraide n°19, 6698 GRANDHALLEUX. Belgium
Three distances to honor the men: : 5 – 9 – 12 miles.
Several stops are scheduled such as the memorial at Dairomont (bayonet attack of Jan 04, 1945)
Rochelinval (monument of the last mile of the 551st PIB & Dick Field)
Monument to the 551st PIB in the village of Rochelinval.
No registration nor fees.
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