The 555th was a segregated, African-American paratroop unit established during World War II. They were the first African-Americans in American military history to be given an opportunity to work as airborne soldiers.
The 555th was assigned to work in Oregon as part of a secret mission (Operation Firefly) during the Japanese balloon bomb attack of 1944-1945. This attack involved the release of 9,000 balloons from Japan, each carrying 4-5 incendiary bombs designed to start forest fires in the United States.
The 555th represents a significant story in the history of Oregon, Forest Service, the military, World War II, home front defense, aerial firefighting (smokejumping), and civil rights. Surviving members of the 555th are expected along with the Governor are expected to attend along with other dignitaries.
The event will be promoted to attract youth and represents and opportunity for CAP to interest south Oregon youth in the CAP program.
555 Commemoration June 3, 2017
This is an advance notification that the Governor will be invited to speak at the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion commemoration on June 3, 2017. This is Oregon’s opportunity to recognize the role of the 555th in home front defense of this state during WWII.
This is an invitation for the Civil Air Patrol to participate in the 555th dedication event at Illinois Valley Airport (3S4) on June 3, 2017. The Civil Air Patrol and 555th story share a common thread in both being established during WWII and both being involved in home front defense during a time of conflict.
Gwen Carr of Oregon Black Pioneers will provide remarks during the ceremony.
Roger Brandt is Chair of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (501c3) and event coordinator
June 3, 2017
This just in: Radio special on WWII African-American paratroopers in Oregon.