Pictured here are a group of D Company troopers from the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Camp Mackall outside their barracks.
While at Mackall, many in Grandpa’s D Company were among the 86% of the 11th AB to earn the blue Expert Infantryman’s badge which only added to the 511th PIR’s confidence, an attribute that was starting to be viewed as a problem by some within Division HQ. All you have to do is look at the swagger of the troopers in this photo to see.
"Our regiment was not beloved by Division Staff…” A Company's 2LT Stephen Cavanaugh noted. “We were felt to be mavericks and troublemakers and prone to feel superior to the rest of the Division. Which of course, we were."
The boys of the 511th PIR enjoyed Camp Mackall's superior facilities when not out on several-day bivouacs or long marches. Out of 12,000 volunteers, only 2,176 remained, having passed (i.e. survived) Colonel Orin Haugen's strict acceptance guidelines. At Mackall the soldiers practiced field problems and got to know the other units in their mother organization, the 11th Airborne Division under Major-General Joseph May Swing.