Colonel R.H. Tucker|
This book is a history of your regiment. It is a lasting record of your deeds, your accomplishments, your sacrifices, and your rewards.
It has been my very proud duty and also my very proud privilege to command such a gallant and formidable group of men throughout most of its history making period. Together we have trained long and vigorously for battle; together we have fought against a smart, cunning, deceitful, and unscrupulous enemy; together we have combatted the varied elements of the weather, the various conditions of terrain in many countries, and the wounds and sickness which are the lot of all fighting men; and together we have surmounted all obstacles and emerged victorious as one of the top notch fighting units of all time.
An unsurpassed spirit of cooperation, grim determination, and pride in the regiment have written this story in blood and deeds on the pages of history.
All of us have lost friends and comrades along the bloody trail we followed, but they were not lost in vain; for the enemy paid twenty-fold for each one of them. They, the dead, and you, the living, have helped equally to make it our proud boast that we need never bow our heads to anyone.
We all fight for one thing -- the day of Peace and our return to the loved ones at home. For that day and for the days until then, I wish for each of you, Good Luck, God Speed, and Happy Landings.
-- Colonel R.H. Tucker,
Commanding Officer of the 504th Parachute Infantry
M/G Reuben H. Tucker
By Ed Dugan
He was just 58 years of age when he died, yet he served a lifetime in the military. He was born in Ansonia, Connecticut on July 29, 1911 and entered the class of 1934 at West Point. The day after his graduation he married Helen McAllister. His first assignment was the 9th Infantry at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. During his 35 years of marriage, he and his wife raised a family of five boys, one born in Panama, one at Fort Bragg, two at West Point and one at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
As a Captain, he entered class 6 for jump training at Fort Benning, Georgia while serving as company commander of B Company 502nd Parachute Battalion. He was later assigned to command the 504th Parachute Battalion and went on to command the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, where he made three combat jumps.
On July 9, 1943, the 505th RCT made their first combat jump into Sicily along with the 3rd Battalion 504th. The following evening, Colonel Tucker led the remainder of his regiment into Sicily, only to have the U.S. Navy shoot down 23 of the C-47 aircraft. Perhaps through some miracle, Colonel Tucker, who had been flying back and forth along the coast looking for the drop zone, survived the attack and landed safely.
Tucker was one of the most outstanding combat leaders of World War II when he commanded the 504th Parachute Regiment in the European Theatre of Operations. During this time he was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses, a Silver Star, and a Purple Heart, in addition to a Commendation Ribbon and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
After World War II, he had served on the staff and faculty of the Air War College, a student of the Army War College and Chief of the Officers Branch, Department of the Army. This was followed by assignments of Commanding General at Fort Dix, Chief Military Assistance Advisory Group, Laos and Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, United States Army, Pacific. He also served a two-year tour as Commander of the 1st Cadet Regiment at West Point.
General Tucker retired from the Army in 1963 to assume the position of Commandant of Cadets at the Citadel in September 1963, a position he held previously in an active duty status from June 1955 to November 1956. During his two tours as Commandant of Cadets, he had a marked and lasting influence on the development and training of all members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets through his sterling traits of character, leadership ability and unfailing sense of humor and understanding.
General Tucker died on January 6, 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina. He is interred at Beaufort National Cemetery, Beaufort, South Carolina.
-- Article printed in The C-47 Flyer, Volume 1 Number 3, Winter 2000,
with the approval of Bob Pensock, Managing Editor, C-47 Club Flyer