The 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion

551st Parachute Infantry Battalion 1942 - 1945

This website is dedicated to the men of the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion.

The 551st PIB was activated in November 1942 with 800 men and deactivated in January 1945 when just 110 surviving men were absorbed into the 82nd Airborne Division. Virtually nothing of the unit's proud history of bravery, liberation and sacrifice was recognized until the 1980's when veteran troopers and members of their families began recording the battalion's accomplishments.

In 2001 the feats of the 551st were finally recognized by Presidential Unit Citation, a long overdue acknowledgment of their bravery and sacrifice that only came about after many years of campaigning by veterans and their families.


Lt. Col. Wood Joerg, the popular commanding officer of the 551st, was killed during the unit's assault on Rochelinval on 7 Jan 1945. Some have attributed the GOYA nickname to him. As this story goes, GOYA stands for "Great Outstanding Young Americans". There are other translations of GOYA, but for the sake of posterity and modern sensibilities, I will leave them to the troopers themselves. They know what GOYA stands for. And as for what it means to them, that can't be explained or articulated by mere words.

This website is my tribute to them. They might not have been perfect garrison soldiers in the eyes of some American commanders, but they were and are, first class men. I spent my honeymoon in Southern France, seeing where they landed and the towns they liberated. I also visited some GOYAs who would remain forever young and never leave the land they liberated.

I have tried to make this site as easy to view as possible and include as much information as I can. It is an ongoing labor of love. If you see any mistakes or would like to share information and pictures, please email me. To leave a comment, please use my guestbook. Thank you for visiting!

Site Updates
7/14/12Added PFC William F. Olson to the roster of A Comapny.
5/17/12 Updated Private James T. Cleary's Honor Roll Information. James was with HQ Company and was killed during the attack on Rochelinval. He was awarded a Silver Star for the action that resulted in his death. I will be adding the citation soon. Much thanks to the Cleary family for providing the information.
5/8/12 Added Lt. Richard W. Goins to Battalion Roster. Much overdo and I apologize.
5/2/12 Added Sgt. Harold Lawler to HQ Company and Pvt. Claude Dolin to A Company. Working on new pages. There will be a family page, where people can share their memories of their GOYA's. A page will be added to the Roster section, where troopers will be listed who I don't have Company information for.
4/30/12 A For Sale section has been added to the Contribute page where you can buy US GI WW2 tactical reproduction maps and WW22 Jump certificate.
4/13/12 I haven't updated the site in some time as my laptop was stolen, containing everything to this site from passwords to documents and photos. In addition, to that my father passed away and had an additional car break-in and two housebreaks. Quite a year. Getting back into this work, sorry for delay. Keep the material coming, thanks for visiting.

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