551st Parachute Infantry Battalion (Separate), Hoffman
The granite memorial to the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion has a smooth face with rusticated sides. It is approximately two feet high and four feet wide. Incised into the front face, the 551st Unit Crest and Paratrooper Wings badge are centered between the inscriptions. The marker is flanked by two bronze cranes, slightly shorter in height than the memorial.
Front left: THIS MONUMENT IS DEDICATED TO THE / HEROIC MEN OF THE FIVE HUNDRED /
FIFTY FIRST PARACHUTE INFANTRY / BATTALION (SEPARATE) WHO MADE / THE ULTIMATE
SACRIFICE ON THE / BATTLEFIELDS OF EUROPE DURING / WORLD WAR II. THEIR MOTTO WAS /
ATERRIZAR Y ATACAR / LAND AND ATTACK / THIS THEY DID
GOYA…BATTLE CRY OF THE 551ST / GREAT OUTSTANDING YOUNG AMERICANS / THIS MONUMENT PLACED HERE BY MEMBERS / RELATIVES AND FRIENDS OF THE 551ST / PARACHUTE INFANTRY BATTALION / (SEPARATE) ASSOCIATION 1 JULY 1992
Front right: THIS MONUMENT IS ALSO DEDICATED / TO THE MEMORY OF EIGHT OF OUR / FELLOW PARATROOPERS AND / BUDDIES WHO MET THEIR DEATH / BY DROWNING ON A NIGHT TRAINING / PARACHUTE JUMP 16 FEB 1944 AT LAKE KINNEY CAMERON
WE REMEMBER / PFC SHELLY C FERGUSON ATHENS AL / T/S JOHN HOFFMAN PIERCE NB / PFC KENNETH D MCGROTTY MEDFORD OR / PFC ISHMAEL H PETTY COALWOOD WV / SGT BENJAMIN PREZIOTTI BROOKLYN NY / PFC ZOLLIE RAMSEY HIL HAM TN
34.995210 , -79.546610 View in Geobrowse
"551st Parachute Infantry Battalion 1942 - 1945," http://www.551stpib.com, (accessed January 27, 2016) Link
Hart, James. “Before the Battle of the Bulge: Forming the 551st “GOYAS,” Warfare History Network, http://warfarehistorynetwork.com, (accessed January 27, 2016) Link
“551st Parachute Infantry Battalion (Separate) Monument,” Waymarking.com, (accessed January 27, 2016) Link
551st Parachute Infantry Battalion Association
The term “separate” had a literal and figurative meaning. In the literal meaning a separate airborne unit was one not part of a larger unit such as the 82nd Airborne Division that would have had multiple battalions. Figuratively, the number selected for this unit, 551 also seemed to separate the 551st from other airborne units. The basic numbering sequence for airborne units was from 501 to 517. The number 551 was selected in order to confuse the enemy. By skipping numbers in the sequence it was hoped the enemy would think there were more paratrooper regiments than there really were. When activated in November 1942 the unit had 800 men. It was deactivated in January 1945 with just 110 surviving men absorbed into the 82nd Airborne Division.
The address is officially registered for Hoffman which is in Richmond County. However, the marker is physically located in the neighboring Scotland County. To get to the marker, travel east from Butler Drive in Hoffman, NC into Scotland Co. and turn right at sign for Kinney Cameron Lake. The memorial is near the lake's spillway. The lake is in an isolated part of Scotland county on Sandhills Game Lands near Hoffman, NC.
The marker stands on the shores of Kinney Cameron Lake, in a wooded area.