HomeUncategorizedFrench 3rd Zouave badge worn by 509th PIR

I recently picked up this badge that I had been searching for a long time. This silver device features a snarling hyena surmounting a crescent that bears the motto “J’y Suis, J’y Reste” “Here I am, Here I Remain”.

The reverse has removable clasp over 2 rings (like for beret attachment) and is inscribed in raised relief with DRAGO, PARIS, H 131.

The US paratroopers of the 509th PIR are allowed to wear this badge (usually on the right pocket) because on November 15th 1942 the 509th (then 2nd Btn 504th PIR) parachuted into Algeria to take control of the Youks Les bains airfield. The airfield was 200 miles from any US reinforcements and was defended by the French 3rd Zouaves Regiment which where dug in. No weapons where fired as the French commander walked forward and pinned his regiment badge onto the tunic of Lt. Colonel Edson Raff declaring themselves comrades.

This badge was the first foreign award that was allowed to be worn by US troops in WWII. In the book “First Airborne Taskforce”, there are many photos of paratroopers wearing this badge during the invasion of Southern France. As far as I can tell, my badge is a WWII-period badge, but if anyone has more information about it, I would love to learn more about it.

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