French 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.
Hello. The 3RZ badge in your photo was manufactured c.1957-1962. I am a retired professional soldier & former member of the 509th Parachute Infantry. I have a collection of 3RZ badges and I can share my research with you.
Hello Bob, I sent you an email too. I am very interested to see your research. Maybe it can be an article on the website?
Regarding the hallmark for 3RZ badges:
c.1945 – c.1947 DRAGO PARIS NICE
c.1947 c.1952 DRAGO PARIS NICE H131 43 Rue Oliver Metra
c.1952 – 1962 DRAGO PARIS H131
the original 3rd zouave badge that the 509 pib had in 42 43 so on they are sewed on type i have one it was my fathers he was there in north africa . there are so many copies out there unbelievable i wish i could post a picture of it and its in perfect cond.
Hi John, you can always send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org I am curious to see it. I also received valuable feedback and photos from another visitor, but I still need to work it into a page on my website. It would be great to add your input too! Kind regards, Wouter