The 509th Infantry Regiment is an airborne infantry regiment of the United States Army. Nicknamed "Geronimo", the 509th conducted the U.S. Army's first combat jump during World War II on 8 November 1942, flying 1,500 miles from England to seize Tafarquay airport in Oran, Algeria. The 1st Battalion remains active and serves as the Opposing Force (OPFOR) at the JRTC.
Lieutenant Colonel Brendan Fitzgerald
LTC Brendan Fitzgerald graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 2003 and commissioned as a 2LT in the Infantry. His first assignment was in 2rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a rifle platoon leader, ant-tank platoon leader in Afghanistan, and Battalion S3 Air officer. Following his time in 2-504th PIR, LTC Fitzgerald was assigned as the Operations Officer for the 82nd Long Range Surveillance Detachment during a second tour in Afghanistan. After attending the Maneuver Captain's Career Course, LTC Fitzgerald returned to Ft. Bragg and served as the assistant Operations Officer for 3-73 CAV. He assumed command of C TRP, 3-73 CAV in Iraq. Upon return from Iraq, he assumed command for HHC BDE, for 1st BCT 82nd ABN DIV. Upon completion of Company command, LTC Fitzgerald moved to Ft. Irwin CA, and was assigned as a Company Primary OCT in the NTC’s Tarantula Team. After 18 months in the desert, LTC Fitzgerald completed ILE at the US Army Command and General Staff College. Following ILE he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart GA, where he served as the S3 and XO for 1st Battalion 30th Infantry Regiment. After completing his S3/XO time, LTC Fitzgerald was assigned to OPM-SANG as an advisor to the Saudi National Guard’s Military School, the SANG equivalent to TRADOC. After a year in the Kingdom, LTC Fitzgerald was assigned to US Army Pacific, serving as a Battle Major in the USARPAC Current Operations section. LTC Fitzgerald was then assigned to the Joint Readiness Training Center’s OPSGRP, serving as the Operations Officer / OCT for Live Fire Division, prior to serving as the Chief of Plans / Exercise Maneuver Control for OPSGRP for the last year.
LTC Fitzgerald’s awards and decorations include three Bronze Star Medals, five Meritorious Service Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals. He is authorized to wear the Senior Parachutist Badge, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Expert Infantryman's Badge and the Ranger tab.
LTC Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor’s in History from the USMA, and a Master’s of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. He is married to Elizabeth Falchi originally from Deerfield, NY.
Command Sergeant Major Vladimir A. Querales
Command Sergeant Major Vladimir A. Querales enlisted in the United States Army in September 1994 as an 11B Infantryman. He attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, GA
His previous assignments include: 2-87th Infantry Battalion, Fort Drum NY; 1-509th PIR Battalion, Fort Polk LA; United Nations Joint Security Area, Pan Mun Jom South Korea; 1-504th Airborne Infantry Battalion, Fort Bragg NC; The Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk LA; MiTT, Fort Riley KS; 3-89th Cavalry Squadron, Fort Polk LA; 2-30th Infantry Battalion, Fort Polk LA; HQs 3/10th MTN Division, Fort Polk LA; G3/5/7 ACofS JRTC & Fort Polk LA; and CSM of 1-509th PIR, Fort Polk LA. He held numerous positions throughout his career, serving in positions from Infantryman through Platoon Sergeant, Recon Platoon Sergeant, Platoon Observer Control Trainer, Military Transition Team NCOIC, Rifle Company and HHC First Sergeant, Battalion and Brigade Operations Sergeant Major, G3 Sergeant Major and current Command Sergeant Major 1-509th ABN BN.
CSM Querales’ military and civilian education include the Warrior Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, Senior Leader Course, The United States Army Sergeant Major Academy, Basic Airborne School, Jump Master School, Air Assault School, Ranger School, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course, and the Military Transition Team Course. He is currently working on Professional Business Management Bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College.
CSM Querales’ awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal (2 OLC), Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (6 OLC), Joint Army Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), Good Conduct Medal (9th Award), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (BSS), Iraq Campaign Medal (2 BSS), Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal (BSS), Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Medal (Num 5), NATO Medal, Multi-National Force Observers Medal, Overseas medal (Num 6), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award (3 OLC), Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Gold German Proficiency Badge. He is also the proud recipient of the prestigious Order of Saint Maurice.
CSM Querales is married for 27 years to the former Shelly Ann Garringer of Houston, Texas
The 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) was the first U.S. Airborne unit deployed overseas, arriving at Land’s End, England on 10 June 1942.
In 1942, the unit executed the lowest altitude mass parachute jump in history, exiting the aircraft at 143 feet in England. They later performed America’s first combat parachute insertion on 8 November 1942, following the longest combat invasion in history, of 1600 miles from England to North Africa.
The unit conducted five combat jumps during World War II: three into North Africa, one into Italy, and one into France.
1st Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) led an amphibious invasion with Darby’s Rangers at Anzio, Italy, on 22 January 1944, and subsequently participated in a successful allied campaign that lasted 70 days.
Paul B. Huff, a member of the 509th, was the first American paratrooper to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor on 29 February 1944 at Anzio, Italy.
The unit participated in the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Presidential Unit Citation for actions during the battle.
Five members on the 1st Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) were selected to serve as Pathfinders for the 101st Airborne Division during the Gulf War. Their helicopter was shot down during the search and rescue mission. Two were KIA and one became a POW.
Fifteen members of the unit were selected in March 2003 and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as members of various units. Companies A and B deployed to Iraq from June 2004 until March 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and performed various combat operations while attached to the 10th Mountain Division. Two of our Soldiers were killed in action.