Devils in Baggy Pants
75 years ago, OPERATION MARKET GARDEN commenced. The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division was led by Col. Reuben Tucker. Col. Tucker, a West Point graduate, who, after the war was twice Commandant of Cadets at The Citadel. Also, four of his five sons graduated from The Citadel.
By the time they jumped into Holland, the 504th was a battle-hardened group. Led by Col. Tucker they had earned a name for themselves in Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. The Germans referred to them as “devils in baggy pants”.
The 504th PIR took the bridge over the Maas at Grave intact and then crossed the Waal River at Nijmegen.
Gen. Mark Clark, 5th Army commander, and later President of The Citadel, said Tucker was the one of the three bravest men of WWII. The other two were Doug Rich and Col. Darby of “Darby’s Rangers”.
During the 2016 Annual Alumni Muster hosted by the BENELUX Citadel Club, Mr. Frank van Lunteren, high school history teacher, author, and 82nd Airborne historian, delivered a biographical presentation on Col. Tucker which was filmed. This 24 minute presentation is highly informative and available here with the permission of Mr. van Lunteren.