The 517th Regimental Combat Team was formed shortly after the 517th Parachute Infantry was relieved from assignment to the 17th Airborne Division in March 1944. The RCT's principal elements were the 517th Parachute Infantry, 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and 596th Parachute Combat Engineer Company. 517th RCT was assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps and attached to a number of major commands throughout its relatively short existence. For example, during the Battle of the Bulge, 1st Battalion Combat Team (BCT 1/517) was parcelled out among units of the 3d Armored Division while elements of BCT 2/517 were attached throughout the 7th Armored Division and 30th Infantry Division. 517th RCT was allotted four campaign credits: Southern France (with bronze arrowhead), Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. During the Invasion of Southern France, a small cadre executed a diversionary drop of about three hundred dummies by parachute while the remaining majority of the RCT went ashore with the amphibious assault forces. 1st Battalion (BCT 1/517) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for actions at and near Soy and Hotten, Belgium in December 1944. The entire RCT was awarded the French Croix de Guerre (streamer embroidered DRAGUIGNAN with Palm) and was Cited in the Orders of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the Ardennes. 517th RCT was dissolved when the 517th Parachute Infantry was assigned to 13th Airborne Division in March 1945. Private First Class Melvin E. Biddle, Company B, BCT 1/517 (attached to 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry) won the Medal of Honor near Soy, Belgium, 24 & 25 December 1944. Biddle, who will be 77 this month, is the only member of the 517th to have won the medal.
The 517th Parachute Infantry was constituted 16 December 1942, organized 15 March 1943 at Camp Toccoa, Georgia and concurrently assigned to 17th Airborne Division. Relieved from assignment to 17th Airborne Division 10 March 1944. Assigned to 13th Airborne Division 1 March 1945. Inactivated 25 February 1946 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.