History of the 101ST Airborne Division

Upon the activation of the 101st Airborne Division on 16 August 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, its first commander, Major General William C. Lee, observed that "The 101st has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny." Time and time again, the 101st has kept that rendezvous and, in so doing, has acquired a proud history.

The 101st moved to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, for training and successfully demonstrated its readiness during the Tennessee maneuvers of 1943. Embarking from New York City in September, the Division continued training in England until D-Day, 6 June 1944, when its pathfinders became the first Americans to set foot in Nazi occupied France. The Screaming Eagles cleared the way for the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions at Omaha and Utah Beaches. After 33 days of continuous fighting, including a bitter battle for the town of Carentan, the 101st returned to England to prepare for the liberation of Holland. On 17 September 1944, the Division seized and held the Eindoven-Arnhen corridor for 10 days against heavy odds and spent a total of 72 days in battle.

In November 1944, The 101st returned to France for a well deserved rest, only to be called to action again in the Battle of the Bulge. While guarding the crucial transportation hub of Bastogne, Belgium, the division was surrounded by advancing enemy forces who demanded immediate surrender. The acting Division Commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, made history with his classic reply "Nuts!". The Siege was broken on 26 December 1944, but the fighting continued until 18 January 1945. After moving through Alsace and the Ruhr Valleys, the 101st captured Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgarden. On 30 November 1945, the Screaming Eagles were deactivated.

In May 1954, the 101st reappeared as a training unit at Ft, Jackson, South Carolina, and in 1956 was transferred to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, for reorganization as a combat division. Official reactivation ceremonies were held on 21 September 1956. Subsequent activities included major training exercises, duty in civil disturbances and maintenance of full readiness as part of the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC).

On 29 July 1965, the 1st Brigade was deployed to Vietnam, where the remainder of the division joined it in December 1967. During the enemy’s ill fated Tet Offensive, which began on 31 January 1968, the Screaming Eagles were engaged in battle form Saigon to Quang Tri. From May 1968 through February 1969. The division conducted operation "Nevada Eagle", successfully denying the rice crop of Thua Thien province to the enemy. The division also tamed the infamous A Shau Valley, long used as a base area and infiltration rout by the Vietcong. At the end of 1969, activities turned toward civil affairs and the pacification program. In the fall of 1971, the 101st began its return home which culminated in an official welcome ceremony at Ft. Campbell on 6 April 1972.

In February 1974, Major General Sidney B. Berry, Commanding General, signed Division General Order 179, authorizing wear of the Airmobile Badge. (Later redesignated the Air Assault Badge and approved for Army wide wear in January 1978.) Finally, on 4 October 1974, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Mobile) became the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

In March 1982, elements of the 101st began a six month peace keeping tour of duty in the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers. Tragedy struck in December 1985, when 248 Screaming Eagles died in a plane crash returning from the Middle East.

In August 1990, the 101st departed for Saudi Arabia to participate in operations "Desert Shield" and "Desert Storm". The division fired the first shots of "Desert Storm" by taking out Iraqi radar sites on 17 January 1991. During the ground war phase of "Desert Storm," the 101st made the longest and largest Air Assault in history. More than 2,000 men, 50 transport vehicles, artillery, and tons of fuel and ammunition were airlifted 50 miles into Iraq. Land vehicles took another 2,000 troops into Iraqi territory west of Kuwait to allow U.S. Armored Forces unrestricted access to Iraq. With the cease fire established on 27 February 1991, the division began preparations for redeployment. By 1 May 1991, the Screaming Eagles were home.

The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) remains ever vigilant, highly trained, and ready to respond to their next "Rendezvous with Destin
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  • steelbill 2008/12/21 04:47:15 (edited)
    Get ready stand up hook up check static lines check equiptment sound of for equiptment check all ok jump master. stand in the door green light go. one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand, check for good canopy deployment. 200 feet pull straps and release ruck sack on tether. pull slip keep knees and feet together prepare to do an outstanding PLF (parachute landing fall) balls of the feet, calf, thigh , push up muscle any landing you walk away from is a good one. Airborne
  • Dale 2008/12/21 01:13:43 (edited)
    Air mo-bile and hos-tile. 502nd, 101st, Phan Tiet, Vietnam.

    Addendum: Thanks for the post. Many memories.
  • scotty 2008/12/21 01:13:18
    Thanks for the post my friend.

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Southern Man

Southern Man

Hanceville, AL, US

2008/09/11 19:41:56

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