Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
101st Airborne Division
The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) —nicknamed the Screaming Eagles— is an airborne division of the United States Army mainly trained for air assault operations. The division is headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and is currently serving in 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
General Order Number Five, which gave birth to the division, reads:
- The 101st Airborne Division, activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny. Like the early American pioneers whose invincible courage was the foundation stone of this nation, we have broken with the past and its traditions in order to establish our claim to the future.
- Due to the nature of our armament, and the tactics in which we shall perfect ourselves, we shall be called upon to carry out operations of far-reaching military importance and we shall habitually go into action when the need is immediate and extreme.
- Let me call your attention to the fact that our badge is the great American eagle. This is a fitting emblem for a division that will crush its enemies by falling upon them like a thunderbolt from the skies.
- The history we shall make, the record of high achievement we hope to write in the annals of the American Army and the American people, depends wholly and completely on the men of this division. Each individual, each officer and each enlisted man, must therefore regard himself as a necessary part of a complex and powerful instrument for the overcoming of the enemies of the nation. Each, in his own job, must realize that he is not only a means, but an indispensable means for obtaining the goal of victory. It is, therefore, not too much to say that the future itself, in whose molding we expect to have our share, is in the hands of the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division.
During the Battle of the Bulge the 101st, as one of the few forces available to contain the German advance was rushed forward to defend the vital road junction of Bastogne. Famously, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe answered the German demand for surrender with the reply "To the German Commander: Nuts! -The American Commander" and the division fought on until the siege was lifted and the German advance halted.
For their efforts during World War II, the 101st Airborne Division was awarded four campaign streamers and two Presidential Unit Citations.
The exploits of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (part of the 101st) during these times have been turned into a television mini-series called Band of Brothers by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
The 101st Airborne Division was reactivated as a training unit at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky , in 1948 and again in 1950. It was reactivated again in 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and in March 1956, the 101st was transferred, less personnel and equipment, to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to be reorganized as a combat division.
From September through November of 1957 elements of the division were deployed to Little Rock, Arkansas, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to enforce Federal court orders during the Little Rock Crisis.
In the mid-1960s, the 1st Brigade and support troops were deployed to the Republic of Vietnam, followed by the rest of the division in late 1967. In almost seven years of combat in Vietnam, elements of the 101st participated in 15 campaigns.
In 1968, the 101st took on the structure and equipment of an airmobile division. Today, the 101st stands as the Army's and world's only air assault division with unequaled strategic and tactical mobility. In 1974, the training of the 101st was recognized with the creation of the Air Assault Badge, now a service wide decoration of the United States Army.
In January 1991, the 101st once again had its "Rendezvous with Destiny" in Iraq during the combat air assault into enemy territory. The 101st sustained no soldiers killed in action during the 100-hour war and captured thousands of enemy prisoners of war.
It also deployed again to Iraq in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The division was in V Corps, providing support to the 3rd Infantry Division by clearing Iraqi strongpoints which that division has bypassed. The Division then went on to a tour of duty as part of the occupation forces of Iraq, using the city of Mosul as their primary base of operations, before being withdrawn in early 2004 for rest and refit.
- 101st Airborne Division Home Page - official site.
- GlobalSecurity.org information page about the 101st Airborne Division
- 101st Airborne Division Association
- The Story of the 101st Airborne Division (WWII unit history booklet, 1945)
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