Profile: 101st Airborne Division

March 24, 2019

 

The 101st Airborne Division, also known as the Screaming Eagles, is one of the most recognized Divisions in the US Army. In fact, its combat record spans the battle fields of World War II to the counter-terrorism missions in the Middle East and Asia today.

 

US Army Soldiers assigned to Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), prepares to assault the objective during brigade live fire exercise at Fort Polk, La.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

The 101st was activated on August 16, 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. At the time, its first Commanding General, Major General William C. Lee, stated that while the Division had no history, it had a "rendezvous with destiny". General Lee also had the foresight to note that the new 101st Airborne Division would be frequently called into action when the need was 'immediate and extreme". 

 

A US Soldier assigned to Viper Company, 1-26 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), with the East Africa Response Force (EARF), prepares for night vision training at Grand Bara, Djibouti.

Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amy Picard)

 

Needless to say, throughout its 70-year history, the 101st Airborne Division has amassed a proud record unmatched by any other US or allied units.

 

Following its activation and initial training in the United States, the 101st Airborne Division embarked for the European Theater of Operations in September, 1943 where it continuing its training in England. 

 

US Army Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fire the M24 Sniper Weapon System during weapons density at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

During the early morning hours of June 6th, 1944, the Screaming Eagles parachuted into the Cotentin Peninsula becoming the first Allied Soldiers to set foot in occupied France, where they successfully completed their assigned missions. 

 

On Sept. 17, 1944, the soldiers from 101st Airborne Division jumped into The Netherlands, spearheading Operation Market Garden. Holding a narrow 16-mile corridor through enemy-held territory, the Division fought against heavy odds for 72 days.

 

US Army Soldiers from Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), assault the objective during a Platoon Situational Exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

To counteract the massive German offensive through the Ardennes Forest in mid-December 1944, the 101st Airborne Division was unexpectedly recalled to the front.

 

Responsible for defending the critical road junction at Bastogne, Belgium, the 101st Airborne Division was surrounded by strong enemy forces that demanded its immediate surrender. Although the siege of Bastogne was broken on December 26th, 1944, intense fighting continued until mid-January, 1945 as Allied units reduced Nazi gains in the Ardennes.

 

US Army Soldier from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conducts a 12 mile road march to earn the Expert Infantryman Badge at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

Attacking the heart of Germany through the Ruhr valley, the 101st Airborne Division pursued retreating German forces into Bavaria. In spring 1945, the Screaming Eagles liberated the Landsberg concentration camp and Hitler's mountaintop retreat in Berchtesgaden.

 

The end of World War II in Europe relegated the 101st Airborne to occupation duties in Germany, Austria, and France.

 

Lt. Col. Martin J. Bowling, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), delivers his first address to the battalion at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

The immediate post-war period marked an intermittent existence for the Screaming Eagles. The period is marked by several reactivations and inactivations at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 

 

In September 1957, elements of the 101st Airborne Division were ordered to Little Rock, Arkansas by President Eisenhower.

 

US Army Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), pose for a photograph during weapons density at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

As part of Operation Arkansas, the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 327th Infantry escorted the first nine African-American students--the "Little Rock Nine"--as they attended classes at Little Rock Central High School. Successful, the Bastogne Bulldogs returned to Fort Campbell in late-1957.

 

On July 29th, 1965, the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam. The remainder of the Division remained at Fort Campbell until ordered to Vietnam in late-1967. During the enemy's ill-fated Tet Offensive in 1968, the Screaming Eagles were involved in combat operations from Saigon to Quang Tri Province.

 

The Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) assist US Soldiers, assigned to 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in breach training for Dense Urban Terrain, focusing on Subterranean aspects at Fort Campbell, Ky.,

Army Photo/Spc. Jordan Buck

 

In August 1968, the Screaming Eagles shed their parachutes in favor of helicopter-borne operations earning a new designation---the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). 

 

The post Vietnam period was a time of change for the Army and the 101st Airborne Division. In February-1974, then-Major General Sidney Berry signed Division General Order 179 authorizing wear of the new Airmobile (late Air Assault) qualification badge, reflecting a shift in structure and orientation. 

 

US Army Soldiers assigned to 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), assault the objective in an urban environment during brigade live fire exercise at Fort Polk, La.

Army Photo/Capt. Justin Wright

 

In March 1982, elements of the 101st Airborne Division began six-month deployments to the Sinai Peninsula as members of the Multinational Force of Observers. Tragedy struck in December 1985, when 248 Screaming Eagles re-deploying from the Sinai were killed in a charter airplane crash near Gander, Newfoundland.

 

In August 1990, the 101st Airborne Division deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

 

During the Liberation of Kuwait, the Division fired the first shots of the air war, and conducted the longest and largest air assault operations to date, securing Iraqi territory in the Euphrates River Valley.
 

Brig. Gen. K. Todd Royar, acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, leads the division. The run was the start of the annual Day of the Eagles, a day of community events and ceremonies that lead into Memorial Day​.

Army Photo/Sgt. Steven Lopez


The 1990s was a busy time for the 101st Airborne Division seeing numerous deployments in support of stability and support operations world-wide. Fort Campbell-based units were deployed to Somalia, Haiti, the Sinai Peninsula, Central and South America, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

 

In the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, elements of the 101st Airborne Division quickly deployed to protect susceptible facilities in the United States from potential attack. Almost immediately, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan in November, 2001.

 

Soldiers with the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) transport troops from the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade at Fort Polk, Louisiana as part of Task Force Eagle Assault.

Army photo/Sgt. Marcus Floyd

 

In March 2002, the Rakkasans were, in part, responsible for offensive operations in the Shoh-I-Khot Valley that dealt a crippling early blow to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

 

In February and March 2003, the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Kuwait in anticipation of combat operations against Saddam Hussein's regime.

 

In a grueling air and ground movement of 570 kilometers through hostile territory and intense combat in urban areas, the Division exhibited its flexibility, lethality and firepower at every turn. 

 

Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) participate in a division run August 16, 2017 at Fort Campbell, Ky. The run commemorated a “Legacy of Heroism” for the division's 75th birthday.

Army photo/Sgt. Marcus Floyd

 

Fighting its way from Najaf, through Karbala and Hillah, the Division eventually consolidated in Southern Baghdad in mid-April, 2003.

 

Ordered to Northern Iraq shortly thereafter, the Division conducted the longest air assault in history and quickly assumed responsibility for Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and the four surrounding provinces.

 

In the months that followed, the Division concentrated on the goals of re-establishing security, the restoration of basic services, and reconstruction of civilian infrastructure. 

 

Cpl. Christopher Wright, center, a team leader with 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and other members of his platoon head out on a terrain walk through a rainforest warfare training center in Libreville, Gabon.

US Army photo/Sgt. 1st Class Alexandra Hays

 

The Division redeployed to Fort Campbell in early-2004. During the year that followed, the 101st Airborne Division fully recovered and completely reorganized under the new Army Transformation Organizational structure in anticipation of its second deployment to Iraq.

 

In November 2005, the Division Headquarters, the 1st and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams, and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Iraq for a second time. As Task Force Band of Brothers, the Division assumed responsibility for the northern half of Iraq; the largest area of operation in the country.

 

Staff Sgt., Michael A. Spinogatti, a squad leader with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team “Rakkasans”, 101st Airborne Division ( Air Assault), calls in a nine-line medevac request, during a squad live-fire exercise,

US Army photo/Spc. Patrick Kirby

 

Partnered with four Iraqi Army divisions, the Screaming Eagles focused their efforts on developing credible Iraqi Security Force units that were capable of independent counter-insurgency operations.

 

This monumental effort resulted in vastly improved security and the transfer of several areas to Iraqi control prior to the Division's redeployment in October, 2006. 

 

Late-2007 saw the majority of the Division deployed again. The Division's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams and elements of the Sustainment Brigade deployed independently to Iraq where each served under the command of different Multinational Divisions then conducting combat operations throughout Iraq. 

 

US Army Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) watch as a CH-47 Chinook flown by Soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne, sling loads the Tactical Control Node-Light at Fort Campbell, KY.

Army Photo/Sgt. Bradford Alex)]

 

In March 2008, the Headquarters (and Special Troops Battalion) 101st Airborne Division joined the 4th Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Sustainment Brigade in Afghanistan in support of Operation enduring Freedom. 

 

As Combined Joint Task Force 101 (CJTF-101), the Division Headquarters was supported by many attached Coalition units and was responsible for an area of operation the size of Pennsylvania designated as Regional Command-East. Composed of 14 provinces, including much of the volatile border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the Hindu Kush and Afghan Control Highlands, Regional Command-East were posed unique and difficult set of challenges unlike anything previously experienced.

 

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conduct a live fire exercise in conjunction with Network Integration Evaluation 17.2 at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Callahan

 

The Soldiers of CJTF-101 thrived in their role as both Soldier-diplomats and warriors. CJTF-101 helped restore the Afghan people's confidence and trust in their government, while improving their quality of life through more than 2500 innovative development projects. 

 

Throughout 2010, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Brigade Combat Teams, 101st Sus. Bde., 159th and 101st Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Afghanistan at different times throughout the year. The 101st Div. HQ commanded RC-East for the second time as the entire Division is deployed in the same theater of operations.

 

US Army Sgt. Luis Rodriguez (fright), Flight Medic, and Cpt. Benjamin Stork (left), Flight Surgeon, both assigned to 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), speak with Georgina Felix, a resident of Edificio Francisco Colon Gordian, a home for elderly care, Ceiba, Puerto Rico.

US Army photo/Staff Sgt. Pablo N. Piedra

 

During the summer and fall of 2012, elements of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams, as well as the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, again deployed to Afghanistan. 

In early 2013, the 101st Div. HQ, 101st Sus. Bde., and 4th Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan. The 101st Div. HQ commanded RC-East for the third time in five years.

 

Later in 2013, elements of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Brigade Combat Team, and the 101st CAB, returned home to Fort Campbell. 

 

In early 2014, the 101st Div. HQ, 101st Sus. Bde., and the remaining elements of 4th BCT return home from deployment to Afghanistan.

 

 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air assault) Soldiers unload a UH-60 medieval Black Hawk helicopter from Lockheed C-5 Galaxy military aircraft as part of the 101st Abn. Div.’s preparations to support possible Hurricane Irma relief efforts at Patrick Air Force Base.

Army Photo/Sgt. Steven E. Lopez

 
The 101st Airborne Division's efforts in Afghanistan resulted in successful and decisive operations at every level producing a significantly improved Afghan National Security Force committed to the defense of their country. 

 

Similarly, Screaming Eagles in Iraq measurably improved the quality of life of the Iraqi people and their trust in the Iraqi Army. Every Screaming Eagle should be proud of their efforts to assist Afghanistan and Iraq to resume their rightful place among the peaceful community of nations.

 

Soldiers of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), were welcomed home following a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan. The Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and the Resolute Support mission.

Army Photos by Pfc. Lynnwood Thomas

 

As the 101st Airborne Division honors its past, it also looks to the future. There are still threats to the US in various parts of the world and the 101st will undoubtedly be called upon again to serve its nation.

 

Source: www.army.mil

 

Disclaimer: The appearance of US Department of Defense (DoD) visual information on this website does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.  

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Please reload

Please reload