All 20,000 soldiers of the entire 101st Airborne Division have deployed as part of the recent surge of forces to Afghanistan. The Screaming Eagles have had a short but honored history. The Division was one of two formed at the beginning of World War II by forward-thinking military planners who believed soldiers could be brought into battle by aircraft. Major General William C. Lee, the Father of the American Airborne, became the 101st Airborne Division’s first commander on 16 August 1942. Shortly thereafter he inaugurated the Division’s tradition in one of his first written General Orders:
“The 101st…” he wrote, “has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny. 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 our enemies by falling upon them like a thunderbolt from the skies.”
The 101st’s first rendezvous was in the flooded fields of Normandy on June 6, 1944 when division pathfinders were the first Americans to set foot in occupied France. The Division’s paratroopers and glider soldiers distinguished themselves throughout the remainder of the war in Europe. Over the years, technology has changed their equipment, but not their role.
Today, the 101st Airborne Division is comprised of four Brigade Combat Teams, a Sustainment Brigade, a Special Troops Brigade and a Combat Aviation Brigade. It is arguably the most capable division in America’s army today, with unequaled strategic and tactical mobility, as well as theater- and national-level intelligence support.
Now in place, the Screaming Eagles have responsibility for the security in Eastern Afghanistan and in portions of Kandahar Province. The United States Army’s finest are ready for their next “rendezvous with destiny.”Read the full post and comments »