101st Airborne Division
Active 1918; 1921–42; 1942–45; 1948–49; 1950–56; 1956–present
United States of America
United States Army
HQ: Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Nickname: “Screaming Eagles” (special designation)
Motto: Rendezvous With Destiny
Mascot: Bald eagle (Old Abe)
Engagements World War II
Operation Market Garden
Battle of the Bulge
Operation Desert Storm
War in Afghanistan
Commander Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky
Command Sergeant Major Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Alonzo J. Smith
Distinctive unit insignia
Combat service identification badge
101st Airborne Division (Present)
US infantry divisions (1939–present)
100th Infantry Division
102nd Infantry Division
The 101st Airborne Division
“Screaming Eagles—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord (the D-Day landings starting 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France), Operation Market Garden, the liberation of the Netherlands and action during the Battle of the Bulge around the city of Bastogne, Belgium. During the Vietnam War, the 101st Airborne Division fought in several major campaigns and battles including the fight for Hamburger Hill in May 1969.
In mid-1968 it was reorganized and redesignated as an airmobile division, then in 1974 as an air assault division. These titles reflect the division’s shift from airplanes as the primary method of delivering troops into combat, to the use of helicopters. Many current members of the 101st are graduates of the U.S. Army Air Assault School. Division headquarters is at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In recent years, the division has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The division is one of the most highly decorated units in the U.S. Army and has been featured prominently in military fiction.
World War I and interwar period
The 101st Division headquarters was organized 2 November 1918 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, having been constituted on 23 July in the National Army. World War I ended 9 days later, and was demobilized on 11 December 1918.
In 1921, the division headquarters was reconstituted in the Organized Reserves, and organized on 10 September 1921, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was at this time that the “Screaming Eagle” became associated with the division, as a successor to the traditions of the Wisconsin volunteer regiments of the American Civil War. (See also: Old Abe)
As part of the reorganization of the 101st as an airborne division in the Army of the United States, the reserve division was disbanded on 15 August 1942
World War II
Gen. Eisenhower speaking with 1st Lt. Wallace C. Strobel and men of Company E, 502nd PIR on 5 June. The placard around Strobel’s neck indicates he is the jumpmaster for chalk No. 23 of the 438th TCG.
The 101st Airborne Division was activated 16 August 1942 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana On 19 August 1942, its first commander, Major General William C. Lee, promised his new recruits that the 101st had “no history but had a rendezvous with destiny.”
In his first address to his soldiers the day the division was born, Lee read General Order Number 5 dated 19 August 1942:
The 101st Airborne Division, which was activated on 16 August 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny.
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.