The History of The 101st Airborne
The one hundred and first airborne won their fame and reputation during the Second World War, the one hundred and first Airborne Division (Air Assault) can trace its lineage back to World War I. In the build up for the Great War, the 101st Division was originally activated on July 23, 1918. The Division was demobilized in December of 1918. In 1921 the 101st Infantry Division was reconstituted as a reserve unit with headquarters in Wisconsin. This is where the distinctive "eagle head patch" was acquired. The eagle's head represented "Old Abe," the famed eagle mascot of the Wisconsin Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The Division remained in the reserves until needed for World War II. The Screaming Eagles were disbanded as a reserve unit and reactivated in the regular army as the 101st Airborne Division on August 15, 1942. The United States Army began the testing of parachute units in 1940, after seeing the success of British and German paratroop units in the early days of World War Two. The first tests, conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia, were so successful that soon the army was forming Parachute Infantry Regiments . Once the United States entered the war, the army authorized airborne divisions. The eighty second and one hundred and first would serve in Europe. On June 6, 1944 the Pathfinders of the 101st Airborne Division were leading the way into France for Operation Overlord: D-Day. In the fight against the German 6th Parachute Regiment for the town of Carentan, Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Cole, Commander of the 3rd battalion, 502nd parachute regiment, became the first member of the Division to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The 101st spent 33 days in combat before returning to England to receive replacements and train for their next operation. In September of 1944, the 101st Airborne Division made its second combat jump. The jump was in Holland for Operation Market Garden. During this battle, Private First Class Joe...
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