101st Airborne Division
|101st Airborne Division|
Insignia of the 101st Airborne Division
|Active||1918; 1921–42; 1942–45; 1948–49; 1950–56; 1956–present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Campbell, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Nickname(s)||"Screaming Eagles" (special designation)|
|Motto||Rendezvous With Destiny|
|Mascot||Bald eagle (Old Abe)|
Operation Desert Storm
War in Afghanistan
|Commander||Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky|
|Command Sergeant Major||Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Gregory F. Nowak|
|Distinctive unit insignia|
|Combat service identification badge|
The 101st Airborne Division ("Screaming Eagles") is a modular light infantry division of the United States Army trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord (the D-Day landings and airborne landings on June 6, 1944, in Normandy, France), Operation Market Garden, the liberation of the Netherlands and, perhaps most famously, its 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 United States Army and has been featured prominently in military fiction.
- World War I and interwar period 1.1
World War II 1.2
- Drop Zone Able 18.104.22.168
- Drop Zone Charlie 22.214.171.124
- Drop Zone Dog 126.96.36.199
- Other actions 188.8.131.52
- Operation Market Garden 1.2.2
- Battle of the Bulge 1.2.3
- Post-War 1.2.4
- Units 1.2.5
- Helmet insignia 1.2.6
- D-Day 1.2.1
- Postwar training and Pentomic reactivation 1.3
- Civil rights 1.4
- STRAC 1.5
Vietnam War 1.6
- Firebase Ripcord 1.6.1
- Lam Son 719 1.6.2
- Post-Vietnam 1.7
- Persian Gulf War 1.8
- Kosovo 1.9
- Montana forest fires 1.10
- Operation Enduring Freedom 1.11
- Operation Iraqi Freedom 1.12
- Second deployment to Iraq 1.13
- Return to Afghanistan 1.14
- 2010 Afghanistan 1.15
- Operation United Assistance 1.16
- Current structure 2
- Campaign participation credit 3.1
- Decorations 3.2
- Notable members 4
- In popular culture 5
- See also 6
- Footnotes 7.1
- Citations 7.2
- Further reading 8
- External links 9
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 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
On 19 August 1942, its first commander, Major General William C. Lee, read out General Order Number 5:
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.
The 101st Airborne Division's objectives were to secure the four causeway exits behind Utah Beach between St Martin-de-Varreville and Pouppeville to ensure the exit route for the 4th Infantry Division from the beach later that morning. The other objectives included destroying a German coastal artillery battery at Saint-Martin-de-Varreville, capturing buildings nearby at Mésières believed used as barracks and a command post for the artillery battery, capturing the Douve River lock at La Barquette (opposite Carentan), capturing two footbridges spanning the Douve at La Porte opposite Brévands, destroying the highway bridges over the Douve at Saint-Côme-du-Mont, and securing the Douve River valley. Their secondary mission was to protect the southern flank of VII Corps. They destroyed two bridges along the Carentan highway and a railroad bridge just west of it. They gained control of La Barquette locks, and established a bridgehead over Douve River which was located north-east of Carentan.
In the process units also disrupted German communications, established roadblocks to hamper the movement of German reinforcements, established a defensive line between the beachhead and 82nd Airborne Division.
Drop Zone Able
The paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division jumped between 0048 and 0140 British Double Summer Time of 6 June. The first wave, inbound to Drop Zone A (the northernmost), was not surprised by the cloud bank and maintained formation, but navigating errors and a lack of Eureka signal caused the first error. Although the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment was dropped as a compact unit, it jumped on the wrong drop zone, while its commander, Lt Col. Steve A. Chappuis, came down virtually alone on the correct drop zone. Chappuis and his stick captured the coastal battery soon after assembling, and found that it had already been dismantled after an air raid.
Most of the remainder of the 502nd (70 of 80 sticks) dropped in a disorganized pattern around the impromptu drop zone set up by the pathfinders near the beach. The battalion commanders of the 1st and 3rd Battalions, Lt Col. Patrick J. Cassidy (1/502) and Lt Col. Robert G. Cole (3/502), took charge of small groups and accomplished all of their D-Day missions. Cassidy's group took Saint Martin-de-Varreville by 0630, sent a patrol under S/Sgt. Harrison C. Summers to seize the "XYZ" objective, a barracks at Mésières, and set up a thin line of defense from Foucarville to Beuzeville. Cole's group moved during the night from near Sainte-Mère-Église to the Varreville battery, then continued on and captured Exit 3 at 0730. They held the position during the morning until relieved by troops moving inland from Utah Beach. Both commanders found Exit 4 covered by German artillery fire and Cassidy recommended to the 4th Infantry Division that it not use the exit.
The division's parachute artillery did not fare nearly as well. Its drop was one of the worst of the operation, losing all but one howitzer and dropping all but two of 54 loads four to twenty miles (32 km) to the north, where most ultimately became casualties.
Drop Zone Charlie
The second wave, assigned to drop the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) on Drop Zone C 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Sainte Marie-du-Mont, was badly dispersed by the clouds, then subjected to intense antiaircraft fire for 10 miles (16 km). Three of the 81 C-47s were lost before or during the jump. One, piloted by 1st Lt. Marvin F. Muir of the 439th Troop Carrier Group, caught fire. Lt. Muir held the aircraft steady while the stick jumped, then died when the plane crashed immediately afterward, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Despite the opposition, the 506th's 1st Battalion[notes 1] (the original division reserve) was dropped accurately on DZ C, landing two-thirds of its sticks and regimental commander Col. Robert F. Sink on or within a mile of the drop zone.
Most of the 2nd Battalion commanded by Lt Col. Robert L. Strayer had jumped too far west, near Sainte-Mère-Église. They eventually assembled near Foucarville at the northern edge of the 101st Airborne's objective area. It fought its way to the hamlet of le Chemin near the Houdienville causeway by mid-afternoon, but found that the 4th Division had already seized the exit hours before. The 3rd Battalion of the 501st PIR, led by Lt Col. Julian J. Ewell (3/501), also assigned to jump onto DZ C, was more scattered, but took over the mission of securing the exits. An ad hoc company-sized team that included division commander Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor reached the Pouppeville exit at 0600. After a six-hour house-clearing battle with elements of the German 1058th Grenadier Regiment, the group secured the exit shortly before 4th Division troops arrived to link up.
Drop Zone Dog
The third wave also encountered severe flak, losing six aircraft. The troop carriers still made an accurate drop, placing 94 of 132 sticks on or close to the drop zone, but part of the DZ was covered by pre-registered German machinegun and mortar fire that inflicted heavy casualties before many troops could get out of their chutes. Among the killed were two of the three battalion commanders and the executive officer of the 3/506th.[notes 2]
The surviving battalion commander, Lt Col. Robert A. Ballard, gathered 250 troopers and advanced toward Saint Côme-du-Mont to complete his mission of destroying the highway bridges over the Douve. Less than half a mile from his objective at les Droueries he was stopped by elements of battalion III./1058 Grenadier-Rgt. Another group of 50 men, assembled by the regimental S-3, Major Richard J. Allen, attacked the same area from the east at Basse-Addeville but was also pinned down.
The commander of the 501st PIR, Col. Howard R. Johnson, collected 150 troops and captured the main objective, la Barquette lock, by 0400. After establishing defensive positions, Col. Johnson went back to the DZ and assembled another 100 men, including Allen's group, to reinforce the bridgehead. Despite naval gunfire support from the cruiser Quincy, Ballard's battalion was unable to take Saint Côme-du-Mont or join Col. Johnson.[notes 3]
The S-3 officer of the 3rd Battalion 506th PIR, Capt. Charles G. Shettle, put together a platoon and achieved another objective by seizing two-foot bridges near la Porte at 0430 and crossed to the east bank. When their ammunition drew low after knocking out several machine gun emplacements, the small force withdrew to the west bank. It doubled in size overnight as stragglers came in, and repulsed a German probe across the bridges.
Two other noteworthy actions took place near Sainte Marie-du-Mont by units of the 506th PIR, both of which involved the seizure and destruction of German III Battalion-191st Artillery Regiment. During the morning, a small patrol of troopers from Company E 506th PIR under (then) 1st Lt. Richard D. Winters overwhelmed a force 3–4 times its size and destroyed four guns at a farm called Brécourt Manor for which Winters was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the assault troops given Silver and Bronze Stars.
Around noon, while reconnoitering the area by jeep, Col. Sink received word that a second battery of four guns had been discovered at Holdy, a manor between his CP and Sainte Marie-du-Mont, and the defenders had a force of some 70 paratroopers pinned down. Capt. Lloyd E. Patch (Headquarters Company 1st/506th) and Capt. Knut H. Raudstein (Company C 506th PIR)[notes 4] led an additional 70 troops to Holdy and enveloped the position. The combined force then continued on to seize Sainte Marie-du-Mont. A platoon of the 502nd PIR, left to hold the battery, destroyed three of the four guns before Col. Sink could send four jeeps to save them for the 101st's use.
At the end of D-Day, Gen. Taylor and his assistant division commander (ADC) Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe returned from their foray at Pouppeville. Taylor had control of approximately 2,500 of his 6,600 men, most of whom were in the vicinity of the 506th CP at Culoville, with the thin defense line west of Saint Germain-du-Varreville, or the division reserve at Blosville. Two glider airlifts had brought in scant reinforcements and had resulted in the death of his other ADC, Brig. Gen. Don F. Pratt, his neck broken on impact. The 327th Glider Infantry had come across Utah Beach but only its third battalion (1st Battalion 401st GIR) had reported in.
The 101st Airborne Division had accomplished its most important mission of securing the beach exits, but had a tenuous hold on positions near the Douve River, over which the Germans could still move armored units. The three groups clustered there had tenuous contact with each other but none with the rest of the division. A shortage of radio equipment caused by losses during the drops exacerbated his control problems. Taylor made destroying the Douve bridges the division's top priority and delegated the task to Col. Sink, who issued orders for the 1st Battalion 401st Glider Infantry to lead three battalions south the next morning.
As the regular troops moved in from the coast and strengthened the paratrooper positions, many were relieved and sent to the rear to organize for the next big paratroop operation.
Operation Market Garden
On 17 September 1944, the division became part of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the First Allied Airborne Army. The division took part in Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944), an unsuccessful Allied military operation under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to capture Dutch bridges over the Rhine fought in the Netherlands and the largest airborne operation of all time.
The plan, as outlined by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, required the seizure by airborne forces of several bridges on the Highway 69 across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine), as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing these bridges would allow British armoured units to outflank the Siegfried Line, advance into northern Germany, and encircle the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland, thus ending the war. This meant the large-scale use of Allied airborne forces, including both the 82nd and 101st, along with the British 1st Airborne Division.
The operation was initially successful. Several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured by the 82nd and 101st. The 101st met little resistance and captured most of their initial objectives by the end of 17 September. However, the demolition of the division's primary objective, a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Son, delayed the capture of the main road bridge over the Maas until 20 September. Faced with the loss of the bridge at Son, the 101st unsuccessfully attempted to capture a similar bridge a few kilometers away at Best but found the approach blocked. Other units continued moving to the south and eventually reached the northern end of Eindhoven.
At 06:00 hours on 18 September the Irish Guards resumed the advance while facing determined resistance from German infantry and tanks.:p71 Around noon the 101st Airborne were met by the lead reconnaissance units from XXX Corps. At 16:00 radio contact alerted the main force that the Son bridge had been destroyed and requested that a replacement Bailey bridge be brought forward. By nightfall the Guards Armoured Division had established itself in the Eindhoven area however transport columns were jammed in the packed streets of the town and were subjected to German aerial bombardment during the night. XXX Corps engineers, supported by German prisoners of war, constructed a class 40 Bailey bridge within 10 hours across the Wilhelmina Canal.:p72 The longest sector of the highway secured by the 101st Airborne Division later became known as "Hell's Highway".
Battle of the Bulge
The Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive launched towards the end of World War II through the forested Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium. Germany's planned goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp, Belgium in the process, and then proceeding to encircle and destroy the entire British 21st Army Group and all 12th U.S. Army Group units north of the German advance, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favor as a result. In order to reach Antwerp before the Allies could regroup and bring their superior air power to bear, German mechanized forces had to seize all the major highways through eastern Belgium. Because all seven of the main roads in the Ardennes converged on the small town of Bastogne, control of its crossroads was vital to the success or failure of the German attack.
Despite several notable signs in the weeks preceding the attack, the Ardennes Offensive achieved virtually complete surprise. By the end of the second day of battle, it became apparent that the 28th Infantry Division was near collapse. Maj. Gen. Troy H. Middleton, commander of VIII Corps, ordered part of his armored reserve, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division to Bastogne.[notes 5] Meanwhile, Gen. Eisenhower ordered forward the SHAEF reserve, composed of the 82nd and 101st Airborne, which were stationed at Reims.
Both divisions were alerted on the evening of 17 December, and not having organic transport, began arranging trucks for movement forward, the weather conditions being unfit for a parachute drop. The 82nd, longer in reserve and thus better re-equipped, moved out first. The 101st left Camp Mourmelon on the afternoon of 18 December, with the order of march the division artillery, division trains, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 506th PIR, 502nd PIR, and 327th Glider Infantry. Much of the convoy was conducted at night in drizzle and sleet, using headlights despite threat of air attack to speed the movement, and at one point the combined column stretched from Bouillon, Belgium, back to Reims.
The 101st Airborne was routed to Bastogne, located 107 miles (172 km) away on a 1,463 feet (446 m) high plateau, while the 82nd Airborne took up positions further north to block the critical advance of Kampfgruppe Peiper toward Werbomont, Belgium. The 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion, in reserve sixty miles to the north, was ordered to Bastogne to provide anti-tank support to the armorless 101st Airborne on the 18th and arrived late the next evening. The first elements of the 501st PIR entered the division assembly area four miles west of Bastogne shortly after midnight of 19 December, and by 0900 the entire division had arrived.
By 21 December, the German forces had surrounded Bastogne, which was defended by both the 101st Airborne and Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division. Conditions inside the perimeter were tough—most of the medical supplies and medical personnel had been captured on 19 December. CCB of the 10th Armored Division, severely weakened by losses in delaying the German advance, formed a mobile "fire brigade" of 40 light and medium tanks (including survivors of CCR of the 9th Armored Division, which had been destroyed while delaying the Germans, and eight replacement tanks found unassigned in Bastogne). Three artillery battalions, including the all-black 969th Field Artillery Battalion, were commandeered by the 101st and formed a temporary artillery group. Each had 12 155 mm howitzers, providing the division with heavy firepower in all directions restricted only by its limited ammunition supply (By 22 December artillery ammunition was restricted to 10 rounds per gun per day.) The weather cleared the next day, however, and supplies (primarily ammunition) were dropped over four of the next five days.
Despite several determined German attacks, the perimeter held. The German commander, Generalleutnant Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz, requested Bastogne's surrender. When General Anthony McAuliffe, now acting commander of the 101st, was told, a frustrated McAuliffe responded, "Nuts!" After turning to other pressing issues, his staff reminded him that they should reply to the German demand. One officer (Harry W. O. Kinnard, then a lieutenant colonel) recommended that McAuliffe's initial reply should be "tough to beat". Thus McAuliffe wrote on the paper delivered to the Germans: "NUTS!" That reply had to be explained, both to the Germans and to non-American Allies.[notes 6]
Both of the two panzer divisions of the XLVII Panzer Corps moved forward from Bastogne after 21 December, leaving only one panzergrenadier regiment of the U.S. Third Army relief force, the 4th Armored Division, broke through the German lines and opened a corridor to Bastogne, ending the siege. The division got the nickname "The Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne".
On 1 August 1945, the 501st PIR was moved to France while the rest of the division was based around Zell am See and Kaprun in the Austrian alps. Some units within the division began training for redeployment to the Pacific Theatre of War but the war ended before they were needed. The division was inactivated 30 November 1945.
For their efforts during World War II, the 101st Airborne Division was awarded four campaign streamers and two Presidential Unit Citations. The division suffered 1,766 killed in action; 6,388 wounded in action; and 324 died of wounds during World War II.
- Division Headquarters
- 327th Glider Infantry Regiment
- 401st Glider Infantry Regiment, disbanded 1 March 1945 in France; assets to 327th GIR
- 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, attached 1 May 1944 – past 9 May 1945
- 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment
- 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, assigned 1 March 1945, previously attached 15 September 1943 – 1 March 1945
- HHB, Division Artillery
- 81st Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion
- 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion
- 326th Airborne Medical Company
- 101st Parachute Maintenance Company
- 101st Signal Company
- 101st Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment
Headquarters, Special Troops
- 801st Airborne Ordnance Maintenance Company
- 426th Airborne Quartermaster Company
- Headquarters Company, 101st Airborne Division
- Military Police Platoon
- Reconnaissance Platoon
- Band (assigned in 1 March 1945 reorganization)
Source: Order of Battle: U.S. Army World War II by Shelby Stanton, Presidio Press, 1984.
The 101st was distinguished partly by its tactical helmet insignia. Card suits (diamonds, spades, hearts, and clubs) on each side of the helmet denoted the regiment to which a soldier belonged. The only exception was the 187th, who were added to the division later. Divisional headquarters and support units were denoted by use of a square and divisional artillery by a circle. Tick marks at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock indicated to which battalion the individual belonged, while the tick mark at 12 o'clock indicated a headquarters or headquarters company assignment.
These insignia were first seen in World War II, and can still be seen on 101st Division soldiers today.
- 327th: Clubs (♣) (Currently worn by the 1st Brigade Combat Team; depicted in 1949 film Battleground)
- 501st: Diamonds (♦) (Currently 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment is part of the 4th Brigade (ABN), 25th Infantry Division in Alaska.) (The diamond is currently used by both 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade)
- 502d: Hearts (♥) (Currently worn by the 2d Brigade Combat Team)
- 506th: Spades (♠) (Depicted in the mini-series Band of Brothers)
- 187th: Torii() (Currently worn by the 3d Brigade Combat Team; not during World War II, when the 187th Infantry Regiment was part of the 11th Airborne Division.)
Postwar training and Pentomic reactivation
The 101st Airborne was allotted to the Regular Army in June 1948 and reactivated as a training unit at
1st Infantry Division
Regional Command East
10th Mountain Division
82nd Airborne Division
Regional Command East
1st Cavalry Division
- 101st Airborne Division – United States Army website
- Fort Campbell Official Homepage
- 101st Airborne Division Association
- Airborne Museum at Sainte-Mère-Église The Airborne Museum retraces the story of the battle at Sainte-Mère-Église involving American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne
- The Story of the 101st Airborne Division (WWII unit history booklet, 1945)
- 101st Airborne march written by Daniel Bourdeles
- George E. Koskimaki Collection US Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
- History of the 101st (Post-Vietnam) Veteran's account of the transition of the pwar division to fully air assault and the adoption of the Air Assault Badge
- "Droppingzones (GPS) on D-day 101st and 82nd Airborne Division"
- Burns, Richard R. Pathfinder: First In, Last Out. New York: Ballantine Books, 2002. ISBN 0804116024
- "Special Unit Designations".
- "Lineage and Honors Information: Divisions". U.S. Army Center of Military History website. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- "U.S. Army Divisions in the ETO". U.S. Army Center of Military History website. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- "101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)". U.S. Army. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- Lee, William C. (2006) , Phillips, David J., ed., The Epic of the 101st Airborne: A Pictorial Biography of the United States 101st Airborne Division, Division Public Relations Office, retrieved 3 June 2012
- Guard, Julie (2007). Airborne: World War II Paratroopers in Combat. New York: Osprey Publishing. p. 184.
- "The Airborne Assault". Utah Beach to Cherbourg. American Forces in Action Series.
- Wright, Robert K.; John T. Greenwood (2007). Airborne Forces at War: From Parachute Test Platoon to the 21st Century. Naval Institute Press. p. 62.
- Gill, Ronald; Groves, John (2006) . Club Route in Europe: The History of 30 Corps from D-Day to May 1945. MLRS Books.
- Randall, p. 33
- "Battle of the Bulge". Archived from the original on 6 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
- Marshall, p 177
- O'Donnell, Patrick. NUTS!" Revisited""". Archived from the original on 6 September 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
- "508th Airborne Chapter – Regt. History". Red-devils.org. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- Osro Cobb, Osro Cobb of Arkansas: Memoirs of Historical Significance, Carol Griffee, ed. (Little Rock, Arkansas: Rose Publishing Company, 1989), p. 238
- "Bob Kalsu (1945–1970) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Bombers Hit N. Viet Camps Near Ripcord". Washington Post. 25 July 1970. pp. A12. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2007.
- "1970s Currahee Uniform". 506infantry.org. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "Screaming Eagles Parachute Demonstration Team". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "17 Die in Collision of Army Copters". New York Times. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- "Pilot Error, Design Cited in Air Crash". Inquirer Wire Services. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- Schmickley, Dennis (2001). The Avionics Handbook (PDF). Chapter 7 – Night Vision Goggles: CRC Press LLC.
- Bryant, Russ (2007). Screaming Eagles: 101st Airborne Division. MBI Publishing Company. p. 85.
- "Military Support in Wildland Fire Suppression 1988 – 2003", National Interagency Fire Center Archived 28 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- "Operation Enduring Freedom – Deployments". globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
- Gonzales, Daniel. "Networked forces in stability operations: 101st Airborne Division, 3/2 and 1/25 Stryker brigades in northern Iraq". RAND Corporation. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- Carl, Stephanie L. (23 February 2011). "Task Force Thunder rolls into Afghanistan". US Army. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- Iraq Coalition Casualties: U.S. Fatalities – By Divisions Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- "Iraq's new ambassador addresses Washington". Operation Iraqi Freedom website. 13 April 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2007.
- Hall, Kristin M. (5 June 2011). "Army's 101st pays high price for Afghan surge year". Associated Press. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Shampoo' star Jack Warden dies at 85"'". msnbc.msn.com. 21 July 2006.
- Nelson, Valerie J. (22 July 2006). "Jack Warden, 85; Prolific Film, TV Actor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
- Sports Illustrated, Readers letter 15 June 1970
- "I Am an American Soldier".
- Lt Col. William L. Turner, Colorado. Col. Turner was killed in action the next day
- Lt Col. Robert C. Carroll (1/501), Lt Col. Robert L. Wolverton (3/506th), and Major George S. Grant (3/506)
- Col. Johnson was killed in action in the Netherlands on 8 October 1944.
- Patch became acting commander of the 1st Battalion on 7 June, and later commanded the 3/506 as a lieutenant colonel. Both Patch and Raudstein were awarded the DSC.
- CCB consisted of the 3rd Tank Battalion, 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, C Company 21st Tank Battalion, B Company 54th Armored Infantry Battalion, C Company 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 420th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, and three companies of support troops.
- Nuts can mean several things in American English slang. In this case, however, it signified rejection, and was explained to the Germans as meaning "Go to Hell!"
- Unit has pathfinder companies.
- 101st Sustainment Brigade is the redesignation of the former 101st Airborne Division Support Command. (Some subordinate units of the 101st Sustainment Brigade were once part of the 101st Support Group (Corps), a separate, non-divisional unit with a different statement of lineage and honors. It was redesignated on 16 September 2004 as the 101st Support Brigade and then as the 101st Sustainment Brigade on 21 April 2005.) According to the May–June 2006 issue of Army Logistician, page 10, sustainment brigades fall under the theater support command, not the division, but are placed under the operational control of a division for a specific mission or operation. The 101st Sustainment Brigade also wear its own separate brigade patch, approved effective 17 November 2009.TIOH – Heraldry – 101st Sustainment Brigade
- The 49th Quartermaster Group at Fort Lee, Virginia, may provide support too, but is not part of, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
- 1949 movie Battleground followed the 327th Glider Infantry
- 1956 movie Screaming Eagles depicted a small unit on D-Day
- 1977 movie A Bridge Too Far features the 101st Airborne
- 1978 movie The Deer Hunter some of the characters are members of the 101st Airborne
- 1987 John Irvin movie Hamburger Hill, set in May 1969 during the Vietnam War
- 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan's title character is a soldier in the 101st Airborne division. In addition, Miller's men encounter pathfinders from the 101st in a village
- 2001 TV series Band of Brothers, chronicling the real-life exploits of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, in the Second World War in Europe from Operation Overlord through V-E Day.
- 2007 documentary movie I Am an American Soldier followed C co, 3 BCT during its tour of duty in Iraq in 2006.
- The books Soldiers for the Truth and About Face by Colonel David Hackworth
- The books Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose and Beyond Band of Brothers by Major Dick Winters
In popular culture
- Ed Austin – Florida politician and lawyer
- Joseph Beyrle – The only American soldier to have served with both the United States Army and the Soviet Army in World War II
- John R. Block – Secretary of Agriculture under Ronald Reagan.
- Donald Burgett – Author of four books on his experiences as a paratrooper during World War II
- Blake Clark – American actor
- Robert G. Cole – World War II Medal of Honor recipient
- Tom Cotton – Arkansas politician, current junior U.S. Senator from Arkansas
- Randy Couture – MMA fighter and coach
- Fred Dailey – Ohio politician
- David Hackworth - Writer
- James R. Hendrix – World War II Medal of Honor recipient
- Jimi Hendrix – Musician, completed paratrooper training 1962, discharged soon after.
- Mike Lebowitz – Attorney, pioneer in field of military expression, military law, served in Iraq with Pathfinder Company of 101st Airborne Division.
- William C. Lee – General, World War II veteran, considered as one of the most important influences behind the establishment of U.S. airborne troops
- Joe E. Mann – World War II Medal of Honor recipient
- Tommy Mercer – Professional wrestler, currently signed to TNA Wrestling under the name Crimson
- Jorge Otero-Barreto – received 3 Silver Stars and 5 Purple Hearts in Vietnam
- Eric Rudolph – Terrorist responsible for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and others
- Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. – Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient
- Louis Simpson – Poet who won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for poetry with his collected works "At the End of the Open Road."
- Robert Sink – commanded the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Played by Dale Dye in the mini-series Band of Brothers.
- Jack Warden – actor who served with the 501st Infantry; in That Kind of Woman Warden played a paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division.
- Ernie Wheelwright – American football player, actor & singer
- Harvey Milk, on Monday, 27 November 1978.
- Jesse White – Illinois politician.
- Barry Winchell – Pfc, whose murder by a fellow soldier at Fort Campbell became a point of reference in the debate about the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
- Richard Winters – Major, World War II veteran, portrayed by Damian Lewis in the TV series Band of Brothers
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for NORMANDY (Division and 1st Brigade only)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for BASTOGNE (Division and 1st Brigade only)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for DAK TO, VIETNAM 1966 (1st Brigade only)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for DONG AP BIA MOUNTAIN (3rd Brigade only)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for AFGHANISTAN 2010–2011 (2nd Brigade only)
- Valorous Unit Award for THUA THIEN PROVINCE (3rd Brigade and DIVARTY only)
- Valorous Unit Award for TUY HOA (1st Brigade only)
- Valorous Unit Award for AN NAJAF (1st Brigade only)
- Valorous Unit Award for AFGHANISTAN 2010 (3rd Brigade only)
- Valorous Unit Award for AFGHANISTAN 2010–2011 (2nd Brigade only)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for VIETNAM 1965–1966 (1st Brigade only)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for VIETNAM 1968 (3rd Brigade only)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SOUTHWEST ASIA (Except 159th Aviation Brigade)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for IRAQ 2003–2004 (1st Brigade only)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for IRAQ 2005–2006 (4th Brigade only)
- French Croix de guerre with Palm, World War II for NORMANDY (Division and 1st Brigade only)
- Belgian Croix de guerre 1940 with Palm for BASTOGNE (Division and 1st Brigade only);
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at BASTOGNE (Division and 1st Brigade only)
- Belgian Fourragère 1944 (Division and 1st Brigade Only)
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in FRANCE AND BELGIUM (Division and 1st Brigade only)
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1966–1967 (1st Brigade only)
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1968 (2d Brigade only)
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1968–1969 (Except 159th Aviation Brigade)
- Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for VIETNAM 1971 (Except 159th Aviation Brigade)
- Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for VIETNAM 1968–1970 (Except 159th Aviation Brigade)
- Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for VIETNAM 1970 (DIVARTY only)
- Navy/Marine Unit Commendation (Army) for Iraq 2005–2006 (4th Brigade only)
- Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation for Afghanistan 2008–2009 (5–101 AVN only)
- Defense of Saudi Arabia;
- Liberation and Defense of Kuwait
- Defense (1st Brigade only);
- Counteroffensive (1st Brigade only);
- Counteroffensive, Phase II (1st Brigade only)
- Counteroffensive, Phase III;
- Tet Counteroffensive;
- Counteroffensive, Phase IV;
- Counteroffensive, Phase V;
- Counteroffensive, Phase VI;
- Tet 1969/Counteroffensive;
- Summer-Fall 1969;
- Winter-Spring 1970;
- Sanctuary Counteroffensive;
- Counteroffensive, Phase VII;
- Consolidation I;
- Consolidation II
- Vietnam War (Except 159th Aviation Brigade):
- Hundred Days Offensive (also known as the Battle of Saint-Quentin or the Second Battle of the Somme);
- Meuse-Argonne Offensive;
- Picardy 1918
Campaign participation credit
- 101st Sustainment Brigade ("Life Liners") (supports the division, but not part of the division)[notes 8]
Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion ("Gladiators")
- A Company ("Slayers") MRF
- B Company ("Black Dragons")
- C Company ("Spartans")
- Headquarters and Support Company ("Sentries")
- 101st Airborne Division Band ("Pride of the Eagle")
1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team ("Bastogne")(♣)
- Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company
- 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment ("Bandits")
- 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment ("Bulldogs")
- 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment ("No Slack")
- 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment ("Red Currahee")
- 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment ("Balls of the Eagle")
- 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion ("Sapper Eagles")
- 426th Brigade Support Battalion ("Taskmasters")
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team ("Strike")(♥)
- Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company
- 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment ("Widowmakers")
- 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment ("First Strike")
- 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment ("Strike Force")
- 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment ("Blue Spaders")
- 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment ("Top Guns")
- 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion ("Raptor")
- 526th Brigade Support Battalion ("Best by Performance")
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team ("Rakkasan")()
- Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company
- 1st Squadron, 33d Cavalry Regiment("War Rakkasans")
- 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment ("Leader Rakkasans")
- 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment ("Iron Rakkasans")
- 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment ("White Currahee")
- 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment ("Red Knights")
- 21st Engineer Battalion ("Rak Solid")
- 626th Brigade Support Battalion ("Assurgam")
101st Airborne Division Artillery has training and readiness oversight of field artillery battalions, which remain organic to the brigade combat teams.
- Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
101st Combat Aviation Brigade ("Wings of Destiny")(♦)
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company ("Hell Cats")
- 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment ("Out Front")
- 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment ("Expect No Mercy")
- 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment ("Eagle Assault")[notes 7]
- 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment (GSAB) ("Shadow of the Eagle")
- 96th Aviation Support Battalion ("Troubleshooters")
In 2014, the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters deployed to west Africa to help contain the spread of Ebola.
Operation United Assistance
The Division Headquarters, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade (101st Aviation Regiment), 1st Brigade Combat Team (327th Infantry Regiment), 2nd Brigade Combat Team (502nd Infantry Regiment), 3rd Brigade Combat Team (187th Infantry Regiment), and 4th Brigade Combat Team (506th Infantry Regiment), and the 101st Sustainment Brigade deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. This is the first time since returning from Iraq in 2006 where all four infantry brigades (plus one CAB, SUSBDE) have served in the same combat theater. As of 5 June 2011, 131 soldiers had been killed during this deployment, the highest death toll to the 101st Airborne in any single deployment since the Vietnam War.
While the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams were deployed to Iraq 2007–2008, the division headquarters, 4th Brigade Combat Team (506th Infantry Regiment), the 101st Sustainment Brigade, and the 101st Aviation Brigade followed by the 159th Aviation Brigade were deployed to Afghanistan for one-year tours falling within the 2007–09 window.
Return to Afghanistan
Developing other aspects of Iraqi society also figured in 101st operations in Iraq. Division commander Major General Thomas Turner hosted the first governors' conference for the six provinces in the division's area of operations, as well as the neighboring province of Erbil. Numerous civil affairs operations were directed by the division, including the construction and renovation of schools, clinics, police stations, and other important landmarks in civilian communities from Turkey to Baghdad and from the Syrian border to the Iranian border.
Simultaneously with training Iraqi soldiers and their leaders, 101st soldiers conducted numerous security operations against terrorist cells operating in the division's assigned, six-province area of operations. Operation Swarmer was the largest air assault operation conducted in Iraq since 22 April 2003. 1st Brigade conducted Operation Scorpion with Iraqi units near Kirkuk.
Task Force Band of Brothers' primary mission during its second deployment to Iraq was the training of Iraqi security forces. When the 101st returned to Iraq, there were no Iraqi units capable of assuming the lead for operations against Iraqi and foreign terrorists. As the division concluded its tour, 33 battalions were in the lead for security in assigned areas, and two of four Iraq divisions in northern Iraq were commanding and controlling subordinate units.
During the second deployment, 2d and 4th Brigades of the 101st Airborne Division were assigned to conduct security operations under the command of Task Force Baghdad, led initially by 3d Infantry Division, which was replaced by 4th Infantry Division. The 1st Battalion of the 506th Infantry (4th Brigade) was separated from the division and served with the Marines in Ramadi, in the Al Anbar province. 3d Brigade was assigned to Salah ad Din and Bayji sectors and 1st Brigade was assigned to the overall Kirkuk province which included Hawijah.
The division's second deployment to Iraq began in the late summer of 2005. The division headquarters replaced the 42d Infantry Division, which had been directing security operations as the headquarters for Task Force Liberty. Renamed Task Force Band of Brothers, the 101st assumed responsibility on 1 November 2005 for four provinces in north central Iraq: Salah ad Din, As Sulymaniyah. On 30 December 2005, Task Force Band of Brothers also assumed responsibility for training Iraqi security forces and conducting security operations in Ninevah and Dahuk provinces as the headquarters for Task Force Freedom was disestablished.
Second deployment to Iraq
As of December 2007, 143 members of the division have died while on service in Iraq.
Once replaced by the first operational Stryker Brigade, the 101st was withdrawn in early 2004 for rest and refit. As part of the Army's modular transformation, the existing infantry brigades, artillery brigade, and aviation brigades were transformed. The Army also activated the 4th Brigade Combat Team, which includes the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 506th Infantry Regiment and subordinate units. Both battalions were part of the 101st in Vietnam but saw their colors inactivated during an Army-wide reflagging of combat battalions in the 1980s.
In 2003, Major General David H. Petraeus ("Eagle 6") led the Screaming Eagles to war during the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom). General Petraeus led the division into Iraq saying, "Guidons, Guidons. This is Eagle 6. The 101st Airborne Division's next Rendezvous with Destiny is North to Baghdad. Op-Ord Desert Eagle 2 is now in effect. Godspeed. Air Assault. Out." The division was in V Corps, providing support to the 3rd Infantry Division by clearing Iraqi strongpoints which that division had bypassed. 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry (3rd Brigade) was attached to 3rd Infantry Division and was the main effort in clearing Saddam International Airport. The division then served as part of the occupation forces of Iraq, using the city of Mosul as their primary base of operations. 1st and 2d Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment (1st Brigade) oversaw the remote airfield Qayarrah West 30 miles (48 km) south of Mosul. The 502d Infantry Regiment (2d Brigade) and 3d Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment were responsible for Mosul itself while the 187th Infantry Regiment (3d Brigade) controlled Tal Afar just west of Mosul.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
In March 2010, the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade deployed again to Afghanistan as Task Force Destiny to Kandahar Airfield to be the aviation asset in southern Afghanistan.
After an intense period of combat in rugged Shoh-I-Khot Mountains of eastern Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda with elements of the 10th Mountain Division, the Rakkasans redeployed to Fort Campbell only to find the 101st awaiting another deployment order. In 2008, the 101st 4th BCT Red and White "Currahee" including the 1st and the 2nd Battalions, 506th Infantry were deployed to Afghanistan. The 101st Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Afghanistan as Task Force Destiny in early 2008 to Bagram Air Base. 159th Combat Aviation Brigade deployed as Task Force Thunder for 12 months in early 2009, and again in early 2011.
The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was the first conventional unit to deploy in support of the American War on Terrorism. The 2d Brigade, "Strike", built around the 502d Infantry, was largely deployed to Kosovo on peacekeeping operations, with some elements of 3rd Battalion, 502nd, deploying after 9/11 as a security element in the U.S. CENTCOM AOR with the Fort Campbell-based 5th Special Forces Group. The division quickly deployed its 3rd Brigade, the 187th Infantry's Rakkasans, as the first conventional unit to fight as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Operation Enduring Freedom
In September and October 2000, the 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, helped fight fires on the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana. Designated Task Force Battle Force and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Jon S. Lehr, the battalion fought fires throughout the surrounding areas of their Valley Complex near Darby, Montana.
Montana forest fires
In August 2000, the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, as well as some elements from the 502nd Infantry Regiment, helped secure the peace in Kosovo and support the October elections for the formation of the new Kosovo government.
In February 2000 through August 2000 3rd Brigade 1/187 deployed to Kosovo for peacekeeping operations as apart of Task Force Falcon in support of Operation Joint Guardian.
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. The 101st Aviation Regiment, fired the first shots of the war when eight AH-64 helicopters successfully destroyed two Iraqi early warning radar sites.
Persian Gulf War
On 8 March 1988, two U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters assigned to the 101st aviation battalion collided while on a night training mission at Fort Campbell. All 17 soldiers aboard were killed. The Army's accident investigation attributed the crash to pilot error, aircraft design, and the limited field of view afforded pilots using night vision goggles (NVGs). Numerous improvements have been made in NVG technology since the accident occurred.
On 12 December 1985, a civilian aircraft, Arrow Air Flight 1285, chartered to transport some of the division from peacekeeping duty with the Multinational Force and Observers on the Sinai Peninsula to Kentucky, crashed just a short distance from Gander International Airport, Gander, Newfoundland. All eight air crew members and 248 US servicemen died, most were from the 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry. Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board investigators determined the cause to be from icing. At the time it was 17th most disastrous aviation accident in terms of fatalities. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy traveled to Fort Campbell to comfort grieving family members.
In September 1980, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade, took part in Operation Bright Star '80, an exercise deployment to Egypt. In 1984, the command group formed a full-time team, the "Screaming Eagles", Command Parachute Demonstration Team. However the team traces its history to the late 1950s, during the infancy of precision free fall.
In the late 1970s, the division maintained one battalion on a rotating basis as the division ready force (DRF). The force was in place to respond to alerts for action anywhere in the world. After alert notification, troopers of the "hot" platoon/company, would be airborne, "wheels-up" within 30 minutes as the first responding unit. All other companies of the battalion would follow within one hour. Within 24 hours there would be one brigade deployed to the affected area, with the remainder of the division deploying as needed.
In 1968, the 101st took on the structure and equipment of an airmobile division. Following its return from Vietnam, the division was rebuilt with one brigade (3d) and supporting elements on jump status, using the assets of what had been the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The remaining two brigades and supporting units were organized as airmobile. With the exception of certain specialized units, such as the pathfinders and parachute riggers, in early 1974 the Army terminated jump status for the division. Concurrently the 101st introduced the Airmobile Badge (renamed later that year as the Air Assault Badge), the design of which was based on the Glider Badge of World War II. Initially the badge was only authorized for wear while assigned to the division, but in 1978 the Army authorized it for service-wide wear. Soldiers continued to wear the garrison cap with glider patch, bloused boots, and the cloth wing oval behind their wings, as had division paratroopers before them. A blue beret was authorized for the division in March or April 1975 and worn until revoked at the end of 1979. The division also was authorized to wear a full color (white eagle) shoulder patch insignia instead of the subdued green eagle shoulder patch that was worn as a combat patch by soldiers who fought with the 101st in Vietnam. While serving with the 101st, it was also acceptable to wear a non-subdued patch as a combat patch, a distinction shared with the 1st and 5th Infantry divisions.
In 1971, elements of the division supported the ARVN Operation Lam Son 719, the invasion of southern Laos, but only aviation units actually entered Laos. In the seven years that all or part of the division served in Vietnam it suffered 4,011 killed in action and 18,259 wounded in action.
Lam Son 719
Fighting from four hilltops, surrounded, and outnumbered nearly ten to one, the division's forces were defeated but managed to inflict heavy losses on the enemy before an aerial withdrawal was ordered on 23 July 1970 while under heavy mortar, anti-aircraft, and small arms fire, ending the siege. After the division withdrew from the firebase, USAF B-52 heavy bombers were sent in to carpet bomb the area.
During the 23-day siege, 75 U.S. servicemen were killed in action, including 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry commanding officer Colonel Andre Lucas, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, and 1st Lt. Bob Kalsu, one of the few American professional athletes to be killed during the war. During the entire battle (including the siege), 250 members of the division were killed.
As the 101st Airborne planned the attack on the NVA supply bases, the North Vietnamese Army was secretly observing their activities. From 12 March until 30 June, the NVA was sporadically attacking the Firebase. After weeks of reconnaissance by the NVA, on the morning of 1 July 1970 the North Vietnamese Army launched a surprise mortar attack on the firebase. The resulting 23-day battle between the 101st Airborne and the North Vietnamese Army was the last major confrontation between United States ground forces and North Vietnam of the Vietnam War.
On 12 March 1970, the 3rd Brigade of 101st began rebuilding abandoned Fire Support Base Ripcord which relied, as with most remote bases at the time, on a helicopter lifeline to get supplies in and the personnel out. The firebase was to be used for a planned offensive by the 101st to destroy NVA supply bases in the mountains overlooking the A Shau Valley. Located on the eastern edge of the valley, and taking place at the same time as the Cambodian Incursion, the operation was considered covert.
In mid-1965, the 1st Brigade and support troops were deployed to the Republic of Vietnam, followed by the rest of the division in late 1967. The 101st was deployed in the northern I Corps region operating against the Vietnam People's Army (NVA) infiltration routes through Laos and the A Shau Valley for most of the war. In almost seven years of combat in Vietnam, elements of the 101st participated in 15 campaigns. Notable among these were the Battle of Hamburger Hill in 1969 and Firebase Ripcord in 1970.
In 1958 the US Army formed the Strategic Army Corps consisting of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions with a mission of rapid deployment on short notice.
The "Little Rock Nine" were a group of African-American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in September 1957, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case. Elements of the division's 1st Airborne Battle Group, 327th Infantry were ordered to Little Rock by President Eisenhower to escort the students into the formerly segregated school during the crisis. The division was under the command of Major General Edwin Walker, who was committed to protecting the black students. The troops were deployed from September until Thanksgiving 1957, when Task Force 153rd Infantry, (federalized Arkansas Army National Guard) which had also been on duty at the school since 24 September, assumed the responsibility.