The 101st Airborne Division —- the "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.
Upon its arrival in Vietnam in 1965 (1st Brigade, followed by the 2nd and 3rd Brigades in 1968), the division was an airborne unit. In mid-1968 it was reorganized and re-designated as an airmobile division, then in 1974 as an air assault division. Both of these titles reflect the fact that the division went from airplanes as the primary method of delivering troops into combat, to the use of helicopters as the way the division entered battle. Many current members of the 101st are graduates of the U.S. Army Air Assault School and wear the Air Assault Badge. 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 since its first deployment.
World War II
The Pathfinders of the 101st Airborne Division led the way on D-Day in the night drop prior to the invasion. They left from RAF North Witham having trained there with the 82nd Airborne Division.
The 101st Airborne Division's objectives were to secure the four causeway exits behind Utah Beach, destroy a German coastal artillery battery at Saint-Martin-de-Varreville, capture buildings nearby at Mésières believed used as barracks and a command post for the artillery battery, capture the Douve River lock at La Barquette (opposite Carentan), capture two footbridges spanning the Douve at La Porte opposite Brévands, destroy the highway bridges over the Douve at Saint-Côme-du-Mont, and secure the Douve River valley. 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 Valognes, cleared the area of the drop zones to the unit boundary at Les Forges, and linked up with the 82nd Airborne Division.
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