“Rendezvous with Destiny” Trained for air assault operations, the 101st Airborne Division, also known as the Screaming Eagles is one of the most prestigious and decorated division in the US Army and the only US Army division with two aviation brigades.
A white eagle’s head with a gold beak on a black shield. The design is based on an American Civil War tradition. The black shield recalls the “Iron Brigade”, one of the forerunners of the 101st Division. One regiment of the brigade possessed the famous war eagle, “Old Abe”, pictured on the shield that went through 36 battles as a fierce, screaming mascot and was wounded twice. When the division was activated in 1942, the word “Airborne”, in gold letters, was placed on a crescent-shaped black background and added to the top of the insignia.
101st Airborne Division— Screaming Eagles
Activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana on 15 August 1942, the division first commander Major General William C. Lee promised his new recruits that the 101st had no history but had a rendezvous with destiny on 19 August 1942.
The division participated in Mission Albany. Its 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 Sainte-Come-du-Mont, and secure the Douve River valley. The Pathfinders of the 101st Airborne Division led the way on D-Day in the night drop prior to the invasion.
The division became part of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the First Allied Airborne Army on 17 September 1944 which took part in Operation Market Garden from September 17–25, 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.
In the Battle of the Bulge, the Ardennes Offensive was launched towards the end of World War II through the Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. The Germans 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. 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.
During the Post-War, the 501 PIR was moved to France on 1 August 1945 while the rest of the division was based around Zell am See and Kaprun in the Austrian Alps and was deactivated on 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.
The soldiers used card suits (diamonds, spades, hearts, and clubs) to indicate the regiment to which they belonged. The only exception being the 187th, which were added to the division later.
• These insignias were first seen in World War II, and can still be seen on 101st Division soldiers today.
o 327th: Clubs (?) (Currently worn by the 1st Brigade Combat Team; seen in 1949 film Battleground)
o 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 the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade)
o 502d: Hearts (?) (Currently worn by the 2d Brigade Combat Team)
o 506th: Spades (?) (Currently worn by the 4th Brigade Combat Team; seen in miniseries Band of Brothers (TV miniseries))
o 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.)
In 1948 and then in 1950, the division was reactivated at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky as a training unit. In 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the 101st Airborne Division was reactivated again and in March 1956, the division was transferred to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to be reorganized as a combat division. The 101st was reactivated as a “pentomic” division with five battle groups in place of its World War II structure that featured regiments and battalions.
Elements of the division’s 101st Airborne Battle Group, 327th Infantry (bearing the lineage of the old Company A, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment) were ordered to Little Rock by President Eisenhower to enforce the court injunction during the crisis. The division was deployed from September until Thanksgiving 1957, when Task Force 153rd Infantry, (federalized Arkansas National Guard) which had also been on duty at the school since 24 September, assumed responsibility to escort Little Rock Nine.
The 101st was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam against the Vietnam People’s Army in the mid-1960s. 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. Elements of the division supported the ARVN Operation Lam Son 719 in 1971. It has been said that most North Vietnamese had never seen a bald eagle, so they called the 101st soldiers “Chicken Men” or “Rooster Men.” Viet Cong commanders were rumored to regularly include in their briefings that they were to avoid confrontation with the “Chicken Men” at all costs, as they were sure to lose. Supposedly this remained a source of fierce pride among veterans who served in Vietnam under the 101st.
Following its return from Vietnam, 101st introduced the Airmobile Badge which is renamed later as Air Assault Badge. The division conducted Bright Star ’80, a full deployment to Egypt in December 1980. Tragedy struck the division 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 near Gander, Newfoundland. All eight air crew members and 248 US servicemen died, most were from the 3d Battalion, 502d Infantry. The crash was the worst in Canadian aviation history. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy traveled to Fort Campbell to comfort grieving family members. On 8 March 1988, two U.S. Army helicopters collided in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, killing 17 servicemen.
During the Persian Gulf War, the 101st made a combat air assault into enemy territory in January 1991. The division also supported humanitarian relief efforts in Rwanda and Somalia, and then later supplied peacekeepers to Haiti and Bosnia. The division also helped secure peace in Kosovo in August 2000, helped fight Montana forest fires in September and October 2000.
During Operation Enduring Freedom, the division was the first conventional unit to fight as part of the operation and was the first conventional unit to deploy in support of the American War on Terrorism. 101st participated in 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 Screaming Eagles went to war in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom. As of December 2007, 143 members of the Division have died while on service in Iraq. Renamed Task Force Band of Brothers, the 101st assumed responsibility on 1 November 2005 for four provinces in north central Iraq: Salah ad Din, Kirkuk, Diyala and 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. 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. 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. The 4th Brigade Combat Team returned from its second deployment in March 2009.
101st Airborne Division Unit Rings
Our unit rings are a great way to celebrate service with a particular Unit.
Each ring includes the particular unit insignia, they can also be inscribed
with the soldiers name, rank, even details of overseas deployments.