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The history behind the 82nd Airborne is amazing.

Do you know a soldier or officer who wears that distinctive unit patch with 2 A’s on it? Have you ever asked them about their unit? The history behind it? If you have, I would bet it was a long, detailed, and interesting story.

In today’s post, I am going to share some of the history of the 82nd Airborne. Here are 22 cool facts:

1: Main Base

The 82nd Airborne is based at the largest military base in the world when we speak of base population. Their home base is Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

2: Founded

The 82nd became a division of the United States Army during World War I. The 82nd Division was constituted on August 5th, 1917.

3: Nickname

There was a contest to give the 82nd Division a nickname. The final choice was made by the Commanding General, Major General Eben Swift. The choice was All American. The reason for this choice was because the 82nd had soldiers from every State, which was 48 at that time.

4: World War I Fatalities

During World War I, the 82nd had 995 soldiers or officers killed.

5: 1st Airborne Division

The 82nd Infantry Division became the 1st Airborne Division in the United States Army.

6: 1942

On August 15th, 1942, under Major General Matthew Ridgway, they became the 82nd Airborne Division.

7: 1st Combat Operation As An Airborne Unit

The 1st combat operation for the 82nd Airborne was a parachute jump as part of the Invasion of Sicily. Colonel James Gavin led the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the first regimental sized parachute jump by the U.S. Army.

8: D-Day

The 82nd Airborne played an integral part in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. Parachuting behind enemy lines the night before, many of them were dropped in zones that were incorrect. But the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was dropped in the accurate location and captured the town that was their objective during Operation Boston.

While there were many errors, overall the 82nd played an important part in the D-Day invasion.

9: XVIII

Immediately after the invasion of Normandy, the 82nd Airborne Division became part of the XVIII Airborne Corps, which also included the 17th and 101st Airborne Divisions.

10: Other Missions During World War II

The 82nd had other missions during World War II. They included:

  • Operation Market Garden. The 82nd Airborne parachuted into the Netherlands to capture key bridges. They performed their mission to great success, but the British failed in their mission.

  • Battle of the Bulge. The 82nd were predominant in stopping General Gerd von Runstedt’s penetration. They helped secure the Ruhr and accepted the surrender of nearly 150,000 Germans.

  • Berlin Occupation. From April to December of 1945, the 82nd were in occupation of Berlin duty.

During World War II, the 82nd lost approximately 2,000 to death.

11: Dominican Republic

In 1965, elements of the 82nd Airborne were deployed to the Dominican Republic to aid in the terrible civil war going on there.

12: Detroit Race Riots

In 1967, the 82nd was sent to Detroit, Michigan to help control the race riots. The riots ended 2 days later with over 40 people killed.

13: Vietnam

The 82nd saw a lot of combat action in Vietnam. They had soldiers in Saigon, the Mekong Delta, the Iron Triangle and along the border with Cambodia. There were plenty of All-Americans in Vietnam.

14: RDF

After Vietnam, the Department of Defense knew they needed units that would be able to respond quickly. The 82nd Airborne Division was at the core of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force.

15: Grenada

Elements of the 82nd deployed to Grenada to keep control of the Point Salinas airport that Ranger Battalions had captured earlier. This happened in 1983.

16: Panama

In 1989, elements of the 82nd Airborne Division jumped into Panama in an invasion. It was meant to take out the dictator Manuel Noriega. It was known as Operation Just Cause and showed just how quickly the 82nd could act.

17: Desert Storm

During Desert Storm, the All-American Division was on the left flank during the operation to take out Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Army.

18: Restored Democracy Before Jumping

In 1994, Raoul Cédras had taken over a military dictatorship in Haiti. The 82nd were en route to take him out, but when the dictator heard that they were about to parachute in, and he stepped down.

19: War On Terror

The 82nd Airborne Division has been a major player in the War on Terror. For Operation Enduring Freedom, elements of the 82nd deployed to Afghanistan. They were at the heart of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Some of the 82nd rapidly deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan to support free elections. The 1st Brigade of the 82nd deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom VI in 2005.

The 82nd has been involved in the other stages of Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

In total, the Division lost 245 Paratroopers in the War on Terror.

20: Medal Of Honor Awards

It is the highest honor that can be given to a member of the military. These are those who were awarded the Medal of Honor as members of the 82nd:

World War I

World War II

Vietnam War

21: Famous 82nd Soldiers

There have been some famous names who were within the 82nd. They include:

22: Association

The 82nd Airborne Division has an association. You can sign up at this link.

Final Thoughts

Yes, the 82nd Airborne Division has an amazing history. Do tell us if you are, were or have family that were members of the 82nd. You can post any and all questions and comments below. Thank you.

References

  1. 82nd Airborne Division
  2. http://www.82ndairborneassociation.org/

  3. The 82nd Airborne During World War II

  4. 82nd Airborne soldiers sharpen skills for global response force mission
Categories : Military History, Units
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When considering the current operations of the United States Army, horses are not considered too much. But there was a day when horses were quite important to operations in the U.S. Army. I would say they had the importance that is now given to tanks or troop carriers.

In today’s post, I am going to examine the role of horses in the United States Army. I will provide 20 cool facts. So, scroll down and learn about how horses helped our Army through many years.

1: Indians Were Army Educators

Realizing that the natives could handle horses in battle with skill and precision, the U.S. Army employed some Indians to help train soldiers on the different methods of handling weapons and their horses in wars and battles.

2: Dragoons Of The War Of 1812

While some horse troops were used during the Revolutionary War, the primary method was on foot. There were no actual Cavalry or Horse units. In 1792, Congress approved Cavalry units known as Dragoons. During the War of 1812, the U.S. Army employed the 1st and 2nd U.S. Dragoons.

3: Dragons Disbanded In 1815

In 1815, it was determined that the cost of up keeping Cavalry forces was just too high. In 1815, all troops and officers were moved to Artillery units and the Dragoons were disbanded.

4: Mounted Rangers In 1832

As people decided to move West, the need for protection was determined for these settlers. It made no sense to use foot troops to protect these people. In 1832, the United States Mounted Ranger Battalion was formed to be the security for settlers on the Santa Fe Trail.

5: Dragoons To Cavalry

It was decided just before the Civil War that Dragoons would now be deemed Cavalry. Both soldiers and officers did not like this change, and they kept their Dragoon uniforms until they wore out and had to change to the Cavalry yellow uniforms.

6: Horses Were The Most Important Military Tool In The Civil War

Horses held a high level of importance when the Civil War broke out. While earlier wars used horses, this war put the horse as a “must have” tool just. Horse Regiments were numerous during the Civil War.

7: Horse Transport

During the Civil War, artillery and supply units had multiple horses and mules to transport supplies, and to pull the guns where they were needed.

8: Union Horses – Confederate Horses

During the Civil War, the Union supplied troops with horses, but the Confederacy required that troops supply their own horses. Many Confederate soldiers were allowed to keep their horse at the war’s end.

9: Officers Only

During the Spanish/American War, only officers were allowed to be mounted on horses. This is because of the transport of the animals to Cuba.

10: Horse Deaths In World War I

Over 8,000,000 horses were killed during World War I.

11: The Phase Out

Horses began to be phased out of the U.S. Army towards the end of World War I.

12: World War II Had Only 1 Cavalry Unit

During World War II, the United States Army had only 1 Cavalry Unit… the 26th Cavalry.

13: Patton On Cavalry In World War II

General Patton truly believed in the use of horses in warfare. This is a quote from this great leader:

“Had we possessed an American cavalry division with pack artillery in Tunisia and in Sicily, not a German would have escaped.”

14: Last Cavalry Charge

The last horse Cavalry charge was in January of 1942 by the 26th Cavalry at Bataan, Philippines.

15: Last Horse Charge

The last charge by horse, but not with a unit considered Cavalry was in April of 1945 by The 10th Mountain Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.

16: Hierarchy Of Horse Cavalry In 1944

The Hierarchy of the Horse Cavalry Rifle Troop in 1944 was:

  1. HQ

Troop commander (captain) pistol

1st sergeant pistol

Stable staff sergeant pistol

Bugler (private) pistol

Intelligence scout (private) rifle and pistol

Clerk (corporal) rifle and pistol

Orderly (private) rifle and pistol

  1. Troop train

Three horse-holders, one with pack horse (privates) rifles and pistols

Saddler with pack horse (private) rifle and pistol

Two pack drivers with pack horses for ammunition (privates) rifles and pistols

  1. Kitchen section

Mess sergeant rifle and pistol

Three cooks, one in wagon (privates) rifles and pistols

Wagoner with four horses and wagon (private)

Two pack drivers with pack horses (privates) rifles and pistols

Two cook helpers with pack horses (privates) rifles and pistols

  1. Platoon headquarters

Platoon leader (Second Lieutenant) pistol

Platoon sergeant (Staff Sergeant) rifle and pistol

Two intelligence scouts (privates) rifles and pistols

File Closer Sergeant rifle and pistol

Three basic riflemen (privates) rifles and pistols

  1. Three rifle squads

Squad leader (corporal) rifle and pistol

Two Riflemen (privates) rifles and pistols

Two Horse holders (privates) rifles and pistols

Two Scouts (privates) rifles and pistols

Second-in-command (private) rifle and pistol

17: Modern Army Horses

Modern army horses are used for reconnaissance, ceremonial, or crowd control purposes.

18: Afghanistan

During war in Afghanistan, Army Special Forces did use horses in the mountain terrain.

19: Traditions

Modern Cavalry units still recognize their days of horses with several traditions including:

20: Well-Known U.S. Army Calvarymen

There have been some names that are well-known that were U.S. Cavalrymen. Here are some:

and yes, General George Patton was also a Cavalryman.

Final Thoughts

I believe we owe a sense of dedication to Army horses. They have helped us become the nation we are.

What are your thoughts?

Leave your comments below. Thank you.

References

  1. Horses in warfare
  2. United States Cavalry
  3. Here’s The Reason Why The Military Still Has Horses And Bayonets
  4. New horsepower for war zones: Special Forces saddle up
  5. Military Horses and Mules in the 21st Century
  6. History of horses during WWI
  7. Are horses still used in the US military?
  8. Military Mounts at Fort Bragg
  9. War Animals From Horses to Glowworms: 7 Incredible Facts
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The 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army played major roles in World War II. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to say that I believe the outcome would have been quite different if not for the 101st.

This was part of General Order #5 read by Major General William Lee:

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.”

In today’s post, I am going to explain the role of the 101st Airborne in World War 2, and what they did.

D-Day

The first important role came in the early morning hours before the invasion of Normandy we know as D-Day. The 101st Airborne were tasked with dropping in behind enemy lines and securing several areas. Approximately 6,600 101st Airborne soldiers were loaded onto C-47 transport aircraft with 60+ pounds of gear attached to them.

They were to be dropped in several important zones to help prepare for the invasion of troops via the beaches.

Pathfinders

The pathfinders were the first to go in. These were gliders that operated under the 101st. Many of them crashed.

The Missions

101st airborne

American paratrooper, among the first to make successful landings on the continent, holds a Nazi flag captured in a village assault. Utah Beach, St. Marcouf, France. 8 June 1944
Courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

Drops were made inland from Utah Beach. Many drops did not go as planned because of fog and anti-aircraft fire. Certain Airborne soldiers were tasked with anchoring the Southern flank. They were to eliminate the German secondary beach defenses which would allow the 4th Infantry Division the ability to move inland once they had reached shore.

Other Screaming Eagles were to capture bridges that ran behind the beach. Others were tasked with capturing the la Barquette Lock and to destroy a bridge West and North of Carentan, along with a railroad bridge.

Even with the bad drops, men from the 101st proceeded with their missions. They secured beach exits and contacted the 4th Infantry Division. They captured and controlled the la Barquette Lock. They were not able to secure the river crossings because of heavy enemy fire.

Elements of the 101st were ordered to capture and secure the town of Carentan, which they were able to do.

Throughout this whole operation, the 101st suffered heavy losses, but they showed total resolve and a willing to win at all costs.

They were put to their first test, and they showed that they could get the job done. They were given time to replace equipment and personnel, and then the next mission was given.

Operation Market Garden

In September of 1944, the plan was to take control of Highway 69 running completely through the Netherlands. The 101st Airborne Division became a part of XVIII Airborne Corps, with Major General Matthew Ridgway as Commander. This was to be an allied operation under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

The plan was for airborne divisions to capture and hold bridges all along this passage to allow British armored units easy access all the way into Northern Germany.

For the most part, the 101st Airborne and 82nd Airborne Divisions performed to their top level. They managed to secure most of the bridges they were tasked with, but the Son bridge was destroyed by the Germans. A Bailey Bridge was constructed so the armor could pass, but German resistance was high.

While the operation was a failure, the 101st performed to utmost standards.

Battle of the Bulge

The Germans had a plan to capture the complete Ardennes Forest located in Belgium and France. The allied forces could not allow that to happen. The 101st Airborne was ordered to defend the town of and area of Bastogne. Since the Commander, Major General Taylor was on leave State-side, Brigadier General McAuliffe was acting Commander. Making the long trip to Bastogne, the 101st prepared for intense fighting, which happened.

The Germans completely surrounded the area and cut off the 101st from all. The fighting was hard and the Germans offered the 101st the opportunity to surrender. This is when BG McAuliffe issued a famous answer to the Germans, “Nuts!”

The 101st held and finally, the 4th Armored Division and the 3rd Army broke through and drove the Germans into a retreat mode.

For their actions at Bastogne, the 101st Airborne Division was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation.

Ruhr Pocket

For a short time, members of the 101st were sent to what was known as the Ruhr Pocket in Germany. There was several German units still holding out in this area and they were tasked with killing or capturing them. In a short time, allied forces had nearly eliminated all German resistance.

To Hitler’s Retreat

The 101st was sent to Berchtesgaden. This is where Hitler’s vacation retreat was located. They captured key figures of the Nazi regime.

101st Airborne World War II Statistics

There are some amazing statistics attributed with the 101st Airborne in World War II. Just consider:

  • 2,043 Screaming Eagles Killed In Action

  • 1,193 Screaming Eagles Missing In Action

  • 336 Screaming Eagles were POWs

  • The 101st were responsible for capturing 29,527 enemy soldiers

Screaming Eagle Awards

  • 2 Medals of Honor

  • 47 Distinguished Service Crosses

  • 516 Silver Stars

  • and nearly 7,000 Bronze Stars

Final Thoughts

I will reiterate, I do believe the outcome of World War II would have been extremely different if the 101st Airborne would not had played their role in the War.

These soldiers stood strong in all missions they were tasked with. We owe them our gratitude.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any friends or family members who served with this Division during World War II?

Please post all comments or questions below. Thank you.

References

  1. 101st Airborne Division on Wikipedia
  2. The 101st Airborne During World War II

  3. History of the 101st Airborne Division
  4. Band of Brothers: 101st Airborne Division

  5. http://www.pararesearchteam.com/101stAirborne1944.html

  6. World War II: 101st Airborne Division Holds the Line Along Hell’s Highway
  7. World War II: Pathfinders Resupply 101st Airborne Division Troops in Bastogne Via Daring Parachute Drop
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