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What Is the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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The 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army is a highly versatile division which specializes in air assault. Members of the 101st Airborne are often at the forefront of combat operations, reaching deep into enemy territory to secure targets and prepare the ground for troops. This division is organized into four combat brigades, two combat aviation brigades, and a sustainment brigade which provides support. It is based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

One of the strongest traits of the 101st Airborne Division is incredible versatility. Members of this division are often in high demand, since it collectively commands a formidable force of soldiers, attack helicopters, and weapons which can be deployed to devastating and decisive effect in combat. The 101st Airborne prides itself on being one of the most versatile and flexible divisions in the United States Army, rising to meet the need of the changing global environment.

This division was founded in 1942, as part of a mass organization of the United States military to meet the needs of the Second World War. Throughout the Second World War, the 101st Airborne distinguished itself in combat, most notably in the siege of Bastogne. Two Presidential Unit Citations were awarded to the 101st Airborne after the Second World War, along with four combat streamers, recognizing the courage and sacrifice of its men.

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After the Second World War, the 101st Airborne Division was briefly deactivated, before being reactivated again in the late 1940s. With a shifting political climate, the role of this military division also shifted. Members of the 101st Airborne were deployed to enforce the integration of schools during the Civil Rights era, and they also served in Vietnam as an elite airborne assault force. Members of this division perform incredibly varied tasks today, from fighting forest fires to securing the streets of Iraq.

This division is also known as the “Screaming Eagles,” in a reference to its division patch, which has a very distinctive eagle logo. The 101st Airborne Division also maintains a full time stunt parachuting team, which is also known as the Screaming Eagles. The motto of the division is “Rendezvous with Destiny,” and given the fact that it is often deployed in advance of a larger force, this motto is rather apt.

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