The Ultimate Guide to the 101st Airborne Division Roster in WW2: Who They Were and What They Did
The 101st Airborne Division Roster in WW2: A Tribute to the Brave Paratroopers
The 101st Airborne Division was one of the elite units of the United States Army during World War Two. Nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles" for their division insignia, a white eagle's head with a gold beak on a black shield, they parachuted into Normandy prior to the amphibious landing on June 6, 1944. They also fought in Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. In this article, we will pay tribute to the brave men who served in the 101st Airborne Division by looking at their roster and their remarkable achievements.
101st Airborne Division Roster Ww2
How to Find the Names of the 101st Airborne Division Members
One of the challenges of researching the history of the 101st Airborne Division is finding the names of all the members who served in it. The official records of the division are incomplete and scattered across various sources. However, thanks to the efforts of some dedicated historians and veterans, there are now some reliable sources that provide a comprehensive list of all members of the United States 101st Airborne Division during World War Two. More than 25,000 names, alphabetically sorted into their respective units, are now available in a hard cover book with over 600 pages introduced by a historical summary of the division.
The 101st Airborne Division's Major Campaigns and Battles
The 101st Airborne Division participated in major campaigns and battles throughout the European theater of operations. Here are some of the highlights of their service:
Normandy: The 101st Airborne Division was part of the airborne assault that preceded the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. The division's mission was to secure four causeways behind Utah Beach and destroy a German coastal artillery battery at Saint-Martin-de-Varreville. The division also captured the town of Carentan and defended it against German counterattacks. The division suffered heavy casualties during this operation, but achieved most of its objectives.
Operation Market Garden: The 101st Airborne Division was part of a daring attempt to capture key bridges across the Rhine River in September 1944. The division's mission was to secure bridges at Eindhoven, Veghel, and Son in the Netherlands. The division encountered fierce resistance from German forces, but managed to hold most of its objectives until relieved by British ground troops. The operation failed to achieve its ultimate goal of crossing the Rhine, but it did create a salient into German territory.
Battle of the Bulge: The 101st Airborne Division was rushed to the Belgian town of Bastogne in December 1944, where it was surrounded by German forces during a surprise offensive. The division held out against repeated attacks and artillery bombardments, despite being outnumbered and short on supplies. The division's commander, Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, famously replied "NUTS!" when asked by the Germans to surrender. The division was relieved by elements of Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army on December 26.
Liberation of Nazi Camps: The 101st Airborne Division was among the first Allied units to encounter Nazi concentration camps in April 1945. The division liberated a subcamp of Dachau called Kaufering IV, where they found hundreds of emaciated prisoners and dozens of corpses. The division also liberated Landsberg prison, where they freed hundreds of political prisoners, including prominent anti-Nazi figures.
The 101st Airborne Division's Organization and Equipment
The 101st Airborne Division was composed of three parachute infantry regiments (the 501st, 502nd, and 506th) and one glider infantry regiment (the 327th). Each regiment had about 2,000 men and was divided into three battalions. The division also had an artillery brigade, an engineer battalion, a medical company, an antiaircraft battalion, and a parachute maintenance battalion. The division's total strength was about 15,000 men.
The 101st Airborne Division used various types of equipment and vehicles to carry out its missions. The paratroopers were equipped with parachutes, reserve chutes, harnesses, and containers to hold their weapons and supplies. They jumped from C-47 transport planes that could carry about 18 paratroopers each. The glider troops were transported by Waco CG-4A gliders that could carry about 13 men or a jeep or a howitzer. The gliders were towed by C-47s or C-46s and released near the landing zones. The division also used trucks, jeeps, motorcycles, trailers, and half-tracks for mobility and support.
The 101st Airborne Division's Legacy and Honors
The 101st Airborne Division earned a reputation as one of the most courageous and effective units of the US Army during World War Two. The division received numerous awards and decorations for its service, including eight Distinguished Unit Citations, two French Croix de Guerre with Palm, one Belgian Fourragere, one Dutch Military Order of William, and one Presidential Unit Citation. The division also received four campaign streamers for Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.
The 101st Airborne Division's legacy lives on in the US Army today. The division was reactivated in 1956 as a regular army unit and has since participated in various conflicts and operations, such as Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The division is currently based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and is part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The division's motto is "Rendezvous with Destiny".
The 101st Airborne Division's Notable Members and Stories
The 101st Airborne Division had many notable members and stories that illustrate its bravery and heroism. Here are some examples:
Richard Winters: Richard Winters was the commander of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He led his men in several actions, such as the assault on Brecourt Manor, the defense of Bastogne, and the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart. He was portrayed by Damian Lewis in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.
Don F. Pratt: Don F. Pratt was the assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division. He was killed on D-Day when his glider crashed near Hiesville, France. He was the highest-ranking US officer killed on D-Day. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart. The airfield at Fort Campbell is named after him.
Anthony C. McAuliffe: Anthony C. McAuliffe was the artillery commander and acting division commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. He is famous for his one-word reply to the German demand for surrender: "NUTS!" He later became a four-star general and commanded the US Army in Europe.
William Guarnere and Edward Heffron: William Guarnere and Edward Heffron were members of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. They were both from South Philadelphia and became close friends during the war. They fought in Normandy, Holland, Bastogne, and Germany. Guarnere lost his leg while trying to help his friend Joe Toye, who also lost his leg. Heffron was wounded in action and received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. They were both portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and co-authored a memoir called Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends.
The 101st Airborne Division's Impact and Legacy
The 101st Airborne Division had a significant impact and legacy on the outcome of World War Two and the history of the US Army. The division played a vital role in securing the success of the D-Day invasion, the largest amphibious operation in history. The division also contributed to the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny and the rescue of thousands of Holocaust survivors. The division's courage, determination, and sacrifice inspired generations of soldiers and civilians alike.
The 101st Airborne Division's legacy is also evident in the cultural and historical representations of its service. The division has been featured in numerous books, films, documentaries, and games that depict its actions and stories. Some of the most notable examples are the book and film The Longest Day, the book and HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, the book and film A Bridge Too Far, the video game series Call of Duty, and the documentary series The World at War. The division's motto, "Rendezvous with Destiny", has also become a popular phrase in American politics and culture.
The 101st Airborne Division's Challenges and Controversies
The 101st Airborne Division faced many challenges and controversies during its service in World War Two. The division had to overcome the difficulties and dangers of airborne operations, such as bad weather, faulty equipment, enemy fire, and scattered landings. The division also had to deal with the horrors and atrocities of war, such as casualties, injuries, diseases, prisoners of war, and war crimes. The division also faced some criticism and controversy from its allies and enemies, such as the friendly fire incident at Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, the alleged massacre of German prisoners at Chenogne, and the alleged looting of Hitler's Eagle's Nest.
The 101st Airborne Division also had some internal conflicts and issues within its ranks. The division had to cope with the changes in leadership, personnel, and organization throughout the war. The division also had some tensions and rivalries among its units and members, such as the competition between the parachute and glider troops, the disputes between the officers and the enlisted men, and the clashes between the veterans and the replacements. The division also had some problems with discipline and morale, such as desertion, insubordination, alcoholism, and combat fatigue.
The 101st Airborne Division was one of the most distinguished and decorated units of the US Army during World War Two. The division participated in major campaigns and battles that shaped the course of the war and the fate of Europe. The division also left a lasting legacy and impact on the history and culture of the US and the world. The division's roster reflects the diversity and dedication of its members, who came from different backgrounds and regions, but shared a common bond and destiny. The 101st Airborne Division was more than just a military unit, it was a brotherhood of heroes. b99f773239