101st Airborne Division

active United States Army formation

The 101st Airborne Division ("Screaming Eagles") is a light infantry division of the United States Army specializing in air assault operations. The Screaming Eagles were referred to as "the tip of the spear" by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the most potent and tactically mobile of the U.S. Army's divisions by former Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Edward C. Meyer. The 101st Airborne can plan, coordinate, and execute multiple battalion-size air assault operations to seize key terrain and can work in austere environments with limited or degraded infrastructure. These operations can be conducted by mobile teams covering large distances and engaging enemy forces behind enemy lines. Its unique battlefield mobility and high level of training have kept it in the vanguard of U.S. land combat forces in recent conflicts, e.g. foreign internal defense and counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rendezvous with Destiny  (motto)


  • When you're a paratrooper, you're the elite of the Army, you're always on the front lines. You know you're going to pay the price. Then you had the German army. They were fighting the war for years. By World War II, they had it perfected, they had the best weapons in the world. We were no match for German artillery. Those Germans were technologically advanced for being a small country. They had the best fighters in the world, the Fallschirmjaeger, German paratroopers, and the SS- Nazis, even the Germans were scared of them. They were fearless, raised as boys to live and die for Hitler. Germany was prepared, and America was sound asleep. We didn't make the plans for it, kid.
    Our company, our entire division, the 101st Airborne, was on the front lines of every major battle in the European Theater, without enough men, weapons, artillery, ammunition, and proper clothing. Easy Company had a reputation- because of our captains, Herbert Sobel and Dick Winters- as the toughest and best. Since the Army lacked manpower, we were always sent in to take up the slack. As trained as we were, as good as we were, it was chaos, death was all around, you knew any minute could be your last. We froze, we starved, we were covered in filth, we were exhausted, we lost good kids every day, we saw things people don't see in ten lifetimes. When we thought we were beaten down as far as we could go, we were kept on the front lines. I never expected to survive a day, let alone the whole war. We lost a lot of men, but we inflicted more casualties on the Germans than they inflicted on us. In Bastogne, they had three times the men and three times the firepower. I have no idea how we done it. I still can't believe we won the war.
    • William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story (2007) by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron with Robyn Post. New York: Berkley Caliber, p. xix-xx
  • The most haunting part by far was Bastogne. But when I think about the war, I don't think about the battle, I think about the men. I look at an American flag today, and I see the faces of the men I fought with, the ones who lived and the ones who died. We were eighteen, nineteen years old when we went in. We knew we wanted to be the best and fight beside the best. Be in the Airborne. Be paratroopers. The uniform alone showed the world you were different and special. You put on those silver wings, bloused up your pants, and you were it. Training was brutal, but we were with guys from all over the country. You faced the challenges together. We spent every minute together from basic training to jump training to combat. We were a family, way before we hit the battlefield. We could predict each other's every move. We were like a machine. Ready for anything. We figured we'll get to Europe, knock off the Germans real quick, and come home for Christmas. We had no idea, kid. No idea.
    • William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story (2007) by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron with Robyn Post. New York: Berkley Caliber, p. xx
  • The one thing I can say about war is that the winners lose and the losers lose. But I'm proud that I fought for my country, and that my son did, too. And proud that we fought with the 101st Airborne. I wear the eagle on my hat, on my jacket. I have eagles all over my house. If you go upstairs, your eyeballs will come out. I've got a whole room full of eagles. Four shelves of eagles and plaques. My wife used to say, "You like the eagles so much, go sleep with them in the back room." You know what they call us today? The old buzzards! We're a bunch of old geezers. The division is still active today. After World War II, they were in the Korean War, and then nothing until the fifties when they formed the air mobile division. When they needed a mobile division, the 101st was the first one formed and it's still the only one today like that. They fought in Korea and Vietnam. They are now in Iraq. Any hotspot in the world, the 101st can be ready within a day. The 82nd Airborne is still paratroops. A year or two from now, the helicopters will be history and they'll have rockets, who knows? That's technology today. Now you're getting too smart!
  • William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story (2007) by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron with Robyn Post. New York: Berkley Caliber, p. 232
  • "To the German commander.
From the American commander."
  • Guidons, Guidons. This is Eagle 6. The 101st Airborne Division's next Rendezvous with Destiny is North to Baghdad. Op-Ord Desert Eagle 2 is now in effect. Godspeed. Air Assault. Out.
    • General David Petraeus upon leading the Division in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, as quoted in [1]
  • I made it a point to try to meet every new soldier joining the Division, usually assembling them in small groups for a handshake and an informal talk. A standard question for a new man was why he had volunteered for parachuting and whether he enjoyed it. On one occasion, a bright-eyed recruit startled me by replying to the latter question with a resounding "No, sir." "Why, then, if you don't like jumping did you volunteer to be a parachutist?" I asked. "Sir, I like to be with people who do like to jump," was the reply. I shook his hand vigorously and assured him that there were at least two of us of the same mind in the Division.
  • My days in Europe with the 101st were nearly at an end. I suddenly received orders relieving me from the Division and assigning me as Superintendent of West Point. On August 22 I took an emotion-laden leave of my troops in a division review at Auxerre. For all their hard-boiled reputation, generals can be terribly sentimental about their units and their men. Standing bareheaded at the foot of the reviewing stand, I received the last salute of these gallant soldiers, their ribbons and streamers recalling our battles together. They had put stars on my shoulders and medals on my chest. I owed my future to them, and I was grateful.
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  1. Broadwell, Paula; Vernon Loeb (24 January 2012). All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. Penguin. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-101-55230-8. Retrieved on 31 October 2012.