The 101st Airborne Division (“Screaming Eagles”) is a specialized modular light infantry division of the US Army trained for air assault operations. The Screaming Eagles has been 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 (ret). The 101st Airborne is able to plan, coordinate, and execute brigade-size air assault operations capable of seizing key terrain in support of operational objectives, and is capable of working in austere environments with limited or degraded infrastructure. These particular operations are conducted by highly mobile teams covering extensive distances and engaging enemy forces behind enemy lines. According to the author of Screaming Eagles: 101st Airborne Division, its unique battlefield mobility and high level of training have kept it in the vanguard of US land combat forces in recent conflicts. More recently, the 101st Airborne has been performing foreign internal defense and counterterrorism operations within Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 101st Airborne Division has a history that is nearly a century long. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord (the D-Day landings and airborne landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France), Operation Market Garden, the liberation of the Netherlands and its action during the Battle of the Bulge around the city of Bastogne, Belgium. During the Vietnam War, the 101st Airborne Division fought in several major campaigns and battles, including the Battle of Hamburger Hill in May 1969.
At the height of the War on Terror, the 101st Airborne Division had over 200 aircraft. The division now has slightly over 100 aircraft.
As of December 2017, the division had about 29,000 soldiers, down from 35,000 soldiers just three years prior because of budget restraints.
The 82nd Airborne Division is an airborne infantry division of the United States Army, specializing in parachute assault operations into denied areas with a U.S. Department of Defense requirement to “respond to crisis contingencies anywhere in the world within 18 hours.Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The 82nd Airborne Division is the U.S. Army’s most strategically mobile division. Some journalists have reported that the 82nd Airborne is the best trained light infantry division in the world. More recently, the 82nd Airborne has been conducting operations in Iraq, advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces.
The division was constituted, originally as the 82nd Division, in the National Army on 5 August 1917, shortly after the American entry into World War I. It was organized on 25 August 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia and later served with distinction on the Western Front in the final months of World War I. Since its initial members came from all 48 states, the division acquired the nickname All-American, which is the basis for its famed “AA” shoulder patch. The division later served in World War II where, in August 1942, it was reconstituted as the first airborne division of the U.S. Army and fought in numerous campaigns during the war.