Tag Archives: 101st Airborne Division

Screaming Eagles Headed Back to Europe After 80 Years

U.S Army Maj. Gen. JP McGee, right, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica Knapp, left, case the division colors during a color casing ceremony at McAuliffe Hall, Fort Campbell, Ky., July 5, 2022. The ceremony was held to officially mark the Screaming Eagle’s deployment to the European Command theater of operations to assure NATO allies and deter Russian aggression in the region. The casing of the colors symbolizes their departure from Fort Campbell, Ky. Their colors will remain cased until they redeploy the European Command theater of operations. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Sinthia Rosario, 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs)

While the 101st famously started their 1944-45 European vacation at Normandy– including the capture of Carentan– and ended 214 days later at the Eagle’s Nest, suffering 11,548 battle casualties along the way, the division’s post-WWII logs have seen it stay more Asia-way.

Earning 12 battle streamers in Vietnam as well as two for Southwest Asia service (along with a Meritorious Unit Commendation), the unit as a whole has kept out of Europe with the exception of exercises. However, that has changed as the division headquarters and the 2nd Brigade as a whole are headed there for the next several months.

From the Army:

Elements of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) began arriving to the Mihail Kogalniceanum Airbase in Romania June 20, and are scheduled to continue arriving during the next several days.

Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, will support the U.S. Army V Corps’ mission to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises with partners across the European continent in order to reassure allies and deter further Russian aggression.

The deploying 101st Soldiers do not represent additional U.S. forces in Europe, but are taking the place of Soldiers assigned to 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division.

As noted by local media around E-Town: 

Considering Fort Campbell soldiers haven’t been deployed to Europe in 80 years, to put that in perspective – in 1942, gas was 20 cents.

The most-watched film that year was Bambi, and Bing Crosby released “White Christmas” in July 1942, which would be the Billboard top hit for three months that year.

The 4,700 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division began deploying to Europe in late June.

The latest troop will depart Fort Campbell at 10:30 Wednesday night.

In related news, it is almost ironic that Bradford Freeman, the last survivor of the Easy 506th’s famed “Band of Brothers,” died on Sunday in Columbus, Mississippi. He was 97.

Army Spends $1B on Sci-Fi Weapon Sights

Massachusetts-based FLIR Systems Inc. and Leonardo DRS of Melbourne, Florida last week pulled down a shared $1 billion Pentagon contract for advanced weapon sights.

Terme the Family of Weapons Sights-Individual, when coupled with the new ENVG-B night-vision goggles, the FWS-I gives the user the ability to accurately engage targets via offset shooting without shouldering the weapon. This includes shooting in daylight or no-light, through smoke, and under adverse weather such as rain and fog.

“The ENVG III/FWS-I integrated solution uses a wireless connection that transmits the weapon sight’s aim point and surrounding imagery directly into the soldier’s goggle,” notes the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier.

Yup, around corners, under obstacles such as cars, etc., all while giving you thermal “Predator vision”

Weight on the FWS-I is under two pounds, giving an 18-degree field of view and a range of almost 1,000 meters. The runtime on a trio of AA Lithium batteries is seven hours, which means you really need to carry some spares, but hey, these things allow you to fire from cover and concealment, and ignore the night, weather, and smoke grenades.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Bastogne Beer Run

World War II Veteran Vincent J. Speranza, spent 144 days in combat with Company H, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, and, at 95, is one of the estimated 600 or so remaining vets who served at the Battle of the Bulge. A few months ago, he jumped with the Black Knights.

However, in the Bastogne area today, he is far better remembered for a beer run than for his staunchly-defended machine gun nest.

Check out the detailed backstory behind that, below.

Loading up, 76 years ago today

Note Gorenc’s strapped down M1 Thompson SMG and fighting knife on his boot. Notably, he chose not to use a Griswold jump bag for his Tommy Gun, preferring to have it available immediately when landing (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)

“Sgt. Joseph F. Gorenc from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the assistant S3 of HQ/3, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division climbing aboard the lead transport aircraft C-47 Dakota 8Y-S “Stoy Hora” of the 440th Troop Carrier Group at RAF Exeter Airfield, Devon, the UK on the night of 5/6th June 1944 for a drop behind Utah Beach on the Cotentin Peninsula of France near Cherbourg.

Sgt. Gorenc was taken prisoner on June 8th at St. Côme-du-Mont and reported as MIA. He apparently escaped from a Prison train in July and he was in action again at ‘Operation Market Garden’.

He returned home after the war, married, and had two daughters and at the age of 34 was an officer in a new startup manufacturing firm. While he, the owner, and another man were working late in the shop one night, an oil tank exploded. The young man; Joe and the owner were all injured but Joe’s injuries were life-threatening and he died two weeks later. (Taken from an account given by his sister Pat)”

Joseph F. Gorenc, born April 24, 1923 – died October 30, 1957, aged 34.