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The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) ("Screaming Eagles") is a light infantry division of the United States Army that specializes in air assault operations. It can plan, coordinate, and execute multiple battalion-size air assault operations to seize terrain. These operations can be conducted by mobile teams covering large distances, fighting behind enemy lines, and working in austere environments with limited or degraded infrastructure. Its unique battlefield mobility and high level of training have kept it in the vanguard of U.S. land combat forces in recent conflicts: for example, foreign internal defense and counterterrorism operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan in 2015–2016, and in Syria, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2018–2021.
|101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Part of||XVIII Airborne Corps|
|Headquarters||Fort Campbell, Kentucky|
|Nickname(s)||"Screaming Eagles" (special designation)|
|Motto(s)||Rendezvous With Destiny|
|Mascot(s)||Bald eagle (Old Abe)|
|Engagements||World War II|
|Commander||MG Joseph P. McGee|
|Command Sergeant Major||CSM Veronica Knapp|
|Complete list of commanders|
|Combat service identification badge|
|Subdued shoulder sleeve insignia worn on OCP-ACU|
|Distinctive unit insignia of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion|
Established in 1918, the 101st Division was first constituted as an airborne unit in 1942. During World War II, it gained renown 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. In mid-1968, the division was reorganized and redesignated as an airmobile division; in 1974, as an air assault division. The titles reflect the division's shift from airplanes to helicopters as the primary method of delivering troops into combat.
At the height of the War on Terror, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) had over 200 aircraft. This shrank to just over 100 aircraft with the inactivation of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade in 2015, making it no different in configuration from the Army's other light infantry divisions. In 2019, media reports suggested the Army was working to restore the 101st's aviation capabilities so it can return to lifting an entire brigade in one air assault operation.
Division headquarters is at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Many current members of the 101st are graduates of the U.S. Army Air Assault School, which is co-located with the division. The school is known as one of the Army's most difficult courses; only about half of those who begin it graduate.
The Screaming Eagles was 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 General Edward C. Meyer, then Chief of Staff of the Army.