The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is the only air assault division of the United States Army. Nicknamed the “Screaming Eagles,” the 101st has consistently distinguished itself by demonstrating the highest standards of military professionalism since its activation at one minute after midnight, Aug. 16, 1942.
On Aug. 19 of that year, the first commander, Maj. Gen. William C. Lee, promised his new recruits that although the new division had no history, it would soon have a “rendezvous with destiny.” As a division, the 101st has never failed that prophecy.
General Order No. 5, which gave birth to the division, reads: “The 101st Airborne Division, activated at Camp Claiborne, has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny. Like the early American pioneers whose invincible courage was the foundation stone of this nation, we have broken with the past and its traditions in order to establish our claim to the future. Due to the nature of our armament, and the tactics in which we shall perfect ourselves, we shall be called upon to carry out operations of far-reaching military importance and we shall habitually go into action when the need is immediate and extreme. Let me call your attention to the fact that our badge is the great American eagle. This is a fitting emblem for a division that will crush its enemies by falling upon them like a thunderbolt from the skies. The history we shall make, the record of high achievement we hope to write in the annals of the American Army and the American people, depends wholly and completely on the men of this division. Each individual, each officer and each enlisted man, must therefore regard himself as a necessary part of a complex and powerful instrument for the overcoming of the enemies of the nation. Each, in his job, must realize that he is not only a means, but an indispensable means for obtaining the goal of victory. It is, therefore, not too much to say that the future itself, in whose molding we expect to have our share, is in the hands of the Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division.”