USA:n 82. Laskuvarjojääkäridivisioonan historia

John Hilly

82nd Airborne Division täyttää sata vuotta. Divisioona julkaisee Podcasteja historiastaan.

Podcasts document 100-year history of 82nd Airborne Division

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- With just 18 hours of notice, the 82nd
Airborne Division is ready to deploy and conduct a forcible-entry operation
in support of U.S. national interests. But the division wasn't always that
ready, and they weren't always airborne. This year marks the division's
100th anniversary and the 82nd is producing a series of podcasts that tell
how it got to where it is today, in many cases, through the voices of its
own veterans.

"This is our centennial, our 100th anniversary, and the entire calendar year
of 2017 is a celebration of our legacy," said Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, with the
82nd Airborne Public Affairs office. "We've got a series of initiatives and
programs and outreach really to commemorate what our paratroopers have done
for the United States and for the world."

One of those initiatives is the 82nd's ambitious goal of producing one or
more podcasts each week over the next year. The first of those podcasts,
"All American Legacy Podcast: Episode 1 - Birth" details how the division
was formed back in August of 1917. It went live on YouTube, iTunes, Google
Play and the 82nd's Facebook page, Jan. 17.

Buccino talked about the early days of the 82nd, back when it was just the
82nd Infantry Division -- 25 years before Solders there started jumping out
of airplanes.

As the first podcast explains, the 82nd started off in August 1917, at Camp
Gordon, Georgia, so that it could enter into fighting in World War I.

"At the time, there was no airborne capability in the U.S. Army," Buccino
said. "So we were like all the other divisions, an infantry division. And we
fought in some of the critical moments of World War I: St. Mihiel comes to
mind, as does Meuse-Argonne. Alvin York was our biggest moment in that war,
Alvin York in the Argonne Forrest. A lot of people, I don't think, associate
Alvin York with the 82nd. But he was our second Medal of Honor recipient. He
served in the 82nd."

After the First World War, in 1919, Buccino said the 82nd was deactivated.
But later, in 1921, it stood up again, and operated for 20 years in the Army
Reserve, as a drilling Reserve unit.

In March 1942, a little over three months after the attacks at Pearl Harbor,
the 82nd was recalled to active duty.

At the time, Buccino said, "the allies were looking to introduce this new
airborne concept: vertical envelopment. And Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, the
commanding general at the time, had trained the division above the platoon
level; he trained so efficiently that the 82nd was selected to become an
airborne division."

So it was, in August 1942, that the 82nd Infantry Division became the 82nd
Airborne Division, just 25 years after it first stood up at Camp Gordon.

"It was chaotic. It was chaotic because the division had been trained for
standard infantry operations in World War II, it was trained toward that,"
Buccino said. "And the division had to be reorganized. Half the division was
sent off to the 101st, to fill the 101st."

Back then, the airborne concept was new, Buccino said. The Germans had been
doing it, he said, and the allies wanted to do it too.

"It wasn't 100 percent clear if it was going to work in large numbers," he
said. "This was a new thing that was introduced. When Gen. Ridgway announced
that we were going to be an airborne division, we're going to an airborne
status for the European theater, you had the option to stay in the division,
or leave, or go somewhere else. But the overwhelming majority decided to
stay in the 82nd."

In 1942, commercial aviation in the United States was in its infancy. Most
Soldiers in the 82nd Airborne had likely never been on an airplane. And now,
the Army was asking them to jump out of them.

"If you read the accounts of the paratroopers that went through the training
and decided to stay in, a lot of them were terrified," Buccino said. "We
know now when we do these airborne operations that the equipment will work,
and that we will arrive safely on the ground. But then, people didn't really
have that reassurance."

When the first paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division embarked on the
first operational jump mission in Italy, many of them were just novices at
parachuting, by today's standards, Buccino said.

"They'd done it five to seven times in the U.S., and maybe once or twice in
North Africa," he said. "They all had done this less than ten times in
training as aircraft to train on this were not available in the U.S. back
then. Today, we have paratroopers here who have jumped 70 or 80 times. They
are very familiar and comfortable with it. But this was not something that
the division had opportunity to train on with great frequency prior to
operation Husky."

Today, he said, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 82nd Airborne Division
Soldiers conduct 10,000 training jumps a month.

The 82nd has 100 years of history now, and Buccino said the division plans
to cover as much of it as possible in podcasts, to commemorate the
division's 100-year anniversary.

"We cover the whole history," Buccino said. "There's an awful lot to cover
here. What we're looking to tell are unique and cool stories that people are
going to be interested in. It's an in-their-own-words format."

Buccino said his office at the 82nd has been seeking out not just veterans,
but relatives of veterans as well, through social media and the 82nd
Airborne Division Association to come in and tell their stories.

The team developing the podcasts has spoken with the family of Alvin York,
for instance, and also with his grand-nephew, who is now serving in the 82nd
"It's kind of a coincidence there. We talked to him for this next podcast."

Future topics include the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, an all-black
parachute battalion, he said, who "served as smoke jumpers on the West Coast
of the United States during World War II, and were incorporated into the
82nd after the war. That's a great story."

They also plan to have historian Dan Carlin featured in a podcast, and will
cover the 82nd's involvement in the Cold War as well, including operations
in Panama, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

Soldiers interested in learning more about the 100-year history of the
"All-American" division can find the podcasts at, on iTunes or Google Play.