All American Legacy | The History of the 82nd Airborne Division
Summary: From its birth in 1917 before World War I, through its redesignation as the nation's first Airborne Division for World War II, the lesser-known conflicts in Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Grenada, to today where our Paratroopers continue to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan - no other military unit boasts the history and legacy of the 82nd Airborne Division. Join us as we explore the 100 years of courage, sacrifice, and victories that define the All Americans through the eyes of the Paratroopers who lived it.
Chris Gibson had been an All American Paratrooper for two decades. He commanded All American Paratroopers in Iraq in 2005 and later commanded our Falcon Brigade, leading the brigade into Haiti in response to the catastrophic earthquake there. He ended a promising career headed toward the top of our Army to run for elected office, representing a district in New York for eight years. Chris shares his story with us, describes what drove him to run for office, and how the values and attributes of the 82nd Airborne Division carried him in his post-military life.
Episode 49 of the All American Legacy podcast examines the 82nd Airborne Division's current role as the Global Response Force - the rapid reaction force on call at all times for the Nation. We learn what it means for our units and Paratroopers to serve on the knife's edge of readiness and what it takes to maintain the Global Response Force. The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office and tells the story of America's greatest Division. Please subscribe to the podcast on Apple podcasts and tell others about the program.
Steve Zaley spent three decades listening to his father's stories about fighting in World War II with the 82nd Airborne Division's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He spent another decade writing a full anthology about his father's experience. That book, "They Are Only Gone If They Are Forgotten," is the subject of episode 47 of the All American Legacy podcast. Steve walks in his father's shoes, taking us through the formation of th 505th in 1942, then onto North Africa, Sicily, Normany, and Holland. D Day, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge: his father was actually there. This a story Steve simply had to tell and we're glad he did. We must forever maintain the legacy of the men who defeated Nazsim and kept Europe free.
In this episode of the All American Legacy podcast, we're joined by two special guests: Mike Pritts and Robert Gowin of the Mentors for Military podcast to discuss the differences between leadership in airborne units versus the conventional Army.
Thirty four years ago the United States invaded the Caribbean island of Grenada, rescued some medical students, and rounded-up a gang of thugs and criminals, along with their Cuban communist backers. The 82nd Airborne Division, in a display of its rapid response capability, led the charge. If you did not know or do not remember this, you're not alone. In fact, more than a few people back then had a hard time pronouncing the name of the place or even locating it in the right hemisphere. The conflict was wrapped up in a matter of weeks and America moved. But in the 82nd's 100-year history the invasion of Grenada turned out to be a very big deal. This was a critical moment in the life of the Division, one that would shape the way we organize for combat and prepare to deploy today. This episode, featuring the voices of All American Paratroopers who fought in Grenada, is a postmortem of that operation and the role of America's Guard of Honor within it. We piece together the insights our Nation's leaders learned from that operation, explain its relevance to today's warfare while also giving the "on the ground" experience lived by our Paratroopers during Operation Urgent Fury. As always, the All American Legacy podcast is created by the 82nd Airborne Division. We ask that you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and tell others about the show. Please leave us a rating and a review on iTunes as these help others find the program.
All American Paratrooper Mike MacLeod had an interesting journey to America's Guard of Honor. Already a professional photographer and journalist with a wife and teenage children, he enlisted in the Army and ended up in the 82nd Airborne Division at age 41 during a critical moment in our War on Terror. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with our legendary Devil Brigade, the forebears of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.During his time with the Division, Mike became one of the most published photographers in the Army, winning many military journalism awards, including Military Journalist of the Year in 2012. His images of our Devil Brigade Paratroopers have been published online and in print all over the country; many are prominently displayed in the Division headquarters today. Mike is also a recipient of a Bronze Star and a Meritorious Service Medal. He is the author of the 2016 book "The Brave Ones: A Memoir of Hope, Pride, and Military Service," about his time with the 82nd Airborne Division. He no longer serves but he remains an All American Paratrooper for life and is an active supporter of veterans' groups.In this episode of the All American Legacy podcast, Mike sits down with host Joe Buccino to discuss his observations of our current-day Paratroopers, the experience of joining the 82nd at such an advanced age, and the Division's rich legacy. Mike's deep life experience and his perspective as a father with boys almost as old as his fellow Paratroopers gave him keen insight into the Division's culture and he shared that here.As always, the All American Legacy podcast is created by the 82nd Airborne Division. We ask that you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and tell others about the show. Please leave us a rating and a review on iTunes as these help others find the program.
The 82nd Airborne Division must be able to drop thousands of Paratroopers into a contested area from the air. For most of the Division's life, our Paratroopers relied on the T-10 Parachute for delivery from aircraft to ground. Beginning in 2013, however, the All Americans began transitioning to a new system: the T-11 Advanced Tactical Parachute System. The T-11 was intended to prevent Paratrooper injuries with a slower, less forceful opening and a slower rate of descent. The change was not without its challenges and Airborne leaders from the past and present discuss those challenges in this episode.If you are or ever wanted to be an All American Paratrooper or an Army Jumpmaster, this is an important episode that describes how we train airborne operations, why we transitioned to the T-11, and why airborne proficiency training is so critical.The All American Legacy podcast is created by the 82nd Airborne Division. We ask that you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and tell others about the show. Please leave us a rating and a review on iTunes as these help others find the program.
On episode 43 of the All American Legacy podcast, host Joe Buccino speaks with reporter Karl Zinsmeister. Karl has written several books about the war in Iraq over the years, but this discussion focuses on his 2003 book "Boots on the Ground: A Month with the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq." As the title implies, Karl was embedded with the 82nd Airborne Division during the early days of that war; in fact, this was the first book published by an embedded reporter after the invasion.The world has changed since 2003, the All Americans have deployed to Iraq many times since, and that invasion seems like lifetimes ago. Karl and Joe discuss all this and place the push to Baghdad in its proper context in the lifespan of that conflict. Karl explains how he experienced war as an embedded journalist and about the men he experienced it with. He discusses the planned airborne assault into what was then known as Saddam International Airport and how the All Americans reacted to its cancellation.Then, just when the interview is going just fine, Joe challenges Karl on some of the assumptions from the book which makes for an interesting discussion with an intense, impassioned writer.The All American Legacy podcast is created by the 82nd Airborne Division. This particular episode was edited and produced by our friend Josh Harrison.We ask that you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and tell others about the show. Please leave us a rating and a review on iTunes as these help others find the program.
Veterans Day, a national holiday observed every year on November 11th, honors the accomplishments of American Veterans from all of our nation’s wars. Veterans Day is a celebration of the men and women who keep us free. But, it wasn’t always so. Veterans Day began as a commemoration of the end of World War I and, due to that war’s brutality, was a somber reflection of the costs of combat. Our understanding of Veterans Day has changed as has our understanding of the nature of war. After World War II, the holiday became appropriately festive and less silent. In 1950, World War Two was still fresh in America’s collective mind. America was moving toward a new prosperity and didn’t fully understand a new conflict in Korea. For the first time, Veterans Day was largely ignored. Vietnam veterans served in combat during a troubled time for our nation. Those Soldiers returned from war to a country divided. Veterans Day during the Vietnam War often featured argument and protest. Today, thankfully, we recognize the heroic self-sacrifice of all veterans. As a nation, we now recognize that the circumstances in which they fought are not nearly as important as their selfless service to our Nation. On this episode, released on Veterans Day 2017, Joe Buccino from the All American Legacy podcast joins with historian Dr. Joe Coohill and Penn State history professor Dr. Phil Nash, to discuss the evolution of Veterans Day. The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division. Please subscribe to the All American Legacy podcast on Apple podcasts and tell your friends about it. Leave a rating and a review as these help others find the program.
Along with Jim Gavin, Sergeant Alvin York looms as the largest figure in the 100-year history of the 82nd Airborne Division. His evolution from drunken troublemaker to Christian pacifist to God of war to philanthropist is told all over the country and in many parts of France. In fact, we’ve already covered his personal journey in episodes 3 and 4 of this program. Among historians, however, great controversy remains about York’s heroics during World War I. For decades questions have lingered: How many Germans did York really capture? Has he been credited with the actions of other Soldiers from the 82nd? How fierce was the fighting that day? In this episode we bring in two of our favorite historians, Dr. Phil Nash and Dr. Joe Coohill, to discuss exactly what we know about what occurred in the Argonne Forest on October 8, 1918. We explain the controversy that has followed this story, separate fact from myth, and leave you with a clear understanding of what we know and how we know it. The All American Legacy podcast is dedicated to telling the 100-year-history of the 82nd Airborne Division. We are focused on the known and seek to defeat myths surrounding our legacy. In so doing, we hope to provide listeners with a deeper, more abiding sense of the history of America’s greatest Division. We ask that you please leave a rating and review for this program on iTunes. Please subscribe to the program and tell others about the All American Legacy podcast.
It was the spring of 1965: the height of the Cold War. In a post-World War II economy, the United States was soaring, the clearly-identified head of the free world. With the Soviet Union its greatest adversary, the spread of communism was considered the biggest threat to national security. When communist-inspired groups initiated a civil war in the Dominican Republic, President Lyndon Johnson was concerned about communism spreading from the Caribean nation throughout the Western Hemisphere. The United States launched Operation Power Pack, an invasion of the Dominican Republic, spearheaded by the 82nd Airborne Division, to restore order in the Dominican Republic. This is the story of the men on that deployment, in their own words. The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division. Please susbscribe on iTunes (tiny.cc/AALPiTunes) and tell others about the program. Please leave us a rating and a review as these help others find the program.
Before the shale oil boom in the United States, Americans were reliant on the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf. The tiny Emirate of Kuwait was a reliable partner for us and a major oil producer in the region. When the country of Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush launched the 82nd Airborne Division as the initial American ground force in the Persian Gulf under Operation Desert Shield. President Bush explained that he was "drawing a line in the sand" by inserting the All Americans with their light M551 Sheridans, TOW missiles, and AH-64A Apache helicopters. The United States quickly assembled an allied coalition of forces around the 82nd Airborne Division and committed to the largest military deployment since Vietnam. Air strikes against Iraq began on January 16th and the ground phase of the war, Operation Desert Storm, began on February 24th. The 82nd Airborne conducted airmobile and mounted operations, penetrating deep into Iraq. Vehicle mounted All American Paratroopers allowed fast-moving armor and mechanized units to move deep inside Iraq. In the short 100-hour ground war, the Division captured thousands of Iraqi soldiers and tons of equipment, weapons and ammunition. With its mission complete, the 82nd Airborne began to deploy home on 7 March 1991. By April 1991, the entire Division was back at Fort Bragg. In episode 39 of the All American Legacy podcast, we tell the story of the 82nd Airborne Division's role in the Persian Gulf War. The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division with new epsiodes every Tuesday. Please subsribe on iTunes and tell others about the program.
In January 2010, a catastrophic magnitude 7 earthquake hit Haiti, with the largest impacts just outside the capital of Port-au-Prince. The damage was unthinkable: tens of thousands of buildings destroyed or severely damaged and hundreds of thousands of people killed in the already impoverished country. Many who survived were trapped in rubble or in need of first aid or food and water. Within 48 hours of the initial earthquake the 82nd Airborne Division’s Falcon Brigade, Second Brigade Combat Team, then the Nation’s Global Response Force, was on the ground in Haiti providing security, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to the local government and aid organizations. Under Operation Unified Response, our Falcon Paratroopers worked with joint forces and international organizations providing medical aid in the blazing tropical sun and distributing food and water in the dust of crumbled buildings. Our Paratroopers saved lives; the disaster in Haiti would have been much worse were it not for the actions of the 82nd Airborne Division. Episode 38 of the All American Legacy Podcast is told with no narration: just the voices of our Paratroopers who deployed to Haiti in 2010 telling their own stories. The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office and features a new story from the 100-year legacy of the Division every Tuesday on iTunes. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoy his program, please tell others to subscribe to the All American Legacy podcast on iTunes. Please leave a rating and review on iTunes as these help others find the program.
Last week our Falcon Brigade, the Second Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, returned from a nine-month combat deployment to Iraq and Syria. While there, they supported their Iraqi partners in retaking Mosul, the “caliphate” of the Islamic State, from ISIS. Our Paratroopers, along with the Iraqi Security Forces, then very quickly, very violently reclaimed the city of Tal Afar, the last ISIS holdout in Iraq. Having defeated ISIS in Iraq, the Falcon Paratroopers return having added to the All American Legacy. As their forebears did in the Argonne Forest, Normandy, the Dominican Republic, the Mekong Delta, and many other places, they killed our Nation’s enemies when called upon to do so. We will forever remember the three Falcon Brigade Paratroopers killed in combat during Operation Inherent Resolve; they are remain a permanent part of this Division. In episode 37 of the All American Legacy podcast, we speak with the Paratroopers who fought in Iraq and Syria as they return home. We also hear from some of the Families of our returning Paratroopers. The All American Legacy podcast is produced by the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office. Please subscribe on iTunes and tell others about the show. We also ask that you leave a rating and review on iTunes, as these help others find the program.
Less than one month ago, President Trump announced that America will “fight to win” in Afghanistan with a revised approach that includes a larger military presence and an emphasis on counterterrorism over nation building. Central to this new strategy is the 82nd Airborne Division. Over this past week, the remainder of our 1st Brigade – the legendary “Devils in Baggy Pants” of World War II – departed Fort Bragg to join their fellow Paratroopers already engaged in combat in Afghanistan. On episode 35 of the All American Legacy Podcast, we allow the Paratroopers in Afghanistan and there t to tell their stories. Our Devil Brigade Paratroopers are adding to the legacy of America’s Guard of Honor and this episode documents this critical moment in America’s longest war. In this episode you will also hear the story of two of our Fallen, Specialist Christopher Harris and Sergeant Jonathon Hunter, killed in a suicide bombing on August 2nd, from a Paratrooper who survived the attack. The All American Legacy podcast is the story of the 82nd Airborne Division, America’s Guard of Honor. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a rating and a review, as these help others find the program.