The 101st Airborne arrived in England on September 15, 1943, and received additional training in Berkshire and Wiltshire. On June 6, 1944 the division was dropped into Normandy behind Utah Beach. Against fierce resistance it took Pouppeville, Vierville, and St. Come du Mont. On June 12 the stronghold of Carentan fell, and after mopping up and maintaining its positions, the division returned to England on July 13, for rest and training. On September 17, taking part in one of the largest of airborne invasions, the 101st landed in Holland, took Vechel and held the Zon bridge. St. Oedenrode and Eindhoven fell after sharp fighting on September 17and 18. Opheusden changed hands in a shifting struggle, but the enemy was finally forced to withdraw on October 9.
After extensive patrols, the division returned to France on November 28, for further training. On December 18 it moved to Belgium to stop the German breakthrough. Moving into Bastogne under the acting command of Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, it set up a circular defense and although completely surrounded, refused to surrender on December 22. Its perimeter held against violent attacks. The 4th Armored Division finally reached the 101st on December 26and the enemy offensive was blunted. Very heavy fighting continued near Bastogne for the rest of December and January. On January 17, 1945, the division moved to Drulingen and Pfaffenhoffen in Alsace and engaged in defensive harassing patrols along the Moder River. On January 31 it crossed the Moder in a three-company raid. After assembling at Mourmelon, France on February 26 for training, it moved to the Ruhr pocket on March 31, patrolling and raiding in April and engaging in military government at Rheydt and Munchen-Gladbach. The 101st reached Berchtesgaden by the end of the war and performed occupational duties until inactivation in Germany.
Activated: August 15, 1942
Overseas: September 5, 1943
Campaigns: Rhineland, Central Europe, Normandy, Ardennes-Alsace
Days of combat: 214
Distinguished Unit Citations: 13
Awards: Medal of Honor-2; Distinguished Service Cross-56; Distinguished Service Medal-2; Silver Star-456; Legion of Merit-20; Soldier's Medal-4; Bronze Star Medal-9, 488; Achievement Medal-48
Inactivated: November 30, 1945 in Europe