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13th Airborne Division

The shoulder patch of the 13th Airborne Division is a winged unicorn on a blue shield, and it is a happy choice. Tradition associates the unicorn with qualities of courage and strength, and the elements of the 13th which fought in Europe against the Nazis, displayed these qualities in abundance.

In World War I the 13th was an infantry division, and was prepared to sail overseas when the Armistice stopped all troop movements. In World War II the Division was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and later was transferred to Camp Mackall, North Carolina, The Airborne Center.

Although the 13th was assigned to the First Allied Airborne Army, it was not committed to action in the European conflict. The 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, however, which was joined to the division overseas, had had previous combat service. Operating as a combat team, the 517th fought in Italy in September 1944, and then in southern France.

In the Ardennes campaign, when the threat of the German breakthrough was at its height, the 517th fought with outstanding valor. The 1st Battalion of this rugged outfit was attached to the 3d Armored Division and went into combat around Soy and Hotten.

The 2nd Battalion, and that part of the 3d Battalion not guarding XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, was attached to the 30th Infantry Division. For their action in this bitter campaign the team was commended by the late Major General Maurice Rose, commanding general of the 3d Armored Division.

After V-E Day, the 13th was stationed in France, at Vitry-le-François. Later it returned to the United States and was about to embark for service in the Pacific when the war ended.

From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.

The division insignia is a winged Unicorn in golden orange placed on an ultramarine blue shield. The Unicorn is associated, by tradition, with the qualities of virtue, courage and strength. The division is commonly known as the "Black Cat Division: because of the flaunting of superstition by its activation on Friday, 13 August 1943.


Commanding General

6 Feb 45 Maj. Gen. Elbridge G. Chapman

Assistant Division Commander

6 Feb 45 Brig. Gen. Hammond M. Monroe

Artillery Commander

6 Feb 45 Brig. Gen. Eric S. Molitor

Chief of Staff

6 Feb 45 Col. Hugh P. Harris

Assistant Chief of Staff G-1

6 Feb 45 Lt. Col. Bernard G. Teeters

Assistant Chief of Staff G-2

6 Feb 45 Lt. Col. William J. Blythe

Assistant Chief of Staff G-3

6 Feb 45 Lt. Col. Frederick O. Hartel

Assistant Chief of Staff G-4

6 Feb 45 Lt. Col. Sigfried E. Carlson

Adjutant General

6 Feb 45 Lt. Col. Samuel A. Lewis

Commanding Officer, 515th Parachute Infantry

6 Feb 45 Lt. Col. Harley N. Trice
12 Feb 45 Col. Harvey J. Jablonsky

Commanding Officer, 517th Parachute Infantry

1 Mar 45 (Regiment assigned) Col. Rupert D. Graves

Commanding Officer, 88th Glider Infantry*

6 Feb 45 Col. Samuel Roth

Commanding Officer, th Infantry

6 Feb 45 Col. William O. Poindexter

* Regiment disbanded 1 Mar 45.




Activated 13 August 1943
Arrived ETO 6 February 1945
Arrived Continent (D+249) 10 February 1945
Entered Combat No Combat
Days in Combat 0




  • 515th Parachute Infantry
  • 517th Parachute Infantry [assigned 1 Mar 45 reorganization]
  • 88th Glider Infantry [disbanded 1 Mar 45 reorganization]
  • 326th Glider Infantry
  • 13th Parachute Maintenance Company
  • 129th Airborne Engineer Battalion
  • 222d Airborne Medical Company
  • 153d Airborne Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion
  • 13th Airborne Division Artillery
  • 676th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
  • 677th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
  • 458th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion
  • 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion [assigned 1 Mar 45 reorganization]
  • Special Troops [Headquarters activated 1 Mar 45]
  • 713th Airborne Ordnance Company
  • 409th Airborne Quartermaster Company
  • 513th Airborne Signal Company
  • Military Police Platoon
  • Headquarters Company
  • Reconnaissance Platoon
  • Band

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13th Airborne Division World War II patch, front view


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