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82nd Airborne Division

During the last war, a sergeant named Alvin York—while his Division and the 28th were going to the rescue of the Lost Battalion of the 77th—captured 132 Germans and made himself and his outfit, the 82nd Infantry Division, known to all Americans. The "All-American" Division began this war as an Infantry Division, too, under the leadership of General Omar Bradley, but on August 15, 1942, it was redesignated the 82nd Airborne Division and began training for the special role it was to play in Allied operations in Sicily, Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany.

The 82nd left the United States in April 1943, and sailed for Casablanca, where it trained while the Tunisian campaign was drawing to a close. The Sicilian campaign was the first one in which an entire airborne division—the 82nd—was scheduled to take part. The mission started tragically, and momentarily jeopardized the future of all airborne operations, when several of the planes, slightly off course and the victims of faulty recognition signals, were fired upon by friendly antiaircraft gunners, with substantial casualties in planes and men.

In June 9, 1943, the 505th Regimental Combat Team, reinforced, tumbled out over Sicily at midnight. The rest of the All-Americans were held in reserve. It was a tough job, but doubly so that night. Tricky winds played hob with aerial navigation. Parachutists scattered along a 50-mile stretch. After landing, and for the next few days, the airborne troops fought a slashing guerrilla action, ferreting out and destroying German and Italian forces. Scattered throughout the lines of the British Army, some All-Americans helped take Comiso, Noto, and Ragusa. Fighting as they went, the men of the 82nd reassembled by foot, mule, bicycle, and truck.

In September of 1943 elements of the 82nd blossomed out over Salerno behind the enemy lines and, by effective operations in the rear, seriously disrupted the movement of enemy supplies to the beachhead area. Later the All-American units swung over to protect the east flank of the Fifth Army, and when the rest of that Army marched into Naples, three weeks after the landings, the 82nd proudly led the way.

Shifted back to England for rigorous pre-invasion training, the 82nd’s next combat mission was its most important of all. Stars blinked overhead on the morning of June 6, 1944, when, hours before the Normandy invasion proper began, parachutists of the 82nd fell into hedgerows from Cherbourg to the deep mainland. In two days the Division had captured three towns and crossed the Merderet River. In six more days the 82nd had taken Ham, thus ensuring the security of the beachhead, and had set the stage for the capture of the Cherbourg peninsula. Although airborne operations are normally short, the Division official history reads: “... 35 days of action without relief, without replacements ... every mission accomplished ... no ground gained ever relinquished ...” One company came out of the line with 16 men, and most of the Division units were cited for their work.

Two months later, under 38-year-old Major General James M. Gavin, parachute and glider Infantrymen of the 82nd struck again, in the Nijmegen section of Holland, preventing the Germans from breaking through at the Maas River, and endangering Allied operations in that area. Following the Division’s work in Holland, Lieutenant General Sir Miles C. Dempsey, British Second Army commander, paid this tribute to General Gavin and his men: “I’m proud to be commanding general of the greatest Division in the world today.”

Von Rundstedt launched his great counteroffensive. To Division headquarters came a request from SHAEF: Could the Division move out in 24 hours and get close to Bastogne? Twenty-three hours later the 82nd was in position 150 miles away, moved by truck. A prime German objective was Liège. The All-Americans were asked to hold an area southwest of the town. They held it a week against overwhelming odds. Another mission was to help provide a withdrawal route for the 28th and 106th divisions which had been cut off. They provided the escape route. In January of 1945 the 82nd hit the Siegfried Line and cracked it three days later. As the war ended, it was fighting with the British Second Army at Wittenburg, and subsequently it followed the 2d Armored Division into Berlin.

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

82nd Airborne Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 115 soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Private First Class Jafet Alfonso 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/20/1944
Technician Fifth Grade Jack Andreas 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Private Gene J. Appleby 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/18/1945
Private Edgar J. Ashenfelter 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 06/08/1945
Private William V. Askren 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/21/1945
Staff Sergeant Leon E. Baldwin 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/27/1944
Technician Fifth Grade Henry L. Beauchamp 307th Engineer Battalion 08/12/1945
Staff Sergeant Francis L. Benedict 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/18/1945
Corporal George K. Black 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/02/1944
Private Jack D. Bohrer 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 10/02/1944
Private Joseph M. Bowman 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private First Class Robert C. Bowman 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/26/1944
Private Earl Breeden 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/02/1944
Staff Sergeant Robert R. Brewer 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945
Private Oakey H. Bridges 456th Field Artillery Battalion 04/21/1945
Second Lieutenant Richard H. Briggs 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Technician Fifth Grade Mitchel Bulhack 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/24/1945
First Lieutenant Francis R. Cannizzaro 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Major William R. Carpenter 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/12/1945
Private First Class Virgil B. Carson 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/02/1944
Corporal Cecil W. Cassity 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/21/1944
Technical Sergeant Robert K. Chandler 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/09/1944
Second Lieutenant George W. Cline 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
First Lieutenant Arthur Cole 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/25/1944
Private First Class James C. Conklin 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Private Henry F. Conley 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Technician Fifth Grade Clayton F. Conover 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Private First Class Stanley Creswick 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/18/1944
Corporal Harold L. Crump 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 08/13/1945
Private First Class Steve Danko 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private First Class Marquis E. Davis 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private Vincent V. De Nard 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 02/11/1945
Private First Class Daniel V. Denton 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Sergeant Robert G. Dew 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/27/1944
Private Raymond J. Dionne 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/21/1944
Private Russell K. Dixon 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Captain John S. Doherty 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion 09/19/1945
Private Clyde S. Drake 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private Raymond A. Duff 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/24/1945
Private Herbert W. Ellerbusch 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/20/1944
Private Elmer Ellis 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion 06/07/1945
Private Jack Foster 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/06/1946
Private James R. Frazier 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private Richard H. Gentzel 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 10/06/1944
Private First Class Rollo Gilmore 504 Parachute Infantry Regiment 02/04/1946
Private First Class Charlie L. Hall 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 06/07/1945
Private First Class Thurman C. Hamilton 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/07/1945
Technical Sergeant Donald T. Harmon 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/03/1944
Sergeant William D. Hartgraves 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private First Class Roy N. Heaton 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private William D. Hedtke 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion 09/18/1944
Staff Sergeant Gerald R. Helms 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/03/1945
Private John T. Higginbotham 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Second Lieutenant Wayne Hockett 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 01/25/1944
Private Fred D. Hoffman 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/05/1945
Private Buford Hollingsworth 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Private First Class Evert A. Holm 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private First Class William P. Holmes 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 10/23/1944
Private First Class Francis M. Huntsinger 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private Charles A. Iannarino 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion 06/19/1944
Corporal Clifford R. Iken 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private First Class Willard Jenkins 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion 09/20/1944
Staff Sergeant Karl B. Johnson 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 02/02/1945
Captain Lawrence P. Johnson 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/10/1943
Private Nathan Johnson 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/20/1944
Private Robert L. Jordan 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Corporal Nona H. Juday 80th Anti-Aircraft Battalion 06/20/1944
Brigadier General Charles L. Keerans Headquarters 07/11/1943
Private First Class Gerald W. Kight 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/28/1944
Corporal Malvin W. Kitchens 307th Engineer Battalion 07/11/1944
Private Louis Kohen 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/06/1945
Private First Class Raymond C. Kurtz 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/21/1944
Private Raymond L. Lane 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion 09/19/1945
Private Stephen C. Mason 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 11/04/1945
Private Baptist J. Massar 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/08/1946
Corporal Adam McClosky 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 11/10/1944
Private Charles McLaughlin 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Staff Sergeant William W. McPhail 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Private First Class Clifford M. Mills 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion 09/18/1944
Private First Class Robert L. Mottern 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion 09/21/1944
Private First Class James Nicholas 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/20/1944
Private First Class Robert L. Nicholson 80th Anti-Aircraft Battalion 06/13/1944
Private First Class Carl G. Opfer 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 03/01/1946
Private Omar S. Ostoich 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 06/16/1945
Private Joseph S. Pappalardo 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Sergeant Harold W. Piper 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 02/05/1945
Private Leo Rakoff 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 09/27/1944
Private First Class Robert E. Ray 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private William A. Rice 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private John P. Richardson 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/20/1944
First Sergeant Wallace Ritch 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private Stanley W. Roach 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private Timothy J. Roach 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private Edman Roberts 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Staff Sergeant David Rosenkrantz 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/28/1944
Private Ray M. Rumburg 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/18/1946
Staff Sergeant G. W. Sandker 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private William L. Sandoval 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 10/06/1944
Private Eugene W. Seger 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/20/1945
Private John P. Sersha 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 09/27/1944
Private First Class Johnnie Shinholster 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 11/02/1945
Corporal Roland G.L. Smith 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/25/1944
Corporal Walter C. Smith 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/10/1943
Private Sidney M. Spector 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 09/25/1944
Corporal David S. Stanford 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/27/1944
Second Lieutenant Walter R.J. Tucholski 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/14/1944
Technician Fifth Grade John W. Turner 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Second Lieutenant Willis A. Utecht 325th Glider Infantry Regiment 10/02/1944
Corporal Walter E. Vanmeter 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/05/1945
Private First Class Wendell C. Voss 376th Field Artillery Battalion 07/11/1943
Private First Class Robert T. Wagner 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 04/06/1945
Private James R. Warren 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/11/1943
Private First Class Jack R. Wheeler 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment 07/07/1944
Private Victor J. Willson 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 09/28/1945
Private Nicholas Yesko 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 11/13/1945

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