In 2008, then- Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said of the corps he commanded, “The things we are held accountable for day in and day out as the 18th Airborne Corps, is to be able to deploy anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice to do just about anything. We are a rapid deployment force. We’re a headquarters that is designed to go and take control over a number of different types of elements: divisions, brigades, whatever. That won’t change; you know we will remain a forcible entry organization for the foreseeable future.”

Today, Gen. Lloyd Austin is the first Black American to be named Secretary of Defense and the Corps he commanded are still doing some kick-ass forcible entry around the globe.

According to the Army official website, “The XVIII Airborne Corps rapidly deploys ready Army forces anywhere in the world by air, land or sea, entering forcibly if necessary, to shape, deter, fight and win. It is known as “America’s Contingency Corps.”

The 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions fall under the command of the XVIII Airborne Corps and both have a storied and very cool history.

1. The 82nd Airborne Division specializes in parachute assault operations behind enemy lines and is known as the U.S. Army’s most strategically mobile division.

2. The division was constituted shortly after the United States entered World War I in 1917. Since its initial members came from all 48 states, the division acquired the nickname All-American, the basis for the famous “AA” on the shoulder patch.

3. During World War II, members of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 307th Engineer Battalion (Airborne) of the 82nd made an assault crossing over the River Waal in The Netherlands. Many paratroopers had to row with their weapons because their canvas boats lacked sufficient paddles. To commemorate the assault, an annual Crossing of the Waal competition is staged at McKellar’s Lake near the division headquarters at Fort Bragg. The winning company receives a paddle.

4. The maroon beret worn by members of the 82nd isn’t unique to the U.S. In fact maroon berets have been an international symbol of airborne forces since WWII, first officially introduced by the British Army in 1942. Maroon berets are worn by airborne forces in dozens of countries including Burkino Faso, Namibia and Thailand.

5. The 101st Airborne Division known as the “Screaming Eagles” is a light infantry division of the United States Army specializing in air assault operations, with soldiers inserted via helicopter (rather than jumping out of planes). The 101st Airborne has the capability to plan, coordinate, and execute multiple battalion-size air assault operations in austere environments.

6. In August 1942, the first commander of the 101st, Major General William C. Lee, read out General Order Number 5 saying “ The 101st

Airborne Division, which was activated on 16 August 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny.

7. “Rendezvous With Destiny” became the motto of the 101st.

8. The 82nd actually has two mottos: “All The Way” and “Death from Above.”

9. Famous members of the 82nd include singer Lou Rawls, NYPD Blue actor Dennis Franz, country music singer Craig Morgan and act

or William Windom.

10. Senator Tom Cotton served in the 101st, as did wrestler Tommy Mercer, aka “Crimson” and…Jimi Hendrix.

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