101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Category:
tennessean of the year
Year Honored:
2002

Biography

The year was 1942. Maj. Gen. William C. Lee, the first commander of the 101st Airborne Division, told his new recruits that their lack of history would not stop them from accomplishing great things. “The 101st has no history, but we have a “Rendezvous with destiny.” In part, General Order Number Five, which gave birth to the division, reads, “The 101st Airborne Division, has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny. Like the early American pioneers whose invincible courage was the foundation stone of this nation, we have broken with the past and its traditions in order to establish our claim to the future. “Due to the nature of our armament, and the tactics in which we shall perfect ourselves, we shall be called upon to carry out operations of far-reaching military importance and we shall habitually go into action when the need is immediate and extreme. “Let me call your attention to the fact that our badge is the great American eagle. This is a fitting emblem for a division that will crush its enemies by falling upon them like a thunderbolt from the skies.” From Utah Beach during the Normandy Invasion in World War II to the battle of “Hamburger Hill” during the Vietnam War to the Gulf War where the Division once again had its “Rendezvous with Destiny” in Iraq, the 101st is today defending our country bravely fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom, the war against terrorism. Tonight we salute the brave men and women of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Commanded by Maj. Gen. Richard A. Cody and recognize them as “The Tennesseans of The Year.”

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