101st Airborne Division History
In August 1990, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM. During the Liberation of Kuwait, the Division fired the first shots of the air war, and conducted the longest and largest air assault operations to date, securing Iraqi territory in the Euphrates River Valley. With announcement of the Safwan cease-fire in February, 1991, the 101st began redeployment preparations. By May 1991, the Screaming eagles were home.
The 1990s was a busy time for the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) seeing numerous deployments in support of stability and support operations world-wide. Fort Campbell-based units were deployed to Somalia, Haiti, the Sinai Peninsula, Central and South America, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
In the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, elements of the Division quickly deployed to protect susceptible facilities in the United States from potential attack. Almost immediately, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan in November, 2001. In March 2002, the Rakassans were, in part, responsible for offensive operations in the Shoh-I-Khot Valley that dealt a crippling early blow to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. After a challenging six-month deployment, 3rd Brigade redeployed to the United States.
In February and March 2003, the Division deployed to Kuwait in anticipation of combat operations against Saddam Hussein’s regime. In a grueling air and ground movement of 570 kilometers through hostile territory and intense combat in urban areas, the Division exhibited its flexibility, lethality and firepower at every turn. Fighting its way from Najaf, through Karbala and Hillah, the Division eventually consolidated in Southern Baghdad in mid-April, 2003. Ordered to Northern Iraq shortly thereafter, the Division conducted the longest air assault in history and quickly assumed responsibility for Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and the four surrounding provinces. In the months that followed, the Division concentrated on the goals of re-establishing security, the restoration of basic services, and reconstruction of civilian infrastructure. During this period, the Screaming Eagles underwrote the completion of 5,000 reconstruction projects, killed Uday and Qusay Hussein, and captured over 500 anti-Coalition insurgents.
The Division redeployed to Fort Campbell in early-2004. During the year that followed, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) fully recovered and completely reorganized under the new Army Transformation Organizational structure in anticipation of its second deployment to Iraq.