Moderator: JOHN THURSTON
Being an Airborne unit, parachuting is "a way to get to work" for the men of Special Forces. Their platforms for the jumps include C-141, C130 Air Force aircraft and UH-60, UH-1H, and CH-47 Army Helicopters. SF chutes also vary. The most common static-line parachute is the MC1-1C, which is maintained and packed by the Support Company Riggers (MOS 92R). SF soldiers have to jump once every three months to stay "current". They also make night jumps which are the preferred method of tactical parachute infiltration.
Select members of Special Forces also are trained in HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) operations. For these highly trained SF soldiers, HALO is the best "way to get to work". These super paratroopers can be miles from their target (Landing Zone) when they exit their aircraft and "glide" their way in for a safe, clandestine landing.
Withdrawn from Holland at the end of November for recuperation, the 101st was sent to Camp Mourmelon le Grand, France. Less than 3 weeks later, the 101st was rushed north into Belgium in trucks, to counter the German Ardennes counteroffensive.
Throwing a cordon around the key road and rail center of Bastogne, the 101st Division was surrounded for a week by elements of eight German divisions, but refused to yield the town to the enemy.
Here, General Anthony McAuliffe, the acting commander rejected a German surrender ultimatum with a one word reply of "Nuts".
The German ring around Bastogne was broken on 26 December, 1944, when elements of Patton's 3rd Army shot their way into the town. But even heavier fighting ensued, as the 101st pushed north toward Houffalize for the first half of January, to help close the Bulge.
The 463rd Parachute Field Artillery (PFA) Bn. was attached to the 101st just before the Bulge and remained with the division for the duration of WW2. That unit had prior combat experience at Anzio, as well as in southern France, supporting the 1st Special Service Force.
The 101st left Bastogne in trucks in mid January, 1945, and the weary Bastogne survivors were rushed to the 7th Army front in Alsace-Lorraine, to reinforce the line along the Moder River. A month later, the 101st boarded trains (40&8 boxcars) and returned to the Reims, France area, this time Mourmelon le Petit, where they received a Presidential Unit Citation for their defense of Bastogne.
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