Nickname: Golden Talon (also called “Thunder from Heaven”) Division. ……. Shoulder Patch: Circular patch with gold “Airborne” on black arch above; stretching gold talons are against black background, representing ability to seize; black suggests darkness under which many operations are carried out. Training After activation, April 1943, the 17th, assigned to the Airborne Command, began training at Camp Mackall, N. C. From Jan. 31 to Mar. 27, 1944, the division participated in Tennessee maneuvers under Second Army. Training continued under XXII Corps at Camp Forrest, Term. Overseas, Aug., 1944 (ETO). Commanding Generals: Maj. Gen. William M. Miley, Apr., 1943, to present. ……. Component Units: (As of Aug., 1944): 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment; 193rd (removed overseas) and 194th Glider Infantry Regiments; 466th Parachute FA Bn.; 680th and 681st Glider FA Bns. (507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and 464th Parachute FA Bn. added overseas). Higher commands: First Allied Airborne Army; American Third, Ninth, Fifteenth Armies. ……. Awards: Distinguished Unit Citation to 607th Parachute Infantry Regiment for landing on Cotentin Peninsula (invasion of France), June 6 and 9, 1944. Combat Highlights At the time of the Battle of the Bulge, the 17th was transferred to Reims area in spectacular night transport landings. Other actions included outposting along the Meuse River ( Ardennes ), relief of the 11th Armored Division south of Bastogne in line between the 101st Airborne Division and the 87th Infantry Division. On the next day after relieving the 11th, the 17th attacked. In spite of snow and ice, roadblocks and mines, the 17th gained ground. Cetturu, Bouitet, Steinbach and Umerle fell. The 17th then entered Germany near Wiltz. In Feb., 1945, the division was engaged along the Our River, holding a small bridgehead south of Clerveaux, Luxembourg. In March came one of the most successful airborne operations in American military history, a feat that helped set up the final drive to Berlin and Nazi capitulation. With the First Allied Airborne Army, the 17th helped force the Rhine below the Netherlands border; landing of troops began northeast of Wesel, Dorsten, Haltern. Dulmen, Appelhausen and Munster fell. The battle of the Ruhr pocket followed. The 17th crossed the Rhine-Herne Canal April 6, establishing a jump-off bridgehead for Essen. Mulheim, Duisberg and Werden were captured. Occupational duties of the division were in the vicinity of Dusseldorf.
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