The 101st Airborne Division unit crest, officially known as a Distinctive Unit Insignia, features the motto “Rendezvous With Destiny,” a phrase coined by Division Commander Major General William Lee in a General Order he issued just a few days after the unit received its “Airborne” designation. “The 101st Airborne Division…has no history,” the order read, “but it has a rendezvous with destiny.” The order also noted that the bald eagle on the unit’s badge—actually inspired by a mascot of a Civil War regiment from Wisconsin—reflected the Division’s modus operandi in that it would “crush its enemies by falling upon them like a thunderbolt from the skies.”

One of the 101st Airborne Division’s finest achievements came during the First Gulf War. On 25 February 1991, more than five dozen Blackhawk helicopters from the 101st Airborne carry over 1,000 soldiers landed in the Euphrates Valley and seized Highway 8, a critical logistic chokepoint because it served as a supply line Basra and Iraqi infantry. In all, the Division suffered no combat casualties during the fighting in what came to be known as the “100-Hour War,” but it did suffer 16 casualties, including five fatalities when a Blackhawk crashed during an attempt to rescue a downed F-16 pilot.

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