11th Airborne Division

...."I shall return."

................................. ......General Douglas Mac Arthur

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MG Joseph M Swing
Gen Joseph M Swing


Gen Douglas Mac Arthur

Gen Matthew B Ridgway

11th Airborne WW II
Medal of Honor

Pvt Elmer E Fryar
Pfc Manuel Perez Jr


USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II

Camp Claiborne, Louisiana


The 11th Airborne (CMH) Center for Military History

New Guinea (CMH)

Luzon vs Formosa (CMH)


The Drop Zone: One Night on Tagaytay Ridge

The Drop Zone: Nagsubu - 188th GIR on the Philippine Beachhead

The 11th Airborne during World War II

11th Airborne Division Patch he 11th Airborne Division was activated at Camp Mackall North Carolina on February 25, 1943 under the command of Major General Joseph M. Swing (picture left). The division was manned primarily with former glider troops and some veteran Airborne troops. Immediately after activation, the Division began an intensive training cycle to get all of the glider troops jump qualified. Many of the troops were simply sent up in an aircraft with little formal training on the ground. The new Airborne soldiers performed above expectations and the Division was ready for overseas movement barely a year later.

In early 1944, the "Angels" were ordered to prepare for embarkation and the Division moved to San Francisco California. They boarded troop transports and in May they were on their way to New Guinea in the South Pacific. Upon arrival they were ordered into an intensive training cycle to learn jungle warfare in preparation for the invasion of the Pilippines. For 5 months the 11th Airborne sweated in the jungles and mountains of New Guinea and had several training jumps. FInally on November 11th, the Division boarded transports for their objective.

On November 18, 1944, the Angels landed at Leyte Beach Philippines. After consolidating their equipment, they moved inland to relieve they weary 24th Infantry and 37th Infantry Divisions. The 11th's objective was to clear a mountain pass from Burauen to Ormoc. It took 3 months of bitter fighting, often hand-to-hand to drive the Japanese defenders from the pass and surrounding heights. In the end the 11th Airborne had killed almost 6,000 enemy soldiers. When the Division arrived in Ormoc they were given a much needed rest and resupply.

On January 26, 1945 the 11th went back into action having rested only a few days. The Division landed at Nasgubu Beach, Luzon some 70 miles from the capitol city of Manila. Their mission was simple, clear all enemy opposition from a major highway and link up with the Allied forces attacking Manila. In just 5 days, the Division had eliminated all enemy resistance along Highway 17 and had pierced the main line of resistance at Tagayatay Ridge. Here the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted a combat parachute drop to reinforce the 11th and the Division continued north.

After capturing Fort McKinley and Nichols field, the 11th launched their assult on Manila joining the 1st Cavalry Division and the 37th Infantry Division who were attacking from the North. Once the capitol was liberated, the 11th made a daring raid behind enemy lines and liberated 2,147 Allied POWs from the Los Baños Internment Camp. Once that mission was cleared the 11th Airborne spent the next few weeks mopping up resistance in the southern areas of Luzon.

In May of 1945, the Division moved into a reserve area in the Philippines to rest, resupply and take in new troops. They began preparations for the next big operation. Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese home islands. Those plans were cancelled after the Japanese surrender in August 1945. On Aug. 10, 1945, the division moved to Okinawa to escort Gen. Douglas MacArthur into Japan and to spearhead the occupation. The 11th Airborne landed at Atsugi Airdrome, near Tokyo, on Aug. 30, 1945, and occupied an initial area in and around Yokohama. They remained there until mid-September 1945, when they moved to northern Japan and assumed responsibility for Akita, Yamagata, Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures. The division later took over control of Amori, Hokkaido, Fukushima and Prefectures to control of almost half the island of Honshu and all the island of Hokkaido.

Legend has it that when the 1st Cavalry Division, whose motto is "1st in Manila, 1st in Tokyo" arrived in Tokyo, they were met by the 11th Airborne Division band. The band played a special song for the Cavalry; "The old gray mare ain't what she used to be". General Swing left the division, which he had formed and led through combat, in January 1948, to assume command of 1st Corps, 8th Army and Maj. Gen. William M. Miley, the former commander of the 17th Airborne Division, assumed command. The 11th Airborne Division remained on occupation duty until 1949 when they were relieved and sent to Camp Campbell Kentucky.

Source: Leo Kocher (G-511th Airborne))

R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Ambrose, Stephen E Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster, (June 2001) 336 p. ISBN: 0-743-21638-5
Ambrose, Stephen E Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945. Simon & Schuster, (Nov 1997) 528 p. ISBN: 0-684-81525-7
Astor, Gerald  A Blood-Dimmed Tide: The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It. Mass Market Paperback, 1994 ISBN: 0440215749
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Bando, Mark A  Avenging Eagles: Forbidden tales of the 101st Airborne in World War 2. Bando Publishing, (2006) 183 p. ISBN: 0977911705
Bando, Mark A  101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Press, (Apr 2001) 156 p. ISBN: 0760308551
Bando, Mark A  Vanguard of the Crusade: The US 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The Aberjona Press, (June 2003) 320 p. ISBN: 0971765006
Black, Wallace B.& Blashfield, Jean F. Battle of the Bulge (World War II 50th Anniversary Series). Crestwood House, 48 pp May,1993 ISBN: 0896865681
Bradley, James Flags of Our Fathers Bantam (May 2,2000), 384 p. ISBN: 0553111337
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, (1989) 621 p.
ISBN: 0-312-03350-8

Breuer, William B Unexplained Mysteries of World War II. John Wiley & Sons, Sept 1998 256 p. ISBN:0471291072
Brooks, Victor Hell is Upon Us: D-Day in the Pacific-Saipan to Guam, June-August 1944. Da Capo Press, (Sept 2005) 384 p. ISBN: 0306813696
Davis, Donald A Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor. New York: St. Martin Press, (March, 2005) 400 p. ISBN: 0-312-30906-6
D'Este, Carlo  Decision in Normandy William S Konnecky Assc(P), 560 p. ISBN: 1568522606
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
Devlin, Gerard S  Paratrooper! St Martin's Press, (P) c1976 ISBN: 0312596529
Flanagan, Lt Gen E. M. Jr. USA (Ret.) The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division 1943-46 10/89, Presidio Press, 422 p. ISBN: 0891413588
Keegan, John The Second World War Penguin (P), 708 p. ISBN: 014011341X
O'Donnell, Patrick K. Beyond Valor  Free Press, 2001, 384 p. ISBN: 0684873842
O'Donnell, Patrick K. Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat  Free Press, 3/13/2002, 320 p. ISBN: 0743214803
Ryan, Cornelius  The Longest Day Touchstone Books (P), 350 p. ISBN: 0671890913
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Webster, David Kenyon Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D- Day and the Fall of the Third Reich 352p. ISBN: 0385336497

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