Richard Davis "Dick" Winters
The 506th EASY Company Leader
Richard Davis "Dick" Winters (January 21, 1918 – January 2, 2011)was an officer of the United States Army and a decorated war veteran. He is best known for commanding Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Division, during World War II. He was eventually promoted to major and put in command of the 2nd Battalion.
As first lieutenant, Winters parachuted into Normandy in the early hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944, and later fought across France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and eventually Germany.
James Maurice "Jumpin' Jim" Gavin
Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division
During the war, he was often referred to as "The Jumping General" because of his practice of taking part in combat jumps with the paratroopers under his command; he was the only American general officer to make four combat jumps in the war.
Gavin was the youngest major general to command an American division in World War II.During combat, he was known for his habit of carrying an M1 Garand rifle typically carried by enlisted U.S. infantry soldiers, as opposed to the M1 carbine rifles traditionally carried by officers.
Maxwell Davenport "Max" Taylor
Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division
Maxwell Davenport "Max" Taylor (August 26, 1901 – April 19, 1987) was a senior United States Army officer and diplomat of the mid-20th century. He served with distinction in World War II, most notably as commander of the 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed "The Screaming Eagles".
Taylor took part in the division's parachute jump into Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), the first Allied general officer to land in France on D-Day. He subsequently commanded the 101st in the Battle of Normandy, including in the capture of Carentan on June 13, and the division continued to fight in the campaign as regular infantry. The 101st Airborne Division was pulled out of the line in late June, having been in almost continuous action for nearly a month and, in early July, returned to England to rest and refit and absorb replacements, after having suffered over 4,600 casualties.
In the Battle of Normandy, he jumped with his troops, who fought for 33 days in advancing to Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte near Cherbourg (St Sauveur was liberated on June 14, 1944). Relieved from front-line duty in early July, the 82nd Airborne Division had, during the severe fighting in the Normandy bocage, suffered 46 percent casualties.
Major General Matthew Ridgway and Major General James M. Gavin during the Battle of the Bulge, December 19, 1944.
In August 1944, Ridgway was given the command of XVIII Airborne Corps. Command of the 82nd Airborne Division passed to Brigadier General James M. Gavin, who had served as Ridgway's Assistant Division Commander.