May 7, 1942. The 16,000 men of the 82nd Infantry Division have just undergone 3 months of merciless training in Louisiana, on the muddy banks of the Red River, where the US Army is building Camp Claiborne, one of the many training centers designed to respond to the United States’ entry into the war a few months earlier. Here, conscripts of the 82nd Infantry were forged and molded according to innovative, ultra-selective training techniques. The 82nd Division has a history, a tradition of excellence and innovation. From its nickname All Americans, it draws the energy and pioneering spirit of the best men from the 48 States of the Union. And the pioneering and conquering spirit was to be in high demand when, in mid-August 1942, a word with an unknown and mysterious sound ran through the dusty alleys of the camp: “Airborne!
To tell the story of the 82nd Airborne Division is to recount in detail the extraordinary saga of the US Airborne during the last world conflict. This division alone reflects the convulsions, the upheavals, the trial and error, then the exponential and glorious development of an innovative, reckless, innovative and formidably dangerous weapon – the airborne concept.
Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland, the Ardennes… let’s follow in the footsteps of this mythical division of the American army through documents, objects and uniforms steeped in history.