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This History of Fort Campbell’s Week of the Eagles

 

2014 Fort Campbell Week of the EaglesFort Campbell, KY – Major General J.H. Cushman hosted Fort Campbell’s first “Week of the Eagles” May 21st-25th, 1973; one year after the 101st was officially welcomed back from Vietnam.

The week was touted as a celebration of the Division’s combat readiness and was held in the same time period as Armed Forces and Memorial Days. The week also featured both a Kentucky Day of the Eagles and a Tennessee Day of the Eagles. Kentucky Governor Wendell Ford and Tennessee Governor Winfield Dunn both visited Fort Campbell to mark the occasions.

Fort Campbell kicks off the Week of the Eagles with a Division Run.

Fort Campbell kicks off the Week of the Eagles with a Division Run.

In addition to displays and tours of the post, there were a number of activities held during the initial Week of the Eagles. Individual reviews were held to honor both states that border Fort Campbell along with a Vulcan squad, 106 recoilless rifles, squad field firing, and other military skills competitions that pitted units and Soldiers against each other.

The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) also dedicated Gardner Hills was in the memory of 1st Lieutenant James A. Gardner, a platoon leader with 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, who was killed in Vietnam in 1967. He was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

An “Old-Timers” Day was also part of the first Week of the Eagles, to allow former 101st Soldiers to revisit the “Screaming Eagles.”

Capping the event was a Division Review. Lieutenant General Melvin Zais, 3rd U.S. Army Commanding General at the time, was one of the special guests in the reviewing stand as 15,000 101st Soldiers marched by.

In later years the Division Run, Concert, and Super Saturday Air Show was added to the celebration.

Each Week of the Eagles has a special theme, and this Week of the Eagles celebrates the entry of the 101st Airborne Division into the Vietnam War.

On July 29th, 1965, the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam earning the nick-name of “The Nomads of Vietnam”. The remainder of the Division remained at Fort Campbell until ordered to Vietnam in late-1967. During the enemy’s ill-fated Tet Offensive in 1968, the Screaming Eagles were involved in combat operations from Saigon to Quang Tri Province.

In August 1968, the Screaming Eagles shed their parachutes in favor of helicopter-borne operations earning a new designation – the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). After the Tet Offensive, the Division settled into Thua Thien Province and continued offensive operations there until redeployed to the United States in early-1972.

The post Vietnam period was a time of change for the Army and the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). In February 1974, then-Major General Sidney Berry signed Division General Order 179 authorizing wear of the new Airmobile (late Air Assault) qualification badge. Reflecting a shift in structure and orientation, the Division was re-designated as the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) on October 4th, 1974.

The 2014 Week of the Eagles celebration closes out with the Division Review and the Honor Eagle Ceremony on Thursday.

The 101st Sustainment Brigade passes in review

The 101st Sustainment Brigade passes in review

 


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