General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses American paratroopers prior to D-Day (Library of Congress)
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In the early hours of D-Day, Generals Matthew Ridgway and Maxwell Taylor did something different than their counterparts. These two commanders of the 82nd (“All-American”) and the 101st (“Screaming Eagle”) Airborne Divisions refused to remain behind the lines. They parachuted into Normandy and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their men in continuous combat for 33 days.
As participants in Operation Overlord, these pathfinders became the first Americans to set foot in occupied France, and with the Screaming Eagles they cleared the way for the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions at Omaha and Utah beaches. Military historian Mitchell Yockelson explores the unique style of leadership of these two division commanders and how it played out in the most important American campaign of World War II.
Yockelson’s book The Paratrooper Generals: Matthew Ridgway, Maxwell Taylor, and the American Airborne from D-Day Through Normandy (Stackpole Books) is available for sale.
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