Academic journal article Military Review

Fighting with the Screaming Eagles: With the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne

Academic journal article Military Review

Fighting with the Screaming Eagles: With the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne

Article excerpt

Robert M. Bowen, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 2001, 256 pages, $29.95.

In 1943 Robert Bowen did what most patriotic Americans were doing--he enlisted in the Army to serve his country. Like many young men, he served faithfully until the war's end, wanting nothing more than to return home alive. Bowen's war experiences changed him forever physically and psychologically, yet in a pattern commonly seen among veterans of that era, he quietly slipped back into the fabric of postwar America. In a nation full of veterans, all with personal, private war stories, Bowen did not feel his experiences were all that unique. Some might be compelled to agree with Bowen if they did not know he had served with the 101st Airborne Division in Normandy, in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden, and in the defense of Bastogne. Fortunately, 50 years of reflection and a box full of saved wartime letters changed his opinion and now he tells his story.

In Fighting with the Screaming Eagles, Bowen tells the familiar story of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II from the less familiar perspective of glider components. Glider troops were an experimental wartime concept. Pilots endured incredible hazards in peacetime training and suffered tremendous casualties in combat employment. They fought stubbornly in the well-known battles of the 101st Airborne Division across Europe but were routinely overlooked in favor of their more glamorous brothers in the airborne regiments. Bowen dispels the unfair second-class stigma attached to glider troops and successfully tells their story. …

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