Who would want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Well, there were many men who did during WWII. In operations that ranged from the Normandy Invasion to Operation Market Garden to the final jump into Germany the Airborne troops took their life in their hands to end up where there were needed, when they were needed.
101st Airborne Division
The most famous of the airborne troops in the US Army came from the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles who first saw battle during the Normandy invasion. Tasked with jumping behind the German line to capture strategic targets in advance of the landings, they were to use a combination of parachute drops and gliders to reach their targets. It did not go well. The start of their offensive led to the troops ending up widely scattered, sometimes miles from their targets.
That first night they lost almost 1,500 men. But with an incredible fighting spirit and some reinforcements they were eventually able to reach their goals. During the rest of the campaign they would serve as a mobile reserve, filling gaps in the line and relieving other units. As one of the best units they saw a lot of action. But the heavy losses of men and material took its toll. The spent the summer of 1944 refitting and reinforcing the unit. Called upon several more times to make drops and fill gaps in the lines the 101st would eventually find its place in history at Bastogne where they stood surrounded by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge.
The uniform in the picture would be an example of the in from these men wore. They were light troops, fast and mobile but often lacked the heavier weapons of regular infantry. But all things considered it was not the weapons that made them the best . It was the warrior nature, the never say die attitude. Whatever drove these men to jump out of perfectly good airplanes, showed itself even more once they hit the ground.