3 Replies Latest reply on Sep 29, 2021 2:08 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Did Eisenhower visit the 82nd Airborne before D-Day?

    Robert Machuga Adventurer

      My uncle was in the 82nd Airborne, 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion.  He told me years ago that he saw or met Eisenhower and I thought he said that it was when Eisenhower visited the troops before they left on D-Day.  It could have been another place or time.  I know there is a famous photo of Eisenhower with the 101st Airborne, but I haven't found any information to suggest that Eisenhower met with the 82nd Airborne beforehand.  I know there are photos of my uncle with the 101st Airborne.  Could this story be true?

        • Re: Did Eisenhower visit the 82nd Airborne before D-Day?
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Mr. Machuga,

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

           

          According to accounts by General James M. Gavin, General Eisenhower wanted to visit with the 82nd Airborne Division before they took off for Normandy, however General Matthew B. Ridgway, who was in command of the 82nd at the time, declined, fearing his presence would be a distraction. So, on the evening of June 5, 1944, Ike only visited with the 101st Airborne Division. This is recounted in the presentation "The Paratrooper Generals" with Mitchell Yockelson, hosted on the National Archives’ YouTube channel. However, this does not preclude the possibility that members of the 82nd Airborne may have seen General Eisenhower on other occasions.

           

          For more information about the activities of Eisenhower during World War II, you may wish to contact the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library (LP-DDE) at eisenhower.library@nara.gov. Also, the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) has records of the 82nd Airborne Division as well as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov.

           

          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from LP-DDE and RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.

           

          Additionally, the James Gavin Papers at the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center and the Barney Oldfield Papers at the Nebraska History Museum may have relevant information.

           

          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

           

            • Re: Did Eisenhower visit the 82nd Airborne before D-Day?
              Robert Machuga Adventurer

              Thank you for your reply. I actually just located an after action report about the 82nd Airborne at the Eisenhower Presidential Library website. It states that the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion glided into Normandy late in the night at 2305 hours on June 6th.

               

              What you provided is probably the only information available, but is there any evidence that Eisenhower meet with the 319th before they took off on June 6th?

                • Re: Did Eisenhower visit the 82nd Airborne before D-Day?
                  Jason Atkinson Ranger

                  Dear Mr. Machuga,

                   

                  Thank you for posting your follow up request on History Hub!

                   

                  The History Hub staff does not have further information on this topic.  It is possible that one of the institutions we referenced in our previous reply has further information, records which may be responsive to your inquiry, or recommendations for additional sources of information. We suggest that you contact them for further assistance.

                  Please note that even if Eisenhower did not visit a particular unit, it is entirely possible that any given soldier may have seen him unders other circumstances.  Unfortunately there are not sufficient records to track all the movements of every soldier

                   

                  We hope this is helpful.