82nd Airborne Division Blog

War is indeed a nightmare of hell

“War is indeed a nightmare of hell and more do I realize that these men of ours are the most courageous in the world. They will never back up, no matter what the odds. German prisoners tell us that our paratroopers are the fiercest and most determined fighters they have ever seen.”

- quote from Lt. Col. Mark Alexander taken from a letter to his parents written not long after D-Day. Parts of it were printed in the June 29, 1944 edition of the Daily Jounral-World – Lawrence, Kansas

At the time it was written, Alexander was in command of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in France. Major Fred Kellam, the battalion commander on D-Day, had been killed. General Gavin ordered Alexander to take over because he was very experienced, having successfully led the 2nd Battalion 505 in Sicily and Italy. He would remain in that position for ten days, at which time General Ridgway, overall commander of the 82nd, made Alexander the executive officer of the 508th Parachute Regiment.

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