Document Source: Order of Battle of the United States Army, World War II, European Theater of Operations. Office of the Theater Historian, Paris, France, December 20, 1945.
The 17th Airborne Division (Thunder from Heaven) was officially activated as an airborne division in April 1943. Still, it was not immediately sent to combat, remaining in the United States to complete its training. During this training process, the division took part in several training exercises, including the Knoll Wood Maneuver, in which it played a vital part in ensuring that the airborne division remained a military formation in the US Army. As such it did not take part in the first two large-scale airborne operations conducted by the Allies, Operation Husky, and Operation Neptune, transferring to Britain only after the end of Operation Overlord. When the division arrived in Britain, it came under the command of Gen Matthew B. Ridgway’s XVIII Corps (Airborne), a part of Gen Lewis H. Brereton’s First Allied Airborne Army, but was not chosen to participate in Operation Market Garden, the airborne landings in the Netherlands, as Allied planners believed it had arrived too late and could not be trained up in time for the operation. However, after the end of Operation Market Garden the division was shipped to France and then Belgium to fight in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. The 17-A/B gained its first Medal of Honor during its time-fighting in the Ardennes, and was then withdrawn to Luxembourg to prepare for an assault over the River Rhine. In March 1945, the division participated in its first, and only, airborne operation, dropping alongside the British 6th Airborne Division as a part of Operation Varsity, where it gained three more Medals of Honor. The division then advanced through Northern Germany until the end of World War II, when it briefly undertook occupation duties in Germany before shipping back to the United States. There, it was officially inactivated in September 1945.
Killed in Action 564
Wounded in Action 1473
Missing in Action 129
Battle Casualties 2166
Non-Battle Casualties 854
Total Casualties 3020
Distinguished Service Cross 4
Legion of Merit 8
Silver Star 177
Soldiers Medal 5
Bronze Star 695
Air Medal 16
Prisoners of War Taken 17.344
Maj Gen William M. Miley, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Assistant Division Commander
Brig Gen John L. Whitelaw, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Artillery Division Commander
Brig Gen Joseph V. Phelps, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Chief of Staff
Col Willard K. Liebel, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Assistant Chief of Staff – G-1
Lt Col Lewis R. Good, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Assistant Chief of Staff – G-2
Lt Col Lyle N. McAlister, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Assistant Chief of Staff – G-3
0Lt Col Edwin J. Messinger, Aug 1944 – Aug 1944 – VEDay
Assistant Chief of Staff – G-4
Lt Col Charles W. Koester, Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
Assistant Chief of Staff – G-5
Lt Col Richard A. Norton, Sep 29 1944 – VEDay
Lt Col Gabe W. Lewis, Jr., Aug 25 1944 – VEDay
CO 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Col Edson D. Raff, Aug 25, 1944 – VEDay
CO 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Col James W. Coutts, Aug 25, 1944 – Apr 9, 1945
Lt Col Ward Ryan, Apr 9, 1945 – VEDay
CO 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Lt Col Louis A. Walsh, Jr, (x)
CO 193rd Glider Infantry Regiment
Col Maurice G. Stubbs, Aug 25, 1944 – VEDay
CO 194th Glider Infantry Regiment
Col James R. Pierce, Aug 25, 1944 – VEDay
Order of Battle – 1944-1945
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (assigned to 17-A/B March 1, 1945)
513th Parachute Infantry Regiment (replaced the 517-PIR on March 10, 1944)
517th Parachute Infantry Regiment (relieved March 10 1944, replaced by the 513-PIR)
550th Airborne Infantry Battalion (not assigned; under division operational control Bulge)
193rd Glider Infantry
194th Glider Infantry (disbanded March 1, 1945)
17th Parachute Maintenance Company
139th Airborne Engineer Battalion
224th Medical Company
155th Airborne Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion
17th Airborne Division Artillery
680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
681st Glider Field Artillery Battalion
464th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (assigned Mar 1, 19)
466th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion
Special Troops (Headquarters activated Mar 1, 1945)
717th Airborne Ordnance Company
411th Airborne Quartermaster Company
517th Airborne Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
Reconnaissance Platoon (assigned Mar 1, 1945)
761st Tank Battalion, Jan 15, 1945 – Jan 27, 1945.
Charlie Co, 15-TB (6-AD), Jan 31, 1945 – Feb 7, 1945.
6th Guards Armored Brigade (UK), Mar 27, 1945 – Apr 3, 1945.
802d Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM), Jan 3, 1945 – Jan 5, 1945.
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Non organic), Aug 27, 1944 – Mar 1, 1945.
345th Regimental Combat Team (87-ID), Jan 15, 1945 – Jan 16, 1945.
811th Tank Destroyer Battalion (SP), Jan 17, 1945 – Jan 27, 1945.