Historian and author Guy LoFaro, Ph.D., retired US Army officer (Lt. Colonel) of the 82nd Airborne Division and former West Point professor and alumnus, spoke recently of the research behind his 2011 book The Sword of St. Michael: The 82ndAirborne Division in World War II at the North Atlanta-area independent bookseller Acworth Bookstore. Dr. LoFaro articulated the numerous in-person interviews he had conducted while researching his book – and the roles those soldiers played during the war. He spoke with a genuine fondness of that time spent talking with 82nd Airborne veterans who jumped into Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and The Netherlands – some who had recently passed on since his interviews. Lieutenant General James M. Gavin (Wikipedia link here) and General Matthew Ridgway (Wikipedia link here) were both selected topics of the presentation and are included in the book. Gavin is the subject of Dr. LoFaro’s next book.His lecture and presentation at the Acworth Bookstore was given before a packed room whose audience included veterans and their descendants of the division, as well as others interested in the history of the 82ndAirborne Division during the war.Photo slideshow of the lectureThe Sword of St. Michael: The 82nd Airborne Division in World War II was published in 2011 by Da Capo Press (a member of the Perseus Books group) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 784 pages.
A Brief Background of the Division during the War
The US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division spent more time in combat during the Second World War than any other US airborne unit. In July 1943 the 82nd saw its first action of the war in Sicily, and then on to the Salerno beachhead of mainland Italy. The division’s 504th Parachute Regiment Combat Team remained in Italy to fight at Anzio and other areas of the rugged Italian mountains while the remainder of the division sailed to England to prepare for Operation OVERLORD. Following its stop in England, the division jumped into the areas behind Utah Beach on 6 June where it remained in combat until its return to England for refitting. The 82nd conducted its fourth jump of the war at Operation MARKET-GARDEN in September of 1944 spearheading the advance into the Ruhr. The division was called upon once again to the Ardennes where it earned its reputation for toughness and dependability.
1 Guy LoFaro, The Sword of St. Michael: The 82nd Airborne Division in World War II (Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2011)