Ridgway, General Matthew Bunker, 1895-1993

Ridgway was a daring Commander of airborne infantry operations in Sicily and in northwestern Europe. Assigned to the US 82nd Infantry Division, he organized the first Allied airborne assault. This operation which took place on 10 July 1943 involved parachuting from a glider regiment as part of the initial invasion of Sicily. Ridgway successfully accomplished the aims of his mission, but the casualties were high; bad weather and insufficient training of the glider pilots forced a large number of the planes to land in the sea. On 12 September he was brought with his Division to Salerno immediately following the Italian capitulation and fought his way up to Naples.

Ridgway was then sent to Britain to participate in the preparations for D-Day. During the invasion Ridgway and his 82nd led the assault on the Cotentin peninsula on 6 June 1944. Ridgway was then put in command of the XVIII Airborne Corps which fought in the airborne invasion of the Netherlands at Eindhoven, in the defense against the Germans’ Ardennes offensive and in the Allied offensive against the Siegfried Line. His last engagement was the crossing of the Elbe.

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