The first into combat and the last out, their advance jumps into enemy territory were considered suicide missions by those who sent them into action. World War Two's special operations commandos, the U.S. Army Pathfinders relied on their stealth, expert prowess, and matchless courage and audacity to set the stage for airborne drops and glider landings throughout Europe.
After the invasion of Sicily almost ended in disaster, General Jim Gavin was determined to form an all-new unit of specialized soldiers who would jump ahead of the airborne forces without any additional support, stealing across enemy terrain to scout and mark out drop zones with a unique array of homing equipment. Sporting Mohawk haircuts, war paint, and an attitude of brash confidence, they were the best of the best. Their heroic feats behind the lines were critical to nearly all of the Allies' major victories from Normandy to Bastogne—where they saved the day for thousands of besieged American troops.