U.S. 101st Airborne Division paratrooper Corporal Louis E. Laird boards a Douglas C-47 Skytrain military transport aircraft during dress rehersals for the Normandy invasion, Spring 1944. Visible on his left shoulder is his "Screaming Eagle" insignia. He has been issued his M1942 jump jacket and trousers, while the yellow item around his neck is the inflatable Mae West Life Jacket. Note the chin cup with helmet strap of the paratroop M1 helmet. It was modified to give support to the head and neck during jumps. He has his reserve parachute on his chest with the main chute on his back and the plastic bag under his left arm is his training gas mask. Unlike many infantry units, troopers of the 101st frequently retained their divisional insignia during combat operations. Of special interest is the extra packet of cigarettes that he has taped to his left sleeve, while the white cloth tape on his helmet forming a cross over the top (and a good aiming point for the Germans!) is the ID marking for Regimental HQ of the 502nd. Due to the unlikelihood of immediate resupply, troopers became very resourceful in carrying their basic needs into combat. Other picture from the same sequence.
Book "Screaming Eagles: The 101St Airborne Division from D-day to Desert Storm" by Christopher J. Anderson