what is the red "pi" symbol at the 101 airborne mean?

There is a red “pi” symbol in the hangers of the 101 Airborne next to the flag, what does that mean or what does it stand for?

Roomie sounds like she’s sleeping. (She was in the 101st.) Otherwise I’d ask her.

Do you have a picture of it? Also, is a ‘hanger’ something hanging from the flag? Something from which the flag hangs? Or do you mean ‘hangars’?

My bad, yes airplane hangars, sorry no pic, I saw it on the TV show Coming Home.

Ah. I don’t think she’d be able to tell me without a photo. (I’d have to email her a picture so she can see it when she wakes up.)

Roomie woke up. She said she never saw a pi in the hangars. She flew in the Gulf War and has been out since 1991, and the pi may be a recent thing.


I don’t see any such symbol here: http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&biw=1029&bih=691&q=101st+airborne+flag&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=

Weebl and Bob didn’t start until about 2002, so she had no idea she was supposed to bring pi.

Could it be a Rakkasan, the symbol of the 187th Infantry Regiment (a component of the 101st Airborne Division)?

It’s the symbol in the middle of this (black and white) picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rakkasans_OIF_VI_07-08.jpg

It’s purportedly the japanese character for “man jumping under umbrella.”

Missed the edit window – here’s a better picture:

Also, it’s Rakkasan (the word) that means “Falling umbrella man” or something like that, the symbol is a tori, or some kind of Japanese gate. The Regiment occupied Japan after WWII, and adopted the nickname and the symbol then.

They came back. (brought pi)

It’s a “Tori”. Every brigade in the 101st Division has a different symbol to represent them. Scroll toward the middle of this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/101st_Airborne_Division to see the other symbols for other brigades. A spade for Currahee, a club for Bastogne, and a tori for Rakkasans.

Obviously it isn’t a pi symbol, but it is so similar to it, and so extremely prevalent in the 101st Division, I am surprised that “Tori” wasn’t her immediate response.

Ahh… which is what the 506th PIR guys have on their helmets in Band of Brothers. Cool.

It’s the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which is part of the 101 Airborne. (Note the text “3BCT” in the photo **opossum **linked to.)


Had I seen a picture of it, I would have identified it myself immediately. When I was a kid I was obsessed with drawing Toriis.

She was a pilot, so it might not have applied to her.

The thing about Rakkasans is that while deployed overseas, they carry around Tori stencils wherever they go, leaving a path of hastily spray painted Tori graffiti behind them. Walls, equipment, recreation rooms, phone/computer labs, even the porta potties. Toris, Toris, Toris! So it’s become a pretty recognizable symbol to soldiers even outside of the 101st.

But this likely wasn’t the case 20 years ago in Desert Storm. Most likely they were either more humble back then, or they just didn’t have the time to pack their paint and stencils.