33rd Infantry Division (United States)

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33d Infantry Division
33rd Infantry Division SSI.svg
Shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1917–19
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname "Illinois Division"; "Prairie Division"; "Golden Cross Division"

World War I

World War II

War in Afghanistan
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation (6)
US infantry divisions (1939–present)
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32nd Infantry Division (Inactive) 34th Infantry Division

The 33d Infantry Division was a formation of the U.S. Army National Guard between 1917 and 1968. In 2006, the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team was re-activated under the Transformation of the United States Army and subordinated to the Illinois Army National Guard. The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan in December 2008 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and re-deployed in August 2009.

Current units[edit]

  • 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion
  • 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment
  • 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry Regiment
  • 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery Regiment
  • 634th Brigade Support Battalion

World War I[edit]

World War II[edit]


When the US Army reorganized from the "square" (4 regiments to a division) to "triangular" (3) concept, the 132nd Infantry Regiment was separated and was sent to New Caledonia as part of Task Force 6814 where it became part of the Americal Division. The division was left with the 123rd, 130th, and 136th Infantry Regiments. The 33rd Tank Company was sent to the Philippines as Company B of the 192nd Tank Battalion prior to Pearl Harbor where it was captured at Bataan.

Action in the Pacific Theatre[edit]

The 33rd Infantry Division arrived in Hawaii on 12 July 1943. While guarding installations, it received training in jungle warfare. On 11 May 1944, it arrived in New Guinea where it received additional training. The 123rd Infantry Regiment arrived at Maffin Bay, 1 September, to provide perimeter defense by aggressive patrolling for Wakde Airdrome and the Toem-Sarmi sector. The 123rd was relieved on 26 January 1945. Elements of the 33rd arrived at Morotai, 18 December 1944. Landings were made on the west coast of the island, 22 December, without opposition and defensive perimeters were established. Aggressive patrols encountered scattered resistance. The 33rd landed at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, 10 February 1945, and relieved the 43rd Infantry Division in the Damortis-Rosario Pozorrubio area, 13–15 February. The division drove into the Caraballo Mountains, 19 February, toward its objective, Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines and the headquarters of General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Fighting against a fanatical enemy entrenched in the hills, the 33rd took Aringay, 7 March, Mount Calugong, 8 April, and Mount Mirador, 25 April. Baguio and Camp John Hay fell on 26 April, under the concerted attack of the 33rd and the 37th Infantry Divisions. Manuel Roxas, later President of the Philippines, was freed during the capture of Baguio. Between the Filipino soldiers of the 66th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Commonwealth Army, USAFIP-NL on 27 April that combined with the American forces in liberating the city in Baguio. After mopping up isolated pockets of resistance, the division broke up the last organized resistance of the enemy by capturing the San Nicholas-Tebbo-Itogon route on 12 May. All elements went to rest and rehabilitation areas on 30 June 1945. The division landed on Honshū Island, Japan, 25 September, and performed occupation duties until inactivated.

Post World War II[edit]

The 33rd Infantry Division was reformed as an all‑Illinois National Guard division on 7 November 1946. However, some of its former units were assigned to the 44th Infantry Division, which was also reorganized in the postwar Guard structure as an Illinois‑based division.[3]

By 1954, its infantry and artillery units seemingly included the 129th, 130th, and 131st Infantry Regiments, and the 122nd, 123rd, 124th, and 210th Field Artillery Battalions.[4] A number of National Guard divisions were deactivated in 1968, including the 33rd Infantry Division on 1 February 1968. However in its place the 33rd Infantry Brigade was organised.[5] On 1 February 1968 the 178th Infantry Regiment was reorganized to consist of the 1st Battalion, an element of the 33rd Infantry Brigade. The brigade carries on the division's heritage, and circa 2010 was assigned to the 35th Infantry Division.




  • Cioper, Nicole M. Prairie Division The Thirty-Third in the Great War, 1917-1919. Springfield, IL : Illinois State Military Museum, 1997. OCLC 855688345
  • Daily, Edward L. 33rd Infantry Division: The Golden Cross Division. Paducah, Ky: Turner Pub, 1996. ISBN 1-563-11264-7. OCLC 38169636
  • Harris, Barnett W. and Dudley J. Nelson. 33rd Division Across No-Man's Land. Chicago, Ill.: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 1919. OCLC 70691220
  • Huidekoper, Frederic Louis. The History of the 33rd Division, A.E.F. Springfield, Ill: Illinois State Historical Library, 1921. OCLC 5175547
  • Johnson, F.B. Phantom Warrior: The Heroic True Story of Pvt. John McKinney's One-Man Stand against the Japanese in World War II. New York : Berkeley Caliber, 2007. ISBN 0-425-21566-0 OCLC 71126807
  • Payan, Jack Louis. World War 1, 1918: Kankakee (Illinois) Doughboys, Company L, 129th Infantry, 33rd (Prairie) Division. [Palos Heights, Ill.]: J.L. Payan, 2008. OCLC 256760135
  • Phipps, John R. A Short History of the 130th Infantry Regiment, 33d Infantry Division, Illinois National Guard. 1959. OCLC 16835243
  • United States. The Golden Cross: A History of the 33rd Infantry Division in World War II. Nashville: Battery Press, 2000. ISBN 0-898-39302-7 OCLC 47785230
  • Wilson, John B. (1997). Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. Washington, DC: Center of Military History. OCLC 30625000
  • Winston, Sanford H. The Golden Cross: A History of the 33rd Infantry Division in World War II. Washington [D.C.]: Infantry Journal Press, 1948. OCLC 220297114
  • The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950.

External links[edit]