76th Infantry Division (United States)

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76th Infantry Division
76 Inf Div SSI.svg
76th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1917–19
1942–45
1963–96
2013–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname(s) "Onaway Division," "Liberty Bell Division"
Engagements

World War I
World War II

Commanders
2015-present Major General Ricky L. Waddell
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 76 Inf Div DUI.png

The 76th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War I, World War II and the Cold War. The division was deactivated in 1996 and has been reconstituted as the 76th US Army Reserve Operational Response Command in 2013.[1]

World War I[edit]

  • Activated: August 1917
  • Overseas: August 1918
  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. H. F. Hodges (5 August 1917), Brig. Gen. William Weigel (28 November 1917), Maj. Gen. H. F. Hodges (13 February 1918)
  • Inactivated: May 1919

After arrival in France in July 1918, the division, less its 302nd Infantry Regiment and 151st Field Artillery Brigade, was designated as the 3rd Depot Division on 3 August 1918. Most of its troops were used as replacements for front line units which reduced the division to 7,000 troops. The division was skeletonized on 7 November 1918 - four days before the Armistice.

World War II[edit]

  • Activated: 15 June 1942
  • Overseas: 10 December 1944
  • Campaigns: Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, Central Europe
  • Days of combat: 107
  • Distinguished Unit Citations: 2
  • Awards: MH-2 ; DSC-11 ; DSM-1 ; SS-176; LM-5; SM19 ; BSM-1,312 ; AM-58
  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. Emil F. Reinhardt (June–December 1942), Maj. Gen. William R. Schmidt (December 1942 – July 1945), Brig. Gen. Henry C. Evans (August 1945 to inactivation)
  • Inactivated: 31 August 1945 in Europe

Training & activation[edit]

Intensive training began on 12 April 1943. This was followed by advanced training in July 1943 at A.P. Hill Military Reservation near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Winter training started in September 1943 at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. (Skis, snowshoes, toboggans, snow tractors, snow goggles, winter camouflage suits, Eskimo parkas, etc.) Simultaneously, advanced training group moved in November 1943 to Northern Michigan near Watersmeet. Winter training experts from Mountaining Training Center at Camp Hale, Colorado gave special training program. Additional winter training began at Ottawa National Forest near Watersmeet, Michigan on 19 February 1944. During this training temperatures dropped to −28 °F.

Four exercises were conducted during which the 385th Infantry Regiment (headquartered in Pori, Michigan, opposed the division as an enemy force.

On 12 March 1944, the division returned to Camp McCoy. 7,000 troops were taken from the 76th to build up forces for the impending invasion of France (D-Day) during April 1944.

In November 1944, trains headed to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts for staging before transport to Europe. On Thanksgiving Day 1944, three transports sailed from Boston Port of Embarkation to Europe.

The 304th Infantry plus a Division Headquarters party sailed on the SS Brazil. The 304th reached Southampton, England on 4 December 1944.

The 385th Infantry crossed the Atlantic on the SS Sea Owl. The 385th reached Southampton on 4 December 1944.

The 417th Infantry sailed on the SS Marine Raven. The 417th docked at Plymouth 4 December 1944.

The remainder of the division sailed from Boston on 10 December 1944 aboard the Coast Guard operated transport SS Richardson. The SS Richardson docked at the Clyde River near Grenoch, Scotland on 12 December 1944.

The remainder of the Division Headquarters sailed from New York on 4 December on the Dutch liner New Amsterdam.

Combat chronicle[edit]

The 76th Infantry Division arrived in England, 20 December 1944, where it received additional training. It landed at Le Havre, France, 12 January 1945, and proceeded to the Limesy concentration area. The Division moved to Beine east of Reims and then to Champlon, Belgium, 23 January, to prepare for combat. Relieving the 87th Division in defensive positions along the Sauer and Moselle Rivers in the vicinity of Echternach, Luxembourg, 25 January, the 76th sent out patrols and crossed the Sauer, 7 February, and breached the Siegfried Line in a heavy assault. The advance continued across the Prum and Nims Rivers, 25–27 February. Katzenkopf fortress and Irrel fell on 28 February and the attack pushed on toward Trier, reaching the Moselle, 3 March. Driving across the Kyll River, the division took Hosten, 3 March, Speicher on 5 March and Karl on 10 March; swung south and cleared the area north of the Moselle, crossing the river, 18 March, near Mülheim an der Mosel. Moving to the Rhine, the 76th took over defenses from Boppard to St. Goar and crossed the Rhine at Boppard, 27 March. It drove east and took Kamberg in a house-to-house struggle, 29 March. A new attack was launched 4 April and the Werra River was reached the next day. The attack continued in conjunction with the 6th Armored Division; Langensalza fell and the Gera River was crossed, 11 April. Zeitz was captured after a violent struggle, 14–15 April, and the 76th reached the Mulde River on 16 April, going into defensive positions to hold a bridgehead across the Mulde near Chemnitz until VE-day.

Casualties[edit]

  • Total battle casualties: 2,395[2]
  • Killed in action: 433[3]
  • Wounded in action: 1,811[4]
  • Missing in action: 10[5]
  • Prisoner of war: 141[6]

Awards[edit]

Medal of Honor:

Distinguished Service Cross:

  • Capt Robert Bertsch (Posth)
  • S/Sgt Fred H. Brown (Posth)
  • 1st Lt. Clyde W. Ehrhardt
  • Pvt. M.J. Fortuna (Posth)
  • 1st Lt. F. Gerard, Jr (Posth)
  • 2nd Lt Myron A. Mears
  • Tec 5 Edgar Pelletier
  • S/Sgt Jacob M. Peter (Posth)
  • Sgt Vito C. Pumilia
  • Pfc L.W.Satterfield (Posth)
  • Pfc W.H.Shorey (Posth)
  • S/Sgt Edward M. Transue (Posth)
  • S/Sgt A.D.Webber (Posth)

Legion of Merit:

  • Col George E. Bruner
  • Col W.A. Choquette
  • Col Meade J.Dugas
  • Brig Gen Henry C. Evans
  • Col Chifford J. Mathews
  • Col W.W.O'Conner
  • Maj Gen William R.Schmidt
  • Brig Gen Francis A. Woolfley
  • CWO Raymond J. Dutra

Assignments in ETO[edit]

  • 9 January 1945: 12th Army Group
  • 14 January 1945: Fifteenth Army, 12th Army Group
  • 19 January 1945: VIII Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group
  • 25 January 1945: XII Corps
  • 3 April 1945: XX Corps
  • 8 April 1945: VIII Corps
  • 22 April 1945: VIII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 11 May 1945: VIII Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group

Cold War to 1996[edit]

The 76th Division was reconstituted in October 1946 and reactivated in November of that year as a part of the Organized Reserve, and was headquartered in West Hartford, Connecticut. Units of the division were spread throughout the six New England states.

For the next 13 years, the division served as a traditional line Infantry division, training annually at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts and at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum), New York. In May 1959, the Division was re-designated and reorganized as the 76th Division (Training) with the mission of training initial (basic) entry soldiers of various branches and in later years the division also became able to train infantry volunteers or draftees.

In this role during 1985 and 1986, in an operation codenamed "Onaway Eagle", the division successfully defined, established and executed the first USAR (United States Army Reserve) mobilization army training center at Fort Campbell, Kentucky which became the model for utilization and employment of other reserve training divisions in the United States Army. In Operation Onaway Eagle, elements of the division successfully conducted Basic Combat Training for hundreds of new soldiers.

In 1990-1991, during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the division validated and deployed to the Middle East over 600 of its soldiers where they served with distinction with the Third Army.

On 1 October 1994, the division was again re-designated and on 18 April 1995 was reorganized as the 76th Division (Institutional Training) and 15 November 1996 was inactivated at West Hartford, Connecticut.

Reactivation in 2013 to present[edit]

In February 2013, Major General Daniel York sought a historical designation for a new command being stood up in the Army Reserve. The 76th Division was reactivated as the 76th USAR Operational Response Command (ORC) and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their mission is to provide operational engagement packages and joint enabling capabilities for homeland response, cyber defense, legal support, information operations, and global force space enhancement requirements to combatant, unified, Joint and Department of Defense Agency Commanders.[7]

As of October 2015, Major General Ricky Waddell is currently serving as commanding general of the 76th Operational Response Command.

The command is made up of over 6,000 soldiers with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and select locations in Europe.

General[edit]

  • Nickname: Onaway Division; formerly called "Liberty Bell Division."
  • Shoulder patch: An escutcheon with a red field and a blue chief, separated by an olive drab line; a three-pronged white device is superimposed on the blue chief.
  • Battle Cry: "ONAWAY" – The "alert" signal of the Chippewa Indian warriors upon whose ground the 76th Division had trained.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Catalog/Heraldry.aspx?HeraldryId=14750&CategoryId=8819&grp=2&menu=Uniformed Services&from=search
  2. ^ Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths, Final Report (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)
  3. ^ Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths, Final Report (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)
  4. ^ Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths, Final Report (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)
  5. ^ Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths, Final Report (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)
  6. ^ Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths, Final Report (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)
  7. ^ "Premier Army Reserve Command gets new name". 6 February 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  • The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950 at http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/cbtchron/cbtchron.html
  • We Ripened Fast – The Unofficial History of the Seventy-Sixth Infantry Division Edited by 1st Lt Joseph J. Hutnick, ADC and Tec4 Leonard Kobrick.

External links[edit]