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23rd Infantry Division


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NAME:

Twenty-Third Infantry Division / 23rd Division

 

NICKNAME:

“Americal Division”

 

BATTLE HONORS:

 

World War II

Guadalcanal

Northern Solomons

Leyte

Southern Phillipines (with arrowhead)

 

Vietnam

Counteroffensive, Phase II

Tet Counteroffensive

Counteroffensive, Phase IV

Counteroffensive, Phase V

Counteroffensive, Phase VI

Tet 69/Counteroffensive

Summer-Fall 1969

Winter-Sping 1970

Sanctuary Counteroffensive

Counteroffensive, Phase VII

Consolidation I

 

DECORATIONS:

 

Presidential Unit Citation (Navy), Streamer embroidered GUADALCANAL (Headquarters Americal Division, cited; DA GO 73, 1948)

 

Phillipine Presidential Unit Citation, Streamer embroidered OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945 (Headquarters Americal Division, cited; DA GO 47, 1950)

 

Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1969, 1970 (23d Infantry Division cited; DA GO 6, 1974)

 

ACTIVATED:

May 27, 1942

 

DEACTIVATED:

Nov 29, 1971

 

 

HISTORY:

 

"The Americal Division of the United States Army was formed in May 1942 on the island of New Caledonia. In the immediate emergency following Pearl Harbor, the United States had hurriedly sent three individual regiments to defend New Caledonia against a feared Japanese attack. These were the 132d Infantry Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, the 164th Infantry Regiment from North Dakota, and the 182d Infantry Regiment from Massachusetts. For morale purposes, the Army decided to form these units into a new division.

 

At the suggestion of a subordinate, the division's commander, Major General Alexander Patch, requested that the new unit be known as the Americal Division—the name being a contraction of "America" and "New Caledonia." This was unusual, as most U.S. divisions are known by a number.

 

Under the command of Patch, the Americal Division was the first US Army unit to be sent to Guadalcanal, where it relieved the exhausted US 1st Marine Division, and carried the brunt of the fighting on the island from that time on.

 

Largely because of transport constraints, the Americal arrived piecemeal, and was fed into combat alongside the battle-hardened Marines, and thus, in contrast to several other US Army divisions in the Pacific War, was able to learn the practical art of war against the Japanese without suffering as many casualties as might otherwise have eventuated. Despite its ad-hoc formation, the Americal Division fought well at Guadalcanal, the 164th Regiment taking on a key role in the defeat of the major Japanese offensive in October 1942, and historians describe it as the most effective of all the US Army divisions in that conflict.

 

Later in World War II the Americal Division (alongside the 37th Infantry Division, a Marine defense battalion, and supporting units) took up positions on the newly invaded island of Bougainville, and warned by intelligence of the storm to come, utterly defeated a massive and sustained Japanese counter-attack, which began on 7 March 1944. Despite ample warning and thorough defensive preparations, the battle soon degenerated into a bitter, close-quarters infantry affair, with artillery restricted by the need to avoid friendly troops and tanks unable to reach the scene. The 37th and Americal Divisions stood firm, and by March 25, the Japanese were forced to retreat. It was the last Japanese ground offensive in the South Pacific.

 

The Division was deactivated at the end of the war. It was reactivated on December 1, 1954 as the 23d Infantry Division, retaining the name "Americal" as part of its official designation, and served in the Panama Canal Zone until April 10, 1956, when it was again deactivated.

 

The Division was reactivated in 1967 in Vietnam. A division-sized task force known as TASK FORCE OREGON was created in Quang Ngai Province with brigades from the 25th Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division, to operate in close cooperation with the 1st Marine Division. As new U.S. brigades arrived in Vietnam, they were assigned to Task Force Oregon, which was re-designated the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). The Division was composed of the 11th, 196th, and 198th Light Infantry Brigades and divisional support units. The Division acquired a negative reputation in Vietnam, in part because it had been pieced together from separate brigades without prior combat experience and inadequate unit training.

 

One of the companies of the 11th LIB (C Company, 1st Battalion 20th Infantry), with Lieutenant William Calley as a platoon leader, was responsible for the My Lai Massacre. Another company, part of the 196th LIB, suffered severe casualties when overrun by Vietnamese sapper units at Firebase Maryann in March 1971, further embarrassing the division. The aftermath of the attack resulted in the relief of the brigade and division commanders.

 

The 198th and 11th Brigades were withdrawn from Vietnam in November, 1971, and the Division was deactivated. The 196th Brigade was reconstituted as a separate brigade and remained in Vietnam until June 29, 1972, the last major combat unit to be withdrawn. Its 3d Battalion 21st infantry was the last battalion to leave Vietnam, on August 23, 1972.

 

Both Generals H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell served in the Americal Division in Vietnam, in 1967-68 and 1968-69 respectively. American author Tim O'Brien served in the Americal division from 1969-1970.

 

The division used a dark blue shield-shaped patch bearing the four stars making up the constellation Crux or Southern Cross."

 

Divisional history from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americal_Division

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23rd Infantry Division patch with a 33rd Infantry Regt tab. ca. 1954-56 Panama Canal.

 

-Ski

post-3043-0-28490800-1359310518_thumb.jpeg

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gif


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The reverse.....

 

-Ski

post-3043-0-15777500-1359310592_thumb.jpeg

In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired

donation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gif


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