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40th Infantry Division


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NAME:

Fortieth Infantry Division / 40th Division

 

NICKNAME:

"Sunshine Division"

 

BATTLE HONORS:

 

World War II

Bismarck Archipelago

Southern Philippines

Luzon.

 

ACTIVATED:

July 18, 1917

March 3, 1941

 

DEACTIVATED:

April 20, 1919

April 7, 1946

 

 

HISTORY:

 

World War I

 

The 40th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was born at Camp Kearney California at San Diego on 16 September 1917 in response to the nation's entry in to World War I. Known simply as the 40th Division (there were not yet cavalry or armored divisions) it was made up of National Guard unit from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. It was soon decided that the new division's nickname would be the "Sunshine" Division since its patch was a sun on a field of blue. The division was one of the best prepared for the great mobilization since a majority of the units had just been released from active duty on the Mexican Border.

 

In November the Division moved to Camps Lewis and Funston where the division received over 9,000 fresh draftees and recruits and training for war began in earnest. But almost immediately trained soldiers of the division were siphoned off to form new units. The first to go were 1,200 engineers who were used to form the 20th Engineer Regiment and the 534th Pontoon Train. This was a start of what the division would experience for the rest of the war. In April of 1918, 1,500 riflemen were transferred out to other divisions. Again though the division was tasked to support other units with a contribution of 5,000 infantryman and 1,500 artillerymen.

 

Before departing overseas, the unit were forced to give up their traditional state militia titles and so the 159th and 160th Infantry Regiment were born out of the 2d, 5th, and 7th California Infantry Regiment. Likewise, the 1st and 2d California Field Artillery Regiments became the 143d and 144th Field Artillery Regiment while the 1st Squadron, California Cavalry turned in their horses and became the 145th Machine Gun Battalion.

 

When the division arrived in France in August of 1918, the Germans had just completed a series of offensives that started on 21 March and ended on 15 July 1918. These offensives were designed to destroy the American Expeditionary Force before it could be fully constituted. They almost succeeded. It was decided that the new divisions would be used as depot divisions, supplying fresh troops to the more experienced combat divisions. By the end of the war, over the 40th Division provided over 27,000 replacements to the 26th, 28th, 32d, 77th, 80th, 81st, 82d, and 89th Division.

 

The most famous of these former "Sunshiner" was Captain Nelson Holderman, who commanded the former Company L, 7th California Infantry from Santa Ana. This company was to gain everlasting fame as part of the "Lost Battalion" of the 308th Infantry Regiment, 77th ("Metropolitan") Division. Captain Holderman was decorated with the Medal of Honor and the California Medal of Valor for his actions during the Battle of the Argonne. Another company commander in that battalion was Captain Leo Stromee from the old Company K, 7th California who received the Silver Star. The old 7th also provided Captain Arthur King who received the Distinguished Service Cross for his service the 1st Division.

 

At the end of the war, the 40th ("Sunshine") Division had 2,587 members killed in action an 11,596 wound. An additional 103 were to die of their wounds at the Camp Kearney Post Hospital. On 20 April 1919, the division stood down and was demobilized at Camp Kearney, where they were form just two years before.

 

Activated: 18 July 1917 (National Guard Division from California, Nevada, and Utah).

 

Overseas: 3 August 1918 and redesignated the 6th Depot Division; received, equipped, trained, and forwarded replacements.

 

Commanders: Maj. Gen. F. S. Strong (25 August 1917), Brig. Gen. G. H. Cameron (18 September 1917), Brig. Gen. L. S. Lyon (19 November 1917), Brig. Gen. G. H. Cameron (23 November 1917), Brig. Gen. L. S. Lyon (6 December 1917), Maj. Gen. F. S. Strong (8 December 1917).

 

Returned to U. S.: 30 June 1919.

 

Between the Wars

 

The division was reconstituted on 18 June 1926 with its headquarters in Berkeley. This was later changed to Los Angeles in 1937. The division was organized pretty much as it was in 1917 with a lot of the units coming from Nevada and Utah. However, the "teeth" of the division was mostly Californian with the Arizona and Colorado regiments replaced by two new California Regiments, the 184th and 185th.

 

For the most part, the normal peacetime routine existed until 1934. In November of that year, prisoners at the Folsom State Prison seized control of the main buildings and took several of the staff as hostages. The warden was unable to control the situation and asked the Governor for the National Guard. Telephone calls and announcements over the radio were made. Theaters stopped their shows to announce "...all National Guardsmen report to your armory." The entire 184th Infantry Regiment, and supporting troops, under the command of Colonel Wallace Mason, assembled and moved to Folsom. When the action was over, 11 inmates were dead and 11 wounded.

 

For the rest of the 1930s the unit kept busy with their weekly evening drills and the "summer camp" at Camp Merriam between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Several of the enlisted members who had joined the unit during the twenties and thirties would work their way through the NCO and commissioned officer ranks. One of the most notable was Sacramento dentist Roy A. Green, who joined the 184th Infantry Regiment as a private in 1918, and went on to be commissioned and command Company A, the 1st Battalion, and later the entire regiment. When the war ended, he was the officer who accepted the Japanese surrender at Seoul, Korea. He was to eventually become a Major General, commanding the 49th Infantry Division.

 

 

World War II

 

Activated: 3 March 1941 (National Guard Division from California and Utah).

 

Overseas: 23 August 1942.

 

Campaigns: Bismarck Archipelago, Southern Philippines, Luzon.

 

Distinguished Unit Citations: 3.

 

Awards: MH-1 ; DSC-12 ; DSM-1 ; SS-245; LM-21; SM-30 ; BSM-1,036 ; AM-57.

 

Commanders: Maj. Gen. Walter P. Story (March-September 1941), Maj. Gen. Ernest J. Dawley (September 1941-April 1942), Maj. Gen. Rapp Brush (April 1942-July 1945), Brig. Gen. Donald J. Myers (July 1945 to inactivation).

 

Returned to U. S.: 7 April 1946.

 

Inactivated: 7 April 1946 (See National Guard).

 

WWII Combat chronicle

 

In response to the war in Europe, the California's 40th Infantry Division was mobilized on 3 March 1941 and sent to Camp San Luis Obispo where it remained, except for divisional maneuvers at Fort Lewis, Washington, until the attack on Pearl Harbor. While most of the division was from California, some of the supporting artillery, quartermasters and medics were also from Nevada and Utah. Almost immediately, two elements were split off to serve as separate units.

 

The 40th Tank Company from Salinas was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1941 and became Company C, 194th Tank Battalion. That battalion, made up of National Guardsmen from California, Minnesota, and Missouri, along with the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) were the covering force during the retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. When Bataan fell, these brave Californians, along with other US Army, Philippine Scouts, and Philippine Commonwealth Army soldiers, were part of the Bataan Death March and the subsequent imprisonment and slavery.

 

The division's observation squadron, the 115th was sent to the newly formed Army Air Forces where the served throughout the war. The 115th was later to form the backbone of the California Air National Guard when the Air Force was formed in 1947.

 

Within 48 hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Camp San Luis Obispo was a ghost town as elements of the 40th Infantry Division took defensive and security positions over a 350,000 square mile area that stretched from Southern and Central California to Yuma, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah. They dug in and prepared for what was thought to be the inevitable Japanese invasion of the West Coast.

 

In February of 1942, the division was reorganized from the old four regiment "square" division to the three regiment "triangular" division. This resulted in the 184th Infantry Regiment being made excess. That regiment went on to do great things during the war as part of the 7th Infantry Division. Later in the war, the 159th was replaced by the 108th Infantry Regiment from New York. They, along with the 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), went on to reconstitute the badly mauled 104th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge.

 

In April 1942, the division moved to Fort Lewis, Washington for further training and preparation for overseas service. And soon that day would come. On 25 July, the division received orders to move to the Port of Embarkation at Camp Stoneman, California. By 8 August, the men of the division boarded a troopship, just as the fathers did during the First World War. And just as there forefathers did, the soldiers of the 40th established the shipboard routine of fire drills, gunnery drills, and abandon ship drills.

 

In September 1942 the division arrived in Hawaii and moved to defensive positions in the outer islands. In July 1943, the division moved to positions on Oahu. In October, with the threat of a Japanese invasion passing, the 40th took up jungle and amphibious training in preparation of offensive operations.

 

During December, the division moved to Guadalcanal for further training and limited combat patrolling. While on the "canal", the division didn't battle the Japanese. They instead fought the island's muddy conditions, its swamps, and mosquito-borne malaria. The division, now part of the 1st Marine Amphibious Corps, then moved to Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island and relieved the 1st Marine Division on 23 April 1944. The 40th conducted combat operations until 27 November 1944, when it was relieved by the 5th Australian Division. The 40th then assembled at Borgen Bay the next day and departed New Britain on 9 December 1944 for the their next objective, The Philippines.

 

After brief stopovers on New Guinea and Manus Island, the 40th Infantry Division landed in the Lingayen area of Luzon at 09:36 hours on 9 January 1945. It was followed up with another landing at Bamban. While opposition during the first landing was light, Bamban was a different story. The division battled the main Japanese force in the Bamban Hills, Fort Stotsenburg and Clark Field, The Zambales Mountains, Snake Hill, Storm King Mountain, The Seven Hills, and the mountain known as the Top of the World. In the final phase the battles moved to Scobia Ridge, Hill 1700, and Williams Ridge. On 2 March, the division was relieved by the 43d Infantry Division.

 

The division left Luzon on 15 March 1945 and conducted unopposed landings on Paney Islands on the 18th. They conducted combat operations in those islands until the division next moved to Los Negros Island where it conducted multiple landings with little or no opposition. The division regrouped on 8 April for an attack on the Japanese forces in the Negritos-Patog area. Prior to that attack, the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment was assigned to the division, replacing the 108th Infantry Regiment. The division attacked with all three regiments (The 160th and 185th Infantry, and the 503d) on 9 April and immediately ran into stiff resistance and counterattacks. To make matters worse, the weather turned bad. Torrential rainstorms made air support impossible. Hill 3155 switched hands between the 160th Infantry Regiment and the Japanese Army several times between 18 and 23 May. Organized resistance ceased on 31 May and the 40th moved to the Otag-Santa Barbara-Taguan area for rehabilitation and training. The division was in this area when the war ended.

 

But while the shooting had stopped, the 40th's mission didn't end just yet. On 22 September 1945 the division arrived in Korea at the port of Inchon to take up occupation duties in that country. They remained in Korea until March 1946 when it returned to Camp Stoneman on 6 April 1946 and was inactivated. When it was all over, the 40th added three more streamers for the divisional colors: BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO, SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES, and LUZON.

 

 

Korea

 

In response to the war in Europe, the California's 40th Infantry Division was mobilized on 3 March 1941 and sent to Camp San Luis Obispo where it remained, except for divisional maneuvers at Fort Lewis, Washington, until the attack on Pearl Harbor. While most of the division was from California, some of the supporting artillery, quartermasters and medics were also from Nevada and Utah. Almost immediately, two elements were split off to serve as separate units.

 

The 40th Tank Company from Salinas was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1941 and became Company C, 194th Tank Battalion. That battalion, made up of National Guardsmen from California, Minnesota, and Missouri, along with the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) were the covering force during the retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. When Bataan fell, these brave Californians, along with other US Army, Philippine Scouts, and Philippine Commonwealth Army soldiers, were part of the Bataan Death March and the subsequent imprisonment and slavery.

 

The division's observation squadron, the 115th was sent to the newly formed Army Air Forces where the served throughout the war. The 115th was later to form the backbone of the California Air National Guard when the Air Force was formed in 1947.

 

Within 48 hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Camp San Luis Obispo was a ghost town as elements of the 40th Infantry Division took defensive and security positions over a 350,000 square mile area that stretched from Southern and Central California to Yuma, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah. They dug in and prepared for what was thought to be the inevitable Japanese invasion of the West Coast.

 

In February of 1942, the division was reorganized from the old four regiment "square" division to the three regiment "triangular" division. This resulted in the 184th Infantry Regiment being made excess. That regiment went on to do great things during the war as part of the 7th Infantry Division. To read about the 184th's history, CLICK HERE. Later in the war, the 159th was replaced by the 108th Infantry Regiment from New York. They, along with the 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), went on to reconstitute the badly mauled 104th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge.

 

In April 1942, the division moved to Fort Lewis, Washington for further training and preparation for overseas service. And soon that day would come. On 25 July, the division received orders to move to the Port of Embarkation at Camp Stoneman, California. By 8 August, the men of the division boarded a troopship, just as the fathers did during the First World War. And just as there forefathers did, the soldiers of the 40th established the shipboard routine of fire drills, gunnery drills, and abandon ship drills.

 

In September 1942 the division arrived in Hawaii and moved to defensive positions in the outer islands. In July 1943, the division moved to positions on Oahu. In October, with the threat of a Japanese invasion passing, the 40th took up jungle and amphibious training in preparation of offensive operations.

 

During December, the division moved to Guadalcanal for further training and limited combat patrolling. While on the "canal", the division didn't battle the Japanese. They instead fought the island's muddy conditions, its swamps, and mosquito-borne malaria. The division, now part of the 1st Marine Amphibious Corps, then moved to Cape Gloucester on New Britain Island and relieved the 1st Marine Division on 23 April 1944. The 40th conducted combat operations until 27 November 1944, when it was relieved by the 5th Australian Division. The 40th then assembled at Borgen Bay the next day and departed New Britain on 9 December 1944 for the their next objective, The Philippines.

 

After brief stopovers on New Guinea and Manus Island, the 40th Infantry Division landed in the Lingayen area of Luzon at 09:36 hours on 9 January 1945. It was followed up with another landing at Bamban. While opposition during the first landing was light, Bamban was a different story. The division battled the main Japanese force in the Bamban Hills, Fort Stotsenburg and Clark Field, The Zambales Mountains, Snake Hill, Storm King Mountain, The Seven Hills, and the mountain known as the Top of the World. In the final phase the battles moved to Scobia Ridge, Hill 1700, and Williams Ridge. On 2 March, the division was relieved by the 43d Infantry Division.

 

The division left Luzon on 15 March 1945 and conducted unopposed landings on Paney Islands on the 18th. They conducted combat operations in those islands until the division next moved to Los Negros Island where it conducted multiple landings with little or no opposition. The division regrouped on 8 April for an attack on the Japanese forces in the Negritos-Patog area. Prior to that attack, the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment was assigned to the division, replacing the 108th Infantry Regiment. The division attacked with all three regiments (The 160th and 185th Infantry, and the 503d) on 9 April and immediately ran into stiff resistance and counterattacks. To make matters worse, the weather turned bad. Torrential rainstorms made air support impossible. Hill 3155 switched hands between the 160th Infantry Regiment and the Japanese Army several times between 18 and 23 May. Organized resistance ceased on 31 May and the 40th moved to the Otag-Santa Barbara-Taguan area for rehabilitation and training. The division was in this area when the war ended.

 

But while the shooting had stopped, the 40th's mission didn't end just yet. On 22 September 1945 the division arrived in Korea at the port of Inchon to take up occupation duties in that country. They remained in Korea until March 1946 when it returned to Camp Stoneman on 6 April 1946 and was inactivated. When it was all over, the 40th added three more streamers for the divisional colors: BISMARCK ARCHIPELAGO, SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES, and LUZON.

 

 

Post-Korean War

 

On 13 January 1974, the 40th Infantry Division was reborn with its headquarters at Long Beach. The headquarters was later moved to the former Naval Air Station, Los Alamitos where it remains today. During this period the concept of a "Total Force" was the driving force. Infantry battalions would rotate to Korea to participate in TEAM SPIRIT exercises, observers from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force attended divisional exercises. Staff officers and NCOs participated in training exercises world wide.

 

Although the division did not deploy any elements to the Persian Gulf War, it did provide highly trained, professional soldiers to other California National Guard and Army Reserve units that did deploy to Saudi Arabia.

 

But once again, the division was called out to protect the people of California. In April 1992, a jury in Simi Valley found four Los Angeles police officers not guilty of beating Rodney King. Almost immediately, rioting broke out throughout Los Angeles County. So widespread was this incident, that the division was federalized and reinforced by the 49th Military Police Brigade, as well as the 7th Light Infantry Division from Fort Ord and the 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton. Once again, as in Watts, a majority of the residents appreciated the presence of the troops. Several local organizations would adopt a platoon or company as their own. Residents of senior citizens' centers slept well knowing their facility wad a platoon of infantry patrolling their block.

 

From its formation through the present, the division continued to train for war and serve in peace. The Northridge earthquake and the Floods of 1997 are just the latest in a long list of operations that the division has participated in. It is a proud record that speaks well of California and its citizen-soldiers. We hope that this will continue for many years to come.

 

Divisional history from:

http://www.militarymuseum.org/division.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_40th_Infantry_Division

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In WW I, the command staff of the division did not like the way the patch was designed tp be worn ("square worn point up"), so the staff ordered that the patches be worn flat. Some were made as rectangles (illustrated) Doughboys being doughboys, they had the patches made round.

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Member, ASMIC.

Editor, ASMIC's The Trading Post

ASMIC Executive VP

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I got the one on the left from Garth and I have yet to find anyone who can ID it. Have shown it to countless KW 40th ID vets, incl former members of Div Ranger/Raider platoons, w/no luck.

 

I also have one-pc. BOF patch.

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Member, ASMIC.

Editor, ASMIC's The Trading Post

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  • 8 months later...

Two OD bordered variations.

 

-Ski

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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

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I served with the 40th Infantry Division for 20 years, retiring back in 2001. Most members referred to the patch as "12 Lieutenants pointing North" or "The Flaming A**hole".

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