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6th Infantry Division / 6th Airborne Division

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Without "Airborne" Tab: Sixth Infantry Division / 6th Division

With "Airborne" Tab: Sixth Airborne Division / 6th Airborne



"Sightseeing Sixth"




World War I [infantry]



World War II [infantry]

New Guinea



Gulf War [infantry]

Defense of Saudi Arabia

Liberation and Defense of Kuwait



November, 1917 [infantry]

October 12, 1939 [infantry]

1943 [Airborne Ghost Division]

April 16, 1986 [infantry]



September 30, 1921 [infantry]

1944 [Airborne Ghost Division]

January 10, 1949 [infantry]

July, 1994 [infantry]




"World War I


The Sixth Division was organized in November of 1917 as a square division consisting of the 51st, 52nd, 53rd and the 54th Infantry Regiments, the 16th, 17th and 18th Machine-Gun Battalions and the 3rd, 11th and 78th Field Artillery Regiments. The units of the division gathered in New York and left for France in July of 1918. After marching and training all over western France, the Sixth was assigned on August 31st to the Vosges sector. There, a chain of lofty wooded peaks had stalemated both the French and German armies. Their mission was the defense of a 21-mile. The Division engaged in active patrolled in No Man's Land and behind the Boche lines. Daily German artillery concentrations of high explosives and gas shells kept the 6th supporting artillery busy with counterbattery fire. In addition infantry platoon strongpoints defended against German raiding parties which launched their attacks using liquid fire and grenades.


The Division developed its reputation for hiking when, prior to the Argonne Offensive, it engaged in extensive fake marches, often under enemy artillery and air bombardment, to deceive the Boche into thinking a major attack was to take place in the Vosges sector. Relieved and reassigned on October 10, 1918, the 6th Division hiked to an assembly area, marching over mountains and broken trails, usually in the dead of night.


After another short period of training, consisting primarily of forced marches, the Division hiked itself into the closing campaign of the war, the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In Corps reserve, the 6th was used in place of an unavailable cavalry division to try to maintain contact with the rapidly retreating Germans. Pulling machine-gun carts and ammo carts by hand, the best hiking outfit in the AEF marched from one front to another, usually on muddy bypaths and rain-soaked fields, to establish and incredible record of forty hiking days in a sixteen-day campaign. Finally moved to another part of the front to maintain the brunt of the attack, the 6th reached the assigned area on the scheduled date, November 12, 1918, to find the war at an end, its reputation as the "Sightseeing Sixth" assured.


During its three months at the front, the 6th Division lost 227 men killed in action or died of wounds. It maintained an active defense in one important sector and played a major role in the tactical plan in another. The men of the 6th had distinguished themselves in combat, many earning the Distinguished Service Cross and Croix de Guerre. The Division was highly commended by General Pershing for its contribution to the final victory.


After the Armistice, the 6th continued its hikes through France and Germany to spread the fame of the six-point Red Star, adopted as the Division insignia on November 19, 1918. The bulk of the Division returned to the States in June of 1919 aboard the USS Leviathan. The Division continued its service at Camp Grant, Illinois and was deactivated on September 30, 1921.


Activated: November 1917



Infantry Regiments: 51st, 52d, 53d & 54th Infantry Regiments

Machine-Gun Battalions: 16th, 17th & 18th

Field Artillery Battalions: 3d, 11th & 78th

Overseas: June 1918

Days of combat: 43

Casualties: Total 386 (KIA-38; WIA-348)

Returned to U.S.: June 1919

Deactivated: 30 September 1921 at Camp Grant, Illinois




(26 November 1917 – 1 June 1919)

Col. Charles E. Tayman 26 November 1917 - 28 December 1917

Brig. Gen. James B. Erwin 29 December 1917 - 27 August 1918

Maj. Gen. Walter H. Gordon 28 August 1918 - 1 June 1919



World War II


6th Airborne Division


This unit was a ghost division during World War II that was created to confuse the Germans into believing the United States was going to invaded elsewhere besides Normandy.


6th Infantry Division


Activated: 12 October 1939


Overseas: 21 July 1943


Campaigns: Luzon, New Guinea


Days of combat: 306


Distinguished Unit Citations: 7


Awards: MH-2, DSC-10, DSM-3, SS-697, LM-18, DFC-3, SM-94, BSM-3, 797, AM-45.



Infantry Regiments: 1st, 20th, & 63d Infantry Regiment

Field Artillery Battalions: 1st, 51st, 53d & 80th

6th Engineer Combat Battalion


Nickname: "Sightseeing Sixth"


Inactivated: 10 January 1949 in Korea



WWII Combat Chronicle


The division moved to Hawaii in July and August 1943 to assume defensive positions on Oahu, training meanwhile in jungle warfare. It moved to Milne Bay, New Guinea, 31 January 1944, and trained until early June 1944. The division first saw combat in the Toem-Wakde area of Dutch New Guinea, engaging in active patrolling 14-18 June, after taking up positions 6-14 June. Moving west of Toem, it fought a bloody battle with the enemy at Lone Tree Hill, 21-30 June, and secured the Maffin Bay area by 12 July.


After a brief rest, the division made an assault landing at Sansapor, 30 July, on the Vogelkop Peninsula. The 6th secured the coast from Cape Waimak to the Mega River and garrisoned the area until December 1944. The division landed at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, on D-day, 9 January 1945, and pursued the Japanese into the Cabanatuan Hills, 17-21 January, capturing Munoz, 7 February. It then drove notrheast to Digalan Bay and Baler Bay, 13 February, isolating enemy forces in southern Luzon. The U.S. 1st Infantry Regiment operated on Bataan, 14-21 February, cutting the peninsula from Abucay to Bagac. The division shifted to the Shimbu Line northeast of Manila, 24 February, took Mount Mataba, 17 April, Mount Pacawagan, 29 April, Bolog, 29 June, Lane's Ridge of Mount Santo Domingo, 10 July, and Kiangan, 12 July. The 6th remained in the Cagayan Valley and the Cordilleras Mountains until VJ-day, then moved to occupy Korea. The division occupied the southern half of the United States zone of occupation until inactivated.



Medal of Honor recipients

Medal of Honor recipients for the 6th Infantry Division during WWII:


Corporal Melvin Mayfield - Company D, 20th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division - Cordillera Mountains, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 29 July 1945

Second Lieutenant (then T/Sgt.) Donald E. Rudolph - Company E, 20th Infantry Regiment, 6th Infantry Division - Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945




(October 1939 – January 1949)

Brig. Gen. Clement A. Trott October 1939 - October 1940

Brig. Gen. Frederick E. Uhl October 1940 - December 1940

Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley January 1941 - August 1942

Maj. Gen. Durward S. Wilson September 1942 - October 1942

Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert October 1942 - August 1944

Maj. Gen. Edwin D. Patrick August 1944 - March 1945

Maj. Gen. Charles E. Hurdis March 1945 - April 1946

Col. George M. Williamson, Jr. April 1946 - June 1946

Maj. Gen. Albert E. Brown June 1946 - September 1946

Brig. Gen. John T. Pierce September 1946 - October 1946

Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward October 1946 - 1 January 1949



Cold War Era


The 6th Division was reactivated October 4, 1950 at Fort Ord, California. There the division remained throughout the Korean War, training troops and providing personnel for combat, but was never deployed overseas as an entity itself and was again deactivated on April 3, 1956. In the build up during the Vietnam War the division was activated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in November 1967 budgetary limitations once more ended the 6th Infantry Division's existence less than nine months later on July 25, 1968.


The last incarnation of the division came on April 16, 1986 at Fort Richardson, Alaska when the 172nd Infantry Brigade was redesignated 6th Infantry Division (Light). Over the next seven years the 6th was the U.S. Army’s primary arctic warfare division. The division headquarters was moved from Fort Richardson to Fort Wainwright (near Fairbanks) in 1990 [1]. Commanders during the arctic activation included Maj. Gen. David Bramlett and Maj. Gen. Johnnie H. Corns.[2]. The Army Reserve's 205th Infantry Brigade (Light) was assigned as the Division's roundout force.



Gulf War


Elements of the 6th ID (L) participated in the Defense of Saudi Arabia (Desert Shield) and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait (Gulf War) operations[3].





The division was deactivated for the last time on July 6, 1994, by being redesignated the 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division.


Divisional history from:








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6th Infantry Division variants attributed to occupation era Korea (October 1945 to January 1949).


post-1963-1212455095.jpg post-1963-1212455122.jpg







Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:

"To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods."







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An original 6th Airborne Division Patch





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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