9th Infantry Division (United States)

Last updated

9th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division patch.svg
9th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active1918–1919
1940–1947
1947–1962
1966–1969
1972–December 1991
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
BranchFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Type Infantry
Size Division (Next 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry))
Garrison/HQInactive
Nickname(s)Old Reliables
Varsity [1]
Engagements World War II Vietnam War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Manton Eddy
Jacob L. Devers
Donald Prentice Booth
Julian Ewell
John Shalikashvili
Insignia
Distinctive Unit Insignia 9 Inf Div DUI.jpg

The 9th Infantry Division ("Old Reliables") is an inactive infantry division of the United States Army. It was created as the 9th Division during World War I, but never deployed overseas. In later years, it would become an important unit of the U.S. Army during World War II and the Vietnam War. It was also activated as a peacetime readiness unit from 1947 to 1962 at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Fort Carson, Colorado, and from 1972 to 1991 as an active-duty infantry division at Fort Lewis, Washington. Nicknamed the "Old Reliables", the division was eventually deactivated in December 1991.

Contents

Insignia

The shoulder sleeve insignia is an octofoil resembling a heraldic design given to the ninth son of a family. This represents the son as a circle in the middle with eight brothers around him. [2] The blue represents the infantry, the red the artillery with all the white making the colors of the flag of the United States of America.

World War I

The 9th Infantry Division was created on 18 July 1918 at Camp Sheridan, Alabama but did not serve overseas. [3] It was disbanded on 15 February 1919 at Camp Sheridan.

Its units included Division Headquarters; the 17th Infantry Brigade (Headquarters and Headquarters Company; 45th Infantry Regiment; 67th Infantry Regiment; 26th Machine Gun Battalion); the 18th Infantry Brigade (Headquarters and Headquarters Company; 46th Infantry Regiment; 68th Infantry Regiment; 27th Machine Gun Battalion), the 9th Field Artillery Brigade ( 25th Field Artillery (75mm Gun); 26th Field Artillery (75mm Gun); 27th Field Artillery (155mm Howitzer); Ninth Trench Mortar Battery); 25th Machine Gun Battalion; 209th Engineer Regiment; 209th Field Signal Battalion; Division Trains (HQ Train and Military Police Company; 9th Sanitary Train; 9th Motor Supply Train, and Ninth Ammunition Train).

The division was commanded by Col. Charles C. Clark (July 1918 - September 1918), Maj. Gen. Willard A. Holbrook (September 1918 - October 1918), Brig. Gen. James E. Ryan (October 1918 - November 1918) acting, Maj. Gen. Willard A. Holbrook (November 1918 - February 1919)

World War II

Combat chronicle

The 9th Infantry Division was among the first U.S. combat units to engage in offensive ground operations during World War II. (The others were the 32nd and the 41st in the Pacific on New Guinea, Carlson's Raiders on Makin Island, the 1st Marine, and the Americal on Guadalcanal, and, alongside the 9th in North Africa, were the 1st Infantry, 3rd Infantry and the 2nd Armored Divisions.) The 9th saw its first combat on 8 November 1942, when its elements landed at Algiers, Safi, and Port Lyautey, with the taking of Safi by the 3rd Battalion of the 47th Infantry Regiment standing as the first liberation of a city from Axis control in World War II.

With the collapse of French resistance on 11 November 1942, the division patrolled the Spanish Moroccan border. The 9th returned to Tunisia in February and engaged in small defensive actions and patrol activity. On 28 March 1943 it launched an attack in southern Tunisia and fought its way north into Bizerte, 7 May. In August, the 9th landed at Palermo, Sicily, and took part in the capture of Randazzo and Messina. After being sent to England for further training, the division landed on Utah Beach on 10 June 1944 (D plus 4), cut off the Cotentin Peninsula, drove on to Cherbourg and penetrated the port's heavy defenses.

GIs of C Company, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division at Geich [de], Germany, 11 December 1944. 36th AIR 9th ID Geich Dec1944.jpeg
GIs of C Company, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division at Geich  [ de ], Germany, 11 December 1944.

After a brief rest in July, the division took part in the St. Lo break-through and in August helped close the Falaise Gap. Turning east, the 9th crossed the Marne, 28 August, swept through Saarlautern, [4] and in November and December held defensive positions from Monschau to Losheim. Moving north to Bergrath, Germany, it launched an attack toward the Roer, 10 December, taking Echtz and Schlich. From mid-December through January 1945, the division held defensive positions from Kalterherberg to Elsenborn. On 30 January the division jumped off from Monschau in a drive across the Roer and to the Rhine, crossing at Remagen, 7 March.

After breaking out of the Remagen bridgehead, the 9th assisted in the sealing and clearing of the Ruhr Pocket, then moved 150 miles (240 km) east to Nordhausen (where it assisted in the liberation of the local concentration camp) and attacked in the Harz Mountains, 14–20 April. On 21 April the Division relieved the 3d Armored Division along the Mulde River, near Dessau, and held that line until VE-day.

Assignments in Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO)

Assignments in European Theater of Operations (ETO)

Order of battle

Statistics

Chronology
  • Activated 1 August 1940
  • Arrived UK 27 November 1943
  • Arrived Continent (D+4) 10 June 1944
  • Entered Combat 14 June 1944 (First elements in combat in North Africa 8 November 1942; entire division entered combat 26 March 1943)
  • Days in Combat 264
Casualties
  • Total battle casualties: 23,277 [6]
  • Killed in action: 3,856 [6]
  • Wounded in action: 17,416 [6]
  • Missing in action: 357 [6]
  • Prisoner of war: 1,648 [6]
Campaigns
Individual awards
  1. Medal of Honor: 4
  2. Distinguished Service Cross: 86
  3. Legion of Merit: 6
  4. Silver Star: 1,789
  5. Soldier's Medal: 55
  6. Bronze Star: 5,518
  7. Distinguished Flying Cross: 1
  8. Air Medal: 124
Prisoners of war taken
  • Total: 130,000

Post World War II

The 9th Infantry Division was reactivated on 15 July 1947 at Fort Dix, New Jersey and assumed a peacetime readiness and training role. In the 1950s, the division was stationed in West Germany. It later relocated to Fort Carson, Colorado where it was inactivated on 31 January 1962.

Commanding generals

Vietnam War

The 9th Division was reactivated on 1 February 1966, and arrived in South Vietnam on 16 December 1966 from Fort Riley, Kansas. On deployment the division was assigned to the III Corps Tactical Zone of Vietnam where it commenced operations in Dinh Tuong and Long An Provinces (6 January-31 May 1967) in Operation Palm Beach. Its area of operations was in the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta from 1967 to 1972. Operating deep within the Viet Cong (VC)–controlled Delta, the Division was charged with protecting the area and its population against VC insurgents and ensuring the success of the South Vietnamese government's pacification program. Faced with unrelenting physical hardships, a tenacious enemy and the region's rugged terrain, the Division established strategies and quantifiable goals for completing their mission. [7]

Division headquarters, Dong Tam Base Camp, July 1968 9th Infantry Division HQ, Dong Tam, July 1968.png
Division headquarters, Dong Tam Base Camp, July 1968

Division commanding generals were: Maj. Gen. George S. Eckhardt (February 1966 - June 1967), Maj. Gen. George G. O'Connor (June 1967 - February 1968), Maj. Gen. Julian Ewell (February 1968 - April 1969), Maj. Gen. Harris W. Hollis (April 1969 - August 1969)

The infantry units that served with the 9th Infantry Division were:

Fire Support Base Danger, HHC, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Dinh Tuong Province, March 1969 Fire Support Base Danger March 1969.jpg
Fire Support Base Danger, HHC, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Dinh Tuong Province, March 1969

Other units included:

One of the experimental units serving with the division was the 39th Cavalry Platoon (Air Cushion Vehicle) which used three of the specially designed hovercraft to patrol marshy terrain like the Plain of Reeds along the south Vietnamese/Cambodian border. [8] Other experimental units were the 1st and 2nd Airboat Platoons, which operated Hurricane Aircat airboats. [9] [10]

My Tho, Vietnam. A Viet Cong base camp being burned down. My Tho, Vietnam. A Viet Cong base camp being. In the foreground is Private First Class Raymond Rumpa, St Paul, Minnesota - NARA - 530621 edit.jpg
Mỹ Tho, Vietnam. A Viet Cong base camp being burned down.

From 1967 on, one of the division's brigades (the 2d Brigade) was the Army contingent of the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF). This brigade lived on the ships of Navy Task Force 117, and were transported on their infantry missions throughout the Mekong Delta on Tango boats (converted World War II landing craft) supported by various other armored boats. The MRF was often anchored near the South Vietnamese city of Mỹ Tho, or near the Division's Đồng Tâm Base Camp and they conducted operations in coordination with the Navy SEAL teams, the South Vietnamese Marines, units of the ARVN 7th Division and River Assault Groups. Following the Tet offensive in 1968, General Westmoreland stated that the Division and the MRF saved the Delta region from falling to the People's Army of Vietnam forces. In 1969, the division also operated throughout IV Corps. [11] [12]

Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense, served in the 9th ID from 1967 to 1968. Holding the rank of Sergeant (E-5), he served as an infantry squad leader. [13] Hagel served in the same infantry squad as his younger brother Tom, and they are believed to be the only American siblings to do so during the Vietnam War. [14]

In the 1994 film Forrest Gump , the eponymous main character was a member of the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam, notably: 4th Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry. [15]

The Division's major units departed South Vietnam on 27 August 1969 (HHC & 1st Brigade) to Hawaii; 27 August 1969 (2nd Brigade) to Fort Lewis, Washington; 12 October 1970 (3rd Brigade) to Fort Lewis.

Post Vietnam

9th Infantry Division

Following the Vietnam War the division was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington. The formal activation ceremony was held on 26 May 1972. Initially the division was organized under the army's Reorganization Objective Army Division system.

Parts of the division between 1972 - 1983 were organized as follows:

9th Infantry Division (Motorized)

U.S. Navy SEALs operate Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV), the successor to the Fast Attack Vehicle pioneered by the 9th ID (Motorized). US Navy 020413-N-5362A-013 U.S. Navy SEALs (SEa, Air, Land) operate Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV) while preparing for an upcoming mission.jpg
U.S. Navy SEALs operate Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV), the successor to the Fast Attack Vehicle pioneered by the 9th ID (Motorized).

From 1983 the division served as the High-Technology Test-Bed (HTTB) for the army. This led to the division to develop the concept of "motorized infantry" from 1983 onward. The motorized infantry division was to be equipped with enhanced technology to give it deployability and fire power and fill the gap between light and heavy divisions. The idea was to create a lighter version of the armored and mechanized divisions, which could be deployed easily by aircraft, while providing more firepower than a light infantry division. [28]

Initially the vision was to create three motorized brigades with three new types of infantry battalion: [29] [30]

The light attack battalions utilized the Fast Attack Vehicles (FAV - later re-designated the Desert Patrol Vehicle). Essentially a Volkswagen-engined dune buggy mounted with either a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcher or .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun. The FAV was designed to provide highly mobile firepower that could attack the flanks of heavier mechanized units. Some variants also mounted TOW missiles. All of these weapons systems were attached to the FAV by a mount designed to break away if the vehicle rolled over, which they were prone to do. The FAVs were problematic at best and were eventually replaced by various versions of the Humvee/HMMWV light truck. [31] [29] [30]

The combined arms battalions were organized as a mix of assault gun companies and light motorized infantry companies, with the heavy battalions fielding two assault gun companies and one light motorized infantry company, while the ratio was reversed in the light battalions. The assault gun companies were to be equipped with the Armored Gun System (AGS), but because of delays in the AGS program they were initially equipped with M551 Sheridan light tanks and later with Humvees with TOW missiles or Mk 19 grenade launchers. Light motorized infantry companies were equipped with Humvees mounting a Mk 19 grenade launcher. Each combined arms battalion also fielded a combat support company equipped with mortars, scouts, and an anti-armor platoon slated to be equipped with Humvees mounting a ground version of the Hellfire missile. As this Hellfire version never entered service, the platoons were later also equipped with Humvees with TOW missiles. [28] [29] [30]

The division's first and third brigade were to field one of each of the three new battalions, while the second brigade would field three combined arms battalions heavy. The third brigade was to field one light and one heavy combined arms battalion and the 9th Cavalry Brigade two attack helicopter battalions, one combat support aviation battalion, and one cavalry reconnaissance squadron. The division artillery would consist of three battalions equipped with M198 155mm towed howitzers, one light artillery rocket battalion with M102 105mm towed howitzers and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and one target acquisition battery. The division support command would field three forward support, one cavalry support and one main support battalion. However, because of the delay of the Armored Gun System the division did only activate four of the envisioned five combined arms battalions heavy and retained the 2nd Battalion, 77th Armor instead.

Parts of the division were organized at the end of the 1980s as follows:

In case of war with the Warsaw Pact the division's would have reinforced the Allied Forces Baltic Approaches Command defending Denmark. By 1984 the 9th Cavalry Brigade (Air Attack) was testing motorcycles for reconnaissance work in its reconnaissance squadron, the 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment. [32] And the 9th Infantry Division (MTZ) tested motorized infantry doctrine at the Yakima Firing Center in Eastern Washington, at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin California and in Korea during the annual Team Spirit exercise. While the motorized units performed well they were vulnerable to heavier mechanized forces, particularly if forced to stand and fight. They were also extremely vulnerable to indirect (artillery) fires.[ citation needed ]

On 1 April 1984, Echo Company of the 15th Engineer Battalion reorganized to form the 73rd Engineer Company (Assault Ribbon Bridge), which was assigned to I Corps, which in turn attached it as separate company to the 15th Engineer Battalion. With the switch from Combat Arms Regimental System to the United States Army Regimental System the division saw a few of its units reflagged or inactivated:

During fiscal year 1987 the army decided to inactivate the division's 2nd brigade, which would be replaced by the 81st Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) of the Washington Army National Guard. The 2nd brigade was inactivated on 15 August 1988 along with the following units:

On the same date the 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor, which until then had been attached to the division, was assigned to the division.[ citation needed ] With the inactivation of the 2nd brigade the remaining units were reassigned among the remaining brigades: 1st brigade now consisted of 2nd Combined Arms Battalion Heavy, 2nd Infantry, 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor, and 4th Combined Arms Battalion Light, 23rd Infantry. 3rd brigade consisted of 2nd Light Attack Battalion, 1st Infantry, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion Light, 47th Infantry, and 2nd Combined Arms Battalion Heavy, 60th Infantry. The 2nd Combined Arms Battalion Heavy, 23rd Infantry was assigned to the 9th Cavalry Brigade. [28]

Organization 1988

McGrath writes that the 9th Infantry Division was organized as follows in 1988: [39]

In fiscal year 1989 Chief of Staff of the United States Army General Carl E. Vuono approved the conversion of the division's two combined arms battalions light to standard mechanized infantry battalions. [43]

Inactivation

The division was the first to undergo full inactivation following the end of the Cold War. Army leadership at first decided that inactivating units would turn in all of their equipment at "10/20" standard – in ready and reusable condition. The division struggled to meet this standard. It required both extensive work on the part of the division's soldiers and high costs in repair parts. While the remaining 9th ID soldiers were ultimately successful, later inactivating units were not required to attain this goal.[ citation needed ]

The inactivation of the division began on 28 September 1990 with the inactivation of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, [44] and 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry. [45] The 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery inactivated on 15 January 1991.

On 16 February 1991 the 3rd Brigade was reflagged as 199th Infantry Brigade (Motorized) [46] with the following units:

The remainder of the division's units inactivated on the following dates:

With the support and aviation units inactivating in the same timeframe. The divisional headquarters remained active until 15 December 1991. [51] The 3rd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery became a General Support battalion of I Corps Artillery. [52]

Though it was inactivated, the division was identified as the second highest priority inactive division in the United States Army Center of Military History's lineage scheme due to its numerous accolades and long history. All of the division's flags and heraldic items were moved to the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia following its inactivation. [53] Should the U.S. Army decide to activate more divisions in the future, the center will most likely suggest the first new division be the 9th Infantry Division, then the 24th Infantry Division, the 5th Infantry Division, and the 2nd Armored Division. [54] The 7th Infantry Division, previously inactivated, resumed service as an administrative headquarters at Joint Base Lewis–McChord in 2012.

See also

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  47. "2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry - Lineage and Honors". US Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  48. "3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry - Lineage and Honors". US Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  49. "2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry - Lineage and Honors". US Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  50. "2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry - Lineage and Honors". US Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  51. Dinackus 2000, page 11-3.
  52. "Field Artillery - February 1990". US Army Field Artillery School. 1990. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  53. McKenney 1997, p. 21.
  54. McKenney 1997, p. 22.

Bibliography

Further reading