The 6th Infantry Division
The 6th Infantry Division was organized in early 1917 at Chickamugh, Geogia. It was one of the 102 Infantry Divisions mobilized in 1917 for the American Expeditionary Force to fight the Germans Army in WWI. The 6th Infantry Division consisted of the 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 54th newly organized Infantry Regiment with artillery, Motor Supply Train and other support groups. The shoulder patch was a small 6 pointed red star fashioned after the star of David, with a small 6 in the center. The star was enlarged and the 6 in the center of the star was omitted during WWII. The Regimental crest of the 54th, 52nd, 53rd Infantry Regiment contain a small red star to indicate service with the 6th Division. There were other Infantry Regiments that have included their Division patch in their Regimental crests. In 1917, the United States Marine Corp. consisted of 2 Regiments and were assigned to the US Army 2nd Infantry Division (Indian Head) as the 5th & 6th Infantry Regiments.
After training in various camps in the United States, the 6th Infantry Division departed the United States and arrived in France in July 1918. From July 1918, until the close of the war on November 11, 1918 the 6th Division assignments included training, marching, defending and more marching. The extreme marching through western France earned the "Red Star" Doughboys the nickname of the "Sight Seeing Sixth". In the final days of the "September Offense", the 6th Infantry Division participated in combat in the Meuse Argonne, Alsace and Lorraine Sectors. At the end of hostilities on November 11, 1918, the 6th Division had suffered 217 KIA. The casualties may have been larger had not the 6th Division been first to initiate the "Buddy System", pairing men in combat. The 6th Infantry Division was deactivated in 1921 at Camp Grant, Illinois.
With storm clouds of the war looming again in Europe in 1939, the 6th Infantry Division was activated at Ft. Lewis, Washington. The following units were assigned to the division, the 1st, 20th, 63rd Infantry Regiment, the 1st, 50th, 60th and 80th FA BN's and necessary support groups. In WWII, 120 Infantry Divisions were mobilized plus 14 ghost Divisions were authorized for the invasion of Japan. Patches were authorized, however the divisions were never mobilized due to the fact that 2 atomic bombs were dropped on Japan ending the war. The patches and 400,000 Purple Hearts (that were also purchased by the Army for the invasion of Japan) are still in the US Army warehouses.
After a series of moves around the United States including combat maneuvers in Louisiana during the summer of 1941 the 6th Infantry Division settled in at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and more training in August 1941. In March 1942, the 6th Infantry Division was motorized and began training for the North African Campaign. During the summer of 1942 the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Infantry Regiment was detached from the Division and served time with General Patton and participated in combat maneuvers in Tennessee. In March 1943, the 6th Infantry Division was demotorized and moved to San Luis Obispo, California. Time at this base was 3 weeks. The 6th Infantry Division departed the United States and arrived in Hawaii on the island of Oahu in September 1943. It started amphibious and jungle training courses, as assault landings, mountain climbing, and patrolling.
The 6th Infantry Division, ready for war, departed Oahu 1944 for destination unknown - which turned out to be New Guinea. Arrived in Milne Bay February 1944 and established a tent city camp. The next 306 days were combat for the 6th Infantry Division from Milne Bay, Muffin Bay, Sanspor, Mindano and Lingayen in the Phillippines when WWII ended August 12, 1945. The casualties suffered in the 306 days of combat are as follows: KIA-410, WIA-1957, died of wounds-104. Citations as follows: 2-Medals of Honor, 10-Distinguished Service Crosses, 697-Silver Stars, and 3797 Bronze Stars.
On September 6, 1945, the 6th Infantry Division was assigned occupation duty with the 7th Infantry Division. Arrived in Inchon, Korea on September 25, 1945 and finally settled in at Pusan, Korea. 6th Infantry Division Headquarters was established in the best building in Pusan, probably City Hall. The 1st Infantry Regiment settled in at Camp Reese, 2 miles east of Pusan. The 20th Infantry Regiment settled at Camp Sykes, Kyongju. The 63rd Infantry Regiment settled in at Camp Hillenmeyer, Kumsan, Korea.
The mission of the 2 divisions was to repatriate all Japanese soldiers and civilians back to Japan. Destroy all warlike material and to help establish a police force, Korean Army (ROK) and South Korean Government.
Tension developed immediately at the line of demarcation (the 38th parallel) between the Russian/North Korean Army and the United States Forces. The worst incident occurred on September 14, 1946 when 2 train cars of US Military and Government personnel were destroyed at Napan, Kprea. 36 GI's died and 36 injured. Most of the men were on their way home. It was widely believed amoung the US troops that it was an act of communist sabotage.
The 6th Infantry Division completed its mission and departed Korea on January 10, 1949. The 6th Infantry Division was deactivated at Fort Ord, California February 1949 and reactivated at Fort Ord 1950 - deactivated at Fort Ord, California in 1956. Reactivated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1967 and deactivated at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1968. Reactivated at Fort Richardson, Alaska in 1988 and designated 6th Infantry Division (Light) in 1990, moved to and is presently stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and now consists of the 172nd Infantry Brigade and the 1st Infantry Regiment - 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Fort Richardson is located 10 miles NE of Anchorage, Alaska and near Elmendorf (SAC) Air Base. Fort Wainwright is located 10 miles east of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Donald Hadenfeldt - Burlington,Iowa
Jun 11 2000 03:01:12:000PM