U.S. Army Second (Indianhead) Infantry Division history teems with heroic individual actions and exemplary unit operations against determined enemies in World Wars I and II, the Korean and Cold wars and the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its exploits and reputation in peace and war have solidified its place in U.S. military history as “Second to None,” the division’s motto, according to 2ida.org.
Second (Indianhead) Division Association Membership/Public Relations Chairman Mike Davino is searching for anyone who served in the 2nd Infantry Division at any time as to attend their 98th annual reunion Sept. 18-22 at the Sheraton Tucson (Ariz.) Hotel & Suites. For more details about this, contact Bob Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 224-225-1202 for more details.
The association represents division veterans who served in the four wars and in peacetime, including Korea on the demilitarized zone since 1965. Active membership is open to individuals who served or are serving with the Division and its attached units.
Associate and honorary memberships are also available. The association also has members from the Dutch and French battalions attached to the Second Infantry Division during combat operations and Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army soldiers who served with the Second Infantry. The nonprofit association is chartered in Texas.
The division was founded on Oct. 26, 1917, at Bourmont, France, the only division organized on foreign soil.
At the time of its activation, the 2nd was composed of one brigade of U.S. Infantry, one brigade of U.S. Marines, an artillery brigade and various supporting units. During the Great War the Division was commanded twice by Marine Corps generals, Brig. Gen. C.A. Doyen and Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune. It’s the only time in U.S. military history when Marine Corps officers commanded an Army Division.
The winter of 1917-1918, Division members trained with French Army veterans. By spring 1918 the American Expeditionary Force committed to combat in an attempt to halt a German advance toward Paris. The 2nd Infantry Division drew first blood in the nightmare landscape of Belleau-Wood and contributed to shattering the 4-year-old stalemate on the battlefield during the Chateau-Thierry campaign that followed, the website reports.
The Division won hard-fought victories at Soissons and Mont Blanc, for which it was awarded the French Fourragere shoulder cord in the green and red colors of the Croix de Guerre.
Lastly, the Indianhead Division participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which ended any German hope for victory. Armistice was declared on Nov. 11, 1918, and the 2nd Infantry Division marched into Germany to perform occupational duties until April 1919.
The Association perpetuates and memorializes valiant acts and patriotic deeds of Second Infantry Division members; promotes and maintains friendships and camaraderie created by active service with the Second Infantry Division and its attached units; pays homage to its honored dead; provides scholarships for qualified young men and women; supports active Second Infantry Division; and provides services for and protects interests of members, their dependents and survivors.
The Division’s Indianhead patch “is one of the most recognized unit emblems in the U.S. Army because of its distinctive design and 80 years of proud service by it’s warriors,” 2ida.org/patch/ reports.
A colonel in 1917 noticed French trucks marked with symbols representing the unit to which each belonged and sponsored a contest among his men to design a symbol for his trucks. First prize went to a design featuring an Indianhead. The second-place winner offered a plain white star.
It’s believed the colonel combined the white star and Indianhead for a pleasing result.
Brig. Gen. Omar Bundy, division commander, approved the symbol and also ordered it put on his staff car.
In October 1918, new division commander LeJeune decided the color of the cloth behind each patch should represent the different divisional units, changed the size and shape of the patch and had the Indianhead patterned after the Indian on the $10 gold coin, produced from 1907-1933.
After World War I, the background of the patch was adopted from the design of the American shield.
Its current form, size and color took shape during World War II.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at email@example.com or afternoons at 526-8313.