2nd Infantry Division celebrates 95 years of service
The 2nd Infantry Division celebrated its 95th birthday Friday in Korea, where it has spent the majority of its service since the Korean War, deterring aggression on the world's most heavily fortified border.
The Warrior Division was activated Oct. 26, 1917, in Bourmont, France, during World War I, making it the first U.S. Army division founded on foreign soil. It is also the only division in U.S. military history to be commanded by not one, but two, Marine Corps generals, to include Marine Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, affectionately known as "The Old Indian."
As one of the most decorated divisions in the Army, the 2nd ID has more than 20 campaign participations streamers to its credit from five different wars and honors 38 Medal of Honor recipients -- 14 from World War I, six from World War II, and 18 from the Korean War.
During World War I, the division won hard fought victories at Soissons and Mont Blanc, for which it was awarded the French Fourragère in the colors of the Croix de Guerre. The Indianhead Division also participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive which spelled the end of any German hope for victory. Having fought in every major U.S. engagement, the Indianhead Division emerged from World War I as the most decorated American Division.
In 1944, in the onset of World War II, the division landed on Omaha Beach, France. Their second battles against the Nazi allies led them to win their fights in France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Germany.
Landing in Pusan, South Korea, in July 1950, the 2nd Inf. Div. was the first unit to travel directly from the U.S. to join the Korean War. The Indianhead Soldiers were the first to enter Pyongyang and fought the North Korean and Chinese troops valiantly at the Naktong River Line, Kunu-ri, Chipyong-ni, Bloody Ridge, Iron Triangle, Pork Chop Hill, Baldy Hill and Heartbreak Ridge. After four years of fighting, the division left Korea in August of 1954.
In July 1965, 2ID returned to the Korean Peninsula and is now the last remaining permanently forward-stationed division in the U.S. Army, and dominate armored land force in the Asian Pacific Region. The division stands should-to-shoulder with its Republic of Korea Army partners to deter aggression and maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula; and should deterrence fail, "Fight Tonight" in defense of the Republic of Korea.
Since its return to Korea, the division has continued to evolve to meet the needs of an Army at war. In August 2004, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq where it worked side-by-side with the Republic of Korea Army; just as it had while stationed in Korea. This deployment was unique in that it was the first operational deployment from the Republic of Korea. The 2nd BCT fought in the Fallujah offensive and helped provide Iraqis the opportunity to vote in the historic 2005 election before returning to its new home in Fort Lewis, Wash., where earlier this month it became part of the re-activated 7th Infantry Division.
As part of the 62-year-old ROK-U.S. Alliance, the 2nd Inf. Div. is at the forefront of the Army's shift from a counterinsurgency focus to Unified Land Operations. To accomplish its mission, the Warrior Division is equipped with the most modern and lethal weapons that exist in the world today, to include the newest versions of many of the Army's fighting vehicles, the M1A2 System Enhancement Package Abrams Main Battle Tank and the M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. In order to ensure the division's readiness to "Fight Tonight" 2nd Inf. Div. units conduct extensive combined live-fire and lead the Army in the execution of fully integrated, combined live, virtual and constructive training.
"The Warrior Division has played a key role in many historical events that have changed the world we live in," said Maj. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division. "Today, Soldiers wearing the same patch as those who served proudly on battlefields across the globe stand with our ROK Army partners ready to 'Fight Tonight' if called upon in defense of the Korean Peninsula. I could not be prouder of the Soldiers and KATUSAs of this great division; they are a noble testament to every Soldier who has ever worn the 'Indianhead Patch.'"