Members of the 2nd Infantry Division has been the wearers of the famed Indian Head Patch in five different wars around the planet. This insignia had its origin during World War One as the identifying insignia on the vehicles of the Division Supply Trains. The Commanding Officer of the trains held a contest in March, 1918, to select a distinctive identifying symbol for use upon the vehicles after he had seen the vehicles of adjacent French units decorated in this manner. Through his adjutant he sent out a memorandum authorizing prizes for the best designs submitted, with a first prize of forty francs. The winning insignia, which obtained the final approval of Division Headquarters for use upon supply train vehicles in April, 1918, was the striking red and blue Indian head, super imposed upon a white star. The head covered the re-entrant angles of the star and exposed only the points. Maj Gen Omar Bundy, the Division Commander, and his Chief of Staff, Col Preston Brown, later Maj Gen Preston Brown, were riding in a command car one day in April when Gen Bundy’s eye was caught by the insignia emblazoned on a truck. According to a letter from Maj Gen Brown written some time later, Gen Bundy stopped the driver, asked the meaning of the device, and was told by the driver that it enabled him to find his vehicle in the dark. The letter does not bring out that the insignia had been authorized and was probably coming into use on all the vehicles of the trains but at that time and at any rate, the Gen and his Chief of Staff promptly sent their cars to the area to have the insignia painted upon them. In this manner the Indian Head became associated with the 2nd Infantry Division as its identifying insignia some time before it became the standard shoulder patch so proudly worn by men of the Division.
In October, 1918, the Commanding General of the American Expeditionary Force (CG-AEF), Gen John J Pershing, requested units to furnish insignia for approval. Maj Gen John A. Lejeune, USMC, in reply to the request, submitted the red and blue Indian head upon a white star as the insignia of the 2nd Marine Division. The head was contained within the re-entrant angles of the star in this design, the whole contained within a circle three and one-half inches in diameter. As the Indian head in the representation was somewhat crudely constructed, it was designated that the Saint-Gaudens Indian, in use on the five-dollar gold piece, be substituted. On November 14, 1918, an order was published by Headquarters 2nd Division announcing that the insignia as described had been made official for the Division. The cloth background for the insignia was of varying shapes and colors, designating the major unit to which the individual wearer belonged and the subordinate unit. The background chosen for the Division’s Headquarters was the black shield. In April 1933, Maj Gen Preston Brown, taking command of the Division, abolished the differentiation of all the backgrounds in use and made the black shield official for all elements of the 2nd Division.
With proud traditions and wearing the Fourragère of the Croix de Guerre won at Soissons and Mont Blanc during World War One, the 2nd Infantry Division entered the War in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) with the incomparable esprit which comes from a notable heritage. In the Normandy Peninsula, at the Siege of Brest, on the Siegfried Line, racing across Central Europe, and in the last days of the Wehrmacht’s disintegrating power in Czechoslovakia, the Division for the second time proved itself Second to None in upholding its country’s finest military traditions. Its operations and achievements reflect credit upon the army of which it was a part and upon the men who fought its battles through the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland (Germany), the Ardennes, and Central Europe. The impressive array of battle honors and individual citations won can only indicate the untold acts of gallantry and great fighting spirit which marked eleven months of combat in German-held Europe.
The 2nd Division completed its organization as a division on November 18 1917, in France, under the command of Maj Gen Omar Bundy. Elements of the division had received training prior to overseas movement at Pine Camp, New York, and had joined in the spirited race to be the first American unit overseas. On arrival in France, the division was activated with the veteran 9th and 23rd Infantry Regiments making up the 3rd Brigade; the 5th and the 6th Marine Regiments composing the 4th Brigade, and the 12th, 15th and 17th Field Artillery Regiments plus the 2nd Engineer Regiment and the 2nd Sanitary Train. Following a short tour of duty as occupational troops along the Rhine River after the first World War, the division returned to the US in Aug 1919, and was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and then at Camp Travis, where it remained in garrison for 23 years. The 4th Marine Brigade, composed of the 5th Marine and 6th Marine Regiments, was inactivated and was subsequently replaced by the 4th Infantry Brigade, comprised of the 1st Infantry Regiment and 20th Infantry Regiment, later dropped and stationed at what is now Fort Francis D. Warren, Wyoming.
In October 1940, with the dropping of the 4th Brigade, the Division underwent a streamlining. It became the first triangular division, organized from the 9th Infantry Regiment and 23rd Infantry Regiment with the 38th Infantry Regiment completing the triangle. At the same time, the 15th Field Artillery Regiment was divided into three battalions, the 37th Field Artillery Battalion, the 38th Field Artillery Battalion and 15th Field Artillery Battalion. The 12th Field Artillery Regiment was reduced in size to become the 12th Field Artillery Battalion, the fourth unit included in Division Artillery. The 2nd Engineer Regiment became the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, and the 2nd Medical Regiment, which had been formed in 1921 from the old 2nd Sanitary Train, became the 2nd Medical Battalion. The integral parts now comprising the reorganized 2nd Infantry Division were the 9-IR, the 23-IR, and the 38-IR; the 12-FAB, 15-FAB, 37-FAB, and the 38-FAB, and Headquarters & Headquarter Battery Division Artillery. The 2-MB; the 2-ECB; and special troops including Headquarters Co, the 2nd Signal Co, the 2nd Quartermaster Co, the 702nd Light Ordnance and Maintenance Co, the 2nd Reconnaissance Troop Mecz, and the Military Police Platoon. Some of these component parts of the Division have separate and distinct histories as military organizations. Some have records of military service extending far into the roots of this nation’s past and forming an integral part of American history. Others are products of the modernization of the nation’s armed forces in recent times.
9th Infantry Regiment
Oldest unit of the Division is the venerable 9th Infantry Regiment, rich in military lore and tradition. Activated in 1798, it was demobilized shortly thereafter and reactivated in 1812, participating in five major engagements of the War with England, the Capture of York, Fort George, Sackett’s Harbor, Fort Erie, and the Chippewa River Battle. Disbanded in 1814, it was reorganized in 1847 for the War with Mexico, in which it fought at Cerro Gordo, the Invasion of the Valley of Mexico, Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec. In 1848, after two wars in which it fought under that impressive battle-figure Gen Winneld Scott, it was disbanded for the third time. Banded together for the fourth time in 1855, the regiment has remained in active service ever since. Between 1855 and 1892 it was credited with no less than 400 battles and skirmishes along the American Frontier. It participated in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Philippine Insurrection of 1899, and the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900-1901. During the war in China at the Battle of Tientsin, the regiment won its most prized trophy. A detachment saved a Chinese mint from being looted and was presented two ingots of silver by the grateful government. A twenty gallon punchbowl and 50 silver cups, ornate with the five-clawed Manchu dragon, were made from the ingots. This trophy is called the Liscum Bowl in memory of a gallant regimental commander who seized the colors from a fallen color guard and held them high until he himself fell mortally wounded. It was in China, too, that the 9th Infantry won its sobriquet, the Manchu Regiment, and added the dragon to its regimental coat of arms. Ordered overseas in 1917 for duty with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), the 9th Infantry was assigned to duty with the 2nd Division, of which it has been an integral part ever since. It participated in the campaigns of the Aisne, Aisne & Marne, Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse Argonne. For its combat performance it wears the Fourragère in the colors of the Croix de Guerre, for having been cited twice in Orders of the French Army. Later, as part of the Army of Occupation in the Rhineland (Germany), it was stationed at Bendorf, until it was transferred in Aug 1919 to Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Battle streamers awarded the 9th Infantry include :
Little Big Horn, Mississippi (1862)
Murfrees Boro, Tennessee (1863)
Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Georgia & Atlanta (1864)
Santiago, San Isidore Luzon (1899- 1900)
Zapote River-Malolos, Tarlac-Samar (1901)
Tientsin, Yang-Tsun Peking, China
Ile de France
Aisne & Marne
Meuse & Argonne
Streamers of the Croix de Guerre
23rd Infantry Regiment
Next oldest unit of the Division is the 23rd Infantry. It was organized in June 1812, and participated in thirteen battles and skirmishes of that war including Sackett’s Harbor, Lundy’s Lane, and the Capture of Fort Erie. In May 1815, elements of the regiment helped form the 2nd Infantry of that time, and the 23rd Infantry ceased to exist under that name until after the Civil War when the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Infantry was designated by that name. This Battalion, organized in 1862, served through the Civil War amassing battle honors which the 23rd Infantry assumed on its activation in 1866. One company of the Regiment served as garrison at Sitka, Alaska, from April 1869 to June 1870, adding the Russian Bear and the totem pole to its regimental coat of arms. Between the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, the Regiment participated in numerous Indian Wars. After the Spanish-American War, in which the Regiment participated in the Capture of Manila, it took part in the quelling of the Philippine Insurrection and returned to the States in 1901. The Regiment saw two other periods of duty in the Philippine Islands, in 1903-1905 and in 1908-1910 then the time from 1913 to 1917 was spent on guard duty on the Mexican Border. Sent to France as part of the 2nd Division in Sep 1917, the 23rd Infantry participated in six major engagements of that war and was twice cited in the Orders of the French Army. For this honor the members now wear the Fourragère in colors of the Croix de Guerre. Following its term of service with the Army of Occupation in the Rhineland (Germany), after World War One, the Regiment returned to the United States on Aug 4 1919.
Battle streamers awarded the regiment include the :
Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Virginia (1863)
Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Arizona (1866)
Little Big Horn
Ile de France
Meuse & Argonne
streamers of the Croix de Guerre
38th Infantry Regiment
The 38th Infantry, a unit of the 3rd Division in World War One, became a part of the 2nd Division in 1940 when the change was made from a square division to a triangular division. It was activated on June 1 1917, at Syracuse, New York, and earned its sobriquet The Rock of the Marne, on Jul 15 1918, when in the pre-dawn darkness eight miles east of Chateau Thierry it stopped a desperate head-on thrust of the German 10th and 36th Divisions, halting a concentrated attack. Gen John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief of the AEF, in his report to the Secretary of War of the United States nine days after the signing of the Armistice, said in his one mention of an individual regiment : A single regiment of the 3rd Division wrote one of the most brilliant pages in our military annals on this occasion. It prevented the crossing at certain points on its wide front while on either Hank the Germans who had gained a foothold pressed forward. The men of this one regiment, firing in three directions, met German attacks with counterattacks at critical points and succeeded in throwing two German elite divisions into complete confusion, capturing more than 600 soldiers. For outstanding performance of duty in France and for unshakable tenacity the Regiment was cited – an elite regiment – by General Marshal Petain and was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. As Rhineland occupation troops, the 38th Infantry was billeted in Niedermendig, Obermendig, Ettringer, and St Johann, in Germany. It embarked for the US eight months later at Brest, France.
The 38th Infantry carries battle streamers on its colors for the campaigns of :
Champagne & Marne
Meuse & Argonne
12th Field Artillery Battalion
The 12th Field Artillery Battalion also saw action in the last war. It was organized in June 1917, from a cadre of the 3rd Field Artillery Battalion. The single Fleur de Lys in its coat of arms comes from the city of Soissons where it won the Croix de Guerre with Palm of the French Government. The golden crown on the Fleur de Lys comes from Verdun where the unit received its baptism of fire. The green Aztec war bonnet is derived from its parent organization, the 3rd Field Artillery, which saw service in Mexico. The 12th FAB wears the Fourragère in colors of the Croix de Guerre and the streamers of that French decoration. It served in the Army of Occupation in the Rhineland for eight months and was then sent back to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There, in 1940, it was reduced to battalion strength and reorganized as a medium field artillery battalion with the 2nd Division.
As a regiment the organization engaged in the :
Aisne & Marne
Meuse & Argonne
15th Field Artillery Battalion
The 15th Field Artillery Battalion, parent organization of three of the Division’s four artillery units, was organized at Pine Camp, New York, on the eve of departure for overseas in August 1917. It was formed with a cadre from the 4th Field Artillery Regiment. Upon arrival in France in February 1918, it was assigned to duty with the 2nd Division. The 15-FAB was in continuous action from Jul 1918, to Nov 1918 and the signing of the Armistice. Decorated with the ribbons of the Croix de Guerre for two citations by the French Ministry of War, the Meuse Argonne and the Aisne Marne campaigns, this organization served in the Army of Occupation until mid-summer of 1919 and then moved to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. On Oct 10 1940, the regiment officially became three battalions, the 15-FAB, 37-FAB and the 38-FAB. In this reorganization process the 15-FAB retained the records, standards, and honors of the old regiment.
The 15th Artillery Battalion saw action with that organization in :
Ile de France
Aisne & Marne
Meuse & Argonne
Hqs & Hqs Battery Division Artillery
Hqs & Hqs Battery Division Artillery was organized on Oct 1 1940, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, its personnel being obtained by transfer from Hqs & Hqs Battery and 1/12-FAR and Hqs Battery 15-FAR.
2nd Engineer Combat Battalion
The 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion is one of the few American units organized on foreign soil, having been created on Jul 1 1916, at Colonia Dublan, Mexico, as a result of expansion of the old 2nd Battalion of Engineers. Its history traces back to Charlie and Dog Companies of the Corps of Engineers, organized in 1861. Through these older organizations the present Battalion has on its colors battle streamers of the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and the Philippine Insurrection. After participating in the Mexican punitive expedition in 1916 the battalion moved to France in Sept 1917, as part of the 2nd Division when it was organized. Attached to the 36th Division, it fought through a short campaign with that organization. For outstanding exploits it wears the French Fourragère, and served as part of the Army of Occupation at Enger am Rhine until Jul 1919 when it returned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
The 2nd Engineers participated in the campaigns at :
2nd Medical Battalion
The 2nd Medical Battalion is one of the oldest medical units in the entire army of the United States, dating back to 1894 and the so called School of Instructions, Hospital Corps, Washington Barracks, D.C. It was part of the Cuban Expeditionary Force from Oct 1906 to Nov 1908 and in Mar 1911, was reorganized as Field Hospital and Ambulance Company #1, Hospital Corps. It went overseas as part of the 2nd Sanitary Train of the 2nd Division in August 1918. Headquarters of the Sanitary Train was organized in France, and it assumed the history of Field Hospital and Ambulance Company #1. It was twice cited in French Orders of the Army and thus wears the Fourragère and streamers in the colors of the Croix de Guerre. After serving with the Army of Occupation while stationed at Sayn, Germany, until Jul 1919, the Train returned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas where it was reorganized as the 2nd Medical Regiment on Feb 17 1921. It became the 2nd Medical Battalion on Oct 7 1940.
The Train was awarded battle honors for :
Ile de France
Aisne & Marne
Meuse & Argonne
2nd Division Hqs Company
The 2nd Infantry Division Headquarters Company, the 2nd Signal Company, the 2nd Quartermaster Company, the 702nd Ordnance Company, the 2nd Reconnaissance Troop (Mezd) and the 2nd Division Military Police Platoon began serving as units of the 2nd Infantry Division when it was triangulated. These complete the organization of the Division whose units fought together over some 1,665 miles of enemy-held territory in eleven months of almost continual combat in World War II.