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 Americal Division Memorial

Americal Division Memorial

Birth
Death unknown
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 35
Memorial ID 22466 · View Source
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Memorial to those who served in the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) during World War II, in Korea, and during the Vietnam War. The division is called the Americal, being a contraction of the words "Americans in New Caledonia." The patch consists of a dark blue sky and four stars, forming the Southern Cross constellation, and referring to the Pacific theater where the division was formed. During World War II, the Division was the only United States Army division without a number; in 1954, it was redesignated the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal), and has carried that number ever since. The Americal Division was formed in May 1942 on the island of New Caledonia, in the Pacific Ocean. In the months following the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States hurriedly sent three infantry regiments to defend New Caledonia against a feared Japanese attack. The regiments, the 132nd Infantry Regiment (Illinois National Guard), the 164th Infantry Regiment (North Dakota National Guard), and the 182nd Infantry Regiment (Massachusetts National Guard) were put together into a makeshift Division under the command of Brigadier General Alexander M. Patch. For reasons unclear, the division was not given a number, but simply known as the Americal Division. Having achieved its mission of securing New Caledonia, in October 1942, the Americal Division was transferred to Guadalcanal, where it relieved the 1st Marine Division, which had been fighting there since August. The Division was quickly blooded, when a massive Japanese attack to retake Henderson Airfield was repulsed. In January 1944, the Division was moved to Bougainville Island, and in January 1945, the division went to secure the Philippine Islands. At the end of the war, in August 1945, the division was sent to Japan for occupation duties. Relieved of occupation duties in October 1945, the division was sent to Seattle, Washington, to be inactivated. During World War II, the division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) for Guadalcanal, the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and the Bronze Arrowhead (for leading an assault). Although not activated for the Korean War, the division was reactivated in December 1954, where it was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone, and individual Americal soldiers were to later serve in the Republic of Korea. After several years in Panama, the division was inactivated in 1959. On September 22, 1967, the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) was reactivated in South Vietnam, with Brigadier General Samuel W. Koster in command, with the 196th Infantry, 198th Infantry, and 11th Light Infantry Brigades, although only the 196th Infantry Brigade was in Vietnam at the time of activation. The other two brigades were still in the United States. The Division primarily operated from the towns of Duc Pho and Chu Lai, in the I Corps area. During the withdrawal from Vietnam, the colors were returned to Fort Lewis, Washington, and the division was inactivated on November 29, 1971. During its history, 12 soldiers of the Americal Division earned the Medal of Honor, one in World War II at Bougainville, and eleven in Vietnam. The Division was awarded the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for its actions in 1969 to 1970.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 22 May 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22466
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Americal Division Memorial (unknown–unknown), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22466, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .