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The 24th Infantry Division Association

Founded August 1945 on a Philippine Island beach
 

 

24th Division Facts

The 24th Infantry Division was the first division to take up arms against enemy forces in World War II.  Taromen trained their guns on attacking Imperial Japanese aircraft at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and shot down 5 enemy planes.

The Victory Division fought in five campaigns in the Pacific. This is the most campaigns engaged in by any United States division in the Pacific during World War II.

Taromen spearheaded four of the five major campaigns they were engaged in.  An Arrowhead was earned for D Day Operations at:  New Guinea, Leyte, Luzon and the Southern Philippines.

The U.S. Army Infantry Motto, "Follow Me" was adopted as a result of the rallying cry of Colonel Aubry S. "Red" Newman, Commander, 34th Infantry Regiment, during the beach assault at Leyte. He stood up in the midst of menacing Japanese gunfire and said, "get the hell off the beach. Get up and get moving. Follow Me." He then led his troops forward in attack.

Japanese Army General Yamashita stated that the Japanese Army's back was broken when it was defeated by the Victory Division's 21st Infantry Regiment at Breakneck Ridge, The Philippines.

The world famous photograph of General Douglas Mac Arthur wading ashore in the Philippines marking his return, and the beginning of the liberation of the country, was taken in the Victory Division’s 34th Infantry Regiment sector of Leyte Beach during the assault landings.

The first unit to fight in World War II was also the last to lose precious American lives.  As late as mid September, after the announced surrender by Japanese forces on August 15, 1945, the 24th Infantry Division was patrolling the hills ferreting out the last pockets of Japanese resistance on Mindinao in the Philippines.

General Douglas Mac Arthur, Pacific Theater Commander said of the Victory Division, "No division with which I have been associated with is closer to my heart than the 24th Division, and none has more distinguished itself."

The 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, was the first fighting unit deployed to Korea at the start of hostilities when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. They were known as "Task Force Smith."

The 24th Division’s "Task Force Smith" fought the first battle of the Korean War at Osan, South Korea.

The 24th Division was the first combat unit in the world to serve under the United Nations flag when it landed in Korea as "Task Force Smith."  U.S. forces were awarded the United Nations Service medal for the first time.

26 January 1952, General of the Army, Douglas Mac Arthur again commends the Victory Division. He said, "…I am proud indeed to have been connected with that great unit. Its service in Korea marks one of the most dramatic pages of American history. Swift and sure in attack, courageous and tenacious in defense, its record is unsurpassed."

18 April 1952, Commander-in Chief, Far East Command, General Matthew B. Ridgway commends the Division. He stated in a letter, "…with unexcelled fighting spirit and efficiency, the men of the division have consistently displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. Their record is a proud one, of combat achievement, of unswerving loyalty and sacrifice."

The 24th Division and U.S. Marines were the first U.S. troops sent to Lebanon during the 1958 Intervention. This was the largest deployment of U.S. troops between the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The 24th Division was the first Army unit awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for deployment to a hostile region when it deployed to Lebanon in July of 1958 as an Intervention Force.  No previous deployment of U.S. troops ever received this award.

When the East German Communists built the infamous Berlin Wall, the region became volatile. Elements of the 24th Division were moved to Berlin's Check Point Charlie and remained at the ready. The Division became known as "The Shield of Bavaria".

As a member of the XVIII Airborne Corp's, Rapid Deployment Force, the 24th Infantry Division (Mech.) was known as "The Iron-Fist."

The Victory Division was the leading ground attack element into Iraq when the Desert Storm ground war began at 1500 hours, February 24, 1991. The Division was "The Point of the Spear."

The Mechanized Division’s lightning flanking and encircling attack into Iraq has been called "The Greatest Cavalry Charge in History". It drove 370 kilometers deep through and around enemy lines containing crack Republican Guard units and other regular army divisions. The Division drove faster and farther than any mechanized force in military history to that date.

Elements of the 24th Division (Mech.) were first to capture an Iraqi command flag during Operation Desert Storm.

During the Army drawdown to 10 active divisions, the Victory Division's Colors were retired in favor of a division with less longevity and 14 less battle campaigns, even though the decision on retention was supposed to be based on a division's "battle history" and "tradition."  A panel of independent and objective individuals were charged with choosing these 10 divisions.  

The 24th and 7th Infantry Divisions were the first divisions to develop and test the new concept of integrated divisions (IDIV).

The U.S. Navy named a military transport ship after Medal of Honor recipient Corporal Mitchell RedCloud Jr, E Co., 19th Infantry Regiment. The dedication was August 7, 1999. Corporal RedCloud was awarded the MOH for action in Korea where he gave his life while defending his troops.

The U.S. Navy named a ship after Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant First Class Nelson V. Brittin, I Co., 19th Infantry Regiment.  The dedication was October 21, 2000 at New Orleans.  SFC Brittin was awarded the MOH for action in Korea where he gave his life while leading an attack on a hill.

General Halftrack, Commanding General of Camp Swampy, and of Beetle Bailey comic strip fame, wears the 24th Infantry Division shoulder patch. Sarge says he is just bragging!

Compiled and written by Norman E. Tredway, presented herein with permission.