24th Infantry Division (United States)

24th Infantry Division (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=24th Infantry Division

caption=24th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
dates=25 February 1921 - 1970
branch=United States Army
motto=First to Fight
battles=World War II
Korean War
War in Southwest Asia
identification_symbol_label=Distinctive Unit Insignia
US Infantry
previous=23rd Infantry Division
next=25th Infantry Division

The 24th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Victory Division, is an inactive infantry division of the United States Army. The division saw combat in World War II, the Korean War, and Operation Desert Storm. Before its most recent deactivation in 2006, it was based at Fort Riley, Kansas.



*Constituted 1 February 1921 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, Hawaiian Division
*Activated 1 March 1921 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
*Reorganized and redesignated 1 October 1941 as Headquarters, 24th Infantry Division
*Reorganized and redesignated 1 April 1960 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 24th Infantry Division
*Inactivated 15 April 1970 at Fort Riley, Kansas
*Activated 21 September 1975 at Fort Stewart, Georgia
*Inactivated 15 February 1996 at Fort Stewart, Georgia
*Activated 17 October 1999 at Fort Riley, Kansas
*Inactivated 1 August 2006 at Fort Riley, Kansas


The 24th Infantry Division has its origins in Hawaii. It was activated under the Square Division Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) on 25 February 1921 as the Hawaiian Division at Schofield Barracks, Oahu. The division insignia is based on the taro leaf, emblematic of Hawaii, and 24th Division soldiers are often referred to as "Taromen".

The Hawaiian Division, the Philippine Division, and the Americal Division were the last three US Army divisions to be named rather than numbered. The Hawaiian Division "was concentrated on one post during the interwar years, which enabled it to conduct more effective combined arms training. It was also manned at higher levels than other divisions, and its field artillery was the first to be motorized." [cite web | title = 24th Infantry Division: "Victory Division" | publisher = globalsecurity.org | url = http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/24id.htm | accessdate = 2008-05-19]

In August-September 1941, the Hawaiian Division's assets were reorganized to form two divisions under the new Triangular Division TO&E. Its brigade headquarters were disbanded and the 27th and 35th Infantry regiments assigned to the new 25th Infantry Division. Hawaiian Division HQ was redesignated as Headquarters, 24th Infantry Division on 1 October 1941.

The Hawaiian National Guard was federalized on the same date, and the 299th Infantry was assigned as the Division's third infantry regiment. It remained a part of the division until 23 July 1942, when its personnel were amalgamated with the 298th Infantry Regiment and that unit transferred from the 25th Division to the 24th. (In June 1942, the two regiments were stripped of all their Japanese-American personnel, who were sent stateside to form the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).) The organization remained unchanged until 16 July 1943 when the 298th Infantry was detached for assignment to service forces, replaced by the 34th Infantry, a Regular Army regiment. This unit was staging for transport to the Philippines at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack; it was rerouted to the Hawaiian Department, arriving in Oahu on 21 December 1941.

World War II

*Subordinate Units:
**19th Infantry Regiment (1 Oct 41 - )
**21st Infantry Regiment (1 Oct 41 - )
**34th Infantry Regiment (16 Jul 43 - )‡ [cite web | title = A Brief History of the 34th Infantry Regiment | publisher = The Corregidor Historic Society | url = http://corregidor.org/rock_force/taromen/history.html | accessdate = 2008-05-14]
**298th Infantry Regiment, Hawaii National Guard (1 Oct 41 - 21 Jul 42)
**299th Infantry Regiment, Hawaii National Guard (23 Jul 42 - 16 Jul 43)†
**13th Field Artillery Battalion
**52nd Field Artillery Battalion
**63rd Field Artillery Battalion
**11th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm)
**24th Signal Company
**724th Ordnance Company
**24th Quartermaster Company
**24th Reconnaissance Troop
**3rd Engineer Battalion
**24th Medical Battalion
**24th Counter Intelligence Detachment

Transferred from 25th Infantry Division, replacing 299th Infantry
Transferred from Hawaiian Department Reserve, replacing 298th Infantry

The 24th Infantry Division was among the first to see combat in World War II and among the last to stop fighting. The Division was on Oahu, with Headquarters at Schofield Barracks, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, and suffered minor casualties. Charged with the defense of northern Oahu, it built an elaborate system of coastal defenses. In May 1943 it was alerted for movement to Australia and by 19 September 1943 had completed the move to Camp Caves, near Rockhampton, on the eastern coast of Australia.

After a period of intensive training, the Division moved to Goodenough Island, 31 January 1944, to stage for Operation Reckless, the amphibious capture of Hollandia, Netherlands New Guinea (now Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia). The 24th landed on 22 April 1944, and seized the important Hollandia Airdrome despite torrential rains and marshy terrain. Shortly after the Hollandia landing, the 34th Infantry Regiment moved to Biak, 18 June, to reinforce the 41st Infantry Division, and captured Sorido and Borokoe airdromes before returning to the Division on Hollandia in July.

After occupation duty in the Hollandia area, the 24th Division landed on Red Beach on Leyte, 20 October 1944, as part of the X Corps, Sixth Army, and driving up Leyte Valley advanced to Jaro and took Breakneck Ridge, 12 November 1944, in heavy fighting.

While mopping up continued on Leyte, the 19th RCT moved to Mindoro Island as part of the Western Visayan Task Force, landing in the San Jose area, 15 December 1944. Airfields and a PT base were secured for operations on Luzon. Divisional elements effected a landing on Marinduque Island. Other elements supported the 11th Airborne Division drive from Nasugbu to Manila.

The 34th RCT, landing at San Antonio, Luzon, 29 January 1945, ran into a furious battle on Zig Zag Pass and suffered heavy casualties. On 16 February 1945 the 3d Bn of the 34th Infantry took part in the amphibious landing on Corregidor and fought Japanese under a hot sun on the well-defended Rock. After numerous mopping up actions in March, the Division landed on Mindanao, 17 April 1945, cut across the island to Digos, 27 April, stormed into Davao, 3 May, and cleared Libby airdrome, 13 May. Although the campaign closed officially on 30 June, the Division continued to mop up Japanese resistance during July and August 1945. Patrolling continued after the official surrender of Japan. On 15 October 1945, the Division left Mindanao for Japan.

Four 24th Division soldiers received the Medal of Honor for service in World War II, all posthumously:
* †Captain Francis B. Wai, 34th Infantry, Leyte, 20 October 1944 [cite web | title = Asian American Medal of Honor Recipients Inducted into Pentagon Hall of Heroes | publisher = Army Public Affairs | url = http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=1803 | accessdate = 2008-05-19]
* Private Harold H. Moon, Jr., 34th Infantry, Leyte, 21 October 1944
* Sergeant Charles E. Mower, 34th Infantry, Capoacan, Leyte, 3 November 1944
* Private First Class James H. Diamond, 21st Infantry, Mintal, Mindanao, 8-14 May 1945

Wai originally received the Distinguished Service Cross. It was upgraded to the MOH during a 1998 review of war records of Asian-American and Pacific Islander soldiers.

Korean War

When the North Koreans attacked South Korea in June 1950, elements of the 24th Infantry Division, primarily from the 21st and 34th Infantry Regiments, were the first army troops to arrive in Korea and the first to fight under the United Nations' banner.

Task Force Smith went into battle on 5 July 1950, ordered to fight a delaying action against overwhelming odds. Composed of roughly 400 men, the unit was misinformed about its objective and under-trained for this sudden action. The men were poorly equipped with castoffs from WWII, including C-rations, and their weapons were, in many cases, non-functioning or without proper ammunition. Of particular importance was their lack of heavy weaponry with which to stop the Soviet-built tanks streaming across the border in the hands of well-trained North Korean soldiers. The results were tragic.

However, the delaying action permitted the United Nations to build up its forces near Pusan, and the division was later awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions.

Fighting with the 24th Division in the early months were the 19th, 21st, and 34th Infantry Regiments. The 29th Regimental Combat Team was also attached to the 24th in the early months.

By late August 1950, only 184 of the 34th Regiment's original 1,898 men remained standing. The regiment was dissolved and was replaced by the 5th Infantry Regiment/5th Regimental Combat Team (5th RCT). 34th Regiment survivors were added to the ranks of the 19th and 21st regiments in an effort to bring them up to strength.

Over the next nineteen months the division fought in seven campaigns and was twice decorated by the Republic of Korea. Among its most deadly battles was the "big fall push" of 1951. The 24th Division, along with the 2nd and 6th Republic of Korea (ROK) Divisions, fought the last major Allied offensive of the Korean War — Operation Nomad-Polar — launched 13 October 1951. It ended 22 October when the city of Kumsong, which was a major supply hub for the Chinese Communists, was destroyed.

American casualties were extremely high, averaging 175 per day. By battle's end, the Allied divisions had driven the Chinese 10 miles northward from their heavily fortified winter quarters, capturing a deep subterranean command post on Hill 770 in the process.

In late January 1952 the "Victory Division" returned to Japan where it served as part of the Far East reserve. In July 1953 the division went back to Korea to restore order in prisoner of war camps. The following year the division replaced the 45th (Oklahoma NG) Division. In early 1955 the division returned to Japan, where it served until February 1956. At that time the 24th deployed to Korea for another tour of duty.

Major General William F. Dean, the 24th's commanding general, was reported missing in action on 21 July 1950. Unbeknownst to American officials, he was captured and spent the duration of the war in a prison camp. On 16 February 1951, General Dean was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Taejon on 20-21 July 1950. He was returned to US Military control on 19 April 1953.

Nine other Taromen besides General Dean were awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Korea:

* Sergeant George D. Libby, 3rd Engineer Battalion, Taejon, 20 July 1950 (posthumous)
* Master Sergeant Melvin O. Handrich, 5th RCT, near Sobuk San Mountain, 25-26 August 1950 (posthumous)
* Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr., 19th Infantry, near Chonghyon, 5 November 1950 (posthumous)
* First Lieutenant Carl H. Dodd, 5th RCT, near Subuk, 30-31 January 1951
* Sergeant First Class Nelson V. Brittin 19th Infantry, near Yonggong-ni, 7 March 1951 (posthumous)
* Sergeant First Class Ray E. Duke, 21st Infantry, near Mugok, 26 April 1951 (posthumous)
* Sergeant First Class Stanley T. Adams, 19th Infantry, near Sesim-ni, 2 August 1951
* †Master Sergeant Woodrow W. Keeble, 19th Infantry, near Sangsan-ni, 20 October 1951 (posthumous)
* Private First Class Mack A. Jordan, 21st Infantry, near Kumsong, 15 November 1951 (posthumous)

The paperwork for Keeble's citation disappeared twice; a third application was rejected as being submitted "too late". His MOH was awarded at the White House on 3 March 2008, 26 years after his death. [cite web | title = President Bush Attends Medal of Honor Ceremony for Woodrow Wilson Keeble | date = 2008-03-03 | publisher = The White House, Office of the Press Secretary | url = http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/03/20080303-3.html | accessdate = 2008-05-20 ]

Vietnam War years

The 24th served on or near the front in Korea until October 1957. At this point it returned to Japan, where it was deactivated in December.

On 1 July 1958 the division was reactivated at Augsburg, Germany, replacing the 11th Airborne Division in a reflagging ceremony. The division was organized under the Pentomic Division TO&E, in which the combat forces were organized into five oversized battalions (called "battle groups") with no intermediate brigade or regimental headquarters. Although considered an infantry division, the 24th would include two airborne battle groups for the next few years.

On 13 July, less than 2 weeks after the reorganization, King Faisal II of Iraq was assassinated in a coup orchestrated by pro-Egyptian officers. The Christian president of Lebanon, pressured by Muslims to join Egypt and Syria in the Gamal Abdel Nasser-led United Arab Republic, requested help from the Eisenhower administration.

On the night of the 15 July, Marines of the Sixth Fleet made an amphibious landing at Beirut, and secured the Beirut airport. The following day, the 24th Division's 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry deployed to Turkey, flying on to Beirut on the 19th. Eventually they were joined by a medium tank battalion and support units, which joined the Marines to form a security cordon around the city. The force stayed until late October, providing security, making shows of force (including parachute jumps) and training the Lebanese army. Finally, when factions of the Lebanese government worked out a political settlement, they left. The 1/187th lost one soldier killed by a sniper.

After the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961, Seventh Army began sending infantry units from the divisions in West Germany on a rotating basis to reinforce the Berlin Brigade. 24th Division units participated in this.

In January 1963 the 24th was reorganized as a mechanized infantry division under the Reorganization Objective Army Division (ROAD) TO&E, which replaced the Pentomic battle groups with conventionally-sized battalions, organized in three combined arms brigades.

The division remained in Germany until September 1968 when it redeployed two brigades to Fort Riley, Kansas, as part of Exercise REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany). One brigade was maintained in Germany. As the Army withdrew from Vietnam and reduced its forces, the "Victory Division" was deactivated in April 1970 at Fort Riley.

Role in the Middle East

In September 1975 the 24th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Stewart, Georgia, as part of the program to build a sixteen-division force. Because the Regular Army could not field a full division at Fort Stewart, the 24th had the 48th Infantry Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard, assigned to it as a round-out unit. Targeted for a NATO role, the division was reorganized as a mechanized division in 1979. When the United Nations decided to halt aggression in Kuwait in 1990, the 24th, which was part of the Rapid Deployment Force was one of the first units deployed to Southwest Asia. Some controversy erupted when the Division's round-out unit, the 48th Infantry Brigade, was found to be unprepared for deployment. The brigade was replaced once the Division was in Saudi Arabia with the regular Army 197th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized). Serving in the Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait campaigns, the division under then Major General Barry McCaffrey helped to arrest the Iraqi war machine. Returning to the United States in the spring of 1991, the 24th was reorganized with all its elements in the Regular Army, two brigades at Fort Stewart and one brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia. In the fall of 1994 Iraq again menaced the Kuwaiti border, and two brigades from the division returned to Southwest Asia. As part of the Army's reduction to a ten-division force, the 24th Infantry Division was inactivated on 15 February 1996, and reflagged to become the 3d Infantry Division.

A Division in Name Only

On 5 June 1999, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was once again activated, this time at Fort Riley, Kansas, but with no subordinate units. From 1999 to 2006 the "Victory Division" consisted of an active component headquarters and three National Guard enhanced separate brigades: 30th Heavy Separate Brigade at Clinton, North Carolina, 218th Heavy Separate Brigade at Columbia, South Carolina, and the 48th Separate Infantry Brigade in Macon, Georgia. The division headquarters was to be responsible for the Guard brigades should they be called to active duty in war time. However, this never occurred, with each of the brigades deployed to Iraq individually. The Division's most recent operations included preparing Fort Riley for the return of the 1st Infantry Division, previously stationed in Germany.

The 24th Infantry Division (Mech) inactivated on August 1, 2006 at Fort Riley. This, of course, was really only the active component headquarters and did not affect the National Guard brigades that were to be assigned to it in war time.


Campaign Participation Credit

*World War II:

# Central Pacific;
# New Guinea (with arrowhead);
# Leyte (with arrowhead);
# Luzon;
# Southern Philippines (with arrowhead)

*Korean War:

# UN Defensive;
# UN Offensive;
# CCF Intervention;
# First UN Counteroffensive;
# CCF Spring Offensive;
# UN Summer-Fall Offensive;
# Second Korean Winter;
# Korea, Summer 1953

*Southwest Asia:
# Defense of Saudi Arabia;
# Liberation and Defense of Kuwait


#Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for DEFENSE OF KOREA
#Army Superior Unit Award for 1994
#Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for 17 October 1944 TO 4 July 1945
#Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for PYONGTAEK
#Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for KOREA 1952-1953

In Fiction

In the United States television series The Unit, the members of the unit are part of the fictional 303rd Logistical Studies Group attached to the 24th Infantry Division.

ee also

*Formations of the United States Army
*History of Iraq
*1958 Lebanon crisis



*cite web | title = 24th Infantry Division Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients | publisher = Medal of Honor.com | url = http://www.medalofhonor.com/24thInfantry.htm | accessdate = 2008-05-19
*cite journal | last = Olinger | first = Mark A. | title = Airlift operations during the Lebanon crisis: airlift of a Marine Corps battalion to Lebanon demonstrated that deploying contingency forces from the continental United States to an overseas operation was feasible and expeditious | journal = Army Logistician | date = May-June 2005 | url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAI/is_3_37/ai_n13783944 | accessdate = 2008-05-19

External links

* [http://victory24.org 24th Infantry Division Association]
* [http://www.navsource.org/Naval/usarmy.htm United States Army Geographic Deployment, Dec. 7, 1941]
* [http://www.libraryautomation.com/24th/ The 24th Infantry Division in Europe]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/24id.htm GlobalSecurity.org: 24th Infantry Division]

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