50th Armored Division (United States)

50th Armored Division (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=50th Armored Division

caption=Shoulder sleeve patch of the United States Army 50th Armored Division
dates= 5 Jul 1946 - 1 Sep 1993
allegiance=New Jersey
branch=Army National Guard
garrison=New Jersey
nickname="Jersey Blues"
US Armor
previous=49th Armored Division ("Inactive")
The 50th Armored Division was a division of the Army National Guard from July 1946 until 1993.


On October 13, 1945 the War Department published a postwar policy statement for the entire Army, calling for a 27-division Army National Guard structure with 25 infantry divisions and 2 armored divisions to accommodate the desires of all the states. Once the process of negotiation was complete, among the new formations formed, for the first time in the National Guard, were armored divisions, the 49th and 50th. The 50th Armored Division replaced the 44th Infantry Division within the New Jersey Army National Guard. New Jersey, which had supported part of the 44th Division before the war, now supported the 50th Armored Division, which became nicknamed the 'Jersey Blues'. Therefore most of its elements 'inherited' the history of the organic units of the old 44th, and elements of the new 44th perpetuated the history and traditions of former units in Illinois.

In a 1968 reorganization, the 49th Armored Division was disbanded but not the 50th, which from that point was joined by the 27th Armored Brigade from New York, the remnant of the 27th Armored Division. At this point, the Division lost its 'Jersey Blues' nickname. Following efforts by Army Chief of Staff General Frederick C. Weyand to raise the readiness of the Army National Guard, the 50th Armored Division was reorganised as a bi-state division in New Jersey and Vermont.

The bi-state organization comprised:
*Headquarters, 50th Armored Division (Somerset, NJ)
**104th Engineer Battalion
**5th Squadron, 117th Cavalry
**150th Aviation Battalion
*1st Brigade (Woodbridge, NJ)
*2nd Brigade (Cherry Hill, NJ)
*86th Brigade (Montpelier, VT)
*Division Artillery (Trenton, NJ)
*Division Support Command

The Center of Military History notes that reorganizing the Army National Guard to meet the new 'Division 86' structures in the mid 1980s was a challenging process, and most Guard divisions expanded their recruiting areas. The 50th Armored Division did not, and instead had the allotment for one of its brigades moved to the Texas Army National Guard, making the future of the division within the force structure 'uncertain'.

In 1993, following this decision, the 50th Armored Division was inactivated, and its brigades joined other divisions. [ [http://www.nj.gov/military/museum/50in.html New Jersey Military and Veterans Affairs - Militia Museum of New Jersey ] ] New Jersey's 50th Infantry Brigade, which took the Division's lineage, was made part of the 42nd Infantry Division. Vermont's 86th Brigade joined the 26th Infantry Division, while the 36th Infantry Brigade from Texas was reabsorbed into the 49th Armored Division. In the early 1990s further consolidation followed the fall of the Soviet Union, and the 26th Infantry Division disbanded, with the 86th Brigade joining the 42nd Infantry Division.

External Links and Sources

*Center for Military History, 'Manoeuvre and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades', http://www.army.mil/cmh/books/Lineage/M-F/chapter13.htm
*David C Isby and Charles Kamps Jr, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company Ltd, London, 1985, p.384

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