29th Infantry Division (United States)

29th Infantry Division (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=29th Infantry Division

caption=29th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
country= United States of America
allegiance= United States of America
branch=National Guard
dates= 1917-1919; 1941-1968; 1985-present
specialization= Infantry
current_commander= Brigadier General Grant Hayden
nickname= Blue and Gray
motto= "29, Let's Go!"
notable_commanders= H. Steven Blum

US Infantry
previous=28th Infantry Division
next=30th Infantry Division

The U.S. 29th Infantry Division is a United States infantry division that has existed since World War I as part of the Army National Guard.

Nicknamed "Blue and Gray", the division's motto is "29, Let's Go!" The shoulder patch is a half-blue, half-gray Chinese taijitu; this patch was approved 14 December 1917 and was designed by Maj. James A. Ulio, later the Adjutant General of the United States Army during World War II. The uniting of the blue and grey symbolizes the fact that the division was composed of units from states that had fought on both sides of the American Civil War.

The Heritage of the 29th

Roots of the 29th run deep into American history, with all three regiments tracing their history into colonial history. Divisional tradition insists the 29th is a lineal descendant of Maryland and Virginia militia. This claim to have served and fought as colonial militia as early as 1755 is the basis for the division's arguable claim to be the United States oldest military unit.

The 175th Infantry Regiment claims that its forerunner served under Colonel George Washington and General Edward Braddock at The Battle of the Monongahela during the French and Indian War. It is a matter of record that the 5th Maryland Regiment was the regiment from the Maryland Line that saved the fledgling American army at the Battle of Long Island on 27 August 1776. Their repeated musket volleys and bayonet charges against several times their number of British regulars covered the retreat of the Continental Army and insured its survival. Washington reportedly remarked about them, "My God, what brave men must I lose today!" In later years, it became a Baltimore regiment famed for its fancy dress uniforms, leading to the nickname, "The Dandy Fifth."

The 116th Infantry Regiment began as the 2nd Virginia Regiment, which in turn traced its origin back to Virginia colonial militia formed in 1760. As the Second Virginia, it was commanded during the Civil War by a General Jackson. At the First Battle of Manassas (also referred to as First Battle of Bull Run), they were the regiment that held the line under intense fire while a fellow general yelled, "There stands Jackson like a stone wall!" The phrase became the nickname of both the general and his brigade.

The 115th Infantry Regiment was a lineal descendant of the 1st Maryland Regiment, another of the regiments of the Maryland Line. It fought in eight major engagements during the American Revolution. Of the three regiments, this one best personified the split nature of the parent units of the 29th Division. The 1st Maryland was originally raised in western Maryland. During the Civil War, they bifurcated into two 1st Maryland Regiments, one Confederate, one Union. The two regiments fought a fraticidal battle at Front Royal, Virginia on 23 May 1862.

These were the three regiments that were eventually organized into the new division that would become the 29th. There were also several horse-drawn field artillery units, each with their own traditions, that would also be included in the 29th.

World War I

In early 1917 the 8th Division was formed, a National Guard formation consisting of Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. Several months later it was redesignated, and the 29th Infantry Division was formed on 25 August 1917 as a National Guard division from Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia and was sent to Europe in July 1918. The division trained at Camp McClellan, Alabama until departing for France on 14 June 1918. The division saw action in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and sustained a total of 5,570 casualties of which 787 were killed and 4,783 were wounded. The division returned to the United States in May 1919 and was then demobilized.


*Brigadier General Charles W. Barber (28 July–25 August 1917)
*Major General Charles G. Morton (25 August–24 September 1917; 6 December–11 December 1917; 26 December 1917–23 March 1918; 26 March 1918 to demobilisation)
*Brigadier General William C. Rafferty (24 September–6 December 1917; 11 December–26 December 1917; 23 March–26 March 1918)

Between the Wars

Demobilization of the 29th Division did not mean that its units were dissolved. When the division returned to peacetime, the Virginia regiment and the Maryland regiment were retained in the division, and another Virginia regiment added. The division became more an abstraction than a reality; it did not gather into a division again from its return from World War I until 1935. That encampment was only the first of three during the interwar period. For most of the years from 1919 until 1940, even the constituent units of the division existed only during weekend training and during two weeks summer encampment.

During this time, the elements of the 29th were quite parochial. The 175th (also known as the Dandy Fifth) was the only regiment that was raised and based as a regiment, with its Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore being its local base. The 4th Medical Company was co-located with it.

The remainder of the division consisted of companies and company sized units, each based in a different town or city in Maryland and Virginia.

The 115th was located throughout Maryland as follows:

Company A and Headquarters: Frederick

Company B: Hagerstown

Company C: Cambridge

Company D: Bel Air

Company E: Elkton

Company F: Hyattsville

Company G: Cumberland

Company H: Westminster

Company I: Salisbury

Company K: Centreville

Company L: Crisfield

Company M: Annapolis

110th Artillery: Pikesville

Similarly, the 116th Regiment was distributed throughout Virginia:

Company A: Bedford

Company B: Lynchburg

Company C: Harrisonburg

Company D and Headquarters: Roanoke

Company E: Chase City

Company F: South Boston

Company G: Farmville

Company H: Martinsville

Company I: Winchester

Company K: Charlottesville

Company L: Staunton

Company M: Emporia

121st Engineers and 29th Military Police: Washington, D.C.

111th Artillery: Norfolk

Additionally, up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there was the 176th Artillery.

As war threatened, the 29th Division was hastily renovated. Beginning in October, 1940, there was a general housecleaning of personnel, with unfit officers and men purged from the ranks. Peacetime draftees were assigned to fill up the vacancies. Because of a scathing report on the low morale and unfitness for battle of the long neglected division, an infusion of West Point trained officers was given command of the division. The new division commander, Major General "Uncle Charlie" Gerhardt, and the assistant division commander he brought on board, Brigadier General "Dutch" Cota, were graduates. So were many of the divisional headquarters officers. A notable exception was Brigadier General William Sands, the guardsman in charge of division artillery.

World War II

The 29th Division was reactivated on 3 February 1941 and departed for the United Kingdom on 5 October 1942 where it continued training in Scotland and England from October 1942 up to June 1944 in preparation for the invasion of France. The division was the first National Guard division to be posted to England, and would stay so long they would be derisively nicknamed, "England's own".

Finally, they prepared to receive their baptism of fire by invading Europe. It was a formidable challenge. The man who was arguably Germany's greatest general, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, had been assigned to defend against the invasion. He instigated vigorous construction on beach obstacles and defenses. The Normandy surf washed over "hedgehogs", which were steel anti-tank obstacles hauled a hundred yards past the high tide line into the surf and booby-trapped with mines. Inshore of that was a belt of wooden stakes and ramps a hundred yards deep. The Germans also improvised other obstacles. Inshore, covering all the obstructions in the surf, there were 'Widerstandsnest' or resistance nests, and 'stutzpunkt' or strongpoints, capable of laying down interlocking fields of machine gun fire on every inch of beach. Artillery units inland were also already zeroed in on the beach.

Rommel had also raised an entire new division of troops to oppose the landings, the 352nd Infantry Division. Founded around a core of hardened combat veterans from the Russian Front, it was rated by the German high command as a crack division.

The American plan to tackle the Atlantic Wall was a mixed bag. Contrary to German expectations, the Americans planned to land at low tide rather than high. Although this would leave them an additional 300 yards exposure to German bullets and shells, it would land the first wave ashore short of the obstacles. These troops then were expected to blow up obstacles to insure access to the beach as the water rose.

However, the Americans ignored a couple of things that could have worked in their favor.

One was the amphibious landing techniques bought in blood in the Pacific Theater. Major General Charles Corlett had led the 7th Infantry Division ashore in a one week blitz of Kwajalein in February, 1944. He had been transferred to England to command the XIXth Corps. Ironically, he was scheduled to take command of the 29th as part of his XIXth Corps, but only a week after the landing. He suggested to Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bradley that they use the new LVTs (Landing Vehicles Tracked) that had been so successful at Kwajalein. The advantages of the amphibious LVTs were obvious. They could bring troops in through the surf and deposit them inland instead dropping them in shallow water.

He was ignored.

Another was the commonsense suggestion of "Dutch" Cota. He believed, correctly as it turned out, that air and naval bombardment would have little effect on the defenses. He suggested a night landing, on the grounds that the landing would be a confused mess, day or night, but at night the defenders would be incapable of accurate fire.

He too was ignored.

Teamed with the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division was the first assault wave to hit Omaha Beach at Normandy at 6:13 AM on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The sea was rough, and a steady riptide pulled the waves of landing crafts eastward down the beach. Only one of the companies of the 116th Stonewallers landed at his planned place. Company A landed opposite the Vierville Draw that they were supposed to storm. When the landing ramps came down on the company's four surviving LCVPs, German MG42 machine guns cut down the Americans even before they could disembark. Company F also landed at its assigned location, but was fortunate enough to land behind an accidental smoke screen caused by a grass fire. Other companies washed sidewise down the beach to land in disorganized confusion. They suffered lesser casualties than A or F, but found themselves straggling into battle. They flanked and blew up German positions. Their assault gnawed at the German defenses.

Somehow, the 116th maintained its tenuous hold.

The rest of the division landed on Omaha Beach on the same day in the face of still intense enemy fire but soon secured the bluff tops and went on to occupy Isigny on 9 June. The division cut across the Elle River and advanced slowly toward St. Lo, fighting bitterly in the Normandy bocage (hedge rows). The Americans were lodged in France.

In retrospect, the Germans had made their own mistakes. Despite Rommel's urging, the 352nd had not been entirely deployed at the water's edge. Major General Dietrich Kraiss had held part of the 352nd in reserve, ready to rush to reinforce the seaside troops that were attacked. Instead of stopping the invasion at the water's edge, the 352nd launched a belated unsuccessful counterattack.

As other Americans surged ashore, the 29th spearheaded the breakout. After taking St. Lo on 18 July, the division joined in the battle for Vire, capturing that strongly held city on 7 August. Turning west, the 29th took part in the assault on Brest from 25 August to 18 September.

After a short rest, the division moved to defensive positions along the Teveren-Geilenkirchen line in Germany and maintained those positions through October. (In mid-October the 116th Infantry took part in the fighting at the Aachen Gap.) On 16 November the division began its drive to the Ruhr, blasting its way through Siersdorf, Setterich, Duerboslar, and Bettendorf, reaching the Ruhr by the end of the month.

On 8 December, heavy fighting reduced Juelich Sportplatz and the Hasenfeld Gut. From 8 December 1944 to 23 February 1945, the division held defensive positions along the Ruhr and prepared for the offensive. The attack jumped off across the Ruhr on 23 February and carried the division through Juelich, Broich, Immerath, and Titz to Mönchengladbach on 1 March. The division was out of combat in March, however in early April the 116th Infantry helped mop up in the Ruhr area and on 19 April the division pushed to the Elbe River and held defensive positions until 4 May. Meanwhile, the 175th Infantry Regiment cleared the Kloetze Forest. After VE Day, the division was on military government duty in the Bremen enclave.

The 29th Infantry Division had spent 242 days in combat during campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe, earning four Distinguished Unit Citations in the process. Two soldiers of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor. Also awarded were 44 DSCs, one DSM, 854 Silver Stars, 17 Legion of Merit, 24 Soldier's Medal and 6,308 Bronze Stars.

It was a victory with an enormous and ghastly cost. The 29th had taken 20,111 dead and wounded in battle, and 8,665 noncombat casualties. That was a casualty rate of over 204 percent for the division. Although no statistics were kept at company level, the skewing of risk toward the front-line infantrymen means the rifle companies must have suffered casualties in the vicinity of 300 percent.

The 29th Division returned to the United States on 4 January 1946 and was demobilized two weeks later.


*Major General Milton A. Reckord (1934-January 1942)
*Major General Leonard T. Gerow (February 1942-July 1943)
*Major General Charles H. Gerhardt (July 1943 to demobilization.)


* 115th, 116th and 175th Infantry Regiments
* 110th, 111th, 224th and 227th Field Artillery Battalions
* 121st Engineer Combat Battalion
* Attached unit: 821st Tank Destroyer Battalion

Assignments in Europe

*22 October 1943: V Corps, First Army
*14 June 1944: XIX Corps
*1 August 1944: XIX Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
*12 August 1944: V Corps
*19 August 1944: First Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to the VIII Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group
*5 September 1944: VIII Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group
*21 September 1944: XIX Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
*22 October 1944: XIX Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group
*20 December 1944: XIX Corps, Ninth Army (attached to British 21st Army Group), 12th Army Group
*23 December 1944: XIII Corps
*4 February 1945 : XIX Corps
*29 March 1945: XVI Corps
*4 April 1945: XVI Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group
*5 April 1945: Ninth Army, 12th Army Group
*12 April 1945: XVI Corps
*17 April 1945: XIII Corps
*4 May 1945: XVI Corps

Post World War II

In 1968 the Army retired the flag of the 29th Infantry Division due to re-organization of the National Guard divisions. Major General Archibald Sproul was the CG at the time of the retirement. MG Sproul was a member of the Division during WWII and was awarded the Silver Star during the combat action at Omaha Beach. For the next twenty years the various regiments of the division were organized either as separate infantry brigades or as parts of other divisions, most notably the 28th Infantry Division from the Pennsylvania National Guard.

In 1985, the 29th Division was reactivated as a National Guard light infantry division. At that time it was composed (primarily) of the 116th Infantry Regiment from Virginia, 111th Field Artillery from Virginia, the 115th Infantry Regiment and 175th Infantry Regiment from Maryland, and the 110th Field Artillery from Maryland. The Commanding General upon reactivation was Major General James Baber. MG Baber was followed in turn by MG Tommy T. Thompson, MG Joe Langley, and MG Carroll D. Childers who passed the colors to MG H. Steven Blum. At this point the nature of the Division changed as will be noted further in this history. In 1995 the 26th Infantry Division from New England was inactivated, reduced to brigade size, and later incorporated into the 29th Division, becoming the 26th Brigade, headquartered in Massachusetts.

The 29th was the second National Guard division to provide a division headquarters for the SFOR mission in Bosnia. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, many elements of the 29th participated in the Global War on Terror, including Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment (1st Brigade, 29th Infantry Division) was mobilized to Fort Bragg, NC, on active duty on 1 March 2004. In July 2004, the 3-116 IN, Task Force Normandy, deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, conducting combat operations from Bagram Airfield and Forward Operating Base Ghazni. 3-116 IN served as a maneuver battalion under the 25th Infantry Division Artillery, Combined Task Force Thunder. 3-116 IN redeployed and was released from active duty in August 2005.

The 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry Regiment (26th Brigade, 29th Inf Div) based in New Haven, CT, deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in April 2006, serving as an attached unit in the 10th Mountain Division. The battalion had returned from Iraq a year earlier and the year it spent on the ground was the bloodiest in Afghanistan since the war began.

In Aug 2005 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation (HHC, A Co, D Co and E Co) in Camp Edwards and Westover, MA, were mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were stationed in the State of Kuwait From November 5th 2005 until November 4th 2006. Also mobilized in August 2005 was C Company, 2nd Battlion, 224th Aviation Regiment from Edgewood Maryland. C Company was assigned to the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Iraq until November 2006.

In October 2005, the remaining elements of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment (HHC, A Co, B Co, D Co, E Co) from Sandston, Virginia (with detachments from Edgewood, Maryland) mobilized in support of Operation Iraq Freedom, serving as an assigned asset to Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Air Wing in Western Iraq. These elements of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment returned to their home stations in February 2007.

In January 2006, Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 3 Infantry Brigade Combat Team(IBCT), 29 ID as well as the 629 Military Intelligence Battalion was mobilized for detention operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba(GTMO)

In 2006, the 1-116 IN mobilized for duty in Kosovo.

In May 2007, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 29th ID (formerly 1st Brigade, 29th ID) mobilized to Active Duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In June 2007, the 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry and, once again, the 3-116 IN, both of the 116th IBCT, mobilized for active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 3-116 Infantry mobilized through Camp Shelby, Mississippi and was deployed to both Kuwait and Iraq. 2-183rd Cavalry also mobilized through Camp Shelby and was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 29th Division started transitioning to the new structure shown below, adding brigades from North Carolina and Puerto Rico, in late 2006.


*Major General H. Steven Blum (August 1999-August 2002)
*Major General Daniel E. Long, Jr. (August 2002-November 2004)
*Major General Arthur H. Wyman (November 2004-September 2007)
*Brigadier General Grant Hayden (September 2007-present)

Current Structure

29th Infantry Division consists of the following elements:

* Division Special Troops Battalion
* 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team (NC NG)
** Special Troops Battalion, 30th BCT (NC NG)
** 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment (RSTA) (WV NG)
** 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment (Combined Arms), (NC NG)
** 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment (Combined Arms), (NC NG)
** 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment (NC NG)
** 230th Brigade Support Battalion (NC NG)
* 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (VA NG)
** Special Troops Battalion, 116th BCT
** 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment
** 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment
** 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment
** 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment
** 429th Brigade Support Battalion
* Combat Aviation Brigade, 29th Infantry Division (MD NG)
** Headquarters and Headquarters Company (MD NG)
** 1st (Reconnaissance & Attack) Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment (AZ NG): A-64D Apaches
** 8th (Reconnaissance & Attack) Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment (US Army Reserve): AH-64A Apaches
** 2nd (Assault) Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment (Virginia Army National Guard, with assets in Maryland): UH-60A/L Black Hawk
** 1st (General Support) Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment (Florida National Guard, with assets in Puerto Rico, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland): UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and HH-60 (MEDEVAC), Air Traffic Control Company.
** 1204th Aviation Support Battalion (Kentucky National Guard, with assets in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland and US Army Reserve)


*Distinctive Unit Insignia: Fleur-de-lis above by the division motto, commemorating the division's service in France during both world wars.

The 29th in Popular Culture

In the 1962 film "The Longest Day" much of the action of the 29th on Omaha Beach on D-Day is depicted, with assistant division commander Brigadier General Norman Cota portrayed by Robert Mitchum.

Close Combat, part of a Microsoft Series of wargames during the 1990s also portrayed the actions of the 29th Division from Omaha Beach to the capture of St. Lo.

In the 1998 film "Saving Private Ryan", many of the soldiers seen in the Omaha Beach sequence are from the 29th, identified by their shoulder insignias. Corporal Timothy E.Upham, for instance, is portrayed as a soldier serving with the 29th Infantry Division. Upham was drafted to serve with a squad from the 2nd Rangers. The 29th, along with the 1st Infantry Division, were grouped with a few companies of the 2nd Ranger Battalion to storm Omaha Beach on June 6th, 1944. Many 29ID veterans did not like the cowardly behavior of Cpl. Upham depicted in the film, believing it cast the 29ID in a bad light due to the fact that the 29th's shoulder sleeve insignia is prominent on Upham's left shoulder.

The popular US Route 29, formerly known as the Warrenton Turnpike, was renamed in honor of the 29th Infantry Division because it runs from Maryland to North Carolina.

The 29th Infantry Division is featured on the videogames and Call of Duty 3.

Some soldiers featured early in the movie War of the Worlds (2005 film)wear the patch of the 29th Infantry Division. The 29th infantry division is featured on the videogame company of heroesIn , (episode: The Killing Game), the Hirogen force the crew into violent World War 2 Simulations on the holodeck, where the 29th Infantry Division is present.

In the toy line Forces of Valor: Bravo Team, the WWII U.S. Army soldiers wear the patch of the 29 Infantry Division.

In the Science Fiction series, Farscape, the character Scorpius wears the unit insignia of the 29th Infantry Division during the daydreams of John Crichton in the episode .

In the movie The Big Red One, Mark Hamill's character, Griff, meets at least one member of the 29th when he is in the hospital.

In the King of Queens episode "Wedding Presence" Arthur pretends Spenser is his son to get a discount on shoes. While confering with the salesman, Arthur mentions he was in the 71st Infantry. The salesman proceeds to say he was in the 29th infantry and they went in first to clear the way for authors men during WWII. Arthur responds "it wasn't easy walking over all your bodies." (disclaimer-not exact dialogue)


* Lefebvre Laurent "They were on Omaha Beach - 213 eyewitnesses" [http://www.americandday.org American D-day Edition]
* Lefebvre Laurent "29th Division... a division of heroes" [http://www.americandday.org American D-day Edition]
*"The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States" U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950 reproduced at [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/cc/029id.htm Combat Chronicle: 29th Infantry Division] .
* Balkoski, Joseph, "Beyond the Beachhead", Stackpole Publishing, 1989.
*'UNIT DESIGNATIONS IN THE ARMY MODULAR FORCE'http://www.cascom.army.mil/odct/Documents/AUSA_Briefing_26_Sep_05.ppt
*Ambrose, Stephen E. "Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army From the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945" Thorndike, ME G. K. Hall and Co.
*Balkoski, Joseph. "Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy". Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1989.
*Balkoski, Joseph. "From Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest, August-September 1944". Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008.
*Cutchins, John A. "History of the Twenty-Ninth Division, "Blue and Gray," 1917-1919". Philadelphia: Press of MacCalla & Co., 1921.
*Ewing, Joseph H. "29, Let's Go! A History of the 29th Infantry Division in World War II". Washington, DC: Infantry Journal Press, 1948.

External links

* [http://www.29infantrydivision.org 29th Infantry Division Historical Society]
* [http://www.americandday.org "American D-Day: Omaha Beach, Utah Beach & Pointe du Hoc"]
* [http://www.29th.co.uk 29th Division (UK) Re-enactment Group]
* [http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/29thinfantry/index.html 29 Let's Go! The Story of the 29th Infantry Division]
*https://www.md.ngb.army.mil/army22.htm - Official Maryland ARNG site
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/29id.htm Global Security's page on the 29th ID]
* [http://www.29th.org 29th Day Of Defeat Realism Unit]
* [http://www.29thid.net 29th Call of Duty 4 Realism Unit]

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