Military


24th Infantry Division
"Victory Division"

On order, the 24th Infantry Division (Mech) plans, coordinates, and conducts, pre- and post-mobilization operations and training to deploy three enhanced separate brigades with or without equipment to any location in order to conduct Combat and/or Stability and Support Operations and redeploys them to home station.

On October 1, 1998, the commanding general of Fort Riley, Kansas assumed the responsibility for the training readiness, and oversight of three National Guard brigades. The new unit was deemed the Integrated Division (IDIV) and is composed of an Active Division Headquarters at Fort Riley, an Active Forward Headquarters at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and three National Guard brigades.

The IDIV received telephonic notification, April 8, 1999 that it would be designated the 24th Infantry Division (Mech), with formal activation occurring June 5, 1999 at Fort Riley.

The 24th Infantry Division (Mech) is composed of three enhanced separate brigades, the 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. Each brigade consists of two mechanized infantry battalions, one armor battalion, a field artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, a forward support battalion, and several specialty companies to include; cavalry troop, military intelligence company, and an air defense artillery battery.

The 24th Infantry Division was initially activated in the Regular Army at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on 1 March 1921 as the Hawaiian Division. Unlike most divisions in the continental United States, the 24th 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. With the threat of war in 1941, elements of the Hawaiian Division were reorganized as the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions, and the Headquarters of the Hawaiian Division was redesignated as Headquarters, 24th Infantry Division.

Among the first divisions to see combat in World War II, the 24th sustained minor casualties when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The division was charged with the defense of northern Oahu, where it built an elaborate system of coastal defenses. In May 1943 the division was alerted for movement to Australia and by September of that year, it had deployed to Camp Caves, near Rockhampton on the eastern coast of Australia. The 24th was part of the assault forces that landed on Dutch New Guinea, where it fought its way to the Hollandia airfield. After occupation duty in the Hollandia area, the division was among the assault forces on Leyte. From there the division went to Luzon and eventually formed an element of the assault forces in the Southern Philippines. During World War II the division adopted its nickname, "Victory Division." After serving in five campaigns and being decorated by the Philippine government, the 24th left Mindanao on 15 October 1945 for occupation duty in Japan.

When the North Koreans attacked South Korea in June 1950, elements of the 24th Infantry Division were the first to arrive in Korea, where they fought a delaying action against overwhelming odds. The delay permitted the United Nations to build up its forces near Pusan, and the division was awarded the Presidential Citation (Army) for its actions. Over the next nineteen months the division fought in seven campaigns and was twice decorated by the Republic of Korea. In February 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 returned to Japan, where it served until February 1955. At that time the 24th deployed to Korea for another tour of duty.

When the United States reduced and realigned its divisions in the Far East in 1957, the 24th left Korea, eventually replacing the 11th Airborne Division in Germany. While in Germany, in addition to its standard infantry mission, the 24th fielded airborne units for about two years. The division remained in Germany until 1969 when it redeployed to Fort Riley, Kansas, as part of the REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) program. As the Army withdrew from Vietnam and reduced its forces, the "Victory Division" was inactivated in April 1970 at Fort Riley.

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 infantry unit in 1979.

When the United Nations decided to halt aggression in Kuwait in 1990, the 24th was chosen for deployment to Southwest Asia. Serving in the Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait campaigns, the division helped to arrest the Iraqi war machine. In XVIII Corps' mission of envelopment, the 24th Infantry Division had the central role of blocking the Euphrates River valley to prevent the escape north of Iraqi forces in Kuwait and then attacking east in coordination with VII Corps to defeat the armor-heavy divisions of the Republican Guard Forces Command. Maj. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey's division had come to the theater better prepared for combat in the desert than any other in Army Central Command. Designated a Rapid Deployment Force division a decade earlier, the 24th combined the usual mechanized infantry division components-an aviation brigade and three ground maneuver brigades, plus combat support units-with extensive desert training and desert-oriented medical and water purification equipment. When the attack began, the 24th was as large as a World War I division, with 25,000 soldiers in thirty-four battalions. Its 241 Abrams tanks and 221 Bradley fighting vehicles provided the necessary armor punch to penetrate Republican Guard divisions. But with 94 helicopters, and over 6,500 wheeled and 1,300 other tracked vehicles-including 72 self-propelled artillery pieces and 9 multiple rocket launchers-the division had given away nothing in mobility and firepower.

In their movement across the line of departure, and whenever not engaging enemy forces, battalions of the 24th Infantry Division moved in 'battle box' formation. With a cavalry troop screening five to ten miles to the front, four companies, or multi-platoon task forces, dispersed to form corner positions. Heavier units of the battalion, whether tanks or Bradleys occupied one or both of the front corners. One company, or smaller units, advanced outside the box to provide flank security. The battalion commander placed inside the box the vehicles carrying ammunition, fuel, and water needed to continue the advance in jumps of about 40 miles. The box covered a front of about four to five miles and extended about 15 to 20 miles front to rear.

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. Three Army divisions were reflagged as the Army restructures from 12 to 10 active divisions. The 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, was redesignated as the 4th Infantry Div., and the 24th Inf. Div. was redesignated as the 3rd Inf. Div. The 3rd Inf. Div., stationed in Germany, was redesignated as the 1st Inf. Div. The redesignations occured during fiscal 1996. The Army's restructuring plan was announced in December 1994. It called for the inactivation of the headquarters and division support units of the 1st Inf. Div. at Fort Riley, Kan., and the 4th Inf. Div. at Fort Carson, Colo. The redesignation plan will ensure that two of the Army's most famous and decorated divisions remain in the active force. The plan designating the divisions to remain was developed by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, which maintains records of Army unit lineage and honors. The center prepared an order-of-precedence list based on unit age, campaign participation, and awards and decorations. Units were then rank-ordered by category, providing a framework for the Army leadership to make its decision.

On June 5, 1999, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was once again activated, this time at Fort Riley, Kansas. The "Victory Division" currently consists of an active component headquarters at Fort Riley and three 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 24th Infantry Division is the U.S. Army's first integrated active duty/National Guard division, made up of three National Guard brigades. Early in 1999, the Department of the Army announced the creation of two active component/National Guard integrated divisions - the 24th Infantry Division, Fort Riley, KS, and the 7th Infantry Division Fort Carson, Colorado. These organizations combine both active-duty and reserve-component soldiers in one military headquarters. Their division headquarters are commanded by active component major generals and each is comprised of three Army National Guard enhanced brigades, which are the principal reserve component ground combat maneuver forces of the United States Army.



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