41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team
41st Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate/Enhanced)
In FY 2006, as part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force, the 41st Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate) was redesignated the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The organization of the unit was also adjusted to reflect this change.
The state mission of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team is to, on order of the Governor, or the local commander, unit mobilize and deploy in response to emergency situations in the State of Oregon. Its federal mission is to, on order, mobilize, deploy to theater of operation, occupy assembly area, conduct combat operations, redeploy, and demobilize.
The history of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team can be traced back to 1887 when the Summers Law established the Oregon National Guard. In 1917, the 41st Infantry Division was formed (Named the Sunset Division). Oregon National Guard infantry, field artillery and cavalry units were sent to Camp Green, North Carolina, where, together with other National Guard units from the northwestern states, they were formed into the 41st Division. Some units changes were made as they processed into the 41st Division. The Third Oregon Infantry became the 162nd Infantry Regiment. The Oregon Field Artillery helped form the 147th Field Artillery Regiment which later was armed with the lethal "French 75" cannon. Since no real role existed for cavalry units in World War I, Oregon's cavalry troops were disbanded. Many of the men and officers went to the 148th Field Artillery Regiment which did have horse-drawn 155mm GPF cannons. The two artillery regiments, along with the 146th Field Artillery, made up the 66th Field Artillery Brigade -- the organic artillery of the 41st Division.
After months of hard work, training, reorganizing and re-equipping for war, the Division moved to Camp Mills, New Jersey, for shipment overseas. The first divisional units departed the United States on November 26, 1917. Within sight of the French coast, tragedy struck. Two torpedoes from a German U-boat ripped in the "TUSCANIA" which was carrying, among the others, men of the 66th Field Artillery Brigade. Fortunately, French fishing boats were in the area and pulled survivors from the freezing waters thus avoiding a great loss of life.
In France, the 41st Division received a major disappointment. It was designated a replacement division and did not go to combat as a unit. The majority of its infantry personnel went to the 1st, 2nd, 32nd and 42nd Divisions where they served throughout the war. The 147th Field Artillery was attached to the 32nd Division and saw action at Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne and other areas. The 146th and 148th of the 66th Field Artillery Brigade were attached as corps artillery units and participated in the battles of Chateau Thierry, Aisne-Marne, St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.
After World War I, as after the Spanish-American War, further changes came to the Oregon National Guard. In 1921, the designation of the 41st Division was allocated to Pacific Northwest states, and each state was instructed to form certain divisional units. Oregon received the 162nd and the 186th Infantry Regiments, comprising the 82nd Brigade of the Division, as well as the 218th Field Artillery Regiment. Other divisional units were to be furnished by Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
In 1940, the 41st Infantry Division was inducted into Federal service for WWII. It became the first American Division sent overseas after Pearl Harbor, the first American Division trained in Jungle Warfare. It spent 45 months overseas (longer than any other Division), and earned the title of "Jungleers". The unit deactivated in 1945 in Kure, Japan.
As the international situation worsened in the 1930's, the intensity and urgency of training in the 41st Division increased. In 1937, the Division paired with the US 3rd Division for Corps Maneuvers at Fort Lewis. The 1940 summer camp at Fort Lewis witnessed the Division training with maneuvers at regimental level. One month after annual training in 1940, the 41st Division, along with the 249th Coast Artillery and State Headquarters, was called to active service. During the 14 months prior to the beginning of the World War II, the Division underwent intensive combat-type training and was equipped with the latest, most modern equipment available. By December 7, 1941, the 41st Division was ready. It continued the series of "firsts" by being the first United States Division to deploy to the South Pacific.
The 41st Division first stopped at Australia for even more training and then proceeded to New Guinea. This time, the 41st Division became the first American division to meet the Imperial Japanese Forces, not in defense, but in an offensive operation. Places with the strange names of Buna, Gona, Sanananda, and Salamaua became Oregonian battlegrounds in a war with an enemy during which no quarter was given or taken. The Division fought for 76 continuous days in combat against the Japanese at Salamaua. For 26 days only canned "C" rations were available. At the end of this campaign, Tokyo Rose, in her propaganda broadcasts, referred to the 41st as the "Butcher Division" because, among all the records established by the 41st, it established a record for taking the least number of Japanese prisoners-of-war in the entire Pacific theatre. This was the result of an incident early during the New Guinea campaign when the bodies of captured American soldiers were found to have been dismembered by their captors and the meat later discovered amongst Japanese prisoners carefully wrapped in large green leaves for preservation.
After the New Guinea campaign, the 41st Division returned to Australia for rest and re-equipping. In a few weeks, the Division then made another thrust to the north. Hollandia and Aitape, coastal communities on New Guinea's eastern coast fell, along with the islands of Wakde and Biak. The road continued into the Philippines where more bitter fighting occurred at Palawan, Zamboanga, and the Sulu Archipelago. After the fall of the Philippines, the Division began training for the attack on Japan itself, but surrender came first. The Division did move to Japan where it occupied the island of Honshu for a few months. Soon after, it was deactivated and the men returned home.
The 41st Infantry Division reformed in Oregon in 1946. It was reorganized in 1965 as the 41st Infantry Brigade. In 1968, the 41st Division was inactivated, but its heritage remain with Oregon. The traditions and spirit of the Division passed to the 41st Infantry Brigade which proudly wears the Sunset patch and bears its colors. And in 1976, the Brigade had the distinction of being designated a roundout brigade for the US Army's 7th Infantry Division.
In 1975, the 41st Separate Infantry Brigade became "Roundout" to the 7th Infantry Division. It was designated in 1994 as "Enhanced".
The unit was selected as one of the ESB's to form the Integrated Division in 1998.
In June 1998, the 41st Separate Infantry Brigade spent two weeks at the JRTC, the Joint Readiness Training Center, the Army's advanced academy for light infantry, at Fort Polk in central Louisiana.
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