35th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
"The Santa Fe Division"
As part of the Army's transformation towards a modular force, in September 2005, the composition of the 35th Infantry Division was changed. The Brigades are no longer Organic to the Division.
On order, the 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized) mobilizes, prepares for combat, deploys to a theater of operations and conducts offensive operations in support of national command objectives.
The 35th Division was constituted on 18 July 1917 as one of the 17 National Guard divisions authorized for service in World War I. The division was organized on 25 August 1917 at Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma (today a part of Fort Sill) from the National Guard of Kansas and Missouri. The division was made up of regiments which had been on active Federal service since March and April 1917. The 35th consisted of three machinegun battalions, three field artillery regiments, four infantry regiments, one engineer regiment and one signal battalion with a total strength of 26,373.
The 35th trained at Camp Doniphan until the beginning of April 1918 when it moved to the ports of New York and Philadelphia for embarkation to Europe. Once in France, the 35th was attached to the British 30th Division for training but placed under the administrative control of the U.S. II Corps. From 11 June to September the 35th was assigned to the French XXXIII Corps for front line training. On 18 June 1918 elements of the division moved into positions in the southeastern portion of the Western Front near Epinal, France. Two days later, elements of the 69th Brigade, 35th Division, which consisted of the 137th and 138th Infantry Regiments, took over front line sectors. One month later the 35th Division's other brigade, the 70th, relieved the 69th Brigade.
From 27 July to 2 September the division occupied the Wesserling and Gerardmer Sectors. The division then went into reserve for the First U.S. Army until 15 September when it moved to the Meuse-Argonne front. During the night of 20 September the 35th moved into forward positions in preparation for the Meuse-Argonne offensive. At 0530 on 26 September the division launched its attack and for the next four days kept up the attack against heavy German resistance. The division suffered so many casualties that it was relieved and placed in reserve. Two weeks later the Santa Fe Division reentered the front line where it served until shortly before the Armistice. The division returned to the U.S. in April 1919 and was demobilized on 30 May 1919.
The 35th Division did not return to the National Guard force structure until 13 September 1935. With its reorganization, the 35th became a three-state division consisting of the 134th, 137th 138th and 140th Infantry Regiments from Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. With war clouds on the horizon, the division was inducted into Federal service on 23 December 1940. It trained at Camp Robinson, AR, and took part in the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941. With the declaration of war, the 35th was rushed to California where it performed coastal defense duties. While in California the division was triangularized and redesignated as the 35th Infantry Division. The 138th Infantry was relieved from its assignment to the division and sent to the Aleutian Islands. The division then moved to Camp Rucker, AL, and Camp Butner, NC, for further training. In May 1944 the 35th sailed to Europe and arrived in England where it continued to train.
The Santa Fe Division landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, between 5-7 July 1944. It entered combat on 11 July and fought in the Normandy hedgerows north of St. Lo. After repelling a series of German counterattacks the division entered St. Lo. Continuing its advance, the 35th took town after town in a drive spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division. By the middle of September the 35th had reached the city of Nancy. As part of the Third Army, the Santa Fe Division kept up the pressure against the German Army forcing it to fall back toward Germany. During the battle for Achain in November, Staff Sergeant Junior J. Spurrier, Company G, 134th Infantry, won the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action.
On 8 December the 35th crossed into Germany and continued to advance until it was relieved, after the 162 days of almost constant action, on 20 December. The 35th's rest period was interrupted by the German offensive in the Ardennes. The division moved into Belgium and took part in the fighting to relieve Bastogne. The 1st Battalion, 134th Infantry broke through the German ring and was one of the first units to reach the 101st Airborne. The 35th then went on the defensive against the continued German attack. During a five day period the division artillery fired more than 41,000 rounds. After another two weeks of fierce fighting the division stopped the German advance. On 23 January 1945 the 35th moved south to the Alsace region of France to help stop a German attack in the Seventh Army sector. One week later the 35th made one of the longest tactical moves of the war when it deployed 292 miles, by rail and truck, to Masstricht, Holland. The 35th relieved the British 155th Brigade on 6 February in positions along the Roer River in Germany. The Santa Fe Division then spearheaded the Ninth's Army drive into the German heartland.
After crossing the Rhine on 25 March, the division kept advancing eastward until 26 April when it moved to Hanover, Germany, for occupation duty. The 35th returned to France for rest and was alerted for movement to the Pacific Theater. However, with VJ Day the division returned to the United States in September 1945 and was inactivated on 7 December 1945 at Camp Breckinridge, KY.
The 35th Infantry Division reorganized in late 1946 and early 1947 as a Kansas-Missouri division. The 35th resumed its peacetime status and continued to recruit and train. In April 1963 the 35th Infantry Division was inactivated along with three other National Guard divisions.
The lineage of the Kansas portion of the 35th passed to the 69th Infantry Brigade until 1984 when the division was reorganized as a mechanized division consisting at the time of Nebraska's 67th Infantry Brigade, Kansas' 69th Infantry Brigade, Kentucky's 149th Armored Brigade and division support elements from the Colorado and Missouri ARNG.
As a result of the Army Division Redesign Study, the 35th was reportedly earmarked for re-organization. The study proposed cutting two Divisions and converting up to 12 current Divisional brigades to CS/CSS units. The remaining 35th Infantry Division headquarters will be converted to a Command and Control Headquarters, similar to the 34th Infantry Division.
As the 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was being assigned to USAREUR, the Illinois National Guard received notification on November 30, 2001 that a large part of the 66th Infantry Brigade would be called to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 66th Infantry Brigade, one of the maneuver brigades of the 35th Infantry Division (Mechanized), which was to have as many as 1,500 to 1,700 soldiers be mobilized for this mission, was to be assigned to U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) to head up Task Force Santa Fe. During that time, it was to provide security and force protection throughout the USAREUR theater of operations. In addition to the Illinois Army National Guard, soldiers from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Nebraska were to be involved.
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