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5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
"Red Diamond" / "Red Devils"

The Fifth Division (Regular) was organized in December 1917, with headquarters at Camp Logan, Houston, Texas, as a part of the program for the expansion of the armed forces for service in World War 1. The Department of the Army has designated December 11, 1917 as the activation date of the division. The 5th was the eighth American division to arrive in the European theater. By Armistice Day, the 5th Division had advanced further to the east than any Allied division. In World War 1 the 5th Division received combat participation credit for the following campaigns: Alsace 1918, Lorraine 1918, Saint Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. Since its first introduction into the trenches in June 1918, the Red Diamond had been in the line for 103 days. The origin of the 5th Division's motto, "We Will," is not known but it has definitely been established that it was used in World War 1. It was the German enemy in the St. Mihiel campaign who gave the men of the division the name by which they are known today. They called them "Die rote Teufel"- -which in English is "Red Devils!"

With the war clouds forming over Europe in 1939, the 5th Division (Regular) was called on again for service to the country. The 5th Division was reactivated 16 October 1939, at Fort McClellan, Alabama. In August 1943 the Division moved from Iceland to Tidworth Barracks, England then in October, 1943, to Northern Ireland for advanced training for the invasion of France. The 5th Division, from it's landing in Normandy July 9, 1944 to the last Division Headquarters in Vilshofen, Germany traveled 2049 miles and engaged in all five of the ETO's major campaigns. The 5th Division served in the XII and XX Corps, Third Army from August 3, 1944 to the end of hostilities, May 7, 1945.

The division, following the surrender of Japan and the ending of the country's war time activities, was inactivated September 20, 1946 at Camp Campbell Kentucky. However, this was not the end of the Red Diamond's history.

It was activated and inactivated many times in future years. It was a part of NATO forces in Germany in the mid 1950's, and took part in the war in Vietnam as the Fifth Division (Mechanized). The 5th Division's 1st Brigade was alerted for deployment to Vietnam on 25 March 1968. At peak strength the brigade had over 6,000 personnel assigned and was one of the most potent fighting forces in the Republic of Vietnam. In June, the Red Devils received standdown orders with Stateside redeployment to commence on 1 July 1971. On 22 August 1971, the Brigade colors were inactivated at Fort Carson until the next Division call-up.

A part of the division had been deployed in the Panama City area in May 1989 to secure American facilities. The following September these troops were replaced by "Task Force Regulars", named for the sobriquet of the 6th Infantry Regiment earned at the Battle of Chippewa in 1814. This task force consisted of the 4th Bn., 6th Infantry, 5th Division (Mechanized) with supporting elements and was assigned the mission of the assault of "la Comandcia", the headquarters of Noriega'a Panama Defense Forces (PDF). Augmenting the 4th bn., 6th Infantry were Co.A 7th, Engineers, elements of 5th Bn., 1st Field Artillery, 5th Support Bn. (Forward), Co.C, 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment, four M551 Sheridans from the 82nd Airborne Division, four Marine light armored vehicles (LAVs) and two platoons of military police from Fort Benning GA. The invasion of Panama opened in the first hours of December 20, 1989. Task Force Regulars returned to their station, Fort Polk, in late January and were replaced in Panama by Task Force Gator, a mechanized company of 3rd bn., 6th Infantry Regiment with supporting units. The returned veterans of the Panama engagement were honored with a division review on February 9, 1990 with awards being made at the ceremony.

The 5th Mechanized Infantry Division was re-organized at Fort Polk, LA in 1976. From 1989 through 1992 the division was attached to III Corps and shared its Allied Forces Central Europe reinforcment mission. According to the US Army doctrine of this time, it was organized with two Brigades and rounded out by a brigade from ARNG. The last inactivation was on November 24, 1992, exactly 75 years from the date of it's first order to activate, November 24, 1917.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:30:23 ZULU