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Sixth U.S. Army (ARSOUTH) / 6th Army

The 1988 DoD BRAC Commission recommended closing the Presidio of San Francisco. As a result of this closure, the Army identified Fort Carson, CO, as the receiver of the 6th Army Headquarters. Since then, the 1991 Base Closure Commission recommended several closures and realignments in California that did not have the capacity to receive functions or personnel in the 1988 process. During its capacity analysis, the Army identified available space at NASA Ames (formerly Naval Air Station Moffett) which could accept the 6th Army Headquarters.

The command and control Sixth US Army exercised over its Reserve Component forces is regional, not site specific, encompasses twelve states, and has not changed from the 1988 stated mission. The 1993 BRAC Commission found 58 percent of the Reserve units and 59 percent of the Reserve personnel Sixth US. Army supervises were located in the three West Coast states. California contains 38 percent of the Reserve units and 38 percent of the Reserve personnel. Because of the dispersion of the Reserve Component units within Sixth U.S. Army's region, the Commission found communication and travel capability were the foremost requirements in determining its location.

The 1988 Defense Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure recommended the Sixth US. Army move to Fort Carson, CO, to place the headquarters on a multimission installation out of a high-cost area. The proposed change to the 1988 DoD BRAC Commission recommendation would keep the Sixth U.S. Army in a high cost area; however, the Army felt operational necessity outweighed the increased steady-state cost. The Army felt staying in California would enhance the Sixth Army's ability to exercise command and control of all Reserve units within its area of responsibility.

The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the Sixth Army on 26 January 1927. The original design was cancelled and a new design approved on 10 January 1945. It was amended to change the background color from olive drab to Army Green on 6 December 1960.On a six pointed white star with a red border, a red letter "A" , all on an Army Green disc. The six pointed star is significant of the number "six" and the red letter "A" signifies "Army." The red and white colors are the colors of the design approved for distinguishing flags for the numbered Armies.

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for Sixth United States Army on 6 September 1968. Distinctive Unit Insignia consists of a gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches (3.02 cm) in height overall consisting of a white six-pointed star (formed by two equilateral triangles) one point up from which issues 12 rays, 6 of gold alternating with 6 of red forming in silhouette another six-pointed star (with no two sides parallel), two points up, the pointed rays larger and of gold, the upper and lower two each bearing a blue five-pointed star, the points of the white six-pointed star resting and centered on the red rays all above a gold convex motto scroll, the ends terminating at and conjoined with the vertical sides of the two lower points of the six-pointed star formed by the gold and red rays, inscribed "BORN OF WAR" in red, the area between the bottom of the star and the top of the scroll pierced.

The white six-pointed star with the points on red was suggested by the authorized shoulder sleeve insignia for the unit. The overall shape of the gold rays issuing from the white star was suggested by the sun device on the Philippine flag and together with the red rays suggestive of Japan forms another six-pointed star and refers to the entire Pacific Theater, World War II for which the Sixth US Army was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation, alluded to by the red rays, the color of the Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer. The four blue stars refer to New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Leyte and Luzon campaigns in which the Sixth US Army participated, the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation awarded it for service 17 October 1944 to 4 July 1945 being alluded to by the gold rays of the Philippine sun. All elements of the design which simulate a shell burst and allude to the motto "Born of War," involve the numerical designation of "six"-two six-pointed stars, one consisting of six gold and six red rays, and six stars (two six-pointed and four five-pointed).

In 1942 the United States assumed primary responsibility for the war effort in the Pacific. Allied Land Forces went to General Thomas Blamey, an Australian, who exercised tactical control through task forces created for each campaign. As the war dragged on and the United States committed more forces to SWPA, air forces and naval forces remained under Allied commanders, whereas MacArthur slowly reorganized land forces so as to bypass Blamey. At first, the only combat units available to MacArthur were the 41st Division (U.S.) and two Australian divisions (less two brigades in Ceylon). In July 1942, JCS approved the formation of a corps headquarters under Major General Robert L. Eichelberger, who found himself under Blamey's command.

At the beginning of 1943, the Sixth Army was constituted under Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, but in order to avoid placing such a large American force under the operational control of General Blamey, MacArthur conveniently transformed the Sixth Army into Alamo Force (April 1943), under his own direct command. This ensured that Sixth Army never came under Blamey's control. It also meant that the Australian general's task forces became increasingly Australian in composition. The hollowness of the title Allied Land Forces Commander in charge of all ground troops became even more apparent after the South Pacific Area was closed as a combat area and most of the army units, including XIV Corps, went to SWPA. The addition of forces to SWPA together with the planned invasion of the Philippines created the need for a reorganization of command. MacArthur dissolved Alamo Force on 25 September 1944 and from that time on issued orders directly from general headquarters to headquarters, with Sixth Army ignoring Blamey completely.

At Leyte, on the assault day of 20 October 1944, MacArthur was able for the first time to commit a field army into battle. Sixth Army began the operation and Eighth Army took control of the mopping up phase on 26 December, thus freeing Krueger to move on Luzon. Krueger invaded Leyte with two corps--X and XXIV with a strength of 53,000 and 51,500 respectively--supported by two reserve divisions (32d at 14,500 and the 77th at 14,000 soldiers). The total number of ground troops under his command was around 202, 500. For the invasion of Luzon, MacArthur released the X and XXIV Corps to Eichelberger for the completion of the Leyte campaign and gave I and XIV Corps to Krueger as the main units for the reconquest of Luzon. At this time, Eichelberger gained three army corps under his command, though he relinquished operational control of XI Corps to Krueger for Luzon. Throughout the Philippines campaign, MacArthur chose not to form an army group headquarters, instead preferring to exercise direct operational control over both field armies.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:31:04 ZULU