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Seventh U.S. Army

The Allied armies confronting the Germans in mid-September 1944 had arrived on the European continent through two great invasions - Operation OVERLORD and Operation DRAGOON. OVERLORD assaulted the Normandy coast of France between the towns of Caen and Ste. Mere-Eglise. DRAGOON occurred after a struggle with Winston Churchill, the British prime minister, and the British Chiefs of Staff who had steadfastly opposed an invasion of southern France. To the end, Churchill saw the Italian theater as the key to unlocking the door to the Balkans and Central Europe - the "soft-underbelly" of Nazi Germany - while the Americans, to include Eisenhower, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff saw northern Italy only as a cul-de-sac. Scheduled for 15 August 1944 and promising to draw at least some German forces from northern France and seize the great French port of Marseille, the mounting of DRAGOON remained uncertain until the last moment.

After final approval came on 11 August, U.S. forces landed east of Toulon. Several days later, French units arrived. Both operated under the command of Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch's Seventh U.S. Army. The success of the operation was phenomenal. Within two weeks the Allies had captured 57,000 prisoners and opened the major ports of Toulon and Marseille at a cost of less than 7,000 casualties.

Patch's Seventh Army advanced nearly 400 miles up the Rhone River Valley in less than a month and linked up with the Third Army on 11 September, creating a solid wall of Allied forces stretching from Antwerp to the Swiss border. Four days later DRAGOON forces - heretofore under the control of British General Henry M. Wilson, the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater - were reorganized into the 6th Army Group, under the command of Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers. This, thereby, increased Eisenhower's force to three army groups.

In the north, Montgomery's 21 Army Group directed Lt. Gen. Henry D. G. Crerar's Canadian First Army and General Miles C. Dempsey's Second British Army. General Bradley's 12th Army Group occupied the center and controlled the newly operational Ninth Army under Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson, Hodges' First Army, and Patton's Third Army. In the south lay Devers' 6th Army Group, made up of Patch's Seventh Army and the General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny's First French Army. As Eisenhower had intended, the Allies faced the Germans along a broad front with a secure rear area for the vast logistical organization necessary for the final push into Germany.

The powerful assaults to force the Rhine crossings were accompanied by a prime example of "luck" in battle, the seizure of the Remagen bridge, and abetted by a spectacular air-drop assault Operation VARSITY--the last of the war. Beyond the Rhine there follows a series of the most massive sweeps and wide turning movements in World War II, engulfing and destroying the German armies in the Ruhr Pocket. The end of the Wehrmacht comes when the Americans join the Soviets at the Elbe while the Seventh U.S. Army races to and crossed the Danube.

After the War, the Third and Seventh U.S. Armies in the U.S. zone of occupation had fought there way in and were already on the ground, which mitigated any impact of an uprising due to a security vacuum. However, the overriding difficulty was that no matter how well the U.S. occupation force was able to set conditions and attain their objectives, it would matter for little if all the other Allied zones of occupation were not synchronized. Both the Third and Seventh U.S. Armies commanders - Generals Patton and Patch, respectively - initially labored under guidancethat would make it difficult to terminate military governance - the draconian Joint Chiefs of Staff 1067 (JCS-1067) directive. The overall tone of JCS 1067 was "make the Germans pay", and most notably forbade anyone initially from taking any steps toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany. Another provision stipulated that there wouldbe no creation of a German central government for some time and JCS 1067 failed toindicate what should be built in its place. This meant the U.S. occupation forces had to impose military government - a direct rule - upon the German people.

In the early 1950s, America and its allies were fighting a "hot" war in Korea. But America's leaders knew the key to world stability was Western Europe, where the Soviet Union was threatening the continent with large armies and atomic weapons. America and other western governments cooperated in defense and economic development, establishing the NATO in 1949. In 1951 they formed the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was called from retirement to become the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe, similar to the position he had held during World War II.

America stiffened the alliance with massive reinforcements. The U.S. Air Forces in Europe grew from three groups with 35,000 members to eleven wings with 136,000 members. B-29 bombers capable of delivering atomic weapons were stationed at airfields in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet doubled to more than forty warships in the Mediterranean.

The U.S. Army committed two corps and five divisions - including two mobilized from the National Guard - under a new field army, Seventh Army, activated at Patch Barracks here in November 1950. The 10th Special Forces Group was activated in 1952 at Fort Bragg, N.C., for missions behind the Iron Curtain and deployed to Bad Töltz, Germany, in November 1953. A bipartisan Congress supported these actions by resuming selective service and passing large appropriations for airfields, barracks, family housing and logistical facilities.

U.S. European Command left Camp de Loges with the withdrawal of the NATO and U.S. forces from France at the 1966 request of French President Charles De Gaulle. The search for new quarters resulted in Seventh U.S. Army moving from Patch Barracks in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, and relocating with U.S. Army, Europe in Heidelberg, Germany. U.S. European Command then moved to its current home at Patch Barracks March 15, 1967.

The Distinctive Unit Insignia consists of a gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches (3.02cm) in width overall consisting of blue isosceles triangle with a vertical stylized red arrow fimbriated gold issuing from base all in front of and extending over the top and sides of a gold crescent, the area within the horns of red, the blue triangle bearing the gold letter "A" as depicted on the authorized shoulder sleeve insignia, the cross bar of the letter "A" joined by a gold vertical bar of the same width to the inner rim of the crescent, the red areas on each side of the vertical gold bar being slightly narrower in width, the base of the crescent bearing six five-pointed stars of blue and contained within a concentric blue scroll with the inscription "Pyramid of Power" in gold letters, the ends of the scroll terminating at and conjoined with the base of the triangle at its extremities.

The design is based on the authorized shoulder sleeve insignia. The crescent alludes to the initial activation of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Seventh Army, in North Africa 10 July 1943: the bar connecting it with the "A" indicating the subsequent movement of the Army from organization and training in Africa to combat in Europe; the six stars referring to the Sicily, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Central Europe and Ardennes-Alsace campaigns in which the Seventh Army participated; the arrow alluding to the assault landing in Southern France and the progressive advance through Europe beginning with the Sicily campaign. The elements of the design have been arranged to denote this advance and to illustrate the motto "Pyramid of Power."

The distinctive unit insignia was approved for Seventh Army on 28 October 1968. It was redesignated effective 16 July 2009, for United States Army Europe with the description and symbolism updated. The redesignation was cancelled and the insignia reinstated for Seventh Army on 7 July 2009.

On a blue right angle triangular background, the hypotenuse to base, a seven stepped letter "A" (steps 1/4 inch (.64 cm)) in yellow with the center in scarlet, horizontal element 1/4 inch (.64 cm) in width. The overall dimensions are 1 15/16 inches (4.92 cm) in height and 3 3/4 inches (9.53 cm) in width. The colors blue, yellow, and red allude to the three basic arms. The pyramidal figure is of a distinctive form with the symbolic letter "A" representing the first letter of the "Army" while the number of steps on each side represent the numerical designation of the unit. The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the Seventh Army on 23 June 1943. It was amended to change the dimensions on 17 March 2008. The insignia was redesignated effective 16 July 2009, for United States Army Europe with the symbolism updated. The redesignation was cancelled and the insignia reinstated for Seventh Army on 7 July 2009.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:32:02 ZULU