76th Division (United States)

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76th Infantry Division
76 Inf Div SSI.svg
76th Operational Response Command shoulder sleeve insignia
Active1917–19, 1942–45, 1963–96, 2013-
CountryUnited States
BranchU.S. Army
Nickname"Onaway Division," "Liberty Bell Division"
EngagementsWorld War I
World War II
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia76 Inf Div DUI.gif
 
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76th Infantry Division
76 Inf Div SSI.svg
76th Operational Response Command shoulder sleeve insignia
Active1917–19, 1942–45, 1963–96, 2013-
CountryUnited States
BranchU.S. Army
Nickname"Onaway Division," "Liberty Bell Division"
EngagementsWorld War I
World War II
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia76 Inf Div DUI.gif
US infantry divisions (1939–present)
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75th Infantry Division77th Infantry Division

The 76th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War I and World War II. The division has been reconstituted as the 76th US Army Reserve Operational Response Command in 2013.[1]

World War I[edit]

World War II[edit]

Training & activation[edit]

Intensive training began 12 April 1943 Advanced training July 1943 at A.P. Hill Military Reservation near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Winter training September 1943 at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin (Skis, snowshoes, toboggans, snow tractors, snow goggles, winter camouflage suits, Eskimo parkas, etc.) Simultaneously advanced training group moved November 1943 to Northern Michigan near Watersmeet. Winter training experts from Mountaining Training Center at Camp Hale, Colorado gave special training program. Additional winter training began at Ottawa National Forest near Watersmeet, Michigan on 19 February 1944. Temperatures dropped to −28 °F.

Four exercises were conducted during which the 385th Infantry Regiment (headquartered in Pori, Michigan, opposed the division as an enemy force.

12 March 1944, the division returned to Camp McCoy.

7,000 troops were taken from the 76th to build up forces for D-Day during April 1944.

November 1944, trains headed to Camp Myles Standish in Massachusetts for staging before transport to Europe. On Thanksgiving Day 1944, three transports sailed from Boston Port of Embarkation to Europe.

The 304th Infantry plus a Division Headquarters Party sailed on the SS Brazil. The 304th reached Southampton England on 4 December 1944.

The 385th Infantry crossed the Atlantic on the SS Sea Owl. The 385th reached Southampton on 4 December 1944.

The 417th Infantry sailed on the SS Marine Raven. The 417th docked at Plymouth 4 December 1944.

The remainder of the division sailed from Boston on 10 December 1944 aboard the Coast Guard operated transport SS Richardson. The SS Richardson docked at Clyde River near Grenoch, Scotland 12 December 1944.

The remainder of the Division Headquarters sailed from New York on 4 December on the Dutch liner New Amsterdam.

Combat chronicle[edit]

The 76th Infantry Division arrived in England, 20 December 1944, where it received additional training. It landed at Le Havre, France, 12 January 1945, and proceeded to the Limesy concentration area. The Division moved to Beine east of Reims and then to Champlon, Belgium, 23 January, to prepare for combat. Relieving the 87th Division in defensive positions along the Sauer and Moselle Rivers in the vicinity of Echternach, Luxembourg, 25 January, the 76th sent out patrols and crossed the Sauer, 7 February, and breached the Siegfried Line in a heavy assault. The advance continued across the Prum and Nims Rivers, 25–27 February. Katzenkopf fortress and Irrel fell on 28 February and the attack pushed on toward Trier, reaching the Moselle, 3 March. Driving across the Kyll River, the division took Hosten, 3 March, Speicher on 5 March and Karl on 10 March; swung south and cleared the area north of the Moselle, crossing the river, 18 March, near Mülheim an der Mosel. Moving to the Rhine, the 76th took over defenses from Boppard to St. Goar and crossed the Rhine at Boppard, 27 March. It drove east and took Kamberg in a house-to-house struggle, 29 March. A new attack was launched 4 April and the Werra River was reached the next day. The attack continued in conjunction with the 6th Armored Division; Langensalza fell and the Gera River was crossed, 11 April. Zeitz was captured after a violent struggle, 14–15 April, and the 76th reached the Mulde River on 16 April, going into defensive positions to hold a bridgehead across the Mulde near Chemnitz until VE-day.

Cold War to present[edit]

The 76th Division was reconstituted in October 1946 and reactivated in November of that year as a part of the Organized Reserve, West Hartford, Connecticut.

For the next 13 years, the Division served as a traditional line Infantry Division, training annually at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts and at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum), New York. In May 1959, the Division was re-designated and reorganized as the 76th Division (Training) with the mission of training initial (basic) entry soldiers of various branches and in later years the division also became able to train infantry volunteers or draftees.

In this role during 1985 and 1986, the division successfully defined, established and executed the first USAR (United State Army Reserve) mobilization army training center at Fort Campbell, Kentucky which became the model for utilization and employment of other reserve training divisions in the United States Army.

In 1990-1991, during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the division validated and deployed to the Middle East over 600 of its soldiers where they served with distinction with the 3rd Army.

On 1 October 1994, the division was again re designated and on 18 April 1995 was reorganized as the 76th Division (Institutional Training) and 15 November 1996 was inactivated at West Hartford, Connecticut

In February 2013, Major General Daniel York sought a historical designation for a new command being stood up in the Army Reserve. The 76th Division was reactivated as the 76th Operational Response Command (ORC) and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Assignments in ETO[edit]

Awards[edit]

Medal of Honor:

Distinguished Service Cross:

Legion of Merit:

General[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]