- 8th Infantry Division (United States)
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 8th Infantry Division
caption=8th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve inisgnia
dates= 1918-1919 1940-1945 1950-1992
country= United States of America
allegiance= United States of America
United States Army
nickname=Golden Arrow Division Pathfinder Division
motto="These are my credentials."
World War I World War IIWar in Southwest Asia
notable_commanders=Andrew Goodpaster Carl E. Vuono
William S. Graves
previous=7th Infantry Division ("Inactive")
next=9th Infantry Division ("Inactive")The 8th Infantry Division was a military formation of the
United States Armyduring the 20th Century. The division served in World War I, World War II and Operation Desert Storm.
World War I
*Activated: January 1918
*Overseas: November 1918
**Col. Elmore F. Taggart (
5 January 1918)
** Col. G. L. Van Deusen (
15 February 1918)
** Brig. Gen. J. D. Leitch (
25 February 1918)
** Maj. Gen. J. F. Morrison (
10 March 1918)
** Brig. Gen. J. D. Leitch (
18 March 1918)
** Maj. Gen.
William S. Graves( 18 July 1918)
** Brig. Gen. J. D. Leitch (
4 August 1918)
** Maj. Gen. W. S. Graves (
11 August 1918)
** Brig. Gen. J. D. Leitch (
12 August 1918)
** Maj. Gen. Eli A. Helmick (
2 September 1918)
** Brig. Gen. J. J. Bradley (
20 November 1918)
** Maj. Gen. Eli A. Helmick (
26 November 1918)
The 8th Division did not have battle experience in World War I; it instead returned to the United States and was inactivated in January 1919.
World War II
1 July 1940
5 December 1943
*Days of combat: 266.
*Distinguished Unit Citations: 5
Medal of Honor-3 ; Distinguished Service Cross (United States)-33 ; Distinguished Service Medal (United States)-2 ; Silver Star-768; LM-12 ; DFC-2 ; SM24 ; BSM-2,874 ; AM-107.
**Maj. Gen. Philip B. Peyton (June 1940-December 1940)
** Maj. Gen. James P. Marley (December 1940-February
** Maj. Gen. William E. Shedd (February 1941)
** Maj. Gen. Henry Terrell, Jr. (March 1941)
** Maj. Gen. James P. Marley (April 1941-July
** Maj. Gen. Paul E. Peabody (August 1942-January
** Maj. Gen. William C. McMahon (February 1943-July
** Maj. Gen. Donald A. Stroh (July 1944-December 1944)
** Maj. Gen. William G. Weaver (December 1944-February
** Maj. Gen. Bryant E. Moore (February 1945-November 1945)
**Maj. Gen. William M. Miley (November 1945 to inactivation).
*Returned to U. S.:
10 July 1945.
20 November 1945.
**13th Infantry Regiment
**28th Infantry Regiment
**34th Infantry Regiment
**121st Infantry Regiment
**43rd Field Artillery Battalion
**45th Field Artillery Battalion
**56th Field Artillery Battalion
**28th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm)
**8th Signal Company
**708th Ordnance Company
**8th Quartermaster Company
**8th Reconnaissance Troop
**12th Engineer Battalion
**8th Medical Battalion
**8th Counter Intelligence Detachment
Major General William C. McMahon was relieved shortly after the division arrived in Normandy. His replacement, Major General Donald A. Stroh was temporarily relieved during the Hurtgen fighting; the death of his son, a pilot in the U.S.A.A.F. who was shot down over Brittany, had made a deep psychological impact. After a rest, Stroh went on to command another overseas division.
After training in
Irelandthe 8th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, 4 July 1944, and entered combat on the 7th. Fighting through the hedgerows, it crossed the Ay River, 26 July, pushed through Rennes, 8 August, and attacked Brest in September. The Crozon Peninsula was cleared, 19 September, and the division drove across Franceto Luxembourg, moved to the Hurtgen Forest, 20 November, cleared Hurtgen on the 28th and Brandenburg, 3 December, and pushed on to the Roer. That river was crossed on 23 February 1945, Duren taken on the 25th and the Erft Canal crossed on the 28th. The 8th reached the Rhinenear Rodenkirchen, 7 March, and maintained positions along the river near Koln. On 6 Aprilthe division attacked northwest to aid in the destruction of enemy forces in the Ruhr Pocket, and by the 17th had completed its mission. After security duty, the division, under operational control of the British Second Army, drove across the Elbe, 1 May, and penetrated to Schwerinwhen the war in Europe ended.
Assignments in the
European Theater of Operations
30 November 1943: Attached to First Army.
24 December 1943: XV Corps.
1 July 1944: VIII Corps, attached to First Army.
1 August 1944: VIII Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group.
5 September 1944: VIII Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
22 October 1944: VIII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
19 November 1944: V Corps.
18 December 1944: VII Corps.
20 December 1944: Attached, with the entire First Army, to the British 21st Army Group.
22 December 1944: XIX Corps, Ninth Army (attached to British 21st Army Group), 12th Army Group.
3 February 1945: VII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
2 April 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps.
26 April 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group, but attached for operations to the British Second Army in the British 21st Army Group.
Medals of Honor
Three soldiers of the 8th Division were awarded the
Medal of Honorin World War II.
*Private First Class
Ernest Prussman, 13th Infantry Regiment. Prussman took over his squad on 8 September 1944 during the advance on Les Coates " [wrong transliteration of Loscoat, near Brest] " in Brittany, and disarmed several Germans, including a machine gun crew. Shot by a German rifleman, his dying act was to unleash a hand grenade that killed the man who shot him. His Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously.
*Private First Class
Walter C. Wetzel, 13th Infantry Regiment. As acting squad leader in the regimental Anti-Tank Company, PFC Wetzel defended his platoon's command post from an enemy attack on 3 April 1945. Wetzel threw himself on either 1 or 2 enemy grenades (sources vary) thrown into the C.P. His Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously.
John W. Minick, Company I, 121st Infantry Regiment. After his battalion was halted by enemy minefields during an advance on 21 November 1944 during the Hurtgen fighting, he led four men through the obstacle, then successfully destroyed an enemy machine gun post that had opened fire on the small party. Moving forward again, he single-handedly engaged an entire company of soldiers, killing 20 men and capturing 20 more. Resuming the advance, he attempted to scout through another minefield, but detonated one in the attempt. His Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously.
After World War II
The 8th Infantry Division was stationed in
West Germany. From December 14, 1957, until it was deactivated on 17 January 1992, it was headquartered at Bad Kreuznach,
**Maj. Gen. Frank McConnel Aug 50 Jan 51
Harry J. CollinsJan 51 Feb 52
**Maj. Gen. W.P. Sheppard Feb 52 Jan 53
**BG John A. Dabney Jan 53 Jan 54
**Maj. Gen. Riley E. Ennis Jan 54 Jun 54
Harry J. CollinsJun 54 Aug 54
**Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Harold Aug 54 Nov 54
**Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Sherburne Sept 54 Nov 54
**Maj. Gen. John G. Vanhouten Nov 54 Jan 56
**Maj. Gen. Thomas M Watlington Jun 56 Aug 57
**Maj. Gen. Philip F. Lindman Aug 57 Mar 59
**Maj. Gen. Loyd R. Moses Mar 59 Oct 60
**Maj. Gen. Edgar C. Doleman Oct 60 Oct 61
Andrew GoodpasterOct 61 Oct 62
**Maj. Gen. Stanley R. Larsen Nov 62 Apr 64
**Maj. Gen. Joseph R. Russ Apr 64 Apr 66
**Maj. Gen. Patrick F. Cassidy Apr 66 Jun 68
**Maj. Gen. George L. Mabry, Jr. Jun 68 Feb 69
**Maj. Gen. Elmer H. Almquist Feb 69 Aug 70
**Maj. Gen. Donald V. Rattan Aug 70 May 72
**Maj. Gen. Frederic E. Davis May 72 Oct 73
**Maj. Gen. Joseph C. McDonough Oct 73 Jul 75
**Maj. Gen. John R.D. Cleland Jul 75 Jun 77
Paul F. GormanJun 77 May 79
William J. LivseyMay 79 Jun 81
Carl E. VuonoJun 81 Jun 83
**Maj. Gen. Charles W. Dyke Jun 83 Jun 85
**Maj. Gen. Orren R. Whidon Jun 85 Jun 87
**Maj. Gen. Calvin A. H. Waller Jun 87 Jun 89
David M. MaddoxJul 89 Nov 90
**Maj. Gen. John P. Otjen Nov 90 Jan 92
*Nicknames: Golden Arrow Division; formerly called the Pathfinder Division. Later the Pathfinder Division again, so named in honor of
John C. Fremont, the Pathfinder.
*Slogan: "These are my credentials."
*Shoulder patch: An upward pointing gold arrow piercing a silver figure "8" on a blue shield.
*"28th Infantry Regiment in World War I" - the regiment served with the
U.S. 1st Infantry Divisionin World War I and as such is covered in divisional histories of that formation, as well as having its own regimental history published.
*Official History of the U.S. Army in World War II - also known as the "Green Books", contains brief mention of the 8th Division. Still available via the U.S. Government Printing Office. Specifically, see the following volumes:
**"Breakout and Pursuit" by
**"The Siegfried Line Campaign" by Charles MacDonald
*Boesch, Paul. "Forest in Hell". Originally published as "Road to Hurtgen: Forest in Hell"). Memoir by officer of Company G, 121st Infantry Regiment.
*Bennett, Leonard. "Million Dollar Foxhole". Details the service of Staff Sergeant Doyle Richey of Company E, 28th Infantry Regiment.
*Gray, Frank Orville. "Grasshopper Fox C.P." A privately printed history of Company F, 28th Infantry Regiment.
*Greisbach, Marc. "Combat History of the 8th Infantry Division in World War II", softcover booklet originally published 1945. Reprints made by Battery Press in Nashville, TN.
*"A Combat History by Regiment and Special Units" - a series of books by the Army/Navy Publishing Company released in 1945. Also known as "Blue Books", these were styled after school yearbooks and sold with dark blue covers, containing sketch histories and photos of men returning home. The following titles are known to exist:
** "Division HQ & Special Troops"
** "13th Infantry Regiment"
** "28th Infantry Regiment"
** "121st Infantry Regiment (The Gray Bonnet)"
** "Division Artillery and Arty units"
*Tripp, Nathaniel. "Father, Soldier, Son" - memoir of a platoon leader of the 28th Infantry Regiment in Vietnam.
*Goldman, Peter and Tony Fuller. "Charlie Company: What Vietnam Did To Us" (William Morrow & Co., New York NY, 1983). History of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment (of the 1st Division) in 1968.
*"The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States" U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950 reproduced at [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/cc/cc.htm CMH] .
* [http://www.8thid.org/ 8th Infantry Division Association]
* [http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/8thinfantry/index.html These are My Credentials: The Story of the 8th Infantry Division]
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