29th Blue and Grey History - Taskforce

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29th Blue and Grey History

World War II

The US 29 th Infantry Division was a United States infantry division that existed during World War I and World War II. Nicknamed “Blue and Grey”, the division’s motto is “29 Let’s Go,” taken from General Eisenhower’s inspiring speech to the troops preparing for the invasion of Normandy. The shoulder patch is a half-blue, half-grey circle containing the nomad, or “yin-yang,” Korean symbol of eternal life; the symbol was approved 14 December 1917 and was designed by Maj. James Ulio. The uniting of the blue and grey symbolises the fact that the division was composed of regiments from Virginia and Maryland that had fought on both sides of the American Civil War.

It is currently part of the US Army National Guard. In WWII, the 29th Division was formed on 3 February 1941 and departed for the United Kingdom on 5 October 1942 where it continued training in Scotland and England from October of 1942 up to June 1944, in preparation for the invasion of France. Teamed with the US 1 st Infantry Division, the 116 th Infantry Regiment of the 9 th Division was in the first assault wave to hit the beaches at Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

The division itself landed on Omaha Beach on the same day in the face of intense enemy fire but soon secured the bluff tops and went on to occupy Insigny on 9 June. The division cut across the Elle River and advanced slowly toward St Lo, fighting bitterly in the Normandy bocage (hedge Rows). The 29 th Infantry Division had spent 242 days in combat during campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, and Central Europe, earning four Distinguished Unit Citations in the process. Two soldiers of the division were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.

Also awarded were 44 DSCs, one DSM, 854 Silver Stars, 17 Legion of Merit, 24 Soldier’s Medal and 6308 Bronze Stars. The 29 th Division returned to the United States on January 4 1946 and was demobilised a fortnight later.

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