The 80th Division (Institutional Training)
of the United States Army
. During World War I
, the unit was designated the 80th Infantry
Division. Nicknamed the "Blue Ridge Division", it was initially
composed of draftees from the mid-atlantic states of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
1946 to 1952, the division was redesignated the 80th
. In May 1952, it was designated Reserve
Infantry Division and a Reserve Training Division in March 1959. In
1994, the division was granted its current designation, 80th
Division (Institutional Training).
World War I
- Activated: September 1917
- Overseas: June 1918
- Major Operations: First Battle of the Somme ,
Meuse-Argonne,Battle of Saint-Mihiel.
- Casualties: Total-6,029. (KIA-880;
- Commanders: Brig. Gen. Herman Hall (27 August 1917),
Adelbert Cronkhite (9 September 1917), Brig. Gen. L. M. Brett (26
November 1917), Brig. Gen. W. P. Richardson (28 December 1917),
Brig. Gen. Charles S. Farnsworth (7 January 1918), Brig.
Gen. L. M. Brett (14 January 1918), Maj. Gen. Adelbert Cronkhite (1
March 1918), Maj. Gen. S. D. Sturgis (22 November 1918).
- Inactivated: May 1919.
Because of significant common heritage in the past (Indian War,
Revolutionary War and Civil War), residents of Pennsylvania,
Virginia and West Virginia became the structure of the 80th
Division.The 80th Division was organized in August 1917 at Camp
Lee, Virginia. The units were made up mostly of men from the above
The 317th Infantry included men from the Piedmont and Western
Virginia areas; the 318th Infantry was made up mostly of men from
the Shenandoah Valley and Tidewater areas; the 313th Machine Gun
Battalion were mostly men from the Erie area. These units comprised
the 159th Brigade.
The 318th Infantry were nicknamed * squirrels* , while training
with the British in the Artois/Picardy section of France: 1st
Battalion were RED squirrels; 2nd Battalion were GRAY squirrels;
3rd Battalion were called FLYING squirrels. The insignia of the
318th was a square; the machine gun unit colored their square red
and blue. The 319th Infantry included men from Allegheny County and
from that area north to Erie, and some from Eastern Ohio. The 320th
Infantry were mostly men from Pittsburgh; the 315th Machine Gun
Battalion were men from Pittsburgh and Erie. These units combined
to create th e 160th Brigade.
The 313th , 314th and 315th Field Artillery units were composed of
men almost exclusively from the State of West Virginia, and were
the 155th Field Artillery Brigade.
Serving with the Division were the 314th Machine Gun Battalion, men
from the Tidewater area, as well as the 305th Engineers, men from
an area east and north of Pittsburgh; the 305th Trains (Ammunition,
Motor Supply and Sanitary) were men from Western PA, WV and VA. The
engineers were more often than not sent out ahead. During the rest
period from October 14 through the Armistice, they finally were
outfitted with U.S. Springfield and Browning automatic rifles. They
had two weeks to train before the third and final push began in the
Meuse Argonne. It was also during this period that an attack
formation was reorganized to allow for more maneuverability.
The 155th Field Artillery Regiment was in combat from the start of
the Meuse Argonne, continuously with the 80th Division, but served
also with the 90th Division into Germany, until after the
Armistice. Altogether, the 155th served with five different
During the Meuse Argonne campaign, the 80th Division was the only
one that saw action during each phase of the offensive (three
Men of the 80th Division received 619 Awards and Decorations.
World War II
Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach, 3 August 1944, assembled near St. Jores by 7 August, and on 8 August was ordered
to stop the German attack at Avranches.
80th crossing the Rhine near
Arriving too late to take part in smashing
the German drive, it turned east to seize Evron and Ste. Suzanne,
10 August. The Division then attacked Argentan, taking it,
20 August, and creating the Falaise Pocket. After mopping up in the area, the 80th took
part in the Third Army dash across
France, cutting through Saint-Mihiel, Chalons, and Commercy in pursuit of the retreating Germans until stopped
by the lack of gasoline and other supplies at the river Seille.
September to 7 November, the Division maintained an aggressive
defense of positions west of the Seille, and prepared for the Third
Army sweep into the industrially vital Saar Basin. The attack jumped off on 8 November, the 80th
advancing through Delme Ridge, Faulquemont, and St.
Avold to within of Saarbrücken, when it was relieved by the 6th Armored Division, 7 December
days rest, the Division returned to combat, moving southeast to
take part in an attack on the Siegfried
Line at Zweibrucken when the Germans launched their winter offensive in
the Ardennes. The 80th was moved northward to Luxembourg and was hurled against the German salient, fighting
at Luxembourg and Bastogne, driving the enemy across the Sure to Dahl and
Goesdorf, 7 January 1945, and across the Clerf and Wiltz Rivers by
23 January. On 7 February 1945, the Division stormed
across the Our and Sauer Rivers at
Wallendorf, broke through the Siegfried Line, pursued the fleeing
enemy to Kaiserslautern, 20 March, and crossed the Rhine, 27-28
March, near Mainz.
continued in April, the Division defeating the German defenders at
Kassel, driving rapidly to
Erfurt on the 12th,
and Weimar, Jena, and
Gera on the 14th. Relieved, 21 April, it moved to Nürnberg for occupation duty and on 28 April, to Regensburg, then to the Enns River, when the war in Europe
By 8 May 1945, the 80th had participated in 289 days
in actual combat and had captured more than 200,000 German
Assignments in the European Theatre of Operations
- 1 August 1944: XII Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group.
- 7 August 1944: XX
- 8 August 1944: XV Corps.
- 10 August 1941: XX Corps.
- 17 August 1944: Third Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to
the V Corps, First Army, 12th Army
- 28 August 1944: Third Army, 12th Army Group.
- 26 August 1944: XII Corps.
- 19 December 1944: III Corps.
- 26 December 1944: XII Corps.
- 10 March 1945: XX Corps.
Cold War to the present
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the 80th
Airborne Division (1946-1952).
In January 1946, the division returned to the United States was
placed on inactive status. In July of that same year, the division
was reorganized as the 80th Airborne Division
within the Army Reserve
under that title until 10 May 1952. It was then reorganized once
more as the 80th Infantry Division, but remained a reserve
formation. On 1 March 1959, the division was completely reorganized
once more and was designated simply 80th Division
Units from the 80th Division were activated in support of Operations Desert Shield
and Desert Storm
, the first
units activated 17 November 1990. During the conflict, the 424th Transportation Company
was awarded a Meritorious
. By June 1991, all units had been released
from active status.
- Nickname: Blue Ridge. Thundering Herd
- Slogan: Only moves forward. (Original slogan:
Strength of the mountains.)
- Shoulder patch: Whitebordered shield of gold
upon which is superimposed three azure blue mountain peaks.
- The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of
the United States U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950
reproduced at CMH.