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FOR RELEASE: Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division marks birthday while deployed in the Middle East

New York Army National Guard Soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division, which is headquartered in Troy, New York, are marking the 103rd birthday of the division on August 14 at locations across the Middle East.

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Brigadier General Thomas Spencer wishes members of the 42nd Infantry Division well on the division's 103rd Birthday from the Middle East.

LATHAM, NY (08/13/2020) (readMedia)-- New York Army National Guard Soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division, which is headquartered in Troy, New York, are marking the 103rd birthday of the division on August 14 at locations across the Middle East.

Over 600 of the division headquarters Soldiers are serving as the headquarters for Task Force Spartan, the U.S. Army component of U.S. Central Command operations throughout the region.

Task Force Spartan consists of 10,000 Soldiers from the Active Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The force works to reinforce our U.S. defense relationships, build partner capacity and, when necessary, execute contingency plans U.S. Army Central area of responsibility.

The division marked the day by posting a birthday message from the division's Deputy Commanding General for Support, Brigadier General Thomas Spencer on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System (DVIDS) as well as its Facebook page.

"I would like to wish the division a happy birthday. A 103 years since World War I and World War II to the streets of New York for 9/11 to the fight on the Global War on Terrorism. Happy Birthday to the 42nd Infantry Division and may there be many more," Spencer said.

The short video can be viewed here:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/762992/42nd-infantry-division-celebrates-its-103rd-birthday

A video featuring Sgt. Teddy Dixon, a World War II veteran of the 42nd Infantry Division, wishing the current members of the division happy birthday has also been posted.

The video also summarizes the history of the division and its Soldiers.

That video can be viewed here:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/763246/42nd-infantry-divisions-birthday

The 42nd Infantry Division was born in 1917 as a way to get American combat troops to France quickly during World War I.

Colonel Douglas McArthur – who later served as the division's chief of staff and in World War II commanded Allied forces in the Pacific -suggested taking National Guard units from many states and combining them in to one division. It could be mobilized relatively quickly and represent all parts of the county, he argued.

The multistate division would "stretch across the country like a rainbow," McArthur said, giving the division its rainbow patch and nickname as the Rainbow Division.

New York's contribution to the newly formed division was the 69th Infantry Regiment from New York City.

42nd Infantry Division arrived in France in November 1917 and entered the front lines in March 1918. The division remained in action for more than 170 days and participated in six major campaigns. One out of every 16 Soldiers was killed or wounded.

The division came home and was mustered out in May 1919.

In World War II the division was reactivated in 1943 with draftee Soldiers and a core of veterans taken from other units.

Elements of the division landed in France in December of 1944 and were soon engaged in stopping a German attack in southern France in January 1945 known as Operation Nordwind.

After stopping that attack, the division went on the offense and advanced through Germany, capturing the cities of Wurzburg, Schweinfurt and Munich. The division is also credited with liberating the notorious Dachau Concentration Camp on April 29, 1945.

In 1947 the division became part of the New York National Guard and in the late 1980s its headquarters was moved from New York City to Troy.

Units of the 42nd Infantry Division were among the first to respond on Sept. 11, 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

In 2004, the 42nd Infantry Division headquarters in Troy, the Division support command from New Jersey, the Division Artillery from Massachusetts and other division elements-totaling around 2,500 Soldiers-- were mobilized as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The division headquarters operated from Tikrit, Iraq commanded Multi-National Division North Central which was responsible for 23,000 Soldiers – two Active Army and two National Guard brigades-in the region north of Baghdad.

This was the first time since the Korean War that a National Guard division headquarters had deployed to combat.

On January 11, 2020 division headquarters Soldiers mobilized in Loudonville, Rochester and Staten Island for this latest deployment. The Soldiers trained at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and Fort Hood, Texas before deploying to the Middle East in March.

© NYS DMNA Press Release:Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division marks birthday while deployed in the Middle East
URL: https://dmna.ny.gov/pressroom/?id=1597701819
Page Last Modified: Aug 17, 2020