Historian’s Corner


Historian’s Corner

By Bob Babcock, Past President/Historian

After serving as your president, I am honored to continue to serve as the 4IDA historian. My role now will be to focus on history of the entire 100 years of service by the 4ID.

First, I have reprinted the 1920 book, History of the 4th Division in the World War, written by COL Christian Bach, the Chief of Staff during WWI. That book, in hard cover, can be purchased from the https://www.deedspublishing.com/ website. All profits from book sales will be reinvested into research and making more out of print books and other historic information and stories from all eras available to our members.

            My next project is to re-energize my focus on publishing a book – War Stories 2 – which will include your stories that you will send me from your service in World War II, Cold War, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and today’s mission in Eastern Europe. Please send your stories to me at babcock224@aol.com in a Microsoft Word document.

This Day in 4ID History - July

4 July 1918 – Troops of the 4th Division’s 39th and 58th Regiments marched through the thronged streets of Paris to receive the salute of the deeply grateful French people.

4 July 2008 – The largest re-enlistment ceremony since the all-volunteer force began in 1973 was conducted in Baghdad, Iraq. Over 1,200 troops, including many from MND-B, re-enlisted.

12 July 1944 – 4ID Assistant Division Commander and D-Day Medal of Honor recipient, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. died of a heart attack, just a day after being named to command the 90th Infantry Division.

12 July 2003 – TF Ironhorse launched Operation Ivy Serpent, the fourth in a series of operations focused on neutralizing Baath Party loyalists and other subversive elements in their area of operations.

14 July 2003 – Two bronze statues of Saddam Hussein on horseback, at the entrance to his palace complex in Tikrit, were taken down with explosive charges by the 555 EN GRP, part of TF Ironhorse. Portions of those statues were used to create the 4ID Iraq Monument that currently stands at Fort Hood, TX.

15 July 1947 – The 4th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Ord, CA.

15 July 2008 – The Combat Aviation Brigade of 4ID officially assumed responsibility of aviation support operations in the Baghdad area, operating out of Camp Taji.

16 July 2009 – After serving at Fort Hood, TX since December 15, 1995, the 4ID cased their colors for the last time, changed command, and officially ended their tour at Fort Hood – next stop, Fort Carson, CO.

18 July 1918 – The 4th Division engaged the Germans for the first time during the Aisne-Marne offensive, with the 39th Regiment and two companies of the 11th Machine Gun Battalion attacking across the Savieres River.

21 July 1966 – The 2nd Brigade of the 4ID, made up of 1-12 IN, 1-22 IN, 2-8 IN, 4-42 FA, and attached units, left Fort Lewis, WA, aboard two troop ships, the USNS Walker and the USNS Pope, to begin the division’s four and a half deployment to Vietnam.

22 July 2003 – Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a gun battle with troops of 101st Abn Div. They were later buried in Saddam’s hometown of Ouji.

22 July 2009 – The 4ID uncased their colors at Fort Carson, CO, beginning their second tour calling Fort Carson their home – the first time was from December 1970 to December 1995.

25 July 1944 – As part of Operation Cobra, and following a massive aerial bombardment, the 4ID spearheaded the breakout from the Normandy hedgerow country as they led the St. Lo breakout.

31 July 1919 – The last detachment of the 4th Division sailed from France for the United States, ending their participation in fighting and occupation duty in WWI.

4ID Casualties for July 1944:

Killed or died of injuries: 42 Officers, 664 Enlisted Men
Missing: 5 Officers, 107 Enlisted Men
Seriously wounded or injured: 94 Officers, 1,733 Enlisted Men
Slightly wounded or injured: 38 Officers, 749 Enlisted Men
Total casualties: 3,432.

Cumulative Casualties for 55 days of combat since D-Day June 6, 1944:
Killed or died of injuries: 133 Officers, 1,699 Enlisted Men
Total casualties: 8,846 (this equals over 50% of 4ID strength on D-Day)

Some History About 4ID Units You May Be Unaware of

You may or may not know that the major Infantry and Armor units of the current 4th Infantry Division are made up of the Infantry units of the 4ID (8th, 12th, 22nd) and the Armor units of the 2nd Armored Division (66th, 67th, 68th) plus, of course, all the very important other units of the division. That merger was made at a reflagging ceremony on December 15, 1995 as the Army downsized to 10 active duty divisions and the 2nd Armored Division was deactivated.

This is not the first time the 4ID and 2AD have worked closely together. During the St. Lo Breakout in late July/early August 1944, the two divisions worked as a team. Most significantly, the 22nd Infantry Regiment was attached to the 66th Armored Regiment under the command of the 2AD to form "Task Force Rose". They provided the spearhead for the breakthrough at St. Lo which got the American forces out of the intense hedgerow fighting they had been involved in since landing on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. As a result of their actions and teamwork, the 66th Armor and 22nd Infantry Regiments earned the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) - which reads as follows:

Unit Citation - Presidential Unit Citation - St. Lo Breakout

The 22nd Infantry Regiment is cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action in Normandy, France, during the period 26 July to 1 August 1944. The 22nd Infantry Regiment was the infantry element of an armored-infantry combat command (66th Armor Regiment was Armor unit) which successfully effected a breakthrough of the German line of resistance west of St. Lo, forming the St. Gillis-Marigny gap through which the armored-infantry column surged deep into German-held territory. Operating against hardened infantry, artillery, and panzer units, this Regiment, often riding its accompanying tanks, met and overcame the stiffest German resistance in desperate engagements at St. Gillis, Canisy, le Mesnil Herman, Villebaudon, Moyen, Percy, and Tessy-sur-Vire.

The 22nd Infantry Regiment, in its first action with an armored division, after a short period of indoctrination, assumed the role of armored infantry with unparalleled success. Throughout the swiftly moving, seven-day operation, the infantry teams kept pace with the tanks, only resting briefly at night relentlessly to press the attack at dawn. Rear echelons fought with enemy groups bypassed in the assault. There was little protection from the heavy artillery which the Germans brought to bear on the American armor. Enemy bombers continually harassed the American troops at night, but in an outstanding performance of duty, the 22nd Infantry Regiment perfected an infantry-tank team which, by the power of its determined fighting spirit, became an irresistible force on the battlefield. (I think it is safe to assume that the 66th Armored Regiment's PUC reads very much like this one - as a 22nd guy, I have a copy of our PUC).

So - it is not a coincidence that elements of the 22nd Infantry Regiment and 66th Armored Regiment are again teamed up, as they have been since late 1995, to show their might against an enemy of America. 1-22 Infantry and 1-66 Armor are two of the three maneuver battalions of the 1st BCT of 4ID today and worked together, along with 3-66 Armor, during the first deployment to Iraq in 2003-2004 and again during deployments to Baghdad in 2005-2006 and 2008-2009.