‘Steadfast and Loyal’: Qualities define division, Soldiers for nearly 100 years

‘Steadfast and Loyal’: Qualities define division, Soldiers for nearly 100 years

By Maj. Gen. Ryan F. Gonsalves

Commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson

It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we celebrated the 99th anniversary of this storied division Dec. 10, 2016. This week, it is my distinct honor to kick off our centennial celebration, commemorating 100 years of the 4th Infantry Division and the men and women who have donned the “Ivy” patch. I encourage everyone to join us this year in celebrating the prestigious and accomplished history of the “Iron Horse” Division.

On Dec. 10, 1917, Maj. Gen. George H. Cameron assumed command and organized the division as America prepared to enter the Great War. Four infantry and three artillery regiments constituted the backbone of the force that Maj. Gen. Cameron built along the hills and valleys of Camp Greene, North Carolina. A few months later, Maj. Gen. Cameron would adopt our division’s insignia which was derived from the numerical designation from the Roman numeral IV; hence the nickname, the “Ivy” Division. The insignia consisted of four green ivy leaves on a khaki background. The ivy leaves are symbolic of tenacity and fidelity which formed the basis of the division’s motto, “Steadfast and Loyal.”

The division received men from across the Army to fill the ranks of units whose lineage dated back to America’s initial conflicts. From that point forward, the veterans whose history resided under the banners of the old regiments diligently trained and imparted standards on the new recruits.

In April 1918, the nation’s finest Soldiers embarked for France on a trans-Atlantic transport and in the summer of 1918 the discipline and training of 4th Division Soldiers would be proved fighting in the final offensives of World War I.

Over the course of five days in July, the 4th Division measured up for the first time against the enemy in the trenches of France, joining allied forces as part of the Aisne-Marne Offensive. From there to Sergy, Vesle, St. Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne, Ivy Division Soldiers proved their determination and strength was matched only by their courage and honor; nowhere was this more evident than the Battle of Meuse-Argonne, where the 4th Division would go further than any other American division in action.

Within six months of its arrival, the 4th Division defeated 16 German divisions and advanced 35 kilometers across France. The victories came at the cost of more than 14,000 men from the second Battle of the Marne through the signing of the Armistice Nov. 11, 1918. Many of the names which populate this Roll of Honor rest among the heroes buried in the cemetery of the Meuse-Argonne at Romagnesous-Montfaucon.

Our Iron Horse legacy is a testament to the long, proud traditions of America’s Soldiers, and no one knows better than the American Soldier the meaning of service and sacrifice to defend our great nation.

As we close out this amazing year and begin to recognize 100 years of Steadfast and Loyal service,

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Crosby and I want to thank the Soldiers and Families of the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson for their unparalleled service to the nation.

The competency, resiliency and motivation of today’s Iron Horse Soldier is truly inspiring and builds upon the legacy of those veterans that have preceded us.

A rare gift has been given to us this holiday season as we fly all our unit colors here on Fort Carson for the remainder of 2016. The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team “Warhorse,” 4th Combat Aviation Brigade “Iron Eagles” and 10th Combat Support Hospital “Mountain Medics” are home for the holidays following deployments across the globe.

While we celebrate this Christmas season, Soldiers of the 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson continue to train and fight at home and abroad. From Europe to Afghanistan and Iraq, our Soldiers never fail to accomplish their mission. So, let us not forget those who cannot celebrate this holiday season at home with their Families and offer our prayers and gratitude to the 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers deployed around the world. Let us also keep in mind and offer our full support to the “Iron” Soldiers of the 3rd

Armored Brigade Combat Team as they prepare for the start of their nine-month deployment to Europe as part of Atlantic Resolve in January.

Command Sgt. Maj. Crosby and I wish all a safe and blessed holiday season, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. From everyone here at Fort Carson, and all our men and women forward deployed, safeguarding our freedom for just such occasions, thank you for your service and sacrifice in honor of this great nation and the Iron Horse Division.

Steadfast and Loyal.

Ryan F. Gonsalves
Major General, USA
Commander, 4th Infantry Division
“Ironhorse 6”