|34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division|
34th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI)
|Active||August 1917 - 1963, 1991 - present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Size||approx 15,000 Soldiers|
|Motto||"Attack, Attack, Attack!"|
|Major General Richard Nash|
Charles L. Bolte
|Distinctive Unit Insignia||
|U.S. Infantry Divisions (1939–present)|
|33rd Infantry Division (Inactive)||35th Infantry Division|
The 34th Infantry Division is a division in the Army National Guard that participated in World War I, World War II and continues to serve today, with most of the Division part of the Minnesota and Iowa National Guard. It holds the distinctions of being the first US Division deployed to Europe in World War II, and having spent more days in combat and having taken more enemy-defended hills than any other U.S. Army Division in the war.
The division takes its name from the shoulder sleeve insignia designed for a 1917 training camp contest by American regionalist artist Marvin Cone, who was then a soldier enlisted in the unit. Cone's design evoked the desert training grounds of Camp Cody, New Mexico, by superimposing a red steer skull over a black Mexican water jug called an "olla." In World War I, the unit was called the "Sandstorm Division." German troops in World War II, however, called the U.S. division's soldiers "Red Devils" and "Red Bulls" ; the division later officially adopted the latter nickname.
The United States Army Rangers also trace their lineage back to the 34th Division. The modern incarnation of the Rangers were developed from 34th Infantry volunteers in Ireland under the command of Major William O. Darby. Of the original five hundred twenty WWII Rangers, two hundred eighty one came from the 34th Infantry Division.
The 34th replaced the 47th "Viking" Infantry Division when the 47th was deactivated in 1991.
During the Civil War, the First Minnesota Regiment, today the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment (2/135) was the first volunteer regiment to offer its services to President Lincoln. The men of the 1st Minnesota are most remembered for their actions on the late afternoon of July 2, 1863, during the second day's fighting at Gettysburg, resulting in the prevention of a serious breach in the Union defensive line on Cemetery Ridge.
The division was established as the 34th Division of the National Guard in August 1917, consisting of units from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. The 34th Division arrived in France in October 1918 but was too late to see action in World War I as the war ended the following month.
In common with other U.S. Army divisions the 34th was reorganised from a square to a triangular division before seeing combat. The division's three infantry regiments became the 133rd, 135th, and 168th Infantry Regiments.
The first contingent embarked at Brooklyn on 14 January 1942 and sailed from New York the next day. The initial group of 4,508 stepped ashore at 12:15 hrs on 26 January 1942 at Dufferin Quay, Belfast commanded by Major-General Russell P. Hartle. They were met by a delegation including the Governor General (Duke of Abercorn), the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (John Miller Andrews), the Commander of British Troops in Ulster (General G. E. W. Franklyn), and the Secretary of State for Air (Sir Archibald Sinclair).
After continuing its training in Northern Ireland, the 34th Infantry Division saw its first combat in North Africa on 8 November 1942. As a member of the Eastern Task force, which included two brigades of the British 78th Infantry Division, and two British Commando units, they landed at Algiers and seized the port and outlying airfields. Elements of the Division took part in numerous subsequent engagements in Tunisia during the Allied build-up, notably at Sened Station, Faid Pass, Sbeitla, and Fondouk Gap. In April 1943 the Division assaulted Hill 609, capturing it on 1 May 1943, and then drove through Chouigui Pass to Tebourba and Ferryville.
The Division then trained for the Salerno landing. The 151st FA Bn. went in on D-day, 9 September 1943, at Salerno, while the rest of the Division followed on 25 September. Contacting the enemy at the Calore River, 28 September 1943, the 34th, part of U.S. II Corps, drove north to take Benevento, crossed the winding Volturno three times in October and November, assaulted Mount Patano and took one of its four peaks before being relieved, 9 December 1943. In January 1944, the Division was back in II Corps front line battering at the Bernhardt Line defenses. Thankfully, after bitter fighting through the Mignano Gap, they were able to take Mount Trocchio without resistance as the German defenders withdrew to the main prepared defenses of the Gustav Line. On 24 January 1944, during the First Battle of Monte Cassino they pushed across the Rapido River into the hills behind and attacked Monastery Hill which dominated the town of Cassino. While they nearly captured the objective, in the end their attacks on the monastery and the town failed. The performance of 34 Division in the mountains is considered to rank as one of the finest feats of arms carried out by any soldiers during the war. In return they sustained losses of about 80% in the Infantry battalions. They were relieved from their positions 11-13 February 1944. Eventually, it took the combined force of five allied infantry divisions to finish what the 34th nearly accomplished on its own.
After rest and rehabilitation, it landed in the Anzio beachhead, 25 March 1944, maintaining defensive positions until the offensive of 23 May, when it broke out of the beachhead, took Cisterna, and raced to Civitavecchia and Rome. After a short rest, the Division drove across the Cecina River to liberate Livorno, 19 July 1944, and continued on to take Mount Belmonte in October during the fighting on the Gothic Line. Digging in south of Bologna for the winter, the 34th jumped off, 15 April 1945, and captured Bologna on 21 April. Pursuit of the routed enemy to the French border was halted on 2 May upon the German surrender in Italy.
The Division participated in six major Army campaigns in North Africa and Italy. The Division is credited with amassing 517 days of front line combat, more than any other U.S. division. One or more 34th Division units were engaged in actual combat with the enemy on 611 days. This would have been 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, the IRONMAN battalion. This battalion still holds the record over the rest of the United States Army for days in combat. The division was credited with more combat days than any other division in the war. The 34th Division suffered 3,737 killed in action, 14,165 wounded in action, and 3,460 missing in action, for a total of 21,362 battle casualties. Casualties of the division are considered to be the highest of any division in the theater when daily per capita fighting strengths are considered. There is little doubt the division took the most enemy-defended hills of any division in the European Theater. The division's men were awarded 10 Medals of Honor, 98 Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, 1,153 Silver Stars, 116 Legion of Merit medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, 2,545 Bronze Stars, 54 Soldier Medals, 34 Air Medals, with duplicate awards of 52 oak leaf clusters, and 15,000 Purple Hearts. More recently, in 2000 the Minnesota Legislature renamed all of Interstate 35 in Minnesota the "34th Division (Red Bull) Highway," in honor of the Division and its service in the World Wars.
The 34th Infantry Division was inactivated on 3 November 1945. The Division was reformed within the Iowa and Nebraska National Guards in 1946–7, but it disbanded again in 1963, being replaced in part by the 67th Infantry Brigade. It also retained its Division HQ as a Command HQ to supervise training of combat and support units in the former division area for some years. The 47th Infantry Division (which had never seen combat) was active at St Paul, Minn., by 1963, as the National Guard combat division covering the former 34th's area.
The division was reactivated as a National Guard division (renaming the 47th Division) for Minnesota and Iowa on 10 February 1991 upon the fiftieth anniversary of its federal activation for World War II. At that point the Division transitioned into a Medium Division, with a required strength of 18,062 soldiers. The 47th Division was re-flagged back to the 34th Infantry Division (Medium) in 1989.
Currently, the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division is ranked No. 1 of the eight National Guard Divisions with regard to key readiness indicators. The 34th Infantry Division was the first National Guard Division to transform to the Army's modular and expeditionary Brigade Combat Team Structure. The Division's force structure has grown and is now spread across several midwest states (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and Missouri). The Minnesota National Guard provides the Division Headquarters and is located in Rosemount (Main Command Post), and Inver Grove Heights (Tactical Command Post) both are southern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
Today, the division has undergone much change due to transformation. The entire division is projected to have transformed by Training Year 2010.
The 34th Infantry Division has deployed approximately 11,000 soldiers to fight in the Global War on Terrorism.
In May 2004, the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment,(augmented by Company D, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment ), 2nd Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, and with nearly 100 key positions filled by members of the 1st Battalion (IRONMAN), 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, commenced combat operations at 13 Provincial Reconstruction Team sites throughout Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, returning the Red Bull patch to combat after 59 years and earning the Battalion the distinction of becoming the first unit in the 34th Infantry Division to wear the Red Bull patch as a right-shoulder combat patch since WWII.
In March 2006, the first brigade of the 34th Infantry Division commenced combat operations in central and southern Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, marking the largest single unit deployment for the 34th Infantry Division since WWII. With its return in July 2007, the brigade became the longest serving unit (22 months total with 16 in Iraq) in Iraq of the Army National Guard.
In an effort to re-create the Living Red Bull Patch from Camp Cody, NM, in 1918, the 1st Brigade made its own Living Patchon the parade field at Camp Shelby, MS prior to its deployment to Iraq for OIF 06-08.
34th Infantry Division personnel have been activated for the following recent operations:
On July 16 2009 3 members of the Fighting Red Bulls were killed at a base near Basra, Iraq.
34th Infantry Division consists of the following elements: