A few things every Old Hickory Association member should know
by Brett Bondurant
HISTORY: The 30th Infantry Division war created in September 1917 at Camp Sevier,
SC, when National Guard units from Tennessee, North and South Carolina were placed
together to form a division. The Division served with distinction during the Great
War most notably by breaking through the Hindenberg Line and fighting
in the battles
of Le Selle, Ypres, St. Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne. Members of the Division
earned twelve of the seventy-eight Medals of Honor awarded during the war.
the end of hostilities, the Division was disbanded. In 1925, however, the Division
was reactivated as the 30th National Guard Division with units from Georgia being
added. During the period between wars, the Division's life consisted of annual
summer camps and various peacetime maneuvers.
On September 16, 1940, the Division
became one of the first National Guard Divisions to be called into Federal Serviceand was ordered to Fort Jackson, SC for training .
The unit became the 30th Division. The Division trained in
the States for almost four years, and began to loose it's
sectional character with approximately 6,000 Guardsmen
leaving to be replaced with Reserve Officers, Regular Army
men and draftees. Most of the officer corps, including
General Henry Russell, the Division commander, was replaced
as well. The Division served as a cadre for other units
being formed and went from 12,400 men in June 1942
to barely 3,000 men two months later. The Division also went through several
reorganizations, with the 121st Infantry Regiment transferredin November, 1941 to the
8th Infantry Division and the 118th Infantry Regiment being transferred from the
Division in August 1942.
In September 1942, the 119th Infantry Regiment was reactivated
and assigned to the Division. The Division now became a triangular
division consisting of the 117th, 119th,
and 120 Infantry Regiments, and was designated the 30th
Infantry Division. On February 12, 1944, the Division departed Boston, MA and arrived in England on February 22. After approximately 3 months of training,
the Division was
ready for the assault on Europe!
The Division's 230th Field Artillery Battalion was the
first to land in France arriving on Omaha Beach on June 7th to support the 29th
Infantry Division. The rest of the Division arrived on Omaha on D-plus 4, June 10. The
Division was heavily engaged during the war in Europe and was involved in key
engagements thatincluded operations on the Vire River, the St. Lo break through, the
famous stand at Mortain, the assault on the Siegfried Line, the Battle of the Bulge,
and the reduction and occupation of Magdeburg, on the Elbe River. It was on this river
on May 5, 1945, that the Division made contact with the advancing Russians.
spending two months on occupation dutynear the Czechoslovakian border, the Division
moved from camp to camp before finally loading onto ships for the journey back to the
States . The majority of the Division arrived in New York on August 21, 1945. The 30th
Infantry Division was deactivated on November 25, 1945.
Following the war, the 30th Division was once again reactivated as a National Guard
unitin 1947. In 1954, the Division became an entirely North Carolina manned unit and
in 1968 the Division was designated as the 30th Infantry Division (Mechanized). On
January 4, 1974 the Division was again deactivated , and it's units becoming the 30th
Heavy Separate Brigade. This Brigade remains active today as part of the 24th Infantry
Division, Army National Guard and continues the traditions of Old Hickory.
NICKNAME: "Old Hickory". The 30th Infantry Division
received it's nickname during WWI
because of General and President Andrew Jackson, who was born near the North-South
Carolina border and rose to political power in Tennessee. The original regiments of the
Division came from Tennessee (117th Infantry Regiment), South Carolina (118th Infantry
Regiment), and North Carolina (119th & 120th Infantry Regiments).
Other nicknames included "Workhorse of the Western Front" for the Divisions long service in the ETO, and
"Roosevelt' s SS Troops", named by the German High Command for the Divisions
tough fighting against the elite 1st SS Division. .
DIVISION COMMANDERS: Major General Henry Russell - National Guard until May 1, 1942,
Major General William H. Simpson - until September 12, 1942 ( later Ninth Army
Commander) Major Leland S. Hobbs - until September 1945, Major General Albert Cowper -
Blue "0" surrounding blue "H "on red background, denoting Old Hickory,
(Andrew Jackson) with the Roman numerals XXX inside the crossbar of Hsignifying the
Roman numeral "30". At the end of WWI the patch was sometimes mistakenly worn
117th Infantry Regiment -
Shield with three stars with the
motto "BREAK THROUGH" at the bottom in the shape of a broken chevron. The stars represent the
three grand divisions of the State of Tennessee and the three main engagements that
Regiment fought in during WWI; Canal Sector, Ypres-Lys, and Some Offensive. The
motto and the broken chevron shape denote the breaking of the Hindenburg
Infantry Regiment -
White and blue are the old and the present Infantry colors. The castle wall symbolizes the walls of Mexico where the Palmetto Regiment saw active service during the Mexican War. The palmetto tree alludes to the regiment of that name and the fort at Sullivan's Island, the station of the regiment.
119th Infantry Regiment -
silver metal and enamel device consisting of a shield blazoned azure. Attached below the shield is a blue scroll inscribed "UNDAUNTED" in blue.
The shield is blue for infantry. The lion symbolizes the Hindenburg Line at Bellicourt, France, captured by the 119th Infantry on 29 September 1918.
120th Infantry Regiment - Blue shield with a cactus over a stone tunnel entrance, with
the words "VIRTUES INCENDIT VIREOS" below. The blue shield is blue for infantry, the
cactus represents service on the Mexican Border. The tunnel entrance symbolizes the
mouth of the tunnel in the Hindenburg Line at Bellecourt, France, which was captured
by the 120th Infantry, September, 29, 1918.
121st Infantry Regiment -An "Old Gray Bonnet" Proper. The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 121st Regiment Infantry, Georgia National Guard on 27 June 1928. It was amended to permit manufacturing in pairs on 16 August 1928.
UNITS THAT MADE UP THE DIVISION:
117th Infantry Regiment (Tennessee National Guard)
118th Infantry Regiment (South Carolina National Guard) - Relieved from Division August
119th Infantry Regiment (North Carolina National Guard) - Assigned to Division
September 1. 1942.
120th Infantry Regiment (North Carolina National Guard)
121st Infantry Regiment (Georgia National Guard) - Transferred to 8th Infantry Division
November 22, 1941.
113th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm How. Trac-D)
115th Field Artillery Battalion (75MM Gun) - Transferred from Division August 24, 1942.
118th Field Artillery Battalion (105MM How. Trk-D)
197th Field Artillery Battalion (105MM How. Trk-D)
230th Field Artillery Battalion (105MM How. Trk-D)
Pvt. Harold Klner, 117th
Inf. Regt., near Palenburg,
Germany, October, 2, 1944, (awarded posthumously)
Staff Sgt. Jack Pendleton, 123th Inf. Regt., Bardenburg, Germany,
October 12, 1914,
DIVISION AWARD: The 30th Infantry Division was awarded the Fourragere of Belgium in
Belgian 1393, dated November 20, 1945 for its part in Belgian liberation between
September 4 and 19, 1944, and for its actions in the Ardennes fighting between December
17, 1944 and January 25, 1945.
OLD HICKORY DAY: October 30. This day was proclaimed 9ld Hickory Day by the governors
of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. in 1945.
ETO Army Historian S.L.A. Marshall
called the 30th the Finest Infantry Division in the
European Theater of Operations.
"It is the combined judgments of the approximately 35
historical officers who had worked on the records and in the field that the 30th merited
this distinction. It was our finding that the 30th had been outstanding in three
operations and we could consistently recommend it for citation on any of these
occasions. It was further found that it had in no single instance performed
discreditably or weakly . . . and in no single operation had it carried less than its share
of the burden or looked bad when compared to the forces on its flanks. We were
especially impressed with the fact that consistently achieved results without -2ndue
wastage of its men."