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42d Infantry Division (Light)
42nd Infantry Division SSI.svg
42nd Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1917–19; 1943–45; 1947–present
Country USA
Branch Army National Guard
Role Infantry
Garrison/HQ Glenmore Armory, Troy, NY
Nickname(s) Rainbow (special designation)[1]
Motto(s) Never Forget!

World War I

World War II

Global War on Terrorism

BG Harry E. Miller, Jr.[2]
Maj. Gen. W. A. Mann
Maj. Gen. Charles T. Menoher
Maj. Gen. Charles D. Rhodes
Brig. Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Maj. Gen. C. A. F. Flagler
Maj. Gen. George W. Read
Maj. Gen. Harry J. Collins
Maj. Gen. Martin H. Foery
Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Taluto
Distinctive unit insignia File:42 INF DIV DUI.gif

The 42d Infantry Division (42ID) ("Rainbow"[1]) is a division of the National Guard and United States Army. The 42d Infantry Division has served in World War I, World War II and the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The division is currently headquartered at the Glenmore Armory in Troy, New York with the New York National Guard.

The division presently includes Army National Guard units from fourteen different states, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. As of 2015, 67 percent of 42ID soldiers are located in New York and New Jersey.[3]

The Rainbow Division

Over the history of the 42ID, it came to be known as the "Rainbow Division". Multiple explanations for this nickname have been provided. Douglas MacArthur, once Chief of Staff of the 42ID, is often credited with the name. When the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, it needed to federalize the state National Guard units to quickly build up an Army. Political concerns soon complicated recruiting, and Secretary of War Newton D. Baker authorized a division to be organized with the best regiments from 26 different states. Major MacArthur, standing nearby, replied "Fine, that will stretch over the whole country like a rainbow."[4]

The rainbow unit insignia

Original design of 42nd Infantry Division "Rainbow" patch, showing half arc. The patch was later modified to a quarter arc.

Another version of the original design of 42nd Infantry Division "Rainbow" patch, showing half arc.

The 42nd Division adopted a shoulder patch and unit crests acknowledging the nickname. The original version of the patch symbolized a half arc rainbow and contained thin bands in multiple colors. During the latter part of World War I and post war occupation duty in Germany, Rainbow Division soldiers modified the patch to a quarter arc, removing half the symbol to memorialize the half of the division's soldiers who became casualties (killed or wounded) during the war. They also reduced the number of colors to just red, gold and blue bordered in green, in order to standardize the design and make the patch easier to reproduce.[5][6]

SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGNIA. Description: The 4th quadrant of a rainbow with three bands of color: red, gold and blue, each 3/8 inch (.95 cm) in width, outer radius 2 inches (5.08 cm); all within a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) Army green border.

Background: The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally authorized by telegram on 29 Oct 1918. It was officially authorized for wear on 27 May 1922. It was reauthorized for wear when the division was reactivated for World War II. On 8 September 1947 it was authorized for the post-World War II 42nd Infantry Division when it was reactivated as a National Guard unit.

World War I

WW I colors unfurled for first time in France. Note half arc rainbow in design.

The division was activated in August 1917, drawing men from 26 states and the District of Columbia. It was composed of the 83rd Infantry Brigade (165th and 166th Infantry Regiments) and the 84th Infantry Brigade (167th and 168th Infantry Regiments). It went overseas in November 1917. The division took part in four major Operations: the Champagne-Marne, the Aisne-Marne, the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In total, it saw 264 days of combat. While in France, the division was placed under French control for a time, commanded by various French generals including Henri Gouraud and Georges de Bazelaire of the French VII Army Corps.

The 42nd Division was inactivated after World War I.

World War II

  • Activated: 14 July 1943
  • Overseas: November 1944.
  • Campaigns: Rhineland, Central Europe.
  • Days of combat: 106.
  • Total casualties: 5,949.
  • Prisoners of war taken: 59,128.
  • Presidential Unit Citation: 1.
  • Awards: MH-1 ; DSC-4 ; DSM-1 ; SS-622; LM-9; SM-32; ; BSM-5,325 ; AM-104.
  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. Harry J. Collins commanded the 42ID during its entire period of federal service in World War II.
  • Deactivated: 29 June 1946 in Europe.
  • Components:[7]
    • 222d Infantry Regiment
    • 232d Infantry Regiment
    • 242d Infantry Regiment
    • Headquarters 42d Division Artillery
    • 232d Field Artillery Battalion
    • 392d Field Artillery Battalion
    • 402d Field Artillery Battalion
    • 542d Field Artillery Battalion
    • 142d Engineer (Combat) Battalion
    • 122d Medical Battalion
    • 42d Reconnaissance Troop
    • 132d Signal Company
    • 742d Ordnance Company
    • 42d Quartermaster Company
    • 42d Military Police Platoon
    • Division Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Combat chronicle

When formed and activated for World War II, the 42ID was a unique unit, as it was a reconstitution of the Rainbow Division from World War I. Except for the division headquarters, none of its earlier elements had reformed in the interwar period, so the Army Ground Forces filled its new units with personnel from every state. From the Division standup at Camp Gruber until the Division stood down in Austria, at every formal assembly, the Division displayed not only the National and Divisional Colors, but all 48 State Colors (State Flags). To emphasize the 42ID lineage from the 42ID of World War I, Maj. Gen. Harry J. Collins activated the unit on 14 July, the eve of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Champagne-Marne campaign in France.[8]

Plaque at Dachau concentration camp commemorating the liberation of the camp by the Rainbow Division.

Following training at Camp Gruber, OK and the journey to Europe, the three infantry regiments (222nd, 232nd, & 242nd) and a detachment of the 42ID Headquarters arrived in France at Marseille, 8–9 December 1944, and were formed into Task Force (TF) Linden, under Henning Linden, the Assistant Division Commander (ADC). TF Linden was task organized to VI Corps under 7th Army. TF Linden entered combat in the vicinity of Strasbourg, relieving elements of the 36ID on 24 December 1944.

In January 1945, defending a 31-mile sector along the Rhine, north and south of Strasbourg, TF Linden repulsed a number of enemy counterattacks, at Hatten and other locations, during the German "Operation Northwind" offensive. At the headquarters of the First Battalion, 242IR, Private First Class Vito R. Bertoldo was waging his 48-hour defense of the Command Post which won him the Congressional Medal of Honor. When the battalion CP was attacked by a German tank with its 88-mm. gun and machine gun fire, Bertoldo remained at his post and with his own machine gun killed the occupants of the tank when they tried to remove mines which were blocking their advance.[9] On 24 and 25 January 1945, in the Bois D’Ohlungen, and the vicinity of Schweighouse-sur-Moder and Neubourg, the 222nd Infantry Regiment held a position covering a front of 7,500 yards, three times the normal frontage for a regiment in defense. After a two hour artillery bombardment the 222nd Infantry Regiment was repeatedly attacked by elements of the German 7th Parachute, 47th Volks Grenadier Division, and the 25th Panzer Grenadier Division . During the ensuing struggle one Company of the 222nd IR found itself surrounded, but only withdrew from their position and infiltrated back through the Germans to the regimental lines, after exhausting all but 35 rounds of ammunition. For 24 hours the battle raged, but the Germans were never able to break through the 222nd IR lines. For this action the 222nd Infantry Regiment was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (2001). After these enemy attacks, TF Linden returned to reserve of the 7th Army and trained with the remainder of the 42ID which had arrived in the meantime.

On 14 February 1945, the 42ID as a whole entered combat, taking up defensive positions near Haguenau in the Hardt Forest. After a month of extensive patrolling and active defense, the 42ID went on the offensive. On the night of February 27 Germans laid down a heavy concentration of artillery and mortar fire and under this the elements of the 6th Mountain Division were withdrawn and replaced by the 221st Volksgrenadier Regiment.

In the brief period this unit had been in the line it had come to respect the Rainbow and fear its patrols and raids. "Is your Division a part of Roosevelt's SS?" asked one German when captured. The remark was passed along and men kidded each other about being in the Rainbow SS.[10] The 42ID attacked through the Hardt Forest, broke through the Siegfried Line, 15–21 March 1945, cleared Dahn and Busenberg, and mopped up in that general area, while the 3rd Army created and expanded bridgeheads across the Rhine. Moving across the Rhine, 31 March 1945, the 42ID captured Wertheim am Main, 1 April 1945, and Würzburg, 2–6 April 1945, after a fierce battle. Schweinfurt fell next after hand-to-hand engagements, 9–12 April 1945. Fürth, near Nürnberg, put up fanatical resistance, but was taken, 18–19 April 1945, by the 42ID.

On 25 April, the 42ID captured Donauwörth on the Danube, and on 29 April 1945, liberated some 30,000 inmates at Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp along with the 45th Infantry Division. The 42ID campaign ended passing through Munich, 30 April 1945, as it cut across the Austrian border located north of Salzburg.

Assignments in the ETO

The 42nd Division ended World War II on occupation duty in Austria and was inactivated by the end of January 1947.[11]

Cold War

On 13 October 1945 the War Department published a postwar policy statement for the entire Army.[11] After the policy statement was published, the Army Staff prepared a postwar National Guard troop basis, which included twenty-four divisions, including the 42nd Infantry Division. Most soldiers considered the 42nd, initially organized with state troops in 1917, as a Guard formation. During the process New York successfully petitioned the War Department for the 42nd Infantry Division. After the state governors formally notified the National Guard Bureau that they accepted the new troop allotments, the bureau authorized reorganization of the units with 100 percent of their officers and 80 percent of their enlisted personnel. By September 1947 the 42nd Division headquarters, along with all the other new Guard divisional headquarters, had received federal recognition.

In April 1963, the 42nd Division was reorganized under the Reorganization Objective Army Division structure.[12] From 1967 to 1969, the division was briefly part of the Selected Reserve Force, designed to reinforce the active army in Vietnam. In a 1968 reorganization, the division was split between the New York Army National Guard and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.[13] In 1973-74, the division was converted back into an all-New York organization.

The 42d Infantry Division absorbed the units of the 26th Infantry Division and the 50th Armored Division of the Massachusetts and New Jersey Army National Guard, respectively, in post-Cold War restructuring. All three divisions were severely understrength, so the assets of the three were combined into one. The 50th Brigade, created from the assets of the disbanding 50th Armored Division, was initially assigned to the 42d Infantry Division as an armored brigade, but was transformed to an infantry brigade combat team (BCT) in the very first years of the 21st century as part of Army Modularity.

In the 1970s the division headquarters was located at the armory at 125 West 14th Street in Manhattan. It was later relocated to the Glenmore Armory in Troy, New York and remains there to this day. As part of Total Army restructuring, the division was organized under the XVIII Airborne Corps, and was previously teamed with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) for training and readiness purposes.[citation needed]

War on terrorism

Since the 11 September attacks, the 42ID has been extensively involved in the war on terrorism, in both homeland security (HLS) and expeditionary operations. The 42ID's 1-101st Cavalry led the New York Army National Guard's efforts and provided security at Ground Zero during the rescue and then recovery efforts there. 42ID units from the New Jersey Army National Guard provided security at all the major river crossings into New York City and Newark International Airport in the months following 11 September 2001.

The first major overseas effort of the 42ID was the deployment of elements of the 50th BCT/42ID to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The 2–102nd Armor Battalion deployed as ILO MP's and served with the Joint Detention Operation Group in the detention facility. The 2nd Battalion,113th Infantry deployed to Guantanamo Bay as well and provided security for the Joint Task Force at Camp Delta. While there elements of the 2nd Battalion, 102nd Armor supported the first military tribunals held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Elements have also deployed to the Horn of Africa and Djibouti. New Jersey's 3/112 Field Artillery and 5/117 Cavalry deployed as an ILO Military Police Company with 89th MP Brigade/759 MP Battalion; served in Sadr City, and eventually attached to the First Cavalry Division. Stationed out of Camp Cuervo (Al Rustimayah) in Baghdad, platoons also worked with U.S. Marines in Fallujah. On 4 June 2004 SSgt Carvill, and Spc Duffy were killed and the following day the unit lost Sgt Dotz and Sgt Timoteo.

Sgt. Rikki Sanchez, from the 150th General Services Aviation Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division, mans an M60D machine gun during a UH-60 Blackhawk mission in northern Iraq.

The 2/108th Infantry deployed to Iraq in 2004. In 2004-05 the 1/69 Infantry served in Iraq, eventually providing security on the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) Road. The 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade also deployed to Iraq during this period.

In 2004 the division headquarters and division troops of the 42nd Infantry Division, the "Rainbow" Division, deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) III, relieving the 1st Infantry Division (1ID). The "Rainbow Division" controlled the north-central Iraq area of operations. Serving as the command and control (C2) of Task Force Liberty, the 42ID took over responsibility for the area known as Multi-National Division North Central (MND-NC) including the provinces of Salah Ah Din, Diyala, At Tamamim (Kirkuk) and As Sulymaniah from the 1st Infantry Division on 14 February 2005. The 42ID directed the operations of: 1st BCT, 3ID; 3rd BCT, 3ID; the 278th RCT; 3rd- 133rd Field Artillery, 56th BCT (Texas Army National Guard); and the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (Idaho, Oregon, and Montana Army National Guard). Soldiers conducted combat actions and raids, seized weapons caches, destroyed improvised explosive devices (IEDs), trained Iraqi army forces, and worked on reconstruction to ensure free elections. Elements of the 42ID manned the checkpoint where Italian SISMI officer Nicola Calipari was shot and killed.

Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Taluto, commanding general of the division during its deployment, commended the many contributions of the 42ID led “Task Force Liberty.” Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA), Gen. Richard Cody, saluted members of the 42ID at the unit's homecoming ceremony.[citation needed] The division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company was awarded the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation for its service in Iraq.[14]

In 2008, 26 company-sized elements of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), headquartered at Fort Dix, New Jersey, deployed to Iraq bringing the total number of NJ National Guard soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to over 3,200. These elements of the 50th IBCT were mobilized for one year, including stateside training and “boots on the ground” in theater. Premobilization training began in 2007 and took place in New Jersey, with further OIF specific preparation conducted at other Army installations out-of-state. Originally slated to deploy to Iraq in 2010, these elements deployed earlier as a result of changes needed to comply with new Department of Defense (DoD) policies. Earlier in 2007, the DoD had reduced the amount of time units spend overseas in a combat theater, which in turn shifted mobilization schedules and required earlier deployments than anticipated. Elements of the 50th IBCT had deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) previously in 2004.

In 2008 the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), headquartered in Syracuse, New York, was mobilized and deployed to Afghanistan to train Afghan National Army (ANA) and police forces. Initial personnel from the 27th IBCT deployed in late 2007, with the majority of the approximately 1,700 service members deployed by mid-2008.

In conjunction around February 2008 Soldiers of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were beginning to receive notification of their upcoming deployment. The Brigade Commander at the time was Colonel William F. Roy. In 2009 the Brigade did a rotation at JRTC in Fort Polk, LA. December 2009 the Brigade was officially mobilized and to report to Camp Atterbury, IN. While in Indiana the Brigade trained and prepped for their future deployment to Afghanistan. After receiving numerous replacements and volunteer Soldiers the Brigade was sent back to JRTC for one more rotation before they left the country.

The majority of the Brigade landed in Afghanistan in early March. The Brigade Headquarters was based on Bagram Airfield in RC-East. The Brigade was tasked with numerous missions being conducted all over Eastern Afghanistan. The missions included partnering with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), assisting in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and securing over 30,000 Soldiers on Bagram Airfield while ensuring the base was continuing its daily operations. The Brigade left Afghanistan in early December returning to Camp Atterbury, IN. The Brigade was released from Federal service and returned to the Northeast to continue their respective State missions. A large amount of the Brigade was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for their service from 8 March 2010 – 4 December 2010 for their exceptional performance while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Deaths of Esposito and Allen

The deaths of Phillip Esposito and Louis Allen were caused on June 7, 2005, at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq. Captain Phillip Esposito and First Lieutenant Louis Allen were killed by a M18A1 Claymore mine placed in the window of Esposito's office. Esposito was commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 42ID. Allen had recently arrived in Iraq to serve as Esposito's executive officer, or second in command.

Military investigators determined that the mine was deliberately placed and detonated with the intention of killing Esposito and Allen. Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez from the officers' unit was charged in the killing but was acquitted in a court martial trial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on December 4, 2008. The case was one of only two publicly announced alleged fragging incidents among American forces during the Iraq war.

Subsequently, Siobhan Esposito and Barbara Allen, the widows of the officers, have continued to pursue justice for their husbands' deaths, pushing for the military to strictly enforce regulations that prohibit threats against superiors and require soldiers to report violations of "good order and discipline." [15]

Homeland security

During the Cold War and through the present, the 42ID and its soldiers have been regularly called upon for homeland security missions including disaster relief (such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Floyd), emergency preparedness (such as Y2K missions), airport security, critical infrastructure protection, border security, bridge and tunnel security, as well as rail/train station security.

First responders to the 11 September 2001 attacks were members of the 42ID, and led much of the military support to the relief and recovery efforts. The 42ID was part of the relief team for the duration of the effort at Ground Zero in New York City. The 42ID has also been actively engaged in missions supporting Operation Noble Eagle.

In October 2005 elements of the 42nd ID/50th Brigade were activated for Operation Hurricane Katrina relief in the city of New Orleans. The 2–102nd Armor and the 1–114th Infantry were called to active duty and the combined unit shipped to Louisiana to provide security for FEMA. The 50th Brigade arrived at Belle Chase Naval Air Station and from there went to the New Orleans Convention Center. From there the elements of the 42nd ID sent teams to various parts of the city on various missions of security ranging from roving patrol to security escort for the New Orleans Fire Department and other relief agencies

Current structure

Structure 42nd Infantry Division

42nd Infantry Division SSI.svg 42nd Infantry Division exercises training and readiness oversight of the following units, but they are not organic:[16]

Attached units

Note: Security and support (S&S) battalions are used in homeland security (HLS) and drug interdiction roles. These units are currently not to be deployed outside the United States. S&S battalions are placed under a combat aviation brigade for organizational purposes.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Special Designation Listing". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  2. Mid-Hudson News, New Commander Takes Over 42nd Infantry, April 14, 2013
  3. [1]
  4. Gilbert, Martin (1994). The First World War : a complete history. Henry Hold and Company, Inc., New York. p. 400. ISBN 0-8050-1540-X. 
  5. Oral history recounted by Paul Jarrett, World War I 42nd Division veteran, in documentary film "The Return of Paul Jarrett"
  6. Insignia of the 42nd Rainbow Division, 1985, by Rainbow Division Veterans Association. Narrative on p. 4, photos on pp. 5, 7, 10, 13, 19, and 25
  7. Daly, Hugh C. and United States Army, "42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division: a combat history of World War II" (1946).World War Regimental Histories. Book 64.
  8. Wilson, John B. (1998). "Chapter VII: The Crucible – Combat". Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. Army Lineage Series. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 60-14. 
  9. Daly, Hugh C. and United States Army, "42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division: a combat history of World War II" (1946).World War Regimental Histories. Book 64 / Page 21.
  10. Daly, Hugh C. and United States Army, "42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division: a combat history of World War II" (1946).World War Regimental Histories. Book 64 / Page 49.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wilson, John B. (1998). "Chapter VIII: An Interlude of Peace". Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. Army Lineage Series. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 60-14. 
  12. "Chapter XI: A New Direction - Flexible Response". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  13. "Chapter XII: Flexible Response". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  14. See General Order No. 2009-13, 16 December 2009,
  15. David Zucchino, "Widows pursue justice in soldiers' slayings", Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2010, 15 March 2013
  16. AUSA, Torchbearer Special Report, 7 November 2005;
  17. "TIOH - Heraldry - Special Troops Battalion, 42 Infantry Division". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  18. "TIOH - Heraldry - Special Troops Battalion, 27 Infantry Brigade Combat Team". 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  19. "TIOH - Heraldry - Special Troops Battalion, 50 Infantry Brigade Combat Team". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  20. "TIOH - Heraldry - Special Troops Battalion, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team". 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 

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