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U.S. 9th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division patch.svg
9th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1918–1919
Country United States
Branch Regular Army
Type Division
Role Infantry; Motorized Infantry
Garrison/HQ inactive
Nickname(s) Old Reliables,[1] The Varsity,
Octofoil, 9th ID,
Flower Power (Vietnam),
The Psychedelic Cookie (Vietnam)
The Flaming Assholes (Vietnam)

World War II

Vietnam War
Manton Eddy
Jacob L. Devers
Donald Prentice Booth
Julian Ewell
John Shalikashvili
Distinctive Unit Insignia 9 Inf Div DUI.jpg

The 9th Infantry Division ("Old Reliables"[1]) was created as the 9th Division during World War I, but never deployed overseas. Later, the division was an important unit of the United States Army in World War II and the Vietnam War. It was also activated as a peacetime readiness unit from 1947 to 1962 at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Fort Carson, Colorado, and from 1972 to 1991 as an active-duty infantry division at Fort Lewis, Washington. Nicknamed the "Old Reliables", the division was eventually inactivated in December 1991.


The shoulder sleeve insignia is an octofoil resembling a heraldic design given to the ninth son of a family. This represents the son as a circle in the middle with eight brothers around him.[2] The blue represents the infantry, the red the artillery with all the white making the colours of the flag of the United States of America.

World War I

The 9th Infantry Division was created on 18 July 1918 at Camp Sheridan, Alabama but did not serve overseas.[3] It was disbanded on 15 February 1919 at Camp Sherdian.

Units assigned to the 9th Division

Division Headquarters

17th Infantry Brigade

  • 45th Infantry Regiment
  • 67th Infantry Regiment
  • 26th Machine Gun Battalion

18th Infantry Brigade

  • 46th Infantry Regiment
  • 68th Infantry Regiment
  • 27th Machine Gun Battalion

Ninth Field Artillery Brigade

  • 25th Field Artillery (Light)
  • 26th Field Artillery (Light)
  • 27th Field Artillery (Heavy)
  • Ninth Trench Mortar Battery

25th Machine Gun Battalion
209th Engineer Regiment
209th Field Signal Battalion

Division Trains

  • HQ Train and Military Police Company
  • Ninth Sanitary Train
  • Ninth Motor Supply Train
  • Ninth Ammunition Train

World War II

  • Activated: 1 August 1940 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
  • Overseas: 11 December 1942 (Three organic combat teams participated in North African landings 8 November 1942)
  • Campaigns: Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, North France, Rhineland Campaign, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
  • Days of combat: 304
  • Distinguished Unit Citations: 24
  • Awards: Medal of Honor-4; Distinguished Service Cross (United States)-76; Distinguished Service Medal (Army)-3; Silver Star-2,282; Legion of Merit-19; DFC-2; Soldier's Medal-100; Bronze Star −6,593; Air Medal-129
  • Commanders: Col . Charles B. Elliott (August 1940), Brig. Gen. Francis W. Honeycutt (September 1940), Maj. Gen. Jacob L. Devers (October 1940 – July 1941), Maj. Gen. Rene E. DeR. Hoyle (August 1941 – July 1942), Maj. Gen. Manton S. Eddy (August 1942 – August 1944), Maj. Gen. Louis A. Craig (August 1944 – May 1945), Brig. Gen. Jesse A. Ladd (May 1945 – February 1946), Maj. Gen. Horace L. McBride (March 1946 to inactivation), Maj. Gen. William W. Eagles (15 July 1947 – 26 April 1948), Maj. Gen. Arthur A. White (27 April 1948 – )
  • Inactivated: 15 January 1947
  • Reactivated: 15 July 1947 at Fort Dix, New Jersey
  • Inactivated: 31 January 1962 at Fort Carson, Colorado
  • Redesignated 1 February 1966 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 9th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Inactivated 25 September 1969 in Hawaii
  • Activated: 21 April 1972 at Fort Lewis, Washington
  • Inactivated: 15 December 1991 at Fort Lewis, Washington

Combat Chronicle

The 9th Infantry Division was among the first U.S. combat units to engage in offensive ground operations during World War II. (The others were the 32nd and the 41st in the Pacific on New Guinea, Carlson's Raiders on Makin Island, the 1st Marine and the Americal on the Guadalcanal, and, alongside the 9th in North Africa, were the 3rd Infantry and the 2nd Armored Divisions.) The 9th saw its first combat on 8 November 1942, when its elements landed at Algiers, Safi, and Port Lyautey, with the taking of Safi by the 3rd Battalion of the 47th Infantry Regiment standing as the first liberation of a city from Axis control in World War II.

With the collapse of French resistance on 11 November 1942, the division patrolled the Spanish Moroccan border. The 9th returned to Tunisia in February and engaged in small defensive actions and patrol activity. On 28 March 1943 it launched an attack in southern Tunisia and fought its way north into Bizerte, 7 May. In August, the 9th landed at Palermo, Sicily, and took part in the capture of Randazzo and Messina. After returning to England for further training, the division landed on Utah Beach on 10 June 1944 (D plus 4), cut off the Cotentin Peninsula, drove on to Cherbourg and penetrated the port's heavy defenses.

GIs of C Company, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division at Geich (de), Germany, 11 December 1944.

After a brief rest in July, the division took part in the St. Lo break-through and in August helped close the Falaise Gap. Turning east, the 9th crossed the Marne, 28 August, swept through Saarlautern,[4] and in November and December held defensive positions from Monschau to Losheim. Moving north to Bergrath, Germany, it launched an attack toward the Roer, 10 December, taking Echtz and Schlich. From mid-December through January 1945, the division held defensive positions from Kalterherberg to Elsenborn. On 30 January the division jumped off from Monschau in a drive across the Roer and to the Rhine, crossing at Remagen, 7 March.

After breaking out of the Remagen bridgehead, the 9th assisted in the sealing and clearing of the Ruhr Pocket, then moved 150 miles (240 km) east to Nordhausen and attacked in the Harz Mountains, 14–20 April. On 21 April the Division relieved the 3d Armored Division along the Mulde River, near Dessau, and held that line until VE-day.

Assignments in the MTO

Assignments in the ETO

  • 20 November 1943: First Army
  • 25 November 1943: VII Corps
  • 1 August 1944: VII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 26 October 1944: V Corps
  • 6 December 1944: VII Corps
  • 18 December 1944: V Corps
  • 20 December 1944: Attached, with the entire First Army, to the British 21st Army Group
  • 18 January 1945: V Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 17 February 1945: III Corps
  • 31 March 1945: VII Corps
  • 4 April 1945: III Corps
  • 14 April 1945: VII Corps

Order Of Battle

Command and Staff

  • Commanding General
  1. 27 November 1943 Maj. Gen. Manton S. Eddy
  2. 19 August 1944 Maj. Gen. Louis A Craig
  3. 17 May 1945 Brig. Gen. Reese M. Howell (Acting)
  • Assistant Division Commander
  1. 27 November 1943 Brig. Gen. Donald A. Stroh [Assumed command of 8th Infantry Division on 12 July 1944]
  2. 20 July 1944 Brig. Gen. James E. Wharton
  3. 12 August 1944 Brig. Gen. Kenneth Buchanan
  4. 17 September 1944 Col. James S. Rodwell
  5. 8 October 1944 Col. Hammond D. Birks
  6. 7 January 1945 Brig. Gen. Hammond D. Birks
  • Artillery Commander
  1. 27 November 1943 Brig. Gen. Reese M. Howell
  • Chief of Staff
  1. 27 November 1943 Col. George B. Barth
  2. 16 June 1944 Col. Jesse L. Gibney (Acting)
  3. 24 June 1944 Col. Noah M. Brinson
  4. 30 August 1944 Col. John G. Van Houten
  5. 9 October 1944 Lt. Col. James W. Lockett
  6. 12 October 1944 COL William C. Westmoreland
  • Assistant Chief of Staff G-1
  1. 27 November 1943 Lt. Col. Frank R. Veale, Jr.
  2. 25 August 1944 Lt. Col. William L. Peverill
  3. 6 May 1945 Maj. Franklin G. Allen
  • Assistant Chief of Staff G-2
  1. 27 November 1943 Lt. Col. Robert W. Robb
  2. 21 August 1944 Maj. Jack A. Houston
  3. 27 October 1944 Lt. Col. Jack A. Houston
  • Assistant Chief of Staff G-3
  1. 27 November 1943 Lt. Col. Alver B. Sundin
  2. 1 April 1944 Lt. Col. Frederick C. Feil
  3. 10 December 1944 Maj. Reginald L. Riley (Acting)
  4. 6 January 1945 Lt. Col. Frederick C. Feil
  • Assistant Chief of Staff G-4
  1. 27 November 1943 Lt. Col. George E. Pickett
  2. 11 April 1945 Maj. George R. Huff (Acting)
  • Assistant Chief of Staff G-5
  1. 6 May 1944 Lt. Col. Asa White Kenney Billings, Jr.
  2. 9 December 1944 Maj. Charles O. Tingley
  • Adjutant General
  1. 27 November 1943 Lt. Col. William L. Peverill
  2. 27 August 1944 Lt. Col. James R. Hutchison
  3. 14 April 1945 Maj. George E. Materewicz (Acting)
  • Commanding Officer, 39th Infantry
  1. 27 November 1943 Col. Harry A. Flint
  2. 24 July 1944 Lt. Col. Van H. Bond
  3. 10 October 1944 Col. Van H. Bond
  • Commanding Officer, 47th Infantry
  1. 27 November 1943 Col. George W. Smythe
  2. 6 March 1945 Lt. Col. Herman A. Schmidt (Acting)
  3. 13 March 1945 Col. Peter O. Ward
  • Commanding Officer, 60th Infantry
  1. 27 November 1943 Col. Frederick J. de Rohan
  2. 2 July 1944 Col. Jesse L. Gibney
  3. 4 October 1944 Lt. Col. Donald C. Claymen
  4. 9 October 1944 Col. John G. Van Houten


  • Activated 1 August 1940
  • Arrived UK 27 November 1943
  • Arrived Continent (D+4) 10 June 1944
  • Entered Combat 14 June 1944 [First elements in combat in North Africa 8 November 1942; entire Division entered combat NATOUSA 26 March 1943]
  • Days in Combat 264
  • (Tentative)
  • Killed 4,581
  • Wounded 16,961
  • Missing 750
  • Captured 868
  • Battle Casualties 22,292
  • Non-Battle Casualties 15,233
  • Total Casualties 33,864
  • Percent of T/O Strength 240.4
  1. Algeria-French Morocco
  2. Tunisia
  3. Sicily
  4. Normandy
  5. Northern France
  6. Ardennes
  7. Rhineland
  8. Central Europe
Individual Awards

Medal of Honor: 4

  1. Distinguished Service Cross: 86
  2. Legion of Merit: 6
  3. Silver Star: 1,789
  4. Soldier's Medal: 55
  5. Bronze Star: 5,518
  6. Distinguished Flying Cross: 1
  7. Air Medal: 124
Prisoners of War Taken
  • Total: 130,000


  • 39th Infantry
  • 47th Infantry
  • 60th Infantry
  • 9th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
  • 15th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 9th Medical Battalion
  • 9th Division Artillery
  • 26th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm Howitzer)
  • 60th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm Howitzer)
  • 84th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm Howitzer)
  • 34th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm Howitzer)
  • Special Troops
  • 709th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
  • 9th Quartermaster Company
  • 9th Signal Company
  • Military Police Platoon
  • Headquarters Company
  • Band
  • 9th Chemical Company

Assignment and Attachment to Higher Units

  • Assigned Attached Assigned Attached
  1. 20 November 1943 First ETOUSA
  2. 25 November 1943 VII First
  3. 1 August 1944 VII First 12th
  4. 26 October 1944 V First 12th
  5. 6 December 1944 VII First 12th
  6. 18 December 1944 V First 12th
  7. 20 December 1944 V First 12th Br 21st
  8. 18 January 1945 V First 12th (-)
  9. 17 February 1945 III First 12th
  10. 31 March 1945 VII First 12th
  11. 4 April 1945 III First 12th
  12. 14 April 1945 VII First 12th

(-) Indicates relieved from assignment.

Vietnam War

During the war the division's units often served with the Mobile Riverine Force and other US Navy units that made up the Brown Water Navy. Its area of operations was in the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta from 1967 to 1972. Operation Speedy Express was one significant operation in which the division took part during the war, while the Battle of Ap Bac was one of 22 major combat engagements with North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong main force units as well as thousands of small contacts during this period during division's presence in Vietnam.[citation needed]

The 9th Division was reactivated on 1 February 1966, and arrived in Vietnam on 16 December 1966 from Fort Riley, Kansas, and its major units departed Vietnam on 27 August 1969 (HHC & 1st BDE) to Hawaii; 27 August 1969 (2nd BDE) to Fort Lewis, Washington; 12 October 1970 (3rd BDE) to Fort Lewis, Washington.[citation needed]

On deployment the division was assigned to the III Corps Tactical Zone of Vietnam where it commenced operations in the Dinh Tuong and Long An provinces (6 January-31 May 1967) in Operation Palm Beach.[citation needed]

The infantry units that eventually served with the 9th Infantry Division were:

Fire Support Base Danger, HHC, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Dinh Tuong Province, March 1969.

  • 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry
  • 3d Battalion, 39th Infantry
  • 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry
  • 2d Battalion, 47th Infantry (Mechanized)
  • 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry (Riverine)
  • 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry (Riverine)
  • 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry
  • 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry (Riverine)
  • 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry (Mechanized Dec. 1966 - Sept. 1968; Infantry Oct. 1968 - Oct. 1970)
  • 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry

Other units included:

  • Company E, 50th Infantry (reflagged Co. E, 75th Inf (Ranger)), 2 Dec 1967 – Aug 1969
  • Company E, 75th Infantry, Oct 1969 – Oct 1970
  • 3d Squadron, 5th Cavalry, Feb 1967 – Nov 1971
  • 9th Aviation Battalion, Jan 1967 – Aug 1969
  • 2d Battalion, 4th Artillery (105mm Howitzer), Jan 1967 – Oct 1970
  • 1st Battalion, 11th Artillery (105mm Howitzer), Jan 1967 – Aug 1969
  • 3d Battalion, 34th Artillery (105mm Howitzer)(Riverine), Dec 1966 – Jul 1969
  • 1st Battalion, 84th Artillery (155mm Howitzer/8-inch Howitzer), Feb 1967 – Aug 1969
  • 15th Engineer Battalion, Oct 1966 – Aug 1969
  • 571st Engineer Company, Oct 1969 – Oct 1970
  • 9th Medical Battalion, 4 Jan 1967 – 18 Aug 1969
  • 9th Signal Battalion, 19 Dec 1966 – 19 Aug 1969
  • 9th Supply and Transport Battalion, 16 Dec 1966 – 23 Aug 1969
  • 709th Maintenance Battalion, 26 Jan 1967 – 20 Aug 1969
  • 9th Adjutant General Company, 30 Dec 1966 – 26 Aug 1969
  • 9th Military Police Company, 19 Dec 1966 – 25 Sep 1969
  • 335th Army Security Agency Company (a.k.a. "335th Radio Research Unit"), 12 Jan 1967 – 5 Apr 1971
  • 99th Support Battalion, 1 Oct 1969 – 12 Oct 1970

One of the more unique units serving with the division was the experimental 39th Cavalry Platoon (Air Cushion Vehicle) which used three of the specially designed hovercraft to patrol marshy terrain like the Plain of Reeds along the south Vietnamese/Cambodian border.[6]

Mỹ Tho, Vietnam. A Viet Cong base camp being burned down.

From 1967 on, one of the division's brigades (the 2d Brigade) was the Army contingent of the Mobile Riverine Force. This brigade lived on the ships of Navy Task Force 117, and were transported on their infantry missions throughout the Mekong Delta on World War II landing craft supported by various other armored boats some of which mounted flame-throwers (called zippo after the lighter); had mortars in their holds; and even 105mm cannons on their bows (called monitors). The mobile riverine force was often anchored near the South Vietnamese city of Mỹ Tho, or near Dong Tam, the Division base camp, and they conducted operations in coordination with the Navy Seal teams, the South Vietnamese Marines, units of the ARVN 7th Division and River Assault Groups. Following the Tet offensive in 1968, General Westmoreland stated that the 9th Infantry Division and the Mobile Riverine Force saved the Delta region from falling to the North Vietnamese Army forces. In 1969, the division also operated throughout the IV Corps Tactical Zone.[citation needed]

Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense since February 2013, served in the 9th ID from 1967 to 1968. Holding the rank of Sergeant (E-5), he served as an infantry squad leader.[7] Hagel served in the same infantry squad as his younger brother Tom, and they are believed to be the only American siblings to do so during the Vietnam War.[8] In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the eponymous main character was a member of the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam, notably: 4th Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry.[citation needed]

9th Infantry Division (Motorized)

U.S. Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) operate Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV), the successor to the Fast Attack Vehicle pioneered by the 9th ID (Motorized). U.S. Navy photo.

Following the Vietnam War the division was stationed at Fort Lewis Washington until its inactivation in 1992. Beginning in the mid-1980s the division served as the high-technology test-bed for the army. This led to the division testing the concept of "motorized infantry", designed to fill the gap between light infantry and heavy mechanized forces. The idea was to create lighter, mobile units capable of rapid deployment with far less aircraft than a heavier mechanized unit. Motorized infantry doctrine concentrated on effectiveness in desert warfare.[citation needed]

By 1989 the division had fielded two complete brigades of motorized infantry in battalions designated as "Light Attack," "Light Combined Arms" and "Heavy Combined Arms". Motorized battalions traveled in the new Humvee and generally fought as traditional light infantry once engaged. Attack battalions utilized the Fast Attack Vehicles (later re-designated the Desert Patrol Vehicle), first developed at Fort Lewis. Essentially a Volkswagen- engined dune buggy mounted with either a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcher or .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun, the FAV was designed to provide highly mobile firepower that could attack the flanks of heavier mechanized units. Some variants also mounted TOW missiles. All of these weapons systems were attached to the FAV by a mount designed to break away if the vehicle rolled over, which they were prone to do. The FAVs were problematic at best and were eventually replaced by various versions of the HMMWV.[citation needed]

The 9th Infantry Division (MTZ) tested motorized infantry doctrine at the Yakima Firing Center in Eastern Washington, at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin California and in Korea during the annual Team Spirit exercise. While the motorized units performed well they were vulnerable to heavier mechanized forces, particularly if forced to stand and fight. They were also extremely vulnerable to indirect (artillery) fires.[citation needed]

At the end of the Cold War the division was identified for inactivation. By the time of the First Gulf War one brigade was nearly inactivated. However the 3rd Brigade was still at full strength. The need for mobile forces that could be more easily deployed would seem to have never been greater. However the brigade was not deployed to the Middle East, instead providing soldiers and equipment to fill out deploying units from other divisions. While the rest of the army went to war, the 9th ID focused on inactivation and training National Guard and Army Reserve units deploying to the Persian Gulf.[citation needed]


The division was the first to undergo full inactivation following the end of the Cold War. Army leadership at first decided that inactivating units would turn in all of their equipment at "10/20" standard – in ready and reusable condition. The division struggled to meet this standard. It required both unrealistic work on the part of the division's soldiers and very high costs in repair parts. While the remaining 9th ID soldiers were ultimately successful, later inactivating units were not required to attain this difficult goal.[citation needed]

The existing 3d Brigade did not inactivate and was instead reflagged as the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and assigned directly to I Corps. The 199th was later reflagged as the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) and was transferred to Fort Polk, Louisiana.[citation needed]

Though it was inactivated, the division was identified as the second highest priority inactive division in the United States Army Center of Military History's lineage scheme due to its numerous accolades and long history. All of the division's flags and heraldic items were moved to the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia following its inactivation.[9] Should the U.S. Army decide to activate more divisions in the future, the center will most likely suggest the first new division be the 7th Infantry Division, the second be the 9th Infantry Division, and the third be the 24th Infantry Division.[10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  2. "9th Infantry Division categories". 1947-07-15. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  3. p.10 Sperry, John 9th Infantry Division: Old Reliables Turner Publishing Company, 15 March 2000
  4. "Video: American Sub Rescues Airmen (1944)". Universal Newsreel. 1944. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  5. "Hitler's Nemesis: The 9th Infantry Division – WWII G.I. Stories Booklet". Lone Sentry. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  6. Shelby L. Stanton date=2003. Vietnam Order of Battle. Stackpole Books. pp. 134, 331. 
  7. Experiencing War, Stories from the Veterans History Project, Charles Timothy Hagel, Library of Congress, accessed December 12, 2012.
  8. "The private war of Chuck and Tom Hagel" by Myra MacPherson, Salon, April 30, 2007.
  9. McKenney, p. 21.
  10. McKenney, p. 22.

External links

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