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7th Infantry Division (United States)

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7th Infantry Division
A red circle with a green outline and black hourglass at its center
7th Infantry Division identification badge
Active 1917–21
Country  United States of America
Branch  United States Army
Type Stryker infantry
Role Mechanized infantry
Size Division
Part of I Corps
Garrison/HQ Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, U.S.
Nickname(s) '"Hourglass Division", "Bayonet Division", "California Division"[1]
Motto Light, Silent, and Deadly
March Arirang
Mascot Black Widow spider
Engagements World War I

World War II

Korean War
Operation Golden Pheasant

Invasion of Panama
MG Thomas S. James, USA
Charles H. Corlett
Archibald V. Arnold
Joseph Warren Stilwell, Jr.
Lyman Lemnitzer
Arthur Trudeau
Hal Moore
Wayne C. Smith
Distinctive unit insignia An hourglass, red on top and black on bottom, with diagonal bayonet imposed over it
Combat service identification badge A Red circle with a Green outline and black hourglass at its center

The 7th Infantry Division is an infantry division of the United States Army. Today, it exists as a unique 250-man deployable headquarters based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord overseeing several units, though none of the 7th Infantry Division's own historic forces are active.

The division was first activated in December 1917 in World War I, and based at Fort Ord, California for most of its history. Although elements of the division saw brief active service in World War I, it is best known for its participation in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II where it took heavy casualties engaging the Imperial Japanese Army in the Aleutian Islands, Leyte, and Okinawa. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, the division was stationed in Japan and Korea, and with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 was one of the first units in action. It took part in the Inchon Landings and the advance north until Chinese forces counter-attacked and almost overwhelmed the scattered division. The 7th later would fight in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill and the Battle of Old Baldy. .From 1953 to 1971, the 7th Infantry Division defended the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Its main garrison was Camp Casey, South Korea.[2] During these occupation duties, the division saw a complete reorganization in compliance with the Reorganization Objective Army Divisions plan.[3] The division's former headquarters company grew into the 1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division while the 13th Infantry Brigade was reactivated as the 2nd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.[3] The 14th Infantry Brigade was reactivated as the 3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.[4] In 1965 the division received its distinctive unit insignia, which alluded to its history during the Korean War.[5] On 2 April 1971, the division returned to the United States and was inactivated at Fort Lewis, Washington.[6] In the late 1980s, it briefly saw action overseas in Operation Golden Pheasant in Honduras and Operation Just Cause in Panama. In the early 1990s, it provided domestic support to the civil authorities in Operation Green Sweep and during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. The division's final role was as a training and evaluation unit for Army National Guard brigades, which it undertook until its inactivation in 2006.

On 26 April 2012, the Department of Defense announced the 7th Infantry Division headquarters would be reactivated as an administrative unit. This was done on 10 October 2012 at Joint Base Lewis McChord. On 23 December 2014, it was announced the Headquarters will reorganize into a deployable unit in response to increasing demands for "readily available, high-level leadership cadres drawn from divisional headquarters".[7]


World War I

The 7th Infantry Division was created during World War I and was activated on 6 December 1917 as the 7th Division of the regular army at Camp Wheeler, Georgia.[8] One month later, it prepared to deploy to Europe as a part of the American Expeditionary Force.[8] Two brigades were assigned to the division, the 13th Infantry Brigade and the 14th Infantry Brigade.[3] Most of the division sailed to Europe aboard the SS Leviathan.[9]

While on the Western Front, the 7th did not see action at full divisional strength, though its infantry and reconnaissance elements did engage German forces.[9] On 11 October 1918, it first came under shell fire and later, at Saint-Mihiel, came under chemical attack.[9] Elements of the 7th probed up toward Prény near the Moselle River, capturing positions and driving German forces out of the region.[9] It was at this time that the division first received its shoulder sleeve insignia.[5]

In early November, the 7th began preparing for an assault on the Hindenburg Line as part of the Second Army.[9] The division launched a reconnaissance in force on the Voëvre plain, but the main assault was never conducted as hostilities ended on 11 November 1918 with the signing of the armistice.[9] During its 33 days on the front line, the 7th Division suffered 1,709 casualties,[10] including 204 killed in action and 1,505 wounded in action.[11] and was awarded a campaign streamer for Lorraine.[8] The division then served on occupation duties as it began preparations to return to the continental United States.[8] The 7th Division arrived home in late 1919, and was gradually demobilized at Camp Meade, Maryland[9] until on 22 September 1921, when it was inactivated.[12]

World War II

On 1 July 1940, the 7th Division was reactivated at Camp Ord, California,[12] under the command of Major General Joseph W. Stilwell.[8] The 12th and 13th Brigades did not reactivate as part of an army-wide elimination of brigade commands within its divisions. The division was instead centered around three infantry regiments; the 17th Infantry Regiment,[13] the 32nd Infantry Regiment,[13] and the 53rd Infantry Regiment.[8] Also assigned to the division were the 31st, 48th, 49th and 57th Field Artillery Battalions, as well as the 7th Signal Company, the 707th Ordnance Company, the 7th Quartermaster Company, the 7th Reconnaissance Troop, the 13th Engineer Battalion, the 7th Medical Battalion, and the 7th Counter Intelligence Detachment.[13] Most of the troops in the division were selective service soldiers, conscripted as a part of the US Army's first peacetime military draft.[9]

A line of soldiers hiking on the side of a snow-covered mountain, viewed from behind
7th Infantry Division troops negotiate snow and ice during the battle on Attu in May 1943.

The 7th Division was assigned to III Corps of the Fourth United States Army,[9] and transferred to Longview, Washington, in August 1941 to participate in tactical maneuvers. Following this training, the division moved back to Fort Ord, California, where it was located when the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor caused the United States to declare war. The formation proceeded almost immediately to San Jose, California, arriving 11 December 1941 to help protect the west coast and allay civilian fears of invasion.[8] The 53rd Infantry Regiment was removed from the 7th Division and replaced with the 159th Infantry Regiment, newly deployed from the California Army National Guard.[8] For the early parts of the war, the division participated mainly in construction and training roles. Subordinate units also practiced boat loading at the Monterey Wharf and amphibious assault techniques at the Salinas River in California.[9]

On 9 April 1942, the division was formally redesignated as the 7th Motorized Division. and transferred to Camp San Luis Obispo on 24 April 1942.[12] Three months later, divisional training commenced in the Mojave Desert in preparation for its planned deployment to the African theater.[8] It was again designated the 7th Infantry Division on 1 January 1943, when the motorized equipment was removed from the unit and it became a light infantry division once more,[12] as the Army eliminated the motorized division concept fearing it would be logistically difficult and that the troops were no longer needed in North Africa. The 7th Infantry Division began rigorous amphibious assault training under US Marines from the Fleet Marine Force, before being deployed to fight in the Pacific theater instead of Africa.[8] USMC General Holland Smith oversaw the unit's training.[14]

Aleutian Islands

Elements of the 7th Infantry Division first saw combat in the amphibious assault on Attu Island, the western-most Japanese entrenchment in the Aleutian islands chain.[15] Elements landed on 11 May 1943,[16] spearheaded by the 17th Infantry Regiment. The initial landings were unopposed,[17] but Japanese forces mounted a counteroffensive the next day, and the 7th Infantry Division fought an intense battle over the tundra against strong Japanese resistance.[11] The division was hampered by its inexperience and poor weather and terrain conditions, but was eventually able to coordinate an effective attack.[18] The fight for the island culminated in a battle at Chichagof Harbor,[19] when the division destroyed all Japanese resistance on the island[11] on 29 May, after a suicidal Japanese bayonet charge.[20][21] During its first fight of the war, 600 soldiers of the division were killed, while killing 2,351 Japanese and taking 28 prisoners.[20] After American forces secured the island chain, the 159th Infantry Regiment was ordered to stay on the island, and the 184th Infantry Regiment took its place as the 7th Division's third infantry regiment. The 184th Infantry remained with the division until the end of the war. The 159th Infantry Regiment stayed on the island for some time longer until returning to the United States, where it remained until the end of the war.[22]

American forces then began preparing to move against nearby Kiska island, termed Operation Cottage, the final fight in the Aleutian islands campaign.[20] In August 1943, elements of the 7th Infantry Division took part in an amphibious assault on Kiska with a brigade from the 6th Canadian Infantry Division, only to find the island deserted by the Japanese.[11] It was later discovered that the Japanese had withdrawn their 5,000-soldier garrison during the night of 28 July, under cover of fog.[20]

A group of soldiers crawling through a burning jungle, with a hidden bunker in front of them
7th Infantry Division soldiers attack a blockhouse during the Battle of Kwajalein.

Marshall Islands

After the campaign, the division moved to Hawaii where it trained in new amphibious assault techniques on the island of Maui, before returning to Schofield Barracks on Oahu for brief leave. It was reassigned to V Amphibious Corps, a US Marine Corps command.[22] The division left Pearl Harbor on 22 January 1944, for an offensive on Japanese territory.[9] On 30 January 1944, the division landed on islands in the Kwajalein Atoll in conjunction with the 4th Marine Division, code named Operation Flintlock.[23] The 7th Division landed on the namesake island while the 4th Marine Division forces struck the outlying islands of Roi and Namur.[24] The Division made landfall on the western beaches of the island at 09:30 on 1 February.[25] It advanced halfway through the island by nightfall the next day, and reached the eastern shore at 1335 hours on 4 February, having wrested the island from the Japanese.[25] The victory put V Amphibious Corps in control of all 47 islands in the atoll. The 7th Infantry Division suffered 176 killed and 767 wounded. On 7 February, the division departed the atoll and returned to Schofield Barracks.[26]

Elements took part in the capture of Engebi in the Eniwetok Atoll on 18 February 1944, code named Operation Catchpole. Because of the speed and success of the attack on Kwajalein, the attack was undertaken several months ahead of schedule.[23] After a week of fighting, the division secured the islands of the atoll.[27] The division then returned to Hawaii to continue training. There, in June 1944, General Douglas MacArthur and President Franklin Roosevelt personally reviewed the division.[26]


File:Battle of Leyte map 1.jpg
Invasion of Leyte Map, October 1944.

The 7th Infantry Division left Hawaii on 11 October, heading for Leyte.[28] At this time it was under the command of XXIV Corps of the Sixth United States Army.[29][30] On 20 October 1944, the division made an assault landing at Dulag, Leyte,[31] initially only encountering light resistance.[32] Following a defeat at sea on 26 October, the Japanese launched a large, uncoordinated counteroffensive on the Sixth Army.[33] After heavy fighting, the 184th Infantry secured airstrips at Dulag, while the 17th Infantry secured San Pablo, and the 32nd Infantry took Buri.[27] The 17th Infantry troops moved north to take Dagami on 29 October, in intense jungle warfare that produced high casualties.[27] The division then shifted to the west coast of Leyte on 25 November and attacked north toward Ormoc, securing Valencia on 25 December.[27] An amphibious landing by the 77th Infantry Division effected the capture of Ormoc on 31 December 1944.[27] The 7th Infantry Division joined in the occupation of the city, and engaged the 26th Japanese Infantry Division, which had been holding up the advance of the 11th Airborne Division. The 7th Division's attack was successful in allowing the 11th Airborne Division to move through,[26] however, Japanese forces proved difficult to drive out of the area.[34] As such, operations to secure Leyte continued until early February 1945.[27] Afterward, the division began training for an invasion of the Ryukyu island chain throughout March 1945.[34] It was relieved from the Sixth Army, which went on to attack Luzon.[35]


Two soldiers hiding behind trees while moving through a thick groove of jungle
Soldiers from the 184th Infantry advance on a machine gun nest during the Battle of Leyte.

The division was reassigned to XXIV Corps, Tenth United States Army, a newly formed command, and began preparations for the assault on Okinawa.[34][36] The Battle of Okinawa began on 1 April 1945, L-Day, when the 7th Infantry Division participated in an assault landing south of Hagushi, Okinawa alongside the 96th Infantry Division, and the 1st, and 6th Marine Divisions.[37][38] of III Amphibious Corps.[39] These divisions spearheaded an assault that would eventually land 250,000 men ashore.[40] The 7th Division quickly moved to Kadena, taking its airfield, and drove from the west to the east coast of the island on the first day.[41] The division then moved south, encountering stiff resistance from fortifications at Shuri a few days later.[39] The Japanese had moved 90 tanks, much of their artillery, and heavy weapons away from the beaches and into this region.[42] Eventually, XXIV Corps destroyed the defenses after a 51-day battle in the hills of southern Okinawa,[27] which was complicated by harsh weather and terrain.[39] During the operation, the division was bombarded with tens of thousands of rounds of field artillery fire, encountering Japanese armed with spears as it continued its fight across the island.[43] Japanese also fought using irregular warfare techniques, relying on hidden cave systems, snipers, and small-unit ambushes to delay the advancing 7th Infantry Division.[44] After the fight, the division began capturing large numbers of Japanese prisoners for the first time in the war, due to low morale, high casualties, and poor equipment.[45] It fought for five continuous days to secure areas around the Nakagusuku Wan and Skyline Ridge. The division also secured Hill 178 in the fighting.[46] It then moved to Kochi Ridge, securing it after a two-week battle. After 39 days of continuous fighting, the 7th Infantry Division was sent into reserve, having suffered heavy casualties.[47]

Map of a crescent-shaped island, with plans for four American divisions to land on its western shore
Map of the Okinawa invasion.

After the 96th Infantry Division secured Conical Hill, the 7th Infantry Division returned to the line. It pushed into positions on the southern Ozato Mura hills, where Japanese resistance was heaviest.[48] It was placed on the extreme left flank of the Tenth Army, taking the Ghinen peninsula, Sashiki, and Hanagusuku, fending off a series of Japanese counterattacks.[49] Despite heavy Japanese resistance and prolonged bad weather, the division continued its advance until 21 June 1945, when the battle ended, having seen 82 days of combat.[50] The island and surrendering troops were secured by the next day.[40] During the Battle of Okinawa, the soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division killed between 25,000 and 28,000 Japanese soldiers and took 4,584 prisoners.[9] Balanced against this, the 7th Division suffered 2,340 killed and 6,872 wounded for a total of 9,212 battle casualties[10][n 1] during 208 days of combat.[11] The division was slated to participate in Operation Downfall as a part of XXIV Corps under the First United States Army, but these plans were scrapped after the Japanese surrendered following the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[51]

During World War II, soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division were awarded three Medals of Honor, 26 Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, 982 Silver Star Medals, 33 Legion of Merit Medals, 50 Soldier's Medals, 3,853 Bronze Star Medals, and 178 Air Medals.[11] The division received four campaign streamers and a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation during the war.[11] The three Medals of Honor were awarded to Leonard C. Brostrom, John F. Thorson,[52] and Joe P. Martinez.[10]

Occupation of Japan

A few days after V-J Day, the division moved to Korea to accept the surrender of the Japanese Army in South Korea.[27] After the war, the division served as an occupation force in Korea and Japan. Seven thousand, five hundred members of the unit returned to the United States, and the 184th Infantry Regiment was reassigned to the California Army National Guard, cutting the division to half its combat strength. To replace it, the 31st Infantry Regiment was assigned to the division.[53] The 7th Infantry Division remained on occupation duty in Korea patrolling the 38th parallel until 1948, when it was reassigned to occupation duty in Japan, in charge of northern Honshū and all of Hokkaido.[54] During this time, the US Army underwent a drastic reduction in size. At the end of World War II, it contained 89 divisions, but by 1950, the 7th Infantry Division was one of only 10 active divisions in the force.[55] It was one of four understrength divisions on occupation duty in Japan alongside the 1st Cavalry Division, 24th Infantry Division, and 25th Infantry Division, all under control of the Eighth United States Army.[56][57]

Korean War

At the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the 7th Infantry Division commander, Major General David G. Barr, assembled the division at Camp Fuji near Mount Fuji.[58] The division was already depleted due to post-war shortages of men and equipment[56] and further depleted as it sent large numbers of reinforcements to strengthen the 25th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Division, which were sent into combat in South Korea in July.[59] The division was reduced to 9,000 men, half of its wartime strength.[60] To replenish the ranks of the understrength division, the Republic of Korea assigned over 8,600 poorly trained Korean soldiers to the division.[61] With the addition of priority reinforcements from the US, the division was eventually increased to 25,000 when it entered combat.[62] Also fighting with the 7th Infantry Division for much of the war were members of the three successive Kagnew Battalions sent by Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as part of the UN forces.[63]

A village by a beach filled with landing craft, vehicles, and troops from a recently landed force
The Inchon Landings

The division paired with the 1st Marine Division under X Corps to participate in the Inchon Landing,[61] code named Operation Chromite.[64] The two divisions would be supported by the 3rd Infantry Division in reserve.[64] Supported by 230 ships of the US Navy,[65] X Corps began landing at Inchon on 15 September 1950, catching the North Korean Army by surprise.[66] The 7th Infantry Division began landing on 18 September,[67] after the 1st Marine Division, securing its right flank.[68] X Corps quickly advanced to Seoul, and the 1st Marine Division attacked the 20,000 defenders of the city from the north and southwest,[69] while the 7th Infantry Division's 32nd Infantry Regiment attacked from the southeast.[70] The 31st Infantry followed behind.[71][72] Seoul fell to the Americans after suffering moderate casualties, particularly for the Marines.[73] The division then began advancing south to cut off North Korean supply routes.[74][75] The 32nd Infantry crossed the Han River on 25 September to create a bridgehead,[76][77] and the next day, the division advanced to 30 miles south of Seoul[78] and linked up with the 1st Cavalry Division at Osan.[70] Radio miscommunication and attack from nearby North Korean forces caused a miscommunication, the soldiers of the 1st Cavalry and 7th Infantry briefly engaged in a small-arms firefight with one another, unable to communicate.[79] Seoul was liberated one day later with the help of air assets from the 1st Cavalry Division.[80] The combined forces of the Eighth Army cut off and captured retreating North Korean troops from Pusan.[81] X Corps was kept separate from the rest of the Eighth Army to avoid placing a burden on the logistical system.[82] It withdrew back through the ports of Inchon and Pusan, as part of a plan to conduct another amphibious assault in North Korea.[83] The entire battle for Inchon and Seoul cost the division 106 killed, 411 wounded and 57 missing American soldiers, and 43 killed, 102 wounded South Korean soldiers.[84]

By mid-October, the North Korean army had been almost completely destroyed, and US President Harry S. Truman ordered General MacArthur to advance all units into Korea as quickly as possible to end the war.[83] The 7th Infantry Division, still part of X Corps, participated in a second amphibious assault on the east coast of North Korea, landing at Wonsan on 26 October,[85][86] and Iwon on 29 October.[83] The landing was delayed due to the presence of mines, and by the time X Corps arrived, South Korean forces were already occupying the ports.[87] The division advanced to Hyesanjin, on the China–North Korea border by the Yalu River, one of the northernmost advances for UN soldiers of the war. Much of X Corps followed behind.[83] On 21 November, the 17th Infantry reached the bank of the Yalu river.[88][89] The advance went quickly for the 7th Infantry Division and South Korean troops while the Marines were not able to advance as quickly.[90] The division halted its advance until 24 November while other units of the Eighth Army's IX Corps and South Korean II Corps caught up and supply lines were established.[91] During this time, the 7th Division's regiments were spread out on the front line. The 31st Infantry Regiment remained at the Chosin Reservoir with the 1st Marine Division while the 32nd and 17th Infantry Regiments were much further to the northeast, closer to the South Korean I Corps.[92] It was during this time that the division was served by a new type of unit, the 1st Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.).[93]

Chinese intervention

On 25 November, Chinese forces entered the war against the United Nations, advancing across the Yalu border and attacking the Eighth Army's IX Corps and South Korean II Corps in the west and X Corps in the east.[91] X Corps found itself under attack from the 20th, 26th and 27th Chinese field armies, commanding a total of 12 divisions.[94] During the furious action that followed, the 7th Infantry Division's spread out regiments were unable to resist the overwhelming Chinese forces.[95] Three of the Division's infantry battalions were attacked from all sides the next day.[96] 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry (nicknamed Task Force Faith) was trapped with two other battalions[97] by the 80th and 81st Chinese infantry divisions from the 27th Field Army. In the subsequent Battle of Chosin Reservoir, the three battalions were destroyed by overwhelming Chinese forces[94] suffering over 2,000 casualties.[98] The 31st Infantry suffered heavy casualties trying to fight back the Chinese forces further north, but the 17th Infantry was spared of heavy attack,[99] retreating along the Korean coastline, out of range of the offensive.[100] By the time X Corps ordered a retreat, most of the 7th Infantry Division, save the 17th Infantry Regiment, had suffered 40 percent casualties.[101] The scattered elements of the division saw repeated attacks as they attempted to withdrawal to the port of Hungnam in December 1950.[102] These attacks cost the division another 100 killed before it was fully evacuated.[103] The division suffered 2,657 killed and 354 wounded during the retreat. Most of the dead were members of Task Force Faith.[88]

The division returned to the front lines in early 1951, spearheaded by the 17th Infantry, which had suffered the fewest casualties from the Chinese offensive. Division elements advanced through Tangyang in South Korea, and blocking enemy offensives from the northwest.[104] The division reached full strength and saw action around Cheehon, Chungju, and Pyeongchang as part of an effort to push the North Korean and Chinese forces back above the 38th parallel and away from Seoul.[105] The 7th Infantry Division engaged in a series of successful "limited objective" attacks in the early weeks of February, a series of small unit attacks and ambushes between the two sides.[106] It would continue slowly advancing and clearing enemy hilltop positions through April.[107] By April the entire Eighth Army was advancing north as one line stretching across the peninsula, reaching the 38th parallel by May.[108] The division, assigned to IX Corps, then assaulted and fought a fierce three-day battle culminating with the recapture of the terrain that had been lost near the Hwachon Reservoir just over the 38th parallel in North Korea. In capturing the town bordering on the reservoir it cut off thousands of enemy troops.[109] The division fought on the front lines until June 1951 when it was assigned to the reserve for a brief rest and refitting.[9]


When the division returned to the lines in October, after another assignment in reserve, it moved to the Heartbreak Ridge sector recently vacated by the 2nd Infantry Division, where it was supported by the 3rd Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Division. During this new deployment the division fought in the Battle for Heartbreak Ridge, to take an area of staging grounds for the Korean and Chinese armies.[110] It remained static in the region until 23 February 1952 when it was sent into reserve and relieved by the 25th Infantry Division.[111] The next year saw the 7th Division engaged in an extended campaign for nearby land, the Battle of Old Baldy.[112] The 7th Division continued to defend "Line Missouri" through September 1952, though it became known as the "Static Line" as UN forces made few meaningful gains in the time.[113]

A group of medics lift several wounded soldiers onto a tracked vehicle
Corpsmen assist wounded from the 31st Regiment during the Battle of Triangle Hill.

The 7th Infantry Division's Operation Showdown launched in the early morning hours of 14 October 1952, with the 31st Infantry and 32nd Infantry at the head of the attack. The target of the assault was the Triangle Hill complex northeast of Kumhwa.[114] The 7th Infantry Division remained in the Triangle Hill area until the end of October, when it was relieved by the 25th Infantry Division. The 7th Infantry Division was highly praised by commanders for its tenacity through the fight.[112]

The division continued patrol activity around Old Baldy Hill and Pork Chop Hill into 1953, digging tunnels and building a network of outposts and bunkers on and around the hill.[115] In April, the North Korean Army began stepping up offensive operations against UN forces. During the Battle of Porkchop Hill, the Chinese 67th and 141st divisions overran Pork Chop Hill using massed infantry and artillery fire.[116] The hill had been under the control of the 31st Infantry.[117] The 31st counterattacked with reinforcements from the 17th Infantry and recaptured the area the next day. On 6 July the North Koreans and Chinese launched a determined attack against Pork Chop resulting in five days of fierce fighting with few meaningful results.[118] By the end of July, five infantry battalions from the 31st and 17th were defending the hill, while a Chinese division was in position to attack it.[119] During this standoff, the UN ordered the 7th Infantry Division to retreat from the hill in preparation for an armistice, which would end major hostilities.[120]

During the Korean War, the division saw a total of 850 days of combat, suffering 15,126 casualties, including 3,905 killed in action and 10,858 wounded.[2][n 2] For the next few years, the division remained on defensive duty along the 38th parallel, under the command of the Eighth Army.[2] Thirteen members of the division received the Medal of Honor for their actions during the Korean War: Charles H. Barker,[121] Raymond Harvey,[122] Einar H. Ingman, Jr.,[123] William F. Lyell,[124] Joseph C. Rodriguez,[125] Richard Thomas Shea, Daniel D. Schoonover,[126] Jack G. Hanson,[127] Ralph E. Pomeroy,[128] Edward R. Schowalter, Jr.,[129] Benjamin F. Wilson,[130] Don C. Faith, Jr.,[131] and Anthony T. Kahoʻohanohano.[132]

Cold War

From 1953 to 1971, the 7th Infantry Division defended the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Its main garrison was Camp Casey, South Korea.[2] During these occupation duties, the division saw a complete reorganization in compliance with the Reorganization Objective Army Divisions plan.[3] The division's former headquarters company grew into the 1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division while the 13th Infantry Brigade was reactivated as the 2nd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.[3] The 14th Infantry Brigade was reactivated as the 3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.[4] In 1965 the division received its distinctive unit insignia, which alluded to its history during the Korean War.[5] On 2 April 1971, the division returned to the United States and was inactivated at Fort Lewis, Washington.[6]

A diagonal narrow band of land, with plans for several US units to land on its southern edge and the 7th Infantry Division landing on the north
Tactical map of Operation Just Cause.

In October 1974 the 7th reactivated at its former garrison, Fort Ord.[133] The unit did not see any action in Vietnam or during the post-war era, but was tasked to keep a close watch on South American developments. It trained at Fort Ord, Camp Roberts, Fort Hunter Liggett and Fort Irwin. On 1 October 1985 the division was redesignated as the 7th Infantry Division (Light), organized again as a light infantry division.[133] It was the first US division specially designed as such. The various battalions of the 31st, and 32nd regiments moved from the division, replaced by battalions from other regiments, including battalions from the 21st Infantry Regiment, the 27th Infantry Regiment, and the 9th Infantry Regiment. The 27th and 9th infantry regiments participated in Operation Golden Pheasant in Honduras.[133]

In 1989 the 7th Infantry Division participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama, briefly occupying the country in conjunction with the 82nd Airborne Division. Elements of the 7th Infantry Division landed in the northern areas of Colón Province, Panama, securing the Coco Solo Naval Station, Fort Espinar, France Field, and Colón while the 82nd Airborne and U.S. Marines fought in the more heavily populated southern region. Once Panama City was under U.S. control, the 82nd quickly re-deployed and left the city under the control of the 7th Division's 9th Infantry Regiment until after the capture of Manuel Noriega.[133] It suffered four killed and three wounded in the operation.[10]

In 1991 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended the closing of Fort Ord due to the escalating cost of living on the central California coastline. By 1994, Fort Ord closed and the 7th Infantry Division subsequently relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington.[133] Elements of the division including the 2nd Brigade participated in one final mission in the United States before inactivation; quelling the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, called Operation Garden Plot.[134] The division's soldiers patrolled the streets of Los Angeles to act as crowd control and supported the Los Angeles Police Department and California National Guard in preventing the riots from escalating in violence.[135] It was part of a force of 13,000 troops called into the city.[136]

In 1993 the division was slated to be inactivated as part of the post-Cold War drawdown of the US Army. The 1st Brigade relocated to Fort Lewis and was later reflagged as the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division while the 2nd Brigade and the 3rd Brigade of the 7th was inactivated at Fort Ord. The division headquarters was formally inactivated on 16 June 1994 at Fort Lewis.[133]

Organization in 1988.[137]

7th US Infantry Division 1989

National Guard training command

At the end of the Cold War, the US Army considered new options for the integration and organization of active duty, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units in training and deployment. Two division headquarters activated in the active duty component for training National Guard units. The 7th Infantry Division and the 24th Infantry Division headquarters were selected.[138] The subordinate brigades of the divisions did not activate so they could not be deployed as divisions, however their active duty status would allow the headquarters to focus on the national guard units under them full-time.[139]

The headquarters company of the 7th Infantry Division (Light) formally reactivated on 4 June 1999, at Fort Carson, Colorado, as the first Active Component/Reserve Component division.[140] The reserve formations that made up the 7th Infantry Division included the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Arkansas National Guard, the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon National Guard and the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oklahoma National Guard. Fort Carson became the new headquarters for the division.[138]

The division headquarters also provided training assistance in preparation for small-scale National Guard operations, Joint Readiness Training Center rotations, leadership training for National Guard commanders, and annual summer training for the three brigades.[138] As a part of this commitment, the 7th Infantry Division headquarters would deploy a command element to serve as higher headquarters for large-scale training and field exercises, evaluating and coordinating the units as they trained. It would also conduct quarterly status checks with the three brigades to discuss readiness and resource issues affecting those units, ensuring that they were at peak performance should they be needed.[138]

To expand upon the concept of Reserve component and National Guard components, the First Army activated Division East and Division West, two commands responsible for training reserve units' readiness and mobilization exercises. Division West, activated at Fort Carson.[141] This transformation was part of an overall restructuring of the US Army to streamline the organizations overseeing training. The Division West took control of reserve units in 21 states west of the Mississippi River, eliminating the need for the 7th Infantry Division headquarters.[141] As such it was subsequently inactivated for the last time on 22 August 2006 at Fort Carson.[140]


Though it was inactivated, the division was identified as the highest priority inactive division in the United States Army Center of Military History's scheme based on age, campaign participation credit, and unit decorations.[142] All of the division's flags and heraldic items were moved to the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia following its inactivation.[143] 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, the third be the 24th Infantry Division, the fourth be the 5th Infantry Division, and the fifth be the 2d Armored Division.[citation needed]. This proved to be correct with the activation of the 7th Infantry Division Headquarters at FT Lewis Washington.

Administrative headquarters reactivation

On 26 April 2012, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh announced the 7th Infantry Division headquarters would be reactivated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in October 2012. The headquarters element of about 250 would not activate any subordinate brigades. Instead, it filled an administrative role as a non-deployable unit. In the announcement, McHugh noted the base is home to I Corps, which until then had directly overseen 10 subordinate brigades on the base, while other bases with similar corps headquarters had active division commands for intermediate oversight. The unit oversees the 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams of the 2nd Infantry Division, as well as the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, and 555th Engineer Brigade, about 21,000 personnel. The mission of the headquarters primarily focuses on making sure soldiers are properly trained and equipped, and that order and discipline is maintained in its subordinate brigades.[144]

In the announcement, McHugh denied that the move was made in response to several high-profile misconduct allegations leveled against soldiers from the base in the Afghanistan War such as the Maywand District murders and the Kandahar massacre.[144] Major General Stephen R. Lanza, the Army's chief of public affairs, was tapped to lead the division.[145] It activated on the base on 10 October 2012.[146]


7th Infantry Division structure


The 7th Infantry Division was awarded one campaign streamer in World War I, four campaign streamers and two unit decorations in World War II, and ten campaign streamers and two unit decorations in the Korean War, for a total of fifteen campaign streamers and four unit decorations in its operational history.[147]

Unit decorations

Ribbon Award Year Notes
Vertical tricolor red (blue, white, red) with gold border Philippine Presidential Unit Citation 1944–1945 for service in the Philippines during World War II
White ribbon with vertical green and red stripes on its edges and a red and blue circle in the middle Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation 1950 for the Inchon Landings
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation 1950–1953 for service in Korea
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation 1945–1948; 1953–1971 for service in Korea

Campaign streamers

Conflict Streamer Year(s)
World War I Lorraine 1918
World War II Aleutian Islands 1943
World War II Eastern Mandates 1944
World War II Leyte 1945
World War II Ryukyus 1945
Korean War UN Defensive 1950
Korean War UN Offensive 1950
Korean War CCF Intervention 1950
Korean War First UN Counteroffensive 1950
Korean War CCF Spring Offensive 1951
Korean War UN Summer-Fall Offensive 1951
Korean War Second Korean Winter 1951–1952
Korean War Korea, Summer-Fall 1952 1952
Korean War Third Korean Winter 1952–1953
Korean War Korea, Summer 1953 1953



  1. A 1959 US Army publication gave these numbers as 1,116 killed, and around 6,000 wounded, to make total casualties for World War II 8,135. (Young 1959, p. 524)
  2. A 1997 division history from Turner Publishing Company gave this figure as 3,927 killed, 10,858 wounded for a total of 14,785 casualties in the Korean War. (Gardener & Stahura 1997, p. 77)


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External links