072 Americal Division

(Name derived from combining “America” and “New Caledonia.”) . Shoulder Patch: White stars on a blue background, the patch having the shape of a shield. Stars are in form of Southern Cross, indicating area of organization of the division. . Source: Task Force 6814. Activation Date: May 27, 1942, in New Caledonia. . Overseas Training: The Americal Division is unique in that the Task Force, whose units eventually comprised the Division, trained on board the ship that carried it to Australia and thence to New Caledonia. Outfit trained after activation in New Caledonia for combat in jungle terrain. After moving to Fiji in March and April, 1943, had intensive rifle and jungle squad training. . Awards: Units of the Division were cited by letter by 1st Marine Division April 30, 1943. The Division received the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy Award) for their action with the 1st Marine Division from August 7, 1942, to December 9, 1942. . Commanding Generals: Maj. Gen. (now Lt. Gen.) Alexander M. Patch, May, 1942, to December, 1942; Brig. Gen. Edmund B. Sebree, January, 1943, to May, 1943; Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge, May, 1943, to March, 1944; Maj. Gen. Robert B. McClure. April-October, 1944; Maj. Gen. William H. Arnold, November 1944, to present. . Component Units: (As of June, 1942): 132nd, 182nd, 164th Infantry Regiments; 112th Cavalry. 70th Coast Artillery; 245th, 246th, 247th FA Battalions (L); 221st, 223rd FA Battalions (M). Higher commands (as of June, 1945): Eighth Army. . Combat Highlights: The unit fought on Guadalcanal. where U. S. troops were tested for first time in Southwest Pacific. Typical action was one which sent 132nd Infantry to take Mt. Austen on Guadalcanal, December 17, 1942. There was hard fighting, seven counterattacks being repulsed during the fight for the elevation. But finally the battalion with the aid of other Americal units sent in, bottled up the famed Oka Regiment of the Japanese Army and wiped that outfit out. This operation caused the Japs to lose all observation on vital. Henderson Field. Resistance on Guadalcanal ended February 8, 1943. Division moved to Fiji in March, 1943. Mission was defense of western sector and preparations for combat elsewhere. December 18, 1943, division moved to Bougainville and commenced participation in that campaign on Christmas Day, 1943. It was relieved of combat mission on Bougainville December 10, 1944. In January, l945, the unit left Bougainville for the invasion of Leyte, Philippine Islands. Its history is then as follows: Cepul Island, February 19, 1945: Samar Island, February 19 and Cebu Island, March 26, 1945.