Document Source: Order of Battle of the United States Army, World War II, European Theater of Operations. Office of the Theater Historian, Paris, France, December 20, 1945.
The 7th Infantry Division was activated on December 6, 1917, eight months after the American entry into World War I, as the 7th Division of the Regular Army at Camp Wheeler (Georgia). One month later, the unit prepared to deploy to Europe as a part of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). Most of the division sailed to Europe aboard the SS Leviathan. While in France, the 7th Division did not see action at full divisional strength, though its infantry and reconnaissance elements did engage German forces. On October 11, 1918, it first came under shell fire and later, at St Mihiel, came under chemical attack. Elements of the 7th Division probed up toward Prény near the Moselle River, capturing positions and driving the German forces out of the region. It was at this time that the division first received its shoulder sleeve insignia. In early November, the 7th Division began preparing for an assault on the Hindenburg Line as part of the Second Army. The division launched a reconnaissance in force on the Voëvre Plain, but the main assault was never conducted as hostilities ended on November 11, 1918. During its 33 days on the front line, the 7th Division suffered 1709 casualties, including 204 killed in action and 1505 wounded in action. After the end of World War One, the division served in occupation duties as it began preparations to return to the USA.
The 7th Division arrived back home in late 1919, served at Camp Funston (Kansas), until July 1920, and finally moved to Camp Meade (Maryland) until September 22, 1921, when it was inactivated due to funding cuts. The 7th Division was represented in the active Regular Army from 1921 to 1939 by its even-numbered infantry brigade (14th) and select supporting elements. Other units of the division were placed on the Regular Army Inactive list and staffed by Organized Reserve Personnel. These reserve units occasionally trained with the 14th Infantry Brigade at Fort Riley (Kansas), Fort Crook (Nebraska), Fort Snelling (Minnesota), and Fort Leavenworth (Kansas), and conducted the Citizens’ Military Training Camps in the division’s area. The division was formed on a provisional status during maneuvers in the 1920s and 1930s, and the division headquarters was activated for the August 1937 Fourth United States Army maneuvers at Camp Ripley (Minnesota), with the Minnesota Army National Guard, the 92nd Infantry Brigade.
On July 1, 1940, the 7th Division was formally reactivated at Camp Ord (California), under the command of Gen Joseph W. Stilwell. Most of the early troops in the division were conscripted as a part of the US Army’s first peacetime military draft. The 7th Division was assigned to III Corps of the 4-A, 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 USA to declare war. The formation proceeded almost immediately to San Jose (California), arriving on December 11, 1941, to help protect the west coast and allay civilian fears of invasion. The 53-IR was relieved of assignment to the 7th Division and replaced with the 159-IR, newly deployed from the California Army National Guard. 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 (California). On April 9, the division was redesignated as the 7th Motorized Division and transferred to Camp San Luis Obispo (California) on April 24. Three months later, divisional training commenced in the Desert Training Center in preparation for its planned deployment to North Africa. On January 1, 1943, the division was redesignated 7th Infantry Division, when the motorized equipment was removed from the unit and it became an infantry division. The 7-ID began rigorous amphibious assault training under US Marines from the Fleet Marine Force, before being deployed to fight in the Pacific Theater instead of North Africa. Gen Holland Smith (USMC) oversaw the unit’s training.
Casualties: Killed in Action: 1948; Wounded in Action: 7258; Missing in Action: 3; Die of Wounds: 386.
Aleutian Islands, June 3, 1942 – August 24, 1943.
Eastern Mandates, January 21, 1944 – June 14, 1944.
Leyte, October 17, 1944 – July 1, 1945.
Southern Philippines, February 27, 1945 – July 4, 1945.
Ryukyus, March 26, 1945 – July 2, 1945.
Medals of Honor, 3
Distinguished Service Crosses, 26
Distinguished Service Medal, 1
Silver Star, 982
Bronze Star, 3853
Legion of Merit, 33
Soldier’s Medal, 50
Air Medal, 178
Campaign Streamers, 4
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Maj Gen Joseph Stillwell, June 1940 – August 1941.
Maj Gen C. H. White, August 1941 – October 1942.
Maj Gen Albert E. Brown, October 1942 – April 1943.
Maj Gen Eugene Landrum, May 1943 – June 1943.
Maj Gen A. V. Arnold, July 1943 – September 1943.
Maj Gen Charles H. Corlett, September 1943 – February 1944.
Maj Gen Archibald V. Arnold, February 1944 – September 1945.
Order of Battle – 1944
17th Infantry Regiment
32nd Infantry Regiment
184th Infantry Regiment
HHB Division Artillery
31st Field Artillery Battalion (155-MM)
48th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM)
49th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM)
57th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM)
7th Reconnaissance Troop, Mecz
13th Engineer Combat Battalion
7th Medical Battalion
7th Counter Intelligence Corps Det
Headquarters Special Troops
Hqs Company, 7th Infantry Division
Military Police Platoon
7O7th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
7th Quartermaster Company
7th Signal Company
Overseas Wartime Assignments
Amphibious Training Force #9 – May 22, 1943.
Central Pacific Area Command – September 16, 1943.
V Amphibious Corps (attached) – December 11, 1943.
Central Pacific Base Command – July 1, 1944.
Tenth Army – February 10, 1945.
XXIV Corps – February 22, 1945.
Tenth Army – July 31, 1945.
XXIV Corps – August 15, 1945.
On July 1, 1940, the 7-ID was formally reactivated at Camp Ord (California), under the command of Gen Joseph (Vinegar Joe) W. Stilwell. Most of the early troops in the division were conscripted as a part of the US Army’s first peacetime military draft. The 7-ID was assigned to the III Corps of the 4-A and transferred to Longview (Washington) in August 1941 to participate in tactical maneuvers.
Elements of the 7-ID first saw combat in the amphibious assault on Attu Island, the westernmost Japanese entrenchment in the Aleutian Islands chain of Alaska. Elements landed on May 11, 1943, spearheaded by the 17-IR. The initial landings were unopposed, but Japanese forces mounted a counter-offensive the next day, and the 7-ID fought an intense battle over the tundra against strong Japanese resistance. The men of the 7-ID were hampered by their inexperience and also poor weather and terrain conditions but were eventually able to coordinate an effective attack. The fight for the island culminated in a battle at Chichagof Harbor, when the division destroyed all Japanese resistance on the island on May 29, after a suicidal Japanese bayonet charge. During its first fight, the 7-ID suffered 549 casualties (KIA) but 2351 Japanese soldiers were killed and 28 were sent to the POWs’ cage. When the American forces had secured the island chain, the 159th Infantry Regiment became definitely an organic regiment of the 7-ID joined a little later by the 184th Infantry Regiment as the third 7-ID regiment. The 184-IR remained with the division until the end of the war while the 159-IR stayed on the island until returning to the Lower 48, where it remained until the end of the war.
American forces then began preparing to move against the nearby Kiska Island, termed Operation Cottage, the final fight in the Aleutian Islands Campaign. In August 1943, elements of the 7-ID 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. It was later discovered that the Japanese had withdrawn their 5000-soldier garrison during the night of July 28, under cover of the heavy fog usual in this area.
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 a brief leave. The 7-ID was assigned to the V Amphibious Corps, a USMC command. The division left Pearl Harbor on January 22, 1944, for an offensive on Japanese territory. On Janvier 30, the division landed on the Islands in the Kwajalein Atoll in conjunction with the 4th Marine Division (Operation Flintlock).