The 29th Infantry Division is one of America’s most illustrious military units. It participated in the U.S. Army’s supreme operation of both World Wars, first in the great Meuse-Argonne offensive in 1918, and later in Operation Overlord, the celebrated D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach in 1944. Before that, the militia units comprising the 29th Division had performed valorous service in all of America’s wars, from the renowned “Maryland 400” at the Battle of Long Island in 1776 to the “Stonewall Brigade” in the Civil War.
Aside from a 17-year hiatus between 1968 and 1985, the 29th Division has existed continuously since 1917 as a component of the National Guard. Its nickname, the “Blue and Gray Division,” derives from the lineage of its constituent militia regiments, which fought on opposite sides during the Civil War.
The 29th Division entered its first major battle on October 8, 1918 by launching an attack in the Meuse-Argonne region of France.
Three 29ers were awarded the Medal of Honor for valor during that struggle.
In World War II, the 29th Infantry Division played a decisive role again when it successfully assaulted Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as part of the greatest amphibious invasion in history. The D-Day landings turned the tide of World War II and marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. Later the 29th participated in the Normandy campaign, liberating St. Lô and subsequently playing a key role in the Normandy breakout. Following the liberation of Brittany, the 29th shifted to Germany and participated in the great Rhineland battles that led to the Allies’ final victory in May 1945.
The 29th Division was reorganized in 1947 as an element of the National Guard during the Cold War. It was deactivated in 1968, but returned in 1985 as the Guard’s only “light division.” Following 9/11, elements of the 29th deployed to Bosnia for several months and played key peacekeeping and anti-terrorist roles there. Many other 29th Division units have since mobilized for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sinai, Guantanamo, and other overseas locales.
The spirit of the Meuse-Argonne and Omaha Beach continues to invigorate today’s 29th Division members, who walk in the footsteps
of some of the greatest soldiers to have ever worn the U.S. Army uniform. A large family of veterans and current soldiers continues to share and embrace the glorious history of the beloved 29th Division, resolving to “perpetuate the friendships we cherish and keep alive the spirit that never knew defeat.”