Nickname: Keystone Division
The 28th Division is the oldest division sized units of the United States Army. It’s heritage goes back to the Benjamin’s Franklin battalion (The Pennsylvania Associators (1747–1777)). The division was officially established in 1879 and was later re designated as the 28th Division in 1917, after the entry of America into the First World War.
It was originally nicknamed the “Keystone Division”, as it was formed from units of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Pennsylvania being known as the “Keystone State”. During World War II, it was given the nickname the “Bloody Bucket” division by German forces due to the shape and color of its red keystone insignia. It proved an unfortunate name due to the heavily losses in the Hurtgen Forest. Today, the 28th Infantry Division goes by the name given to it by General Pershing during World War I: “Iron Division”. The 28th is the first Army National Guard division to field the Styker infantry fighting vehicle, as part of the Army’s reorganization in the first decade of the 2000s.
World War 1
April 1917: The division moved to Camp Hancock
5 August 1917:The entire division was federalized.
May to 11 October 1917: The division was reorganized into the two-brigade, four regiment scheme, and thus became the 28th Division.
May 1918: The division had arrived in Europe, and began training with the British.
14 July 1918, Ahead of an expected German offensive, the division was moving forward, with most of it committed to the second line of defense south of the Marne River and east of Château-Thierry. As the division took up defensive positions, the Germans commenced their attack, which became the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, with a fierce artillery bombardment. When the German assault collided with the main force of the 28th, the fighting became bitter hand-to-hand combat. The 28th repelled the German forces and decisively defeated their enemy.
World War 2
17 Feb 1941: The 28th Division was ordered into federal service for one year of active duty. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 led soldiers of the 28th to remain on active for the duration of the war.
22 July 1944: The first elements of the Division entered combat, landing on the beaches of Normandy.
29th August 1944: Paris is liberated.
11 September 1944: The 28th were the first units to enter Germany.
2 November 1944: First units enter the Hurtgen Forest and storm into Vossenack, Kommerscheidt and Schmidt amid savage fighting and heavy losses.
November 10 1944: The 28th began to move south, where it held a 25-mile sector of the front line along the Our River. It was against this thinly fortified division line that the Germans unleashed the full force of their winter Ardennes “blitzkrieg” offensive.
December 1944: Having sustained a devastating 15,000 casualties, the 28th withdrew to refortify. But within three weeks, the Division was back in action.
January 1945, Division soldiers had moved south where they served with the French First Army in the reduction of the “Colmar Pocket.” The 109th Infantry Regiment was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for its action which helped lead to the liberation of Colmar, the last major French city in German hands.
23 February 1945. the Division returned north to the American First Army.
6 March 1945: The 28th was in position along the Olef River when an attack was launched, carrying the Division to the Ahr River. Schidden, Germund, Kali, Sotenich. Sistig and Bhtnken-heim all fell in a raid advance.
Early April, The Division moved west of the Rhine and took up occupation duties in the area north of Aachen along the Holland-German border.
Late April 1945: Permanent occupation was performed at the Saurland and Rhonish areas.
Early July 1945, the 28th began its redeployment to the U.S.