The 9th Infantry Division: 23 Cool Facts

With an amazing history, the 9th Infantry Division has a story that everyone should read. As I researched the 9th Infantry Division, I became engulfed in reading everything and anything I could find about them. Now, I want to share some of what I found with you.

In today’s post, we will share 23 cool facts about the 9th Infantry Division. Now scroll down and you can learn about this famous Army Division.

1: Creation

The 9th Infantry Division was created on July 18th, 1918. Their base was Camp Sheridan, Alabama. While World War I was in process, the 9th stayed on the mainland.

2: Disbanded

In February of 1919, the 9th Infantry Division was disbanded. It seemed odd that they were in service for less than one year.

3: Reactivated

Many years passed, but the 9th Infantry Division was activated again in August of 1940 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 9th would now start training for action in World War II.

4: World War II

In November of 1942, some elements of the 9th Infantry Division started traveling to battle in World War II. The Commander of the 9th at that time was the great Brigadier General Manton Eddy.

5: WWII Campaigns

The 9th Infantry Division participated in 8 major campaigns throughout World War II. They were:

  • Algeria/French Morocco. Several combat teams landed in North Africa. The 39th landed at Algiers; the 47th entered into Safi, French Morocco, and the 60th battled at Port Lyautey, Morocco. All of this began in November of 1942.

  • Tunisia. This was a hard battle. German forces were well entrenched in Tunisia, but when all was said and done, the 9th Infantry Division showed its skill. So much so that General Patton ordered steak dinners for the men of the 9th.

  • Sicily. The invasion of Sicily was a well planned move by allied forces. The 9th Infantry Division played a major part in this campaign that captured the Italian island in 1943.

  • Normandy. Because the Division had been fighting in the War for a long period, they were not a part of the D-Day invasion. They landed 4 days later, but their job was to perform “clean-up.” The 9th captured a multitude of German officers; so many that media photographers were tired of taking pictures of prisoners of war. The 9th had captured 18,490 prisoners in 3 weeks time.

  • Northern France and Belgium. This campaign may very well had been the most difficult, but the 9th paved the way through Northern France, and helped to liberate Belgium. I still have a large amount of family members in Belgium, and we owe a huge thank you to the 9th Infantry Division.

  • Rhineland. It was now time for the 9th to enter Germany, and they did, but it came with losses. One of the hardest parts of the Rhineland campaign was the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. They say that Germans were hiding everywhere in the forest. Through this campaign, the 9th showed their tenacity.

  • Ardennes. This move by German forces was by all means, a wise tactical decision. They had used their firepower in what would be known as the Battle of the Bulge. During this, the 9th kept movements in Germany. By doing so, they were essentially cutting off an escape route for the Nazis. In the end, it worked!

  • Central Europe. This was the final sweep of pockets of Nazis. The War was all but done, but the 9th drove on to meet the Russian forces who were allies. Surrender was completed in May of 1945.

6: Commanders During World War II

The 9th Infantry Division had 2 Commanders during World War II. They were:

  1. Brigadier General Manton Eddy

  2. Major General Louis Craig

7: WWII Medal Of Honor Winners

Here is a list of Medal of Honor winners from the 9th Infantry Division in World War II:

  • 2nd Lieutenant John Butts

  • Tech Sergeant Peter Dalessandro

  • Sergeant William Nelson

  • PFC Carl Sheridan

8: WWII Statistics For The 9th Infantry Division

In all of World War II, the 9th had these statistics:

  • 4,581 killed

  • 16,960 wounded

  • 868 captured

  • 750 missing in action

9: After WWII

The 9th Infantry Division under Command of Major General William Eagles, was inactivated in January of 1947, and then reactivated at Fort Dix, New Jersey in July of 1947.

10: 1962

By this time, the 9th Infantry Division was located at Fort Carson, Colorado. In January of 1962, the 9th was completely inactivated.

11: The 9th Is Back!

With Vietnam becoming a major situation, the 9th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Riley, Kansas and re-designated Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

12: Off To Vietnam

After training at Fort Riley, the 9th Infantry Division began traveling to the war-zone of Vietnam in December of 1967.

13: Beta Unit

One of the 9th Infantry Division’s units…the 39th Cavalry Platoon became a beta unit. They used a new vehicle to patrol marshy areas in Vietnam. The vehicle was a specially designed hovercraft that was equipped with weapons. These vehicles were called PACVs and were armed with 2 .50 caliber machine guns and 2 M60 machine guns.

14: Mekong Delta

One of the primary missions of the 9th Infantry Division, especially the 2nd Brigade was to patrol and keep the Viet-Kong from having power on the Mekong Delta. They were a part of the Mobile Riverine Force working jointly with the United States Navy.

15: Commanders During Vietnam

The 9th Infantry Division had 3 Commanders during the Vietnam War. They were:

  • Major General George Eckhardt

  • Major General George O’Conner

  • Major General Julian Ewell

16: Vietnam Medal Of Honor Winners

There were a number of Medal of Honor winners from the Vietnam War. They were:

  • Sergeant Sammy Davis

  • Spec 4 Edward DeVore Jr.

  • PFC James Fous

  • Staff Sergeant Don Jenkins

  • Sergeant Leonard Keller

  • Spec 4 George Lang

  • PFC David Nash

  • Spec 5 Clarence Sasser

  • Spec 4 Raymond Wright

17: After Vietnam

Immediately following Vietnam, the 9th Infantry Division was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.

18: Motorized Infantry Beta

During the 1980s, the 9th became a test outfit. The idea of a motorized infantry had them using dune buggies equipped with a machine gun or mortar. They were called Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV).

19: Trainers

The Gulf War fired up, but the 9th Infantry Division was not sent to the Middle East. They were marked for inactivation, but before, they trained National Guard and Reserve units who were traveling to the Gulf War.

20: 1991

The 9th Infantry Division was inactivated in 1991. While they are not in service now, there is a good chance they could be reactivated at some time in the future.

21: 3rd Brigade

One of the Units of the 9th was not deactivated. The 3rd Brigade was now the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, but has since been renamed the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

22: The Hagel Brothers

Our former Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel was a squad leader during the Vietnam War in the 9th. Chuck’s brother, Tom served in the same infantry squad. This was something that was unknown of in Vietnam. It is believed this was the only case of two brothers serving in the same Unit in Vietnam.

23: The 9th Infantry Division’s Many Nicknames

The 9th Infantry Division had many nicknames. The main one used is Old Reliables, but you may be familiar with these too:

  • The Varsity

  • Octofoil

  • Flower Power

  • The Psychedelic Cookie

  • and my favorite: The Flaming Assholes

Final Thoughts

The 9th Infantry Division was a force to be reckoned with both in World War II and Vietnam. Personally, I hope the Old Reliables are reactivated.

Were you, or do you know anyone who was with the 9th? Tell us more. All comments and questions can be asked below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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