A Summary History of the 44th Medical Brigade

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"Ready, Reliable, and Relevant"
(Original Article written 5-17-08)

The job of the 44th Medical Brigade, now the 44th Medical Command, is to organize, train, deploy, command, and control their subordinate medical units to provide corps-level combat medical, and community health support, across all levels of conflict and in a peacetime garrison environment. The 44th Medical Command is currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Fort Bragg subordinate units include the HHC 44th MEDCOM, the 28th Combat Support Hospital, the 261st Medical Battalion (Multifunctional), the 51st MED (VS), The 248th MED (VS) and the 257th MED (DS). The 44th Medical Command also controls the 86th Combat Support Hospital at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, the 14th Combat Support Hospital at Ft. Benning, Georgia, the 6th Medical Logistics Management Center (MLMC) at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, and the 1st Area Medical Laboratory (AML) and the 9th AML at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.

The 44th Medical Brigade was formed on 30 December 1965 and was activated on 1 January 1966 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the home of the Army Medical Branch. The Brigade deployed to Vietnam, where it participated in 12 of the 17 campaigns, including Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phases II through VII, Tet Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring 1970, and the Sanctuary Counteroffensive.

In March 1970, the 44th Medical Brigade Headquarters was merged with the United States Army, Vietnam Surgeon's Office to form the Medical Command, Vietnam (Provisional). The 44th Medical Brigade's colors were returned to the United States in December of 1970. During the Brigade's service in Vietnam, it was awarded two Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamers. The streamers are embroidered "Vietnam 1969-1970" by the government of the Republic of Vietnam.

On March 19, 1973, the 44th Medical Brigade was inactivated at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Brigade was reactivated on September 21, 1974, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On July 16, 1993, the 44th Medical Brigade became a separate major subordinate command reporting directly to the XVIII Airborne Corps with a general officer commanding.

Since moving to Ft. Bragg, elements of the 44th Medical Brigade have participated in Operation URGENT FURY in Grenada (October 1983), Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama (December 1989), Operations DESERT SHIELD (August 1990), and DESERT STORM (February 1991) in Saudi Arabia, and Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti (September 1994). The Brigade has also participated in humanitarian relief missions. Of note are the hurricane relief efforts in the United States, including those following Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Katrina (2005), and Rita (2005).

The Brigade was converted to a Medical Command on 16 October 2001 and became a multi-component unit. While at Fort Bragg the 44th Medical Brigade had become an airborne unit, but as part of its conversion the 44th Medical Command lost this designation. Elements of the 44th Medical Brigade have deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism. During 2006 the 14th Combat Support Hospital deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 28th Combat Support Hospital and the 86th Combat Support Hospital have both deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06. These two units served as the "Baghdad ER," which was highlighted by the 86th CSH in the HBO documentary of the same name.

The 44th Medical Command transferred their responsibilities as the commanding medical unit in Multinational Corps-Iraq to the 30th Medical Brigade from Heidelberg, Germany on October 18, 2005. During their tour, the 44th Medical Command conducted more than 400 brain surgeries, nearly 7,000 general surgery procedures, 6,000 orthopedic procedures, and close to 1,500 subspecialty surgical procedures.

The 44th MEDCOM's stated mission is to "Organize, resource, train, sustain, deploy, command, control, and support assigned and attached healthcare capabilities to provide flexible, responsive and effective health service support and force health protection to supported forces conducting joint and simultaneous full spectrum operations." The professionals who are assigned to this command perform this mission superbly, proving their motto, that they are "Ready, Relevant, and Reliable."

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A Summary History of the 4th Infantry Division

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"The Ivy Division"
(Article written 9/3/08 by Jim Broumley)

The 4th Infantry Division, whose motto is "Steadfast and Loyal," is a heavy mechanized division in the United States Regular Army. The 4th ID has a storied history from WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Arguably the most modernized division in the army, the 4ID is currently organized with four Brigade Combat Teams (BCT), a fires brigade, an aviation brigade, and various supporting units. Currently home-based at Fort Hood, Texas, the "Ivy Division" is in the process of re-stationing to Fort Carson, Colorado, around unit deployments to Iraq.

The 4th Infantry Division is nicknamed the "Ivy Division." This comes from the design of the shoulder sleeve insignia which has four green ivy leaves joined at the stem and opening at the four corners. The word "Ivy" is a play on the Roman numeral four, IV. Ivy leaves are symbolic of tenacity and fidelity, the basis of the Division's motto, "Steadfast and Loyal." The Division's second nickname, "Iron Horse," has been recently adopted to indicate the speed and power of the division.

The 4th Division was formed at Camp Greene, North Carolina on December 10, 1917, for service in World War One. The 4th Infantry Division went into action in the Aisne-Marne campaign in July 1918, at which time its units were piecemealed and attached to several French infantry divisions. Almost a month later, the Division was reunited for the final days of the campaign. During the next four months, the 4th I.D. saw action on the front lines and as reserves. Suffering over 11,500 casualties in the final drive for the Allied victory, the 4th Infantry Division was the only division to serve in both the French and British sectors of the front.

By the end of WWI, 2,611 Ivy Division soldiers were killed in action and 9,895 others were wounded. The 4th Division remained in Europe for occupation duty until returning to the United States on July 31, 1919. The 4th Division was inactivated at Camp Lewis, Washington on September 21, 1921.

The 4th Infantry Division was reactivated on June 1, 1940, at Fort Benning, Georgia as part of the U.S. Army buildup before the country entered into World War II. From June of 1940 until late in 1943, the 4th Infantry Division served as an experimental division for the Army, testing new equipment and tactics. Finally, after years of training, the Ivy Division moved to England in January of 1944 to prepare for Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The amphibious invasion of Europe began on June 6, 1944. The Division's 8th Infantry Regiment was the first Allied ground unit to assault German forces on the Normandy Beaches. The remainder of the Division quickly followed, landing on Utah Beach. For 26 days the Division pushed inland, reaching the Port of Cherbourg and sustaining over 5,000 casualties. Breaking out of the Beachhead and expanding operations well into France, the Division was given the honor of being the first Allied unit to participate in the liberation of Paris. The Ivy Division quickly moved on through northern France reaching Belgium and the border of Germany by September 1944. In November, the 4th Infantry Division moved into the Hurtgen Forest and fought what was to be its fiercest battle. The 4th Infantry Division held its ground during the Battle of the Bulge; crossed the Rhine, then the Danube, and finally ceased its advance at the Isar River in southern Germany.

When the 4th Infantry Division's WWII combat operations ended on May 2, 1945, 4,097 soldiers had been killed in action, 17,371 were wounded, and 757 would later die from their wounds. The Division returned to the United States in July 1945 and was stationed at Camp Butner, North Carolina, preparing for deployment to the Pacific. However, the Japanese surrendered before the 4th ID was deployed. After the war ended the 4ID was inactivated on March 5, 1946. The Division was reactivated as a training division at Fort Ord, California on July 15, 1947.

On October 1, 1950, the 4th Infantry Division was re-designated as a combat division, training at Fort Benning, Georgia. In May 1951 it deployed to Germany as the first of four U.S. divisions committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during the early years of the Cold War. The division headquarters was located in Frankfurt, West Germany. After a five-year tour in Germany, the division redeployed to Fort Lewis, Washington in May of 1956. The 66th Armor Regiment and 4th Signal Company of the 4th Infantry Division served in the Korean War.

The 4th Infantry Division deployed from Fort Lewis to Camp Holloway, Pleiku, Vietnam on September 25, 1966, and served more than four years, returning to Fort Carson, Colorado on December 8, 1970. Two brigades operated in the Central Highlands/II Corps Zone, but its 3rd Brigade, including the division's armor battalion, was sent to Tay Ninh Province northwest of Saigon to take part in Operation Attleboro (September to November 1966), and later Operation Junction City (February to May 1967), both in War Zone C.

Throughout its service in Vietnam, the Ivy Division conducted combat operations in the western Central Highlands along the border between Cambodia and Vietnam. The 4th Infantry Division experienced intense combat against NVA regular forces in the mountains surrounding Kontum in the autumn of 1967. The division's 3rd Brigade was withdrawn from Vietnam in April 1970 and deactivated at Fort Lewis. In May the remainder of the division conducted cross-border operations during the Cambodian Incursion. The Ivy Division returned from Vietnam in December and was rejoined in Fort Carson by its former 3rd Brigade from Hawaii, where it had re-deployed as part of the withdrawal of the 25th Infantry Division. One battalion remained in Vietnam as a separate organization until January 1972. During the four and a half years of combat operations during the Vietnam War, 2,531 Ivy Division soldiers were killed in action and another 15,229 were wounded.

After Vietnam, the Division settled at Fort Carson, Colorado where it reorganized as a mechanized infantry division and remained at Carson for 25 years. It was during the Division's time at Fort Carson that it had the unofficial nickname of the "Ironhorse" Division. The 4th Infantry Division moved its colors to Fort Hood, Texas in December 1995 to become the Army's first Digitized Division under the Force XXI program. In this program the Division was thoroughly involved in the training, testing, and evaluation of 72 initiatives to include the Division's Capstone Exercise (DCX I) held at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California in April 2001 and culminating in the DCX II held at Fort Hood in October 2001.

Division elements have supported rotations to Bosnia and Kuwait as well as providing a Task Force to fight forest fires in Idaho in 2000. 4ID Soldiers supported the Winter Olympics in Utah. Since November 2001, the Division's mission was the Division Ready Brigade-prepared to deploy at a moment's notice to anywhere in the world.

The 4th Infantry Division was alerted for the Iraq War on January 19, 2003. The Division's mission was to lead an advance from Turkey into Northern Iraq. Unfortunately, the Turkish government did not give their permission for U.S. Forces to use Turkey to attack Iraq, and the Ivy Division had to reroute to the war through Kuwait. Arriving after the invasion had started, the 4th Infantry Division entered Iraq as follow-on forces in April of 2003. The 4th ID was deployed in the northern area of the Sunni Triangle near Tikrit. The Ivy Division became a major part of occupation forces during the post-war period.

In Operation Red Dawn, conducted on December 2003, the Iron Horse Division in coordination with a special unit captured the top High Value Target of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. Hussein was located about 10 miles south of Tikrit, cowering in a "spider hole." His capture has been described by news media as the number-one news story of 2003. The Division returned to the United States by April of 2004 with a most successful completion of their tour as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom I. Sadly, 81 Iron Horse soldiers gave their lives in OIF 1.

The 4th Infantry Division's second deployment to Iraq began in the fall of 2005. The Division headquarters replaced the 3rd Infantry Division, which had been directing security operations as the headquarters for Multi-National Division - Baghdad. The 4th ID assumed responsibility on January 7, 2006, for four provinces in central and southern Iraq: Baghdad, Karbala, An-Najaf, and Babil. On January 7, 2006, MND-Baghdad also assumed responsibility for training Iraqi security forces and conducting security operations in the four provinces. The 3rd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division was assigned to conduct security operations under the command of Task Force Band of Brothers, led initially by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). During this deployment, 229 soldiers were killed in action.

Today, the 4th Infantry Division is the most lethal, modern, and deployable heavy division in the world; it is prepared to conduct full-spectrum combat operations. The Iron Horse has earned twenty-one campaign streamers with sixteen 4th Infantry Division Soldiers presented the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Ivy Division began its third deployment to Iraq in late 2007 and is scheduled to return to the U.S. in 2009. The Division will continue its move to Fort Carson upon their return. The soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division continue to serve their country and live up to their unit's motto of "Steadfast and Loyal."

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History of U.S. Navy Submarines

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A Brief History of U.S. Navy Submarines

An Ohio-class submarine transits
the Suez Canal, Nov. 5, 2023.
U.S. Navy Photograph: 
The term "submarine," as an adjective, simply means under the sea. But as a noun, a submarine invokes the mental image of a boat that can wreak havoc during wartime through its stealth and power. Although they are large craft that are crewed by over 150 submariners, a submarine is always referred to as a "boat." That's because during their development the name of the craft was shortened from the adjective "submarine boat" to create the noun "submarine." There are 75 boats either commissioned, in reserve, or under construction, making the submarine the most prolific war-fighting craft in the United States Navy.

The idea of a craft that could sneak up on enemy ships from under the water has been around since the time of Alexander the Great (332 B.C.). Leonardo da Vinci had his submarine concept as well (late 1400s). The first submersible vessel that apparently worked, and there are drawings of it, was constructed in 1620 by Dutchman Cornelius Drebbel in the employ of King James I of England. However, the first military submarine built in the United States was during the American Revolution. The first American submarine was appropriately named the Turtle, designed by Yale University student David Bushnell in 1775.

The Turtle was an acorn-shaped submersible propelled by employing a hand-cranked screw. The idea was that the craft would maneuver and attach itself to the underside of a warship, where then the operator could drill a hole in the bottom of the target and attach a bomb. The bomb was on a clock fuse that would give the submersible time to get away. Sergeant Ezra Lee of the Continental Army climbed into the Turtle on the night of September 6, 1776, intent on attacking His Majesty's Ship Eagle then anchored off Boston. Unfortunately, Lee couldn't get the bomb attached to the Eagle, eventually giving up and moving off, pursued by a rowboat full of British sailors. Lee was able to set off his bomb to dissuade his pursuers. There were no casualties on either side and there were no more attempts on record of submarine warfare during the Revolution.

In 1800, American inventor Robert Fulton designed, built, and tested his submarine the Nautilus. Fulton's boat would maneuver under its victim towing a floating mine which would explode using a contact fuse when the mine hit its target. Fulton tested Nautilus in France (the U.S. Navy was in its infancy and not in the market for any new technology) and the preliminary testing proved successful. Unfortunately, neither the French nor the British (at war with each other at the time) were impressed enough to buy Fulton's idea and incorporate submarines into their navies. Fulton returned to the United States in 1804 to work on his steamboat for which he is best remembered.

Although the technology was worked on in other countries, nothing much was done with submarines in the United States until the Civil War. Evidence leads us to believe that up to twenty working submarines were built by both sides during the war. Most were not documented or were lost before making it to combat. The most noteworthy from the period are the Union's USS Alligator and the Confederacy's CSS Hunley. The Alligator was designed by French engineer Brutus de Villeroi and was first launched on May 1, 1862. The Alligator was the first working submarine in the United States Navy and the largest built during the Civil War at 47 feet. It included innovations like compressed and filtered air for its crew of twelve. The boat was propelled by a hand-cranked propeller. The Alligator's weapon system was two limpet mines that could be attached magnetically to the hull of the target ship. Unfortunately, Alligator was lost in a storm off Cape Hatteras on April 1, 1863, while being towed to Charleston for its first combat deployment.

The Confederate submersible H. L. Hunley was named for the boat's designer and financier. The Hunley was 39.5 feet long and carried a crew of eight. The Confederate submarine also propelled itself with a hand-cranked propeller, but the weapon system was a spar torpedo. The spar torpedo was basically a spear with a bomb attached. The idea was that the Hunley would ram its victim, attaching the mine to the hull of the ship. The Hunley would then disconnect the spar and withdraw, detonating the mine once it was clear. The sub had sunk in testing twice before, so one might imagine that on the night of February 17, 1864, when Hunley launched into Charleston Harbor intent on attacking the Union steam corvette USS Housatonic, observers didn't have their hopes up. However, the Hunley was successful in sinking its intended victim and signaled back to shore a successful mission. Unfortunately, on the way back to base the submarine sank, cause unknown, drowning all eight of her crew.

The Hunley's sinking of the Housatonic marks the first successful attack by a submarine on a surface warship. The location of the innovative submarine remained unknown until 1990. The ship was raised in 2000. Remains of the crew were recovered and laid to rest on April 17, 2004, at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina. Over ten thousand people attended the ceremony, where the sailors were buried with full military honors.

After the American Civil War, inventors in other countries made great strides in submarine technologies. Some benchmarks included developing new hull designs, creating air pressure systems, powering with steam engines, and the invention of the torpedo tube. However, in the United States, the next major advancement in the development of submarines did not come until 1881. In that year Irish-American inventor John Philip Holland launched a submarine in New York that he designed and named the Fenian Ram. It was named such for his financial backers, the Fenian Brotherhood, an organization bent on Irish independence from Great Britain, who hoped to use Holland's submarine to sink British warships. The Fenian Ram's cutting-edge technology for the first time used horizontal planes and forward motion to "fly" the submarine to its submerged depth. Due to disputes over payments made to Holland, the frustrated Irish group stole the Fenian Ram and another submarine prototype, the Holland III, in 1883 and took the boats to New Haven, Connecticut. Unfortunately for the Fenian Brotherhood, none of their loyal members knew hope to operate the boats and John Holland wasn't helping. The boats gathered rust for thirty years and eventually, the submarines became museum pieces.

USS Holland, the first commissioned sub.
View of starboard bow, on ways, c.1900
National Archives: 512954
That would be the end of John Holland as well, except that his work came to the attention of the United States Navy who tasked Holland for a new boat. The Holland VI was launched on May 17, 1897 at Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey. On April 11, 1900, the Navy bought the Holland VI and renamed it the USS Holland, SS-1, making it the United States Navy's first commissioned submarine. The Holland used an internal combustion engine (later changed from gasoline to diesel) for surface operations and an electric motor for running submerged. The Holland also boasted a new hull shape for easier movement through the water and self-propelled torpedoes fired from tubes that were reloadable from inside the boat.

The USS Holland was so well received that John Holland was able to sell seven of his boat designs to the U.S. Navy and, ironically, a few to the British Navy as well. John Holland's company, the Holland Torpedo Boat Company, would later be renamed the Electric Boat Company. Electric Boat was acquired by General Dynamics in 1952 and is still a principal builder of American submarines today.

The First World War brought rapid advancements to submarine technology, particularly the universal adaption of the diesel engine and radio communications that allowed the boats to be directed from shore. The German's Unterseeboot, or U-boat, dominated during World War I. Within a month of the beginning of WWI in 1914, U-boats were sinking British warships in the North Atlantic. The Germans' adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare against all types of shipping is generally cited as the main reason for the United States' entry into WWI. The threat posed by the U-boat during the war gave birth to anti-submarine warfare (ASW). This included the development of technologies such as sonar and depth charge. As a latecomer to the fight, American submarines did not have a high level of participation. In a navy dominated by a battleship mentality, submarines were used mainly in a defensive role for convoys. However, forward-thinking officers in the United States Navy took note of German accomplishments in undersea warfare.

Between wars submarine technology continued to progress. The Germans were not allowed to have submarines under the Treaty of Versailles. When Adolf Hitler rose to power he made up for lost time and started to bring back the U-boat fleet in direct violation of the treaty. By the time World War II started in 1939, Germany had incorporated many advanced technologies like sonar, radar, and magnetic fuses on their torpedoes. The United States entered the Second World War with the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. The analysis of the Pearl Harbor attack and the appointment of progressive thinking Chester Nimitz as CINCPAC signaled a new era in naval technology that focused on the aircraft carrier and the submarine. In 1909 Nimitz had commanded the United States' second commissioned submarine, the USS Plunger (SS-2). Admiral Nimitz chose to send a message to the battleship elements of the navy by taking command of the Pacific Fleet on the deck of the submarine USS Grayling (SS-209).

George Bush being rescued by the
submarine USS Finback after being
shot down while on a bombing run
on the Island of Chi Chi Jima. 9/2/1944 
National Archives: 186382
The American submarine fleet at the beginning of the war consisted of 111 boats. During the war a total of 314 boats would see service, 260 of these in the Pacific. These submarines commissioned during the war were from the Gato, Balao, and Tench classes. The "silent service" was slow to get started, having at first to deal with the Mark 14 torpedo's faulty depth gauge and unreliable fuse which took eighteen months to correct. However, by the end of WWII, American submarines had sunk 1,560 enemy ships for a total of 5.3 million tons. That represents fifty-five percent of the total tonnage sunk during the war. Warships that fell to American submarines included 8 aircraft carriers, a battleship, three heavy cruisers, and over 200 other types. United States submariners denied Japan the raw materials it needed to conduct the war by sinking over half of all enemy merchant shipping. Additionally, U.S. submarines participated in a duty that became known as the "lifeboat league," which was picking up downed Allied pilots. By war's end over 500 aircrew men would owe their lives to the actions of submarines, including future President George H.W. Bush. The cost of this success was high. The United States lost 52 submarines and 3,505 submariners during World War II, the highest percentage of killed in action (KIA) of any branch of service in the American military.

The close of WWII brought about an almost immediate entry into the Cold War between the Western powers, led by the United States, and Russia leading the satellite nations of the Soviet Union (and to some extent Communist China). For the next forty-five years, the Super Powers engaged in an arms race, part of which was played out with a cat-and-mouse game at sea. Submarine and ASW technologies made great strides during the Cold War.

Thanks to the efforts of Captain Hyman G. Rickover, newly appointed as head of the office of Director, Naval Reactors, submarines were the first U.S. vessels to be equipped with nuclear propulsion. The first nuclear-powered submarine was the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), launched on January 17, 1955. Before nuclear power, submarines were limited in their submerged time due to the need for fresh air to run their diesel engines. Now the nuclear sub could stay submerged practically indefinitely. Also, deployments were no longer limited by the need to refuel. The only resupply needed was food. The nuclear submarine could (and would) stay submerged at sea for months at a time. To prove it, in 1957 Nautilus became the first submarine to transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic under the Arctic ice cap.

The first launch of a guided missile from a submarine occurred in July 1953 from the USS Tunny (SSG-282). The Tunney had seen long service in WWII and was modified to fire the Regulus missile. She served in this capacity for another 12 years. The first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, or "boomer," designed for the specific mission of nuclear deterrence came into service with the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) in 1959. The five boats in the George Washington class served the country well into the 1980s.

The 1960s saw rapid advances in boomers and the missiles they fired. The George Washington, Ethan Allen, Lafayette, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin classes of Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarines comprised the "41 for Freedom." This term refers to the 41 boats in these five classes that the United States Navy was limited to (along with 656 submarine-launched ballistic missiles) by the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT I) Treaty. The missiles also evolved through the Polaris, Poseidon, and finally Trident missile classes. The sum of the "41 for Freedom" boats served into the new century until replaced by the Ohio class of boomers, able to fire the Tomahawk cruise missile along with the Trident.

The Ohio class of nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarines began with the launch of the USS Ohio (SSGN-726) launched on April 7, 1979. Originally designated SSBN-726, the Ohio is one of four boats in the class that were converted to a guided missile submarine and given the SSGN designation. These boats are capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles with either conventional or nuclear warheads, plus Harpoon missiles that are fired through their torpedo tubes. The other 14 boats in the class are FBMs, which are each armed with up to 24 Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles. These boats, part of the United States nuclear deterrence arsenal, are also known as "Trident" submarines. Those 14 boats carry approximately half of the country's active strategic nuclear warhead capability.

With the advent of ballistic missile boats, submarines evolved into two types, the boomers and the attack submarines. Today's attack boat mission is essentially the same as that of their WWII predecessors: to hunt and destroy enemy ships and submarines. An additional task, added during the Cold War, was to keep up with and provide a radar/sonar screen around an aircraft carrier task force. In the latter half of the 1960s, plans were made for a nuclear-powered boat that was both fast and quiet. The new design became the Los Angeles-class attack submarine. The class started with the launch of the USS Los Angeles (SSN-688) on April 6, 1974. Since then, there have been 62 Los Angeles class fast attack submarines commissioned (19 have already been retired), making the Los Angeles class the most numerous nuclear-powered submarine in the world. Today, all Los Angeles class submarines are capable of firing the Tomahawk cruise missile along with their complement of approximately 25 torpedo tube-launched weapons.

The intended successor to the Los Angeles class was the Seawolf class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, ordered near the end of the Cold War in 1989. The Seawolf class boats are larger, faster, and quieter than the Los Angeles class boats, but expensive. The projected cost of the first 12 boats in the class was $33.6 billion. With the budget constraints brought on by the end of the Cold War, the originally planned class of 29 boats was reduced to only 3 in service. They are the USS Seawolf (SSN-21) launched on June 24, 1995, the USS Connecticut (SSN-22) launched on September 1, 1997, and the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) launched on May 13, 2004. All three call Naval Base Kitsap, Washington their home port.

The Virginia class of attack submarines was intended to be a smaller, cheaper version of the Seawolf class ($1.8 billion per boat versus $2.8 billion). The class began with the launch of the USS Virginia (SSN-774) launched on August 16, 2004. Cost saving is accomplished through "off the shelf" electronic packages and new techniques in construction. There are eight boats commissioned and in service out of the proposed 30-boat class.

The mission of United States Navy submarines are peacetime engagement, surveillance and intelligence, special operations, precision strikes, battlegroup operations, and control of the seas. The American navy currently has 71 submarines in service, 18 of these are boomers and 53 are attack boats of different classes. See the table below for the names and homeports of these submarines. (This article was originally written in 2012. Visit this Wikipedia page for an up-to-date list of U.S. Navy Submarines.)

Ohio-class Ballistic Missile Submarines:

USS Ohio SSGN-726

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Michigan SSGN-727

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Florida SSGN-728

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Georgia SSGN-729

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Henry M. Jackson SSBN-730
(formerly the USS Rhode Island)

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Alabama SSBN-731

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Alaska SSBN-732

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Nevada SSBN-733

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Tennessee SSBN-734

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Pennsylvania SSBN-735

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS West Virginia SSBN-736

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Kentucky SSBN-737

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Maryland SSBN-738

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Nebraska SSBN-739

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Rhode Island SSBN-740

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Maine SSBN-741

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Wyoming SSBN-742

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia

USS Louisiana SSBN-743

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

Los Angeles-class Fast Attack Submarines

USS Dallas SSN-700

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Providence SSN-719

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Pittsburgh SSN-720

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS San Juan SSN-751

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Miami SSN-755

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Alexandria SSN-757

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Annapolis SSN-760

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Springfield SSN-761

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Hartford SSN-768

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Toledo SSN-769

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Norfolk SSN-714

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Newport News SSN-750

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Albany SSN-753

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Scranton SSN-756

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Boise SSN-764

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Montpelier SSN-765

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Helena SSN-725

Naval Submarine Base, Norfolk, Virginia

USS Bremerton SSN-698

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Jacksonville SSN-699

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS La Jolla SSN-701

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Olympia SSN-717

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Chicago SSN-721

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Key West SSN-722

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Louisville SSN-724

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Pasadena SSN-752

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Columbus SSN-762

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Santa Fe SSN-763

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Charlotte SSN-766

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Tucson SSN-770

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Columbia SSN-771

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Greeneville SSN-772

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Cheyenne SSN-773

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Albuquerque SSN-706

Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California

USS Topeka SSN-754

Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California

USS Asheville SSN-758

Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California

USS Jefferson City SSN-759

Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California

USS Hampton SSN-767

Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California

USS San Francisco SSN-711

Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California

USS Houston SSN-713

Naval Forces Marianas, Apra Harbor, Guam

USS Buffalo SSN-715

Naval Forces Marianas, Apra Harbor, Guam

USS Oklahoma City SSN-723

Naval Forces Marianas, Apra Harbor, Guam

Seawolf-class Fast Attack Submarines:

USS Seawolf SSN-21

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Connecticut SSN-22

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

USS Jimmy Carter SSN-23

Naval Base Kitsap, Washington (Bangor)

Virginia-class Fast Attack Submarines:

USS Virginia SSN-774

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Texas SSN-775

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS Hawaii SSN-776

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS North Carolina SSN-777

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

USS New Hampshire SSN-778

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS New Mexico SSN-779

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS Missouri SSN-780

Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Connecticut

USS California SSN-781

Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut

USS Mississippi SSN-782

Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii


For further reading

Clancy, Tom, Submarine: A Guided Tour Inside A Nuclear Warship, with John Gresham (New York: Berkley, 1993)

Polomar, Norman and K.J. Moore, Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines, 1945-2001 (Washington D.C.: Potomac Books Inc., 2005)

 View the Index of Military Histories 

A Summary History of the 8th Infantry Division

 View the Index of Unit Histories

"The Pathfinder Division"
(Original article written 9/25/2008) 

The 8th Infantry Division was a mechanized infantry division in the United States Army. The 8th Infantry Division went by the nickname of the "Golden Arrow Division" and later, the "Pathfinder Division." Both monikers were born of the vertical gold arrow in the unit's shoulder patch. However, many soldiers referred to the wearers of an 8ID patch as "Crazy Eights." The 8th I.D. served proudly during World War I, World War II, in Europe during the Cold War, and in Operation Desert Storm. The 8th Infantry Division was deactivated in Germany in January 1992.

The 8th Infantry Division was formed in early January 1918 for service during World War I. By the time the 8th Division had trained up and deployed to France in November of the same year, the fighting was over. Subsequently, the Golden Arrow Division did not gain any combat experience during WWI. The troopers of the 8th Division returned to the United States and the unit was inactivated in January 1919.

The Pathfinder Division was called to serve again, this time during the buildup for WWII. The Division was activated on July 1, 1940, and deployed overseas on December 5, 1943. The Allies invaded France on D-day, June 6, 1944. After training in Ireland, the 8th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, on July 4, 1944, and entered combat on the 7th. Fighting through the hedgerows, the 8th I.D. crossed the Ay River on July 26th and pushed through Rennes on August 8th, and continued their advance to attack Brest in September. The Crozon Peninsula was cleared by September 19th, and the Division drove across France to Luxembourg. The Pathfinder Division moved to the Hurtgen Forest on November 20th. Troopers of the 8th Infantry Division cleared Hurtgen on the 28th and Brandenburg on December 3rd.

Now the Golden Arrow Division pushed on to the Roer. That river was crossed on February 23, 1945, Duren taken on the 25th, and the Erft Canal was crossed on the 28th. The 8th Infantry Division reached the Rhine near Rodenkirchen by March 7, 1945, and maintained positions along the river near Koln. On April 6th the Division attacked northwest to aid in the destruction of enemy forces in the Ruhr Pocket, and by the 17th had completed its mission. The Division, under the operational control of the British Second Army, drove across the Elbe on May 1st and had penetrated to Schwerin when the war in Europe ended.

On May 2, 1945, as the Golden Arrow Division advanced into northern Germany, the 8ID encountered the Neuengamme concentration camp Wöbbelin subcamp, near the city of Ludwigslust. The SS had established Wöbbelin in early February 1945 to house concentration camp prisoners who had been evacuated from other Nazi camps to prevent their liberation by the Allies. Wöbbelin held some 5,000 inmates, many of whom suffered from starvation and disease. The sanitary conditions at the camp when the 8th ID arrived were deplorable. There was little food or water, and some prisoners had resorted to cannibalism. In the first week after liberation, more than 200 inmates died. The 8th Infantry Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the U.S. Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988.

During their service in WWII, the 8th Infantry Division spent 266 days in combat. Their total combat casualties numbered 13,986. Of that number, 2,852 were killed in action. The Pathfinder Division had fought in four campaigns and earned five unit citations. Troopers of the 8th Infantry Division were awarded 768 Silver Stars, 2 Distinguished Service Medals, 33 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 3 Medals of Honor.

The 8th Infantry Division was re-deployed to the United States and deactivated on November 20, 1945. However, the Golden Arrow Division would be needed again in Germany. The Division was re-activated for the Cold War and sent to Germany to replace the 9th Infantry Division in October of 1956. On December 14, 1957, having participated in NATO exercises and gone through the first of several reorganizations, the 8th Infantry Division Headquarters was stationed in Bad Kreuznach, West Germany.

From 1958 to 1973 the 8th Infantry Division, although mechanized, had an airborne infantry component. The original formation consisted of the 1st Airborne Battle Group with the 504th and 505th Infantry Regiments. In 1963, the Division reorganized to a structure that used brigades and battalions as maneuver elements. The 1-504th and 1-505th were replaced by the 1-509th and the 2-509th Infantry Regiments and were located at Lee Barracks in Mainz. Along with other elements, these two airborne battalions of the 509th made up the 1st Brigade (Airborne), and 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized). In 1973, the 1st Brigade's jump status came to an end. The 509th moved to Vicenza and was replaced in the 8th ID by the 2-28th and 2-87th Infantry.

The Pathfinder Division would stay in Germany for the remainder of the Cold War, as part of the United States Seventh Army and V Corps. The 8th Infantry Division, along with its brother units in the theater, was instrumental in the defense of Western Europe and the deterrence of communist aggression. The result of thousands of troopers' hard work in training and readiness was the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, the freeing of Eastern European countries, and the reunification of Germany.

With the collapse of "the Wall" in 1989, it would seem that the need for large units of mechanized forces was over. For some Pathfinder Division units, their work was not done. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the following subordinate units of the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) deployed to Southwest Asia:

The 2-29th Field Artillery Battalion from Baumholder served as part of the VII Corps Artillery. The 12th Engineer Battalion from Anderson Barracks in Dexheim was deployed with the 3rd Armored Division. The 4-34th Armor out of Lee Barracks in Mainz deployed with the Ready First Combat Team. The 5th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery home based at McCully Barracks in Wackernheim deployed in support of the 3rd Armored Division. Also, TF 3-77 Armor from Mannheim deployed to Southwest Asia.

Most 8th Infantry Division soldiers had returned to home station by the end of May 1991. The 3-77 Armor redeployed in August of that year. With their mission completed in both Europe and Southwest Asia, the Golden Arrow Division prepared for deactivation. Their colors were cased on January 17, 1992.

The 8th Infantry Division's motto is "These are my credentials." Thousands of American soldiers during the 20th Century showed the world that their actions were in fact their credentials. Those veterans will always be proud that their service was with the Pathfinder Division.

 View the Index of Unit Histories

New Release: Anzio, A Jack Bell WWII Novel

Cover image: Anzio, A Jack
Bell WWII Novel

The fourth book in the Jack Bell Series of historical action/adventure fiction is now available on Amazon.

We recently published Anzio: A Jack Bell WWII Novel. It is the fourth novel in the Jack Bell series. Each of the novels in the series is set during one of the deployments of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion during WWII. (Read the nonfiction story of the Geronimos in The Boldest Plan is the Best). The setting for this episode is the 509th PIB's participation in the Battle of Anzio during the Italian Campaign. 

Here's the synopsis:

Naples, Italy 1944 

1LT Jack Bell and his fellow paratroopers are preparing to make a beach landing up the boot of Italy. The problem is that the civilians in Naples know where they’re going before they do. When Jack was assigned an assistant platoon leader, he didn’t realize that he was training his own replacement. Sometimes getting promoted is not a good thing. Especially when it puts Jack in the position of escorting OSS officer Boyd Carter on a raid of a German-held blockhouse to “capture” an old friend. Now Carter is wounded and Jack is a prisoner. Can Jack’s friends and the green platoon leader mount an unauthorized rescue?

And here's a sample from the first chapter:

The water slapped against the sides of the DUKW amphibious vehicle as it plowed through the bay. They were headed for the safety of the beach but the sand remained more than two hundred yards away. To a man, the soldiers riding in the vehicle were concerned, although they displayed varied levels of apprehension as the nose of the craft bounced up and down in the swells and water rushed over the hood with each dip.

“Don’t worry, gents! I’ve had her out in rougher water than this!” The driver was shouting over his shoulder to the twenty American paratroopers riding behind him.

“Oh, the quack has had this thing in rougher water than this. That makes me feel so much better,” Corporal Tim Walker said, talking in the ear of his platoon sergeant, Staff Sergeant Roland “Rube” Roubideaux.

The DUKW was a hybrid between a boat and a two-and-a-half-ton truck. The troops called them “Ducks” and the soldiers from the transportation company that drove them were derisively called the “quack corps.” Twenty-two Ducks had rolled down the ramp of the LST floating a thousand yards offshore. Now they motored in two parallel lines toward the beach. Their job was to deposit the paratroopers of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion safely on the beach, then turn around and head back to the ship to make another run with troops or supplies. The DUKW had no weapons and no armor protection.

The sun was out and there was a crisp, onshore breeze that morning. As the “boat with wheels” was about fifty yards from the beach, the swells seemed to lesson. Private Robert Sims, the blond-haired kid that seemed to be the only one enjoying the ride, put his foot up on the gunwale. He leaned forward anticipating the moment that Staff Sergeant Roubideaux would shout the command to jump out of the vehicle and onto the beach.

The DUKW hit a swell and Sims started to lose his balance. He tried to steady himself with his left hand on the gunwale, his right hand filled with the heavy M1 Garand rifle he carried. By the time he realized that he needed to drop the rifle and grab the edge of the vehicle with both hands, it was too late. He was on his way to toppling over the side like a tree falling to a lumberjack’s axe. Before he tumbled into the water, Roubideaux and Walker grabbed the private by the rucksack and pulled him back into the DUKW.

“Jesus Christ!” Sims gasped. “Thanks you guys, I almost went for a swim.”

“If you fell in, I wasn’t going to go in after you,” Walker said. “I’m not that good of a swimmer.”

“Don’t matter how good a swimmer you are,” Sergeant Roubideaux said. “All that gear will drag you under. You’d drown before you could get it off. So stay in the damn boat.”

The wheels on the DUKW contacted the bottom and gained traction after a few seconds of grinding on the sand. The vehicle lurched slightly and drove up out of the surf. As soon as the vehicles were above the water line, the senior man in each shouted the command to dismount and the soldiers jumped over the side. First Lieutenant Jack Bell, the men’s platoon leader, was in the vehicle to their right along with the rest of the platoon. They could hear him shouting, “Let’s go! Move it! Get to the top of the shingle!”

The other officers and NCOs of the battalion were likewise shouting as the men ran up the beach and threw themselves down on the sand in a prone position, aiming their weapons at an unseen enemy. Over the sound of the diesel engines of the DUKWs a whistle blew three long blasts, paused, then three long blasts again. It was the signal to stop and hold in place. The training exercise was over. The paratroopers rolled over and sat up, watching the company commanders run across the beach to gather on the battalion commander.

“Has anybody figured out what we’re training for?” Walker asked loud enough for the rest of the platoon to hear. “I joined the paratroopers to jump out of airplanes, not ducks.”

“Rube, you gotta know. Why don’t you tell us already?” Sergeant Tony Diaz, one of the squad leaders, asked.

Rube replied in his usual slow drawl with a touch of Cajun. “I don’t know any more than you do. I’m sure when we need to know, the lieutenant will tell us.” He looked down at the sand between his feet so none of his soldiers would see him smiling. He was always entertained by how worked up they got over something so completely out of their control.

“If you’d just think about it for a minute, you’d be able to figure it out,” Private Al Parrish said. “If we can’t jump, it’s probably because there’s no room for a drop zone. So maybe we’re going to raid an island like Captain Howland did with the scouts before Avellino.”

“Ventotene Island. To take out a radar site,” Corporal Sam Burns said, then pausing to light his pipe. Everyone within earshot stopped talking so they could listen. Burns didn’t join in the platoon banter that much, but when he did the men listened. Burns sounded educated, rarely lost his cool, and when he spoke up, he was usually right. Wearing glasses and smoking a pipe gave him the air of a college professor.

“Maybe an island,” Burns continued. “But then again, maybe we’re just going to go up the coast to get behind the Kraut’s Winter Line. In case you haven’t noticed, the Rangers and the 504th are coming out here learning how to jump out of ducks too.”

Burns is smart alright, Rube thought. Too bad he doesn’t want to be a squad leader. Who knows, maybe that’s smart too.

Lieutenant Bell double-timed across the beach to where his platoon sat in the sand. Rube stood to meet him. The lieutenant waved his hand in a circle over his head as he approached.

“Alright, on your feet!” Rube said over his shoulder, loud enough for the whole platoon to hear. “Gather on the lieutenant.”

“I have some good news,” Jack Bell said to his I & R Platoon as the twenty-eight paratroopers gathered around him. “Colonel Yarborough was impressed with how things went this morning, so we don’t have to load up and do it again.”

“Yeah, nobody fell out of the duck,” Rube said, matching the lieutenant’s jovial tone, but giving Private Sims a hard stare.

“So what’s the bad news, sir?” Walker asked.

“What makes you think there is bad news, corporal?” Lieutenant Bell asked.

“Well, sir, because with good news there is usually bad news,” Walker said, “and with all due respect, you’re way too happy.”

Jack almost laughed but managed to keep a straight face. “I’m happy because I recognize the wonderful training opportunity with which we have been presented.” A collective groan rose up from the paratroopers, along with a few curses.

“Oh, no…” Walker said shaking his head and looking at his boots.

“Yep, we’re road marching back to the billets,” Jack said. “It’s only eight miles and we’re marching by platoons. So the sooner we get back the sooner you can all head out to the Rec Center.”

Up and down the beach, soldiers were climbing up the ten-foot, eroded sea cliff to the road above.

“Alright, you know what we’re doing,” Rube groused to the platoon. “Gear up and climb the hill. Platoon formation on the road. Let’s move.”

If you'd like to read more, Anzio: A Jack Bell WWII Novel is available on Amazon in paperback, on Kindle, and for free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Click here to find it on Amazon

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