80th Infantry Division
Post WWII Synopsis
Post World War
II 80th Division and 80th Training Command
Immediately after the end of World War II, the 80th "Blue Ridge" Infantry Division was used to help accomplish a myriad occupation/security missions in a defeated Germany. Slowly, however, National Army units like the 80th Division were withdrawn from Germany and deactivated. The division was subsequently redeployed to United States and inactivated in January 1946. Due to rising tensions between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers (e.g., the Soviet occupation of Poland and the creation of an "IRON CURTAIN"), however, it was decided to establish an organized Reserve corps of infantry or armor divisions.
The 80th Infantry Division (Airborne) was one of these units, with its Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. It is said that the creation of a large number of Airborne infantry divisions after the war resulted in a realization there were insufficient troop transports to move a large number of airborne units into battle in the event of a war between the Soviet Union, their allies, and the Western Powers.
As a result, in 1952, the 80th was reorganized simply as the 80th Infantry Division. In this configuration, the division trained for use across the globe should the Army call it back to active duty. In March 1959, the division was reorganized again as the 80th Division (Training). This reorganization refocused the division to provide Initial Entry Training (IET) to newly-inducted Soldiers at both Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. This mission and structure lasted until 1978 when the focus of the 80th Division and eight other training divisions in the Army Reserve moved to One Station Unit Training (OSUT) for the Infantry.
Three other Army Reserve divisions would train artilleryman, engineers, and tankers in addition to infantrymen. The new assignment for the 80th Division was to help provide large numbers of infantrymen to the Army: Regular, Reserve, or National Guard. The war-time mission for the 80th Division was to deploy to Fort Bragg to assist in the training of Infantrymen for combat operations. The first groups of Soldiers trained would be used as replacements for projected losses at the front in Europe or elsewhere around the world. After several groups of Soldiers had been trained, the 80th would train up the full division and deploy to fight, as needed.
In both 1988 and 1990, the division carried out exercises testing that wartime mobilization mission. These exercises were named, "Old Dominion Forward" and were conducted at Fort Bragg. During the exercises, Soldiers were brought to Fort Bragg from the Army Reception Battalion at Fort Jackson and fully trained as Infantrymen using the Infantry - OSUT Program of Instruction. Both exercises validated the mission concept and were proof of the 80th Division's capabilities if war erupted during the Cold War.
Cold War Commanders:
The 80th Division mobilized two units in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, commonly known as the Persian Gulf War or the First Gulf War. The first unit to be mobilized, the 424th Transportation Company of Galax, Virginia, was activated on 17 November 1990 at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
After a short period of training, the 424th TC moved to Saudi Arabia on 5 January 1991. During its service in combat, the company, under adverse conditions in a combat zone, logged over 850,000 accident-free road miles in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq. Elements of the 424th in fact advanced as far north as the Euphrates River in support of attacking coalition units.
Returning to the United States on 29-30 June 1991, and to home station 3 July, the 424th TC was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for their outstanding service to the coalition in theater. The second unit mobilized during the war was 3/318th Regiment, 4th Brigade (Infantry-OSUT). The battalion was stationed at Fort Story, Virginia, and was activated on 23 January 1991. 3/318 reported to Fort Eustis to train recalled Individual Ready Reservists (IRR) and it helped train over 1,000 such reservists in basic combat skills before their deployment to theater as individual fillers. A short ground war in Iraq and Kuwait thankfully reduced the need for additional IRR troops and the 3/318 was released from active duty, returning to their home station on 17 March 1991.
Persian Gulf War
In 1992, the 80th Division began a training base expansion mission at Fort Benning, Georgia. But as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union, the spectacular results of the First Gulf War, and the need in Congress to capture a "peace dividend," the mission was quickly changed to instead conduct professional "round-out" training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. As such, in 1993, Blue Ridge Division Soldiers were matched with a specific training battalion at Fort Jackson and worked with Regular Army drill sergeants in the training of new Soldiers.
In Oct. 1994, the Army reorganized the 80th again (the fourth one since WWII), and seven legacy divisions from World War II (80th, 84th, 95th, 98th, 100th, 104th, and the 108th) were converted into "Institutional Training" (IT) divisions, located in seven regions throughout the United State. As part of this new force, the 80th was tasked with providing qualified instructors to assist the Army in training new Soldiers in "The Army School System" or TASS.
As part of TASS, the Blue Ridge Division (IT) provided drill sergeants for Military Police and Chemical Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) as well instructors for military skills in all Combat Service (CS) and Combat Service Support (CSS) MOSs for Soldiers and units in "Region B" of the United States. Region B was comprised of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Delaware. The seven brigades of the 80th Division (IT) carried out specific training missions.
While most brigades supported basic training missions at Fort Jackson, SC, one brigade contained training battalions for the Chemical Corps and another was dedicated to Military Police OSUT. These units performed their duties as trainers at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The three remaining 80th Division brigades taught 160 MOSs as needed and directed by Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). The 6th Brigade taught Individual Leader Education to senior captains and the Command and General Staff College to majors. The 7th Brigade was a training support unit that provided a reception battalion and back up training and logistical support to all other brigades. In 1998, the 8th Brigade was added which taught Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students at a number of colleges across the Region B area of responsibility.
New Training Organization
The date 7 December 1941 is emblazoned into the minds of Americans because of the dastardly sneak attack leading us into WWII. So too is the date 11 September 2001. It will be forever etched into American history for the callous and treacherous attack of citizens going about their daily lives. As a result of the unprovoked attack on American soil, Americans and America's military mobilized to respond in kind to the attacks to what has become known as 9-11.
For the 80th Division it meant specialized training would commence, with drill sergeant and instructor units mobilized to training posts across the United States under Operation Noble Eagle. November 2001 saw America's military response overseas in the launching of Operation Enduring Freedom. Select members of the Blue Ridge Division were mobilized and deployed as replacements for units that were below strength during the invasion of Afghanistan to eliminate Al Qaeda and their allies the Taliban. In 2004, 80th Division (IT) units provided training and reconstruction support to the new government of Afghanistan.
During the summer of 2004, the 80th Division received the first verbal warning it would participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The mission in Iraq, which was to mobilize and deploy to Iraq to help build the New Iraqi Army, would be the largest activation of the division's Soldiers since World War II. Soldiers served in every specialty and skill. Some would serve as a part of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I). Others would serve as a part of Multi-National Corps - Iraq (MNC-I). The two missions were complementary, but different. Those 80th Soldiers assigned to MNSTC-I would serve as members of the command staff, train and equip the Iraqi Army, or serve on the joint staff for the administration of the effort to rebuild specific ministries in the Iraqi government, and others would maintain Iraqi Army bases.
The Blue Ridge Soldiers assigned to MNC-I were assigned to the Iraq Assistance Group (IAG). These Soldiers were to train, mentor, and fight with the Iraqi Army as they left training and went into combat for the first time. Two 80th Division Soldiers were killed in action and two others died stateside while mobilized during this conflict. The Soldiers deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2006 were awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for outstanding service during their tour of duty.
To date, 80th Division soldiers have earned more than 1,144 medals and citations including 31 Purple Hearts, 2 Bronze Stars with Combat V, 467 Bronze Stars, 84 Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB) and 187 Combat Action Badges (CAB). As the War on Terror continues, both individual and group deployments to the theater of operations have continued. The latest was a team sent to Afghanistan to mentor the Afghan Army in the summer of 2014.
The 80th's new mission was to properly manage and execute the entire TASS instruction system for the Army Reserve. As such, the 80th expanded from eight brigades and twelve battalions to three divisions (94th, 100th, 102nd), 15 brigades, 63 battalions, and 14 training centers. Because of this, the 80th Division has become the third-largest command organization in the Army Reserve. As such, the 80th and its subordinate units have 7,300 Army Reserve Soldiers assigned in 15 brigade units aligned under three major subordinate one-star commands. The 80th trains Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors in 160 career military fields for CS and CSS. Each year the 80th and their subordinate units MOS routinely qualify 30,000 Soldiers for the Army. The 94th Training Division (Force Sustainment) headquarters are located at Fort Lee, Virginia; the 100th Training Division (Operational Support) has its headquarters at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support) headquarters is located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
War on Terror
and Training Command Commanders: