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8th Infantry Division (Mech)
Pathfinder

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.


Division History (1955-1978)

Division Organization

Page 2
Brigades
Div Arty

Page 3
Div Trains
Support Comd

12th Engr Bn

8th Avn Bn

Avn Brigade

Related Links

1st BG, 38th Inf

1st Bn, 68th Arm

3rd Bn, 68th Arm

5th Bn, 68th Arm

1st Bn, 87th Inf

2nd Bn, 87th Inf

3rd Rcn Sq, 8th Cav

Det 12, 7th WS

 
Division History

The Big Picture: 8th Infantry Division (Airborne), early 1970s (YouTube)
1955 - 1978
(Source: "8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) - Pride and Professionalism" (Welcome Pamphlet, 1981?)
  In November 1955 the Department of the Army named the 8th Division an OPERATION GYROSCOPE unit and announced that it would change places with the 9th Infantry Division in Germany. On October 9, 1956, the 8th Infantry Division officially took its place among the NATO forces in Germany under the US Seventh Army.

Within a year the 8th Division participated in GYROSCOPE, reorganization and BIG SWITCH operations, and on December 14, 1957, the division headquarters became operational at Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

In 1958 the 8th Infantry Division (M) gained an airborne capability with the assignment of the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 504th Infantry. On January 15, 1959, the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 505th Infantry was also assigned to the Division.1) These two battle groups were relieved from assignment to the 8th in April 1963, but the Division's airborne capability was maintained by the assignment of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 509th Infantry (Abn).


 

In August 1961, when the East Germans erected the Berlin Wall, one of the division's battle groups, the 18th Infantry, moved overland to reinforce the Berlin garrison.

The year 1963 was a busy one for the Pathfinders. On April 1, the ROAD concept was implemented in the division. In early November, as the 2nd Armored Division was arriving at Rhein-Main Air Base from Fort Hood, Texas, in OPERATION BIG LIFT, Pathfinder elements moved into "battle positions" near the East German border. After several days of organizing, the "Hell on Wheels" from Texas conducted a relief operation with the 8th Division. BIG LIFT was the largest military air movement ever conducted up to that time.

The training highlight of 1965 was Exercise NORDIC AIR, in which division airborne units made a parachute assault into the Jutland peninsula. Exercise WINTER ARROW and SOUTHERN ARROW were the most important events in 1966's training calendar. SOUTHERN ARROW, conducted in May, was one of the largest joint-service airborne operations in Europe since World War II.

A joint exercise, PATHFINDER EXPRESS, was held in 1967 which involved troops from the division and Spanish Forces. The exercise was conducted in Spain, and airborne units from the 8th Division also parachuted into Turkey during the exercise DEEP FURROW in September. The second of the PATHFINDER EXPRESS exercises was held in December 1968 in Spain.

In February of 1972 the Pathfinders conducted KARNIVAL KING, the first FTX of division size in USAREUR since 1966, giving credence to the Commander-in-Chief, USAREUR's statement that USAREUR was "on the move again". The division's 1st Brigade conducted many joint airborne operations, including BOLD LEAP IV and FIRM LION in 1971, and GOLDEN STEP in Italy in June of 1972.

In 1973 LARAMIE GOLDEN ARROW was the high point of the 8th Division's training year. The operation was a complete success. It started on May 10, with about ten thousand men and three thousand vehicles from the 8th Division, as well as hundreds of Germans, Scottish, and Belgian troopers. It is believed to be the only full division-sized crossing of the Rhein ever attempted during maneuvers.

Also in 1973, the division lost its airborne mission. The 2nd Battalion, 509th Inf (Abn) was inactivated and the 1st Battalion, 509th Inf (Abn) was assigned to the US Army Southern European Task Force (SETAF). With the reassignment of the 1st Battalion, 509th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, SETAF accepted the missions of maintaining and deploying the battalion on its own or as part of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land).

Following an equally impressive and successful Division-size FTX in March 1974, the 8th Division pioneered the introduction of ARTEPs in USAREUR during March and April 1975 when six mechanized and five armored battalions participated in the first ARTEP evaluations conducted at Hohenfels. While injecting increased realism and maximum individual participation into training, the pitting of battalion-sized task forces against an opposing force unit provided battalion staffs with the unique opportunity to perform missions utilizing the combined arms team concept.

The Bicentennial year witnessed the first of the highly successful annual REFORGER training exercises, GORDIAN SHIELD. After long hours of training and planning, the combined armored and infantry attacks of Pathfinder units pushed back, surrounded, and captured an "enemy" force that included the 101st Airborne Division. In March, Brigade '76 arrived in Wiesbaden, Germany. Attached to the 8th Division, the 4th Brigade reunites the 4th "Ivy" Division and the Pathfinder Division who fought side by side in the bloody battle of the Hurtgen Forest in World War II. The 4th Brigade adds two infantry battalions, an armor battalion, a field artillery battalion and a support battalion as well as a cavalry troop and an engineer company to the combat strength of the Division.

In 1977 the anti-armor and combined arms capabilities of the division were enhanced by the activation of the 8th Aviation Battalion (Combat) stationed at Finthen Army Airfield. The battalions boasts two Attack Helicopter Companies equipped with TOW-armed Cobra helicopters.

The Pathfinder Division continued its spirited drive toward "interoperability" with allied NATO units. Pathfinders maneuvered in the British-sponsored Operation SPEARPOINT in 1976, the Belgian-sponsored Operation BLUE FOX in 1977, and hosted Operation CERTAIN SHIELD in 1978.

During his mid-July 1978 economic summit conference in Bonn, the 4th Brigade and its partnership unit, the 14th Panzer Brigade greeted President Carter with an impressive display of over 5,000 soldiers, 100 tanks, 300 armored personnel carriers, and 70 self-propelled howitzers at Wiesbaden Air Base.

The President saw interoperability in action, viewing a demonstration of the ability to mass anti-armor forces and equipment in a short period of time on the modern, mobile battlefield.

The division's success proves the capabilities of the division as a highly trained professional command able to meet the enemy head-on in any type of terrain under any conditions. The professionalism and pride with which each unit preforms shows the true credentials of the 8th Infantry Division (M).

1) The 1st Abn BG, 504th Inf and 1st Abn BG, 505th Inf joined the division as part of the 1st Brigade. This made the 8th the only division in US Army history to be designated Infantry Division (Mechanized)(Airborne). The 5th Bn, 81st FA; Troop A, 3rd Bn, 8th Cav; and Company A, 12th Engr Bn were also designated as airborne and added to the 1st Brigade. (Source: The Pathfinder Orientation Magazine, 1985?).


Click on the above image to view the entire issue
 
1960
(Source: Special Organization Day 1960 Issue of the THE ARROW, 8th Inf Div newspaper, July 1, 1960)
In November, 1955, the 8th Infantry Divison was designated to rotate to Europe in a station exchange with the 9th Infantry Division under "Operation Gyroscope," and a year later, the final boatload of troops landed on German soil and became part of the NATO force.

In August, 1957, the 8th became a pentomic division and soon after the new pentomic units had begun training, the Division participated in "Operation Switch," (Webmaster: more correctly known as "Operation Big Switch") a major relocation of three Army divisions with the 8th Division moving from the Nürnberg, Heilbronn, Ulm area north to the Rhineland with headquarters in Bad Kreuznach.

Throughout 1959 the Pentomic 8th showed their credentials in every field of military endeavor as Division units and personnel accumulated new laurels, awards and letters of commendation from higher headquarters. In garrison and in the field in athletic competition and in staff operations, the Division performed as professionals and came to be known just as that -- the professional 8th.


Early 1959 brought more changes to the Division that made change mean progress. Outstanding old line battle groups left -- to specifically mention each now is to linger on the past. Spurs won and new laurels gained, they have moved on. Important to the present are the battle groups here in 1960 - distinguished and legendary units whose combat records and lineage are unsurpassed. Each is described at length on other pages of this issue.


Important to mention is that in 1959 the airborne credential was added to the Division's portfolio as the 8th Div became the Army's only combined Infantry-Airborne Division, numbering three Infantry and two Airborne Battle Groups, in addition to airborne supporting member units. The success of the Division's six major operations during the year, "Heaven Sent," "Side Step," "Fleche de Or," "Pau," "Fer de Lance" and "Bayonet Blue," indicate the capability of the Infantry and Airborne units of the Division.

Proud and fierce competitors, the 8th Div enjoyed a tremendous year of success, setting new records and firsts in charity drives and local and Army-wide competitions and contests.

Early in 1960, the 8th became the only Divisional size unit in the United States Armed Forces to be awarded the Minuteman Flag with star for it's outstanding participation in the savings program. Two records were shattered when the Division, for the second straight year, won the USAREUR Honor Blood Plaque for the highest contribution in the Military Blood Procurement Program, and established a new high in per-capita level donations during the 1960 American Red Cross campaign. The 8th also set a USAREUR record for reenlistments with the 26th Inf's record of 69 and took top honors, numerous times, in the Seventh Army NCO Academy graduation classes.


Probably one of the most outstanding achievements of the year was the tremendous performance displayed by 8th Div marksmen. The "Golden Arrow" firers captured V Corps' A-R matches and Rifle and Pistol championships in early 1960. Later they captured the USAREUR team trophy in the USAREUR Rifle and Pistol championships at Grafenwoehr. Recently, the Division recorded smashing victories in the 1960 V Corps Prix Le Clerk Match and the 1960 Army Rifle and Pistol matches at Fort Banning, Ga., where they swept 10 out 12 awards in the automatic rifle firing competition, setting new Army records with every victory.

In the sports field, the 8th produced colorful and outstanding teams in competitions as well as individual performers. The Blue Rangers, winners of the Rhine League and USAREUR semi-finalists, won 24 of 28 games. Righthander Vern Orndorff was chosen as
USAREUR's Most Valuable Player and won a trip to the 1959 World Series. In football, the Mainz Troopers etched their names in USAREUR annuals by becoming the first team in six years to win the championship game and remain undefeated, a 26-0 victory over the Gelnhausen Braves. The Troopers set two new USAREUR records, fewest points allowed in a single season, 4.30 and most field goals in a championship game, two. The 8th also produced the 1960 USAREUR Bantamweight boxing champ, Thomas (Lucky) Lutge.

Credentials

Since the Division has been in Germany on their current tour of duty as a member of the NATO Forces, "Golden Arrow" members have earned laurels in every field of military endeavor. In the accomplishment of training and operational requirements, units and individual soldiers have been standard setters, whether their marks have been recorded numerically or adjectivally.

Training tests, marksmanship, crew served weapons' competitions, alert, and individual arms qualification are some of the areas of combat readiness proficiency in which Division members have attained the professional standards of top level performers.

The statistical data which competitively measures certain factors of discipline have consistently shown the 8th Infantry Division soldier to be a man whose conduct indicates his pride in his profession. His thrift, deportment off duty and care of equipment are in the finest tradition of military service.

In every aspect of society, Division members have been pace setters in German-American relations. Particularly productive have been the athletic competitions in soccer, basketball and boxing between German and Division teams.

During this past fiscal year the generosity of "Golden Arrow" members in charity campaigns has earned commendations for the Division. In addition, the informal contributions by Division personnel to German orphanages and similar organizations have vividly indicated their neighborliness.


Organization Day 1960

The 8th Infantry Division celebrates it's fourth Organization Day in Germany this year. In this passing of almost four years since the Division arrived here in the fall of 1956, many, many events have taken place.

Who was here years ago and who will be here tomorrow is not as important as the Division today. Today's 8th Infantry Division is, as always, the Division that gets things done; the Outfit that goes for first place and gets it. The Division that says, "These Are My Credentials .. ." and means exactly that.

Dedication

This special anniversary, Organization Day 1960 issue of the Arrow is dedicated to the present members of the 8th Infantry Division and the pages that follow have been prepared accordingly. Our readers,whether present or former Division members, or their friends and relatives, can understand our pride in saying, "These Are My Credentials."

 
1961
(Source: Organization Day 1960, THE ARROW; STATION LIST, June 1961)
ORGANZIATION (June 1960):
UNIT LOCATION COMMENTS
HHC, 8th Inf Div Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
8th Admin Co Bad Kreuznach
8th Div Abn School Wiesbaden AB
8th Div NCO Academy Baumholder
11th QM Co (PS&M) Biebrich
3rd Rcn Sqdn, 8th Cav Sandhofen
12th Engr Cbt Bn Dexheim
8th Sig Bn Bad Kreuznach  
1st BG, 16th Inf Baumholder
1st BG, 18th Inf Bad Kreuznach  
1st BG, 26th Inf Baumholder
1st Abn BG, 504th Inf Mainz-Gonsenheim
1st Abn BG, 505th Inf Mainz-Gonsenheim
2nd Med Tank Bn, 68th Arm Baumholder
8th Div Arty  
Hq/Hq Btry, 8th Div Arty Baumholder
1st How Bn, 2nd Arty Baumholder 105mm / 155mm
2nd How Bn, 12th Arty Baumholder 105mm / 155mm
7th How Bn, 16th Arty Baumholder 105mm / 155mm
5th How Bn, 81st Arty Mainz-Gonsenheim 105mm / 155mm
5th How Bn, 83rd Arty Baumholder 105mm / 155mm
1st Rkt How Bn, 28th Arty Baumholder Btry B in Darmstadt
8th Div Trains  
Hq/Hq Det , Div Trains Bad Kreuznach
Div Band Bad Kreuznach
8th QM Co Bad Kreuznach
708th Ord Bn Baumholder A Co, Mainz-Gonsenheim
20th Trans Bn Bad Kreuznach Co B & Co C in Baumholder
8th Med Bn Wackernheim
8th Avn Co Bad Kreuznach

 
Division Organization
1956 (TOE 1948)
(Source: USAREUR Station List, 30 June 1957)
8th Infantry Division - ORGANIZATION 1956:

(Webmaster Note: Station location is based on information obtained from the US Army Station List for June 1957. If a unit was originally located at a different post upon arrival in Germany in 1956, I will note it separately.)
UNIT STATION
  Headquarters Company Göppingen
  8th MP Company Göppingen
  8th Repl Company Göppingen
  5th Infantry Regiment Fürth HHC, 1st & 3rd Bns
  2nd Bn, 5th Inf Zirndorf
  13th Infantry Regiment Neu Ulm HHC & 3rd Bns
  1st Bn, 13th Inf Ulm
  2nd Bn, 13th Inf Ulm
  28th Infantry Regiment Heilbronn HHC, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Bns
  41st Tank Bn (90mm) Leipheim
  HHB, 8th Inf Div Artillery Göppingen
  28th FA Bn (155mm)(T) Schwäbisch Gmünd
  43rd FA Bn (105mm)(T) Neu Ulm
  45th FA Bn (105mm)(T) Neckarsulm
  56th FA Bn (105mm)(T) Schwabach
  23rd AAA AW SP Bn Nellingen
  12th Engineer Battalion Fürth
  8th Signal Company Göppingen
  8th Recon Company Nürnberg
  8th Medical Battalion Schwäbisch Gmünd
  708th Ordnance Battalion Neu Ulm
  8th QM Company Göppingen

1958 (PENTOMIC)
(Source: USAREUR Station List, 30 June 1958)
8th Infantry Division - ORGANIZATION 1958:

(Webmaster Note: Station location is based on information obtained from the US Army Station List for June 1958.)
UNIT STATION
  Headquarters Company Bad Kreuznach
  1st BG, 5th Infantry Gonsenheim
  2nd BG, 8th Infantry Gonsenheim
  2nd BG, 12th Infantry Baumholder
  1st BG, 13th Infantry Sandhofen
  1st BG, 28th Infantry Baumholder
  HHB, 8th Inf Div Artillery Baumholder
  1st FA Bn (RKT/HOW), 28th Arty Baumholder
  1st How Bn, 2nd FA Baumholder
  12th Engineer Battalion Dexheim
  8th Signal Bn Bad Kreuznach
  3rd Rcn Sq, 8th Cavalry Sandhofen
  2nd Med Tk Bn, 68th Armor Baumholder
  Hqs, 8th Inf Div Trains and Band Bad Kreuznach
  8th Medical Battalion Wackernheim
  20th Transportation Battalion Bad Kreuznach
  16th Trans Co (Lt Trk) Gonsenheim
  23rd Trans Co (Lt Trk) Baumholder
  104th Trans Co (Lt Trk) Bamberg
  151st Trans Co (Lt Trk) Schweinfurt
  8th AG Admin Company Bad Kreuznach
  8th Aviation Company Hoppstätten
  708th Ordnance Battalion Baumholder
  8th QM Company Bad Kreuznach

1963 (ROAD)
8th Infantry Division - ORGANIZATION 1963

(Webmaster Note: Station location is based on information obtained from the US Army Station List for December 1963.)
UNIT STATION
  Hq/Hqs Company Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
  12th Engineer Battalion Anderson Ksn, Dexheim HHC, A, B, C, D & E Cos
  8th MP Company Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
  8th MI Det (Div) (attached) Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach 7th Army asset
  8th Signal Bn Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach HHC, A & B Co
  8th Aviation Battalion Finthen AAF, Finthen HHC and A Co
  B Company Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach  
       
  1st Bde, 8th Inf Div Lee Bks, Gonsenheim
  2nd Bde, 8th Inf Div Smith Bks, Baumholder
  3rd Bde, 8th Inf Div Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
  1st Mech Bn, 13th Infantry Smith Bks, Baumholder
  2nd Mech Bn, 13th Infantry Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
  1st Mech Bn, 39th Infantry De La Police Ksn, Worms
  1st Mech Bn, 87th Infantry Smith Bks, Baumholder
  2nd Mech Bn, 87th Infantry Sullivan Bks, Mannheim
  1st Mech Bn, 509th Infantry Lee Bks, Gonsenheim
  2nd Mech Bn, 509th Infantry Lee Bks, Gonsenheim
  1st Bn, 68th Armor Smith Bks, Baumholder
  2nd Bn, 68th Armor Smith Bks, Baumholder
  3rd Bn, 68th Armor Sullivan Bks, Mannheim
  4th Bn, 68th Armor Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
  3rd Sq, 8th Cavalry Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
       
  HHB, 8th Inf Div Artillery Smith Bks, Baumholder
  1st Bn, 2nd FA Smith Bks, Baumholder
  7th Bn, 16th FA Smith Bks, Baumholder
  1st MSL Bn, 28th FA McCully Bks, Wackernheim
  5th Bn, 81st FA Biebrich
  5th Bn, 83rd FA Smith Bks, Baumholder
       
  Hqs, 8th Inf Div Spt Comd & Band Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
  11th QM Company (Prcht Sup) Biebrich  
  8th Medical Battalion McCully Bks, Wackernheim HHC, A, B, C and D Cos
  8th Sup & Trans Battalion Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach HHC, A and B Cos
  544th Trans Co (Lt Trk) Lee Bks, Gonsenheim
  547th Trans Co (Lt Trk) Lee Bks, Gonsenheim
  708th Maint Battalion Smith Bks, Baumholder HHC, A & E Cos
  B Company Lee Bks, Gonsenheim  
  C Company Coleman Bks, Sandhofen  
  D Company Lee Bks, Gonsenheim  
  8th AG Admin Company Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
CORRECTION
May 26, 2012 - Webmaster note: Going through the STATION LISTS for 1963, I realized that 4th Bn, 68th Arm at Sandhofen was also part of the 8th Inf Div. A comment from Wally Ramirez made me check into this: I was at Coleman Barracks from Mar 1962 to May 1964 with C Co 4th Bn 68th Armor. The entire unit rotated back to Fort Bragg NC in June 1964... We had 8th Div shoulder patches, but our tanks had 7th Army on the front.

1964 (ROAD)
8th Infantry Division - ORGANIZATION 1964

(Webmaster Note: shows only battalion-size units and larger; Source: 7th Army Annual Historical Report for 1964)
Click here to see 8th Infantry Division organization for 1 August 1964.

1966 (ROAD)
8th Infantry Division - ORGANIZATION 1966

(Webmaster Note: shows only battalion-size units and larger; Source: 7th Army Annual Historical Report for 1966)
Click here to see 8th Infantry Division organization for 1 July 1966.

 
(Source: 8th Infantry Division booklet, 1967)

Front Cover


Back - Unit Crests

    .

1974
(Source: Walter Elkins)

Location of 8th Mechanized Infantry Division units, July 1974
The list was created by Walter Elkins and is based on units and locations listed in the July 1974 STATION LIST. For corrections, please contact the webmaster.

 
1980
(Source: Scan of newspaper submitted by Jenni Johns, née Ritzler, who was assigned to the G-5/PAO section at Hqs 8th Inf Div from 1979-81 and served on the staff of the division newspaper, the CREDENTIALS)

8th Inf Div CREDENTIALS - January 31, 1980

1988 (Division 86)
8th Infantry Division - ORGANIZATION 1988

(Webmaster Note: Station location is based on information obtained from the US Army Station List for December 1963.)
UNIT STATION
  Hq/Hqs Company Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
  12th Engineer Battalion Anderson Bks, Dexheim  
  8th MP Company Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
  108th MI Bn Camp Wildflecken, Wildflecken  
  8th Signal Bn Minnick Ksn, Bad Kreuznach  
  1st Bn, 59th ADA McCully Bks, Wackernheim  
       
  1st Bde, 8th Inf Div Lee Bks, Gonsenheim
  2nd Bde, 8th Inf Div Smith Bks, Baumholder
  3rd Bde, 8th Inf Div Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
  3rd Bn, 8th Inf Lee Bks, Gonsenheim 1st Bde
  4th Bn, 8th Inf Coleman Bks, Sandhofen 3rd Bde
  5th Bn, 8th Inf Lee Bks, Gonsenheim 1st Bde - former 2/87th
  1st Bn, 13th Inf Smith Bks, Baumholder 2nd Bde
  1st Bn, 39th Inf Smith Bks, Baumholder 2nd Bde
  1st Bn, 68th Arm Camp Wildflecken, Wildflecken 1st Bde - M1A1 in Jun 1988
  2nd Bn, 68th Arm Smith Bks, Baumholder 2nd Bde
  5th Bn, 68th Arm Sullivan Bks, Mannheim 3rd Bde
  4th Bn, 69th Arm Lee Bks, Gonsenheim 1st Bde
  5th Bn, 77th Arm Sullivan Bks, Mannheim 3rd Bde
       
  4th CAB, 8th Inf Div Finthen AAF, Finthen
  2nd Bn, 4th Avn Finthen AAF, Finthen
  3rd Bn, 4th Avn Finthen AAF, Finthen
  TF Skyhawk Finthen AAF, Finthen
  Co G, 4th Avn Finthen AAF, Finthen general support avn
  Co H, 4th Avn Wiesbaden AB, Wrbenheim assault helicopter
  Co I, 4th Avn Finthen AAF, Finthen AVIM
  3rd Sq, 7th Cav Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
       
  HHB, 8th Inf Div Artillery Smith Bks, Baumholder
  2nd Bn, 29th FA Smith Bks, Baumholder
  4th Bn, 29th FA Smith Bks, Baumholder
  6th Bn, 29th FA Strassburg Ksn, Idar Oberstein
  C Btry (MLRS) , 16th FA Smith Bks, Baumholder
  C TAB, 333rd FA Strassburg Ksn, Idar Oberstein
       
  HHC, 8th Inf Div Support Comd Rose Bks, Bad Kreuznach
  118th Support Bn Lee Bks, Gonsenheim supports 1st Bde
  202nd Support Bn Sullivan Bks, Mannheim supports 3rd Bde
  208th Support Bn Smith Bks, Baumholder supports 2nd Bde
  708th Support Bn Minnick Ksn, Bad Kreuznach General support
  25th Chemical Co  

(Source: Email from Peter Blume, author of several publications on USAREUR and US Army vehicles & equipment in Germany)

RHEIN '88

 

1. M60A3

2. M-978 tanker




CARAVAN GUARD I
REFORGER 1989

 

1. M113A2 ACAV

2. M901 ITV

3. AH-1S


 
8th INF DIV AIRBORNE PATCHES - 1950s - 80s

era?

era?

8th Inf Div Pathfinder

 

8th Inf Div NCBU Patch

1st Bn, 28th FA (HJ)

Avn Sec, DivArty?
   

1st Brigade Patch

Honor Guard

Division Band

VARIOUS ADDITIONAL DUIs

8th Inf Div

Division Artillery

1st Bde, 8th ID

2nd Bde, 8th ID
 

3rd Bde, 8th ID

HHC, 3rd Bde (1)

8th ID NCO Academy


 

Division Trains

Div Spt Comd

708th Abn Ord Bn


8th Sig Bn

 

68th Armor

69th Armor

77th Armor

8th Cavalry
 

8th Infantry

13th Infantry

39th Infantry

87th Infantry
 

Honor Guard

Marksmanship
   
(1) Source: Michael Belis, webmaster, 1st Bn, 22nd Inf web site
This is the DI that I wore when I was a SP4 & assigned as an M577 driver for Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 8th Infantry Division, in 1969-1970 at Coleman Barracks, Sandhofen. This DI was only worn by personnel of HHC 3BDE 8DIV.
We wore two of these on our Dress Green and short-sleeve Khaki dress uniforms . . . one on each shoulder strap. When these were not available, we wore the same style DI, but without the scroll at the top (Webmaster: that would probably be the NCBU - Non-Color Bearing Unit crest).

 
12th Engineer Battalion
 
1959
(Source: Email from Clarence B. Drennon, B Co, 12th Engr Bn, 1959-61)
During 1959-1961 I was assigned to the 12th Engineer Battalion, 8th Infantry Division. During most of that period I was assigned to B Company, which supported the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 505th Infantry. Col Theodore Metaxis was the distinguished commander of the 505th during much of that period. He didn't like the Battle Group concept, and usually formed his BG, with attached tanks, etc., into two battalions.

The units at Wiesbaden-Bieberich were two companies of the 1/504 Airborne Infantry. They had more discipline problems than the 505th. It was said that more members of the 504th were killed trying to do parachute landing falls from the third story of the old German barracks at Bieberich (courtyard was cobblestone) than were killed doing actual parachute jumps during the two years I was in 8th Division.

The 505th had some unusual members. The scout platoon was commanded by a Lt. Timmerman, who had won the Medal of Honor in Korea as an EM. Timmerman seldom said anything. His best friend was then-Lt Anthony Herbert, later on rather well known in Vietnam. Herbert talked all the time. A member of the 505th staff was Gen. Patton's son.

Col. Metaxis always cross-attached the 505th organic engineer platoon to B company, giving us, effectively, three platoons rather than the usual two of a PENTOMIC era Engineer battalion.

 
1st Bn, 68th Armor
 
1st Bn, 68th Armor DUI

On 1 July 1957, The Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) went into effect. Under CARS, the regimental system was reestablished, through name only, in an attempt to retain the continuity of history which has been lost during the rapid expansion of World War II. Under CARS, a regiment was formed, normally through reconsolidation of separate companies which were once members of the regiment before the war. In each case, a historical regiment was recreated rather than a new one formed. The regimental headquarters was retained under the Department of the Army control with ultimate goal of establishing a ceremonial headquarters and staff in Washington to display the honors of the regiment, though this has yet to be done.

The other part of the plan called for each separate companies in the regiment to be redesigned Headquarters and Headquarters Company's of various battalions. Thus, a regiment had a potential for one battalion to for every company it once had. Then, when war demanded, as many battalions as were required became activated. The first letter company became the first battalion, thus the regiment was reconstituted as follows: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 68th Armored battalion again became regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Company. A Company became 1st Battalion, B Company became 2nd battalion, and so on. Companies A through I became 1st through 9th Battalions respectively. The old reconnaissance company later D Troop, 68th Calvary Reconnaissance Squadron, became the 13th Battalion 68th Armor. Oddly G Company became 8th Battalion while H Company became 7th Battalion. There is no provisions for a 10th, 11th, or 12th Battalion.

Of the Battalions of the regiment, the 1st through the 5th are currently on duty with the active army. The remainder are either in reserve units of inactive. Being descended from "A" Company, the unit became the 1st Medium Tank Battalion (Patton), 68th Armor, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia; the some place where it first joined the 68th Armor.

The battalion began its current history on 1 July 1957 when the line companies were activated, there being five in number under then current Pentomic Concept. 24 April 1958, the 3rd Infantry came to Germany, the 1st Battalion going to Aschaffenburg. Finally, in 1963, in conjunction with adoption of the ROAD concept, the unit was relieved from assignment to the 3d Infantry Division; concurrently redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor, and assigned to the 8th Infantry Division. Consolidated with other battalions of the 68th Armor in the 8th Division, 1st Bn arrived at Baumholder on 1 April 1963.

While stationed at Wildfecken, Germany, the Battalion began fielding the M1A1 Abrams MBT in the late 1980s, replacing its inventory of M60A3 tanks.

1st Bn, 68th Arm

 

1. Railhead (KB)

2. Last minute details (KB)

3. Tank park (KB)


4. Range tower (KB)

5. Waiting (KB)

6. M151 Mutt (KB)
 
Photos are probably from the early 1960s
 
ADDITION:

(Source: Email from Tom Hamner)
In Sept 1960 I was assigned to the 68th Armored and was returned to the US on Jan 1, 1963.  I was in HQ company of the 68th Armored.  Your write up puts the 68th Armored arriving in Baumholder in 1963.  Believe me, I backed up to Baumholder (by train) from Div HQ in Bad K.  Just like thousands of GI's we probably would have preferred to have been were you said we were -- but I bet all of us are proud of our time spent in Baumholder.

I was in the 2nd Bn of the 68th Armored. I believe that the 1st Bn, 68th Armored was moved to Baumholder in 1963

 
3rd Bn, 68th Armor
 
3rd Bn, 68th Armor DUI

 
(Source: Email from Wes Montgomery)
The pictures were taken behind Sullivan Barracks in Mannheim, Germany. It was a somewhat small (local) training area, but large enough to run field problems with our tanks. The training area was officially named the Victor Area, but everyone called it the "V" area. The pictures were taken in 1965/1966.

3rd Bn, 68th Arm

 
1. A Company motor pool

2. Motor pool area

3. M-24 static display


4. A Co M-88

5. M60 in "V area"

6. "Aggressors" during a field exercise
 

7. "V Area" - local training area
     

 
5th Bn, 68th Armor
 
5th Bn, 68th Armor DUI

 
(Source: ARMOR-CAVALRY, Part I, by Mary Lee Stubbs & Stanley Russel Connor, Army Lineage Series)
5th Battalion, 68th Armor, at the time inactive and allotted to the Army Reserve, was activated on 1 April 1966 and concurrently assigned to 8th Infantry Division.

 
1984
(Source: Email from Stevie Jones)
First let me say thank you for the wonderful site.
 
However I was disappointed to see that 8th ID 5th Bn 68th Armor was not listed. 

We were also on Sullivan Barracks in Mannheim and battle with 3rd Bn 68th Armor. 

Later 3/68 became 5/77 Armor and 5/68 became 3/77 armor are maybe it was vice versa.
 
Please menton 5/68th Armor Grey Lions.

 
1st Bn, 87th Infantry
 
1st Bn, 87th Inf DUI

The 87th Infantry was assigned to the 10th Infantry Division on 18 June 1948, reactivating at Fort Riley, KS. In preparation for the Korean War, 1-87 became part of three regiments that trained 123,000 men in basic training.

In January 1954, the Department of the Army announced that the 10th Division would become a combat infantry division, and be the first sent to Europe under a new rotation policy (GYROSCOPE).

In June 1958, the 87th Infantry Regiment was reassigned from the 10th Division to the 2nd Infantry Division as the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 87th Infantry. The battalions remained in the 2nd Infantry Division until 4 September 1963, when it was reassigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany.

1-87 was stationed in Jaeger Kaserne, Aschaffenburg, and was assigned to NATO land forces in central Europe.

On June 14, 1958, the 10th Division was inactivated. However 1-87 and 2-87 were assigned to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany until September 1963 and remained on active duty in Germany until 1 October 1983 when they were inactivated.

1963
(Source: Email from Ralph Lohmann)
In your series of photographs (see photo #7 below) from the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry, you questioned the caption of one of what might or might not have been the motor pool of B Co. 

I was the Platoon Leader of the First Platoon of C Company for about nine months from 1963 to 1964. If I recall correctly, the photograph is of the Battalion motor pool. (Certainly the variety of vehicles parked there far exceeded the TO&E allowance of a mech infantry company of that era.) I don't believe the companies had motor pools. The track with B Co markings in photo 5 had probably been in the Battalion motor pool because it was on deadline or for some directed modification. The companies parked their tracks across the street (New-York Straße, I think) from the barracks as shown in photo number 3 of the series, and put their other vehicles down in the Battalion motor pool. With respect to the dates of the photographs, you are correct in supposing that that they date from the 1960s. The style of the bumper numbers is consistent with the pattern used in that period. The soldiers in the pictures are wearing fatigue caps of a style introduced in early 1963. Consequently, given the fatigues and vegetation, the pictures can't be earlier than the summer of that year. 

The not-later-than date is a little trickier. The markings on the sides of the M-113s in photo 3 are unfamiliar to me, which means that they were put there at some point after I left the Division in September of 1966. They replaced a three-digit unit number, each digit roughly a foot high. (Mine was 311; C [3] Company, First Platoon, Track 1). I don't know how long after September of 1966 the change was made, but a dark-painted area on the track in photo number 5 covers the exact area where the old numbers would have been; the new hexagonal marking is painted over it.
 

The haircuts seem a bit longer than I remember them, but shorter than would permitted a few years later. Given all of the above, my guess is the the photographs date from the summer of 1967.

I have a somewhat hair-raising war story of my 1/87 days that you might want to add to the page. 

There was considerable tension back then between the 8th Division (2nd Brigade and DivArty) troops and the USAREUR garrison MPs. I would regularly get DRs that the MPs had slapped on my people for allegedly disorderly conduct downtown. Knowing the soldiers involved, I was pretty sure that well over half of the DRs were unwarranted. I had several unpleasant discussions with the Provost Marshal, whose name I withhold to protect the guilty, discussions that got me nowhere.
 

There was nothing much I could do about it, except complain (equally uselessly) to the Battalion Commander, until one day (probably in January of 1964) I happened to be in the Commissary where two MPs were sitting at a desk checking IDs. As I went out, I noticed that their quarter-ton did not have the lock and chain around the steering wheel.
 

I was shocked --shocked!-- to see a military-police vehicle unlocked and unattended with all those Russian SMLM vehicles cruising around. The Russians could have stolen it and taken it to East Berlin or Moscow. With a youthful sense of invulnerability (or maybe of borderline insanity), I got into the vehicle, drove it to the 1/87 motor pool, then called the Provost Marshal to tell him that I had secured his unlocked and unattended vehicle, and that he should send someone to police it up.
 

Amazingly, nothing happened to me. Except.... From the next day until I left Baumholder in February of 1966, an MP quarter-ton followed me everywhere I went on the installation; a peculiarly malign escort service. Because of that, I made sure that I drove one Km/h below the speed limit at all times, made sure the snow was brushed off my license places (they liked to hand out DRs for snow on license plates), and generally cultivated a cheerful paranoia behind the steering wheel.
 

They never caught me.

 
(Source: Credentials, July 11, 1983)
1st Bn., 87th Inf, deactivates to Mainz

By Jim Goodin

The 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry's deactivation/restationing process neared completion, as Combat Support Company's scout platoon became 1st Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Scout Platoon and moved to Mainz July 1.

The battalion was deactivated and the colors retired in a ceremony in Baumholder May 12, under a drizzly, overcast sky. Lt. Col. Charles H. Baumann, commander of the battalion was reviewing officer and a speech was made by Maj. Gen. Carl E. Vuono, then commander of 8th Infantry Division (Mech).

It was the first battalion in the division to be deactivated as part of the Division's change to the Division 86 structure. Known as a "bill paying unit," the battalion's troops and equipment will be used to increase the size of the battalions remaining active, thus allowing for complete reorganization, while maintaining the required manpower ceiling.

The concept of Division 86 has been established to gain maximum advantage from new weapon systems and equipment; it will also enable the Army to make better use of training and living areas in Germany.

B Co. in the battalion was the first unit to relocate to Mainz, becoming D Co., 2nd Bn., 87th Inf. on June 1; C Co. moved June 20 to become D Co. 2nd Bn., 28th Inf.

The 1st Bn., 87th Inf. Regiment was constituted on Nov. 15, 1941, at Fort Lewis, Wash., as part of the 87th Inf. Mountain Regiment.

In 1948, it was redesignated as a regular Army battalion as part of the 10th Inf. Div., Fort Reily, Kan.

On April 19 1963, the battalion was assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 8th Inf. Div. where it has proudly served since.

The deactivation of the 1st Bn., 87th Inf. will continue when A Co. moves to Mainz on July 10 to become D Co., 2nd Bn., 13th Inf.

The remainder of the battalion will be moved to various surrounding support units.
 

1st Bn, 87th Inf

 

1. Motor pool

2. Wrecker

3.


4. B Co barracks

5. M-113

6. Waiting
 

7. B Company motor pool?

8. Still waiting ...

9. Another view
 
Photos to be added are probably from the 1960s

 
2nd Bn, 87th Infantry
 
(Source: Email from Larry N. Osborne)
I was looking at the 8th Div. web page and checked out the info on my old unit, the 2nd of the 87th Inf. I have a couple of comments.

First, I think the 2nd arrived in Germany in the Fall/Winter of 1963 to replace the 2nd of the 9th. I arrived in December 1963, and we were still sharing barracks with the 2nd of the 9th. We were stationed in Sullivan Barracks, located in Kaefertalwald, outside Mannheim. I'm not sure if the 1st used the same DUI, but the vires montesque vincimus one was definitely ours. It replaced a locally created one with "we conquer men and mountains" on it. Because of the way training and assignment was done in those days (draft intakes tended to remain together) there was a large Hawaiian contingent in the unit. I remember watching them see snow for the first time in Winter '63.

The unit was going to be returned to CONUS for additional training and reassignment in late spring/early summer 1966 (eventually Vietnam bound, I believe), but since I was due to be released in May, in the words of the SMaj, "if you don't reenlist you won't be able to go back to the US with the unit." So they discharged me 6 weeks early and I never got the chance to see beautiful SE Asia. That doesn't seem to square with the "remained on active duty in Germany until 1983" line. But since I was sent home, I can't confirm the unit returned in '66.

 
(Source: Email from Tom Early, 2nd Bn, 87th Inf, 1982-86)
I would like to add to the info about 2-87IN, 8th ID.

I arrived in August 1982 after basic training at Fort Knox. I served as a Cavalry Scout in the Scout Platoon of 2-87IN. We were part of the 1st Brigade, 8th ID, and stationed at Robert E. Lee Barracks, Mainz-Gonsenheim, Germany.

In addition to 2-87IN the brigade had 2-28IN, 4-69AR, and 1-68AR which was located separately at Wildflecken.

We trained mainly at Graf and at Hohenfels, with a trip to Baumholder for training alongside 2nd Brigade which was stationed there. 3rd Brigade was in Mannheim, AVN Brigade at Mainz-Finthen Army Airfield, and the 8th DIV HQ was still in Bad Kreuznach.

I was stationed with 2-87IN in Mainz from Aug 1982 until February 1986 when I was transferred to the 24th ID at Fort Stewart. I remember 2-87IN was due to re-flag as 5th Battalion 8th Infantry Regiment around June 1986 because all the 87th Infantry Regiments battalions colors were going to 10th Mountain Division.

I hope this will be a good addition to what has been written on your page about 2-87IN.

 
1st BG, 38th Infantry (ROTAPLAN)
 
(Source: 1st Battle Group, 38th Infantry (ROTAPLAN), 15 Oct 1962-15 April 1963)
 
  Information will be added soon.
 
2nd Inf Div, Fort Benning, GA - CONUS parent unit of the 1st BG, 38th Inf

 
3rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 8th Cavalry
 
1958 

HQ&HQ Troop, 1958
 

HQ Platoon, "A" Troop, 1959
 
(Source: Email from Edward G. Ogle, Sr.)
My 1st Assignment, Hq & Hq Troop, 3rd Recon Sqdn, 8th Cav, 8th Inf. Div. 1958 - This uniform is better than those of today. (attached picture)

2nd assignment: A Troop (Airborne), 3rd Recon - 1959 (attached picture).

We were the first airborne troops in Germany since WWII, and not the 504th or 505th. We received in-country training at Gablingen Kaserne, Augsburg, Germany 1959. There was our Recon Troop, an Infantry Company, an Artillery Company and I think a Combat Engineer Company. When moving on the ground we were regular Recon Cavalry. When in the air we were joined by the other companies and formed a battalion of Airborne. It was our job to secure bridge heads, and disrupt behind the lines, until ground forces arrived. When Airborne I was half of a 30 Cal light MG crew. I ran across my gun team partner again in Vietnam - what a surprise.

As I remember, after we established, the 504th and 505th Airborne came over. Many units were coming in what was called "Operation GYRO" - where entire units were brought in to fill gaps or relieve other units returning to the states. That was soon, either abandoned or completed. When I left the latter part of 1962 there were no more units coming our way.

A normal tour was 4 years max but many of us short-timers were extended 6 months because the East Germans (read Russians) decided to shut down ground access to Berlin again. This time the US said nope, it's not going to happen. I received the alert at about 0300 and by the time I arrived the 18th Infantry (also in Coleman Barracks, Sandhoffen) was moving out the gate. I realized this was no drill because all their external mounted 50s (the M2s) were loaded with live ammo.

The 18th went to Berlin thru a gauntlet of T35s (Webmaster note: should be "T34s"?) or newer stuff, all along the way. I don't think many people in the States have a clue about this. This is also during JFK's time when American came really close to full scale war with the Soviet Union. Seems Russia would poke JFK in the eye and JFK would kick them in the balls. We have never been friends with Russia, we may never be, but we could always trust Russia to be an adversary in control of their stuff. Today, who knows?

(Source: Email from Jerry Smith, Troop A, 3rd Recon Squadron, 8th Cavalry, 1962-64)
From: September 1962-1964 I was assigned to the 7th Army, 8th Infantry Division (Mech). Detached from the 509th Airborne (Mainz-Gonsenheim) to Troop A, 3rd Recon Squadron, 8th Cavalry (Mannheim-Sandhofen) and, if memory serves, after late 1963 it was changed to: Troop A, 3rd Bn, 8th Cav, can't remember for sure.

Wing background was red over white split diagonally for our Cavalry unit; we were Airborne tankers, the only ones in the world at that time to my knowledge.

I stayed on Jump Status during my tour. If the operation went Airborne we were assigned Jeeps with 106 Recoilless Rifles in place of M60 Tanks. I had various duties during the tour; recon took us to the borders many times using our Portable Radar units. Jeep Driver, Machine Gunner (jeeps) and Driver 114 Recon vehicles, 113 Personal Carrier Driver and Radar Operator and Driver - 3/4 (three-quarter) ton truck for the radar equipment also known earlier as a weapons carrier.

During OPERATION BIG LIFT Troop A was assigned to Rhein-Main Air Base to direct and coordinate part of that operation, Might say we were traffic cops. I'm still digging up our unit insignias and trying to remember what I can during that period.
Jerry Smith


3rd Sq, 8th Cav unit area, Coleman Kaserne, Sandhofen (Paul Cleary)
 

3rd Sq, 8th Cav unit area, Coleman Kaserne, Sandhofen (Paul Cleary)
 
(Source: Email from Paul Cleary)
This group of pictures should give you an idea of where "D" Troop was located on Coleman Barracks, Sandhofen. "A" Ttroop was in the four barracks located on the parade/ball field. I think the building #'s are 1400 to 1403.

Additional photos submitted by Paul:
Stuttgart AAF (military side)
Fixed-Wing Platoon Hangar, Stuttgart AAF
CH-37 Mystery Photo

3rd Sq, 8th Cav

 

1. Sp5 Nelson

2. Maybe Sullivan Bks

3. Three members of "D" Trp


 
Related Links:
8th Infantry Division Association - a web site for ALL former soldiers of the 8th Infantry Division from beginning to end..... to keep the memories and spirit of the 8th Infantry Division from fading into history........
Paratroopers of the 50s -
  8th Infantry Division Veterans - Steven J. Dong and Jimmy Cohea are the moderators of this Facebook Page for former members of the Pathfinder Division and their families.  
  20th Transportation Bn - 8th Inf Div - Leonard Yniguez's website that includes photos of the 20th during 1960-61 at Bad Kreuznach.