The Americal Division
of the United States Army
was constituted from Task Force 6814
and the 164th Infantry Regiment
on May 24, 1942 in order to hold New Caledonia
against the Japanese
during World War II
. It was the only division not designated by number, taking its name from the phrase "Americans in New Caledonia." Its insignia was the four stars representing the Southern Cross
on a field of blue.
On October 13, 1942, the 164th Infantry Regiment of the Americal Division went into action on Guadalcanal as the first United States Army unit to conduct an offensive against the enemy in any theater of the war. The rows of wooden crosses on Guadalcanal representing the fallen Americal soldiers and their brothers of the 1st Marine Division mark the first military cemetery in the Solomon Islands.
In 1943 the Americal was given the mission of defending the Fiji Islands, a vital communications link between the United States and the Pacific theater.
By 1944 the combat troops of the Americal found themselves on Bougainville Island, relieving the 3rd Marine Division. After a year of heavy fighting there, the first units of the division arrived in the Philippines and the island of Leyte, where they commenced the enormous mopping-up operation that found them fighting on Samar Island, the Balicuatro Islands of Capul, Biri and Noranjo, as well as Ticao, Burias, and the Camotes Islands.
As part of Operation Victor II, the Americal fought on Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental.
In September of 1945, the division took part in the occupation of Yohohama, Kawasaki, and Yokosuka, Japan.
By Christmas of 1945, the Americal Division, Born in Battle, "Under the Southern Cross", was officially deactivated after receiving a heroes' welcome in Seattle, Washington.
And then came Vietnam.
Task Force Oregon became operational on April 20, 1967, when elements from the 196th Brigade landed in Chu Lai, in I Corps, Quang Ngai Province, the birthplace of Ho Chi Minh. In May of that year, paratroopers from the 101st Airborne arrived at Duc Pho and conducted operations in the jungles west of there. By late September, 1967, Task Force Oregon had become the re-activated Americal Division, composed of the 196th, 198th, and the 11th Light Infantry Brigades. The Americal was the seventh Army Division fighting in Vietnam.
The history of the Americal's involvement in Vietnam is written in a few battalion-sized offensives, major "Pacification" efforts, the infamous '68 Tet Offensive, Operation Russell Beach on the Batangan Peninsula south of Chu Lai, and the countless skirmishes and brain-numbing patrols that were commonplace in the war.
But the day that Lt. William Calley's Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal, opened fire on the unarmed men, women and children of a small village south of Americal headquarters called My Lai epitomized for most of the world the entire shameful American misadventure in Southeast Asia.
Nearly 400 innocent civilians were killed by heavily-armed American G.I.s on March 16th, 1968, and the Army, in an early example of spin-doctoring, court-martialed Calley--and ONLY Calley--and changed the name of the once-proud Americal Division to the 23rd Infantry Division, as if that would make people forget.
- I was a prisoner in a Mexican Whorehouse
- A long time gone
- How to brush your teeth in a combat zone
- Libber and I go to war
- Fate takes a piss
- Thanks For the Memory
- Back in the Shit
- LZ Waterloo
- Saturday Night, Numbah Ten
a long commute
Andy X Kirby True
a tale of two Woodstocks
Buy a Gun
Dawn at The Wall
Feat of Clay
I was a free man once, in Saigon
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
the shit we ate
Combat Infantryman Badge
Firebase Mary Ann
the 1st Cav
The Highest Traditions
Those Who Forget
Under the Southern Cross
Whither the Phoenix?
A Bright Shining Lie
Apocalypse Now Redux
Hearts and Minds
We Were Soldiers