Ninety-Nine Years of Thunderbolt!
The 83d Infantry Division celebrated 99 years of history at Fort Knox, Kentucky on 5 August 2016. COL Nelson Irizarry, Commander of the 83rd United States Army Reserve Readiness Training Center hosted a celebration of the rich history and lineage of the “Thunderbolt!” Division that spans from WWI to present.
The 83d Infantry Division was activated in September 1917 at Camp Sherman, Ohio. The Division was designated as a depot division and ordered to the area of Le Mans, France. The 332nd Infantry Regiment was detached and selected to represent American forces with the Italian Army and saw action in the area of Vittorio-Veneto, Italy. The unit provided more than 195,000 officers/enlisted replacements during the war. They were awarded a WWI Battle Streamer without inscription and deactivated in October 1919.
The unit was reactivated 15 August 1942 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The 83d Infantry Division arrived in England on 16 April 1944. After training in Wales, the Division landed at Omaha Beach, 18 June 1944, and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan on 27 June. On 7 August the Division approached the heavily fortified area protecting St. Malo. Intense fighting reduced enemy strong points and a combined attack against the Citadel Fortress of St. Servan caused its surrender on 7 August. Moving to the Hurtgen Forest, the 83d thrust forward from Gressenich to the west bank of the Roer. It entered the Battle of the Bulge on 27 December, striking at Rochefort and reducing the enemy salient in a bitter struggle. On 1 March 1945, the 83d advanced toward the Rhine in the operation "Grenade," and captured Neuss. The 83d crossed the Rhine on 29 March, and advanced across the Munster Plain to the Weser. The Division crossed the Leine, 8 April, and attacked to the east, pushing over the Harz Mountain region and advancing to the Elbe at Barby. The 83d established a bridgehead over the river but evacuated the area to the Russians on 6 May 1945. The unit was awarded five battle streamers and was deactivated in April of 1946 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.
Returning to their Ohio roots the 83d Infantry Division was again reactivated on 1 October 1946 in Cleveland, OH. The unit reorganized and redesignated to the Army Reserves on 9 July 1952. The unit was inactivated on 31 December 1965 in Cleveland, Ohio.
In a reflagging ceremony held at Fort Knox, KY on 24 April 2014, the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center was re-designated the 83rd US Army Reserve Readiness Training Center by encasing the ARRTC colors and uncasing the new 83rd USARRTC colors. The ARRTC's Minuteman was retained and Soldiers assigned to the organization now wear the black, triangular patch of the historic "Ohio Division." The event signified the merging of two US Army organizations and their separate histories into one. The ARRTC was stood up in peacetime to meet specific needs of the force. The 83d Division was stood up twice in times of war to meet the needs of the nation.
Guest Speaker Dr. Leo J. Daugherty III, Senior Command Historian, U.S. Army Cadet Command with a presentation: “Leadership from Below: the 83rd Division’s Race to the Elbe, March- April 1945”
The 83d ID WWII Reenactors set-up outside the General George Patton Museum of Leadership
CSM Robert Swift, COL Nelson Irizarry and Mr. Dave Dimmick (83d ID WWII Veteran Descendant) cut the birthday cake to celebrate 99 years of Thunderbolt!