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2nd Infantry Division

The 2nd Infantry Division ("Indianhead") (2ID or 2nd ID or 2nd D) is an arm of the US Army. Its primary mission is and has been for many years is the defense of South Korea in the initial stages of an invasion from North Korea until other American units can arrive. The 2nd D were up 1.1 Million active duty North Korean troops, with 180,000 of the being NKP Special Forces, largest Special Forces unit in the world. Five times as many NK Special Forces than the entire 2nd ID. There are approximately only 30,000 soldiers in the 2nd Infantry Division.

  • * "Indian Head" Division (so named after the unit patch)
  • * "Warrior Division" (official nickname)
  • * Motto: "Second to None"

2nd ID 4 patches One of the few active units organized on foreign soil, the 2nd Infantry Division was born on 26 October, 1917, at Beaumont, France. At the time of its activation, the Indianhead Division was composed of the U.S. 1st Infantry Brigade, which was a normal Organic Brigade which included the U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment; and the U.S. 23d Infantry Regiment; and the U.S. 4th Marine Brigade, which consisted of the U.S. 5th Marine Regiment, and the U.S. 6th Marine Regiment, a battalion of Field Artillery, and various supporting units. The Indianhead insignia got started in mid-March 1918 when the 2d Division was occupying trenches in the Toulon-Troyon sectors, Lieutenant Samuel T. Swift, 2d Supply Trains, was ordered to proceed to the 26th Division's sector for the purpose of bringing back some light Ford delivery trucks. Upon his return he reported to the Trains Commander, Colonel Herringshaw, and told him of insignia seen on trains in the Allied Army. They both agreed that the 2nd Division Supply Trains certainly should have one. They believed to believed to be the best outfit in the best Division in Europe?

The history of the "most coveted shoulder flash of the AEF is also a history of the Divisional nickname "Indianhead." The two are synonymous. The insignia portrays the All-American traditions of the Division as well as its place of origin.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea during the summer of 1950, the 2nd Infantry Division was quickly alerted for movement to the Far East Command. The division arrived in Korea, via Pusan on 23 July, becoming the first unit to reach Korea directly from the United States. Initially employed piecemeal, the entire division was committed as a unit on 24 August, 1950, relieving the US 24th Infantry Division struck in a desperate human wave attack on the night of 31 August. In the 16-day battle that followed, the division's clerks, bandsmen, technical and supply personnel joined in the fight to defend against the attackers. The INDIANHEAD DIVISION five times matched its valor against Red numbers in Korea to win improbable victories. . ."

Shortly thereafter, the 2nd D was the first unit to break out of the Pusan perimeter and they led the US Eighth Army Border. It was at this time that the 2nd D received a crucial new support element. In August of 1950, with American forces dwindling, a Korean Augmentation to the United States Army was established. These valiant new 2nd Infantry Division troops, known since simply as KATUSA, helped turn the tide of the war for American forces.

Now within fifty miles of the Manchurian border when People's Liberation Army front was saved and the general offensive continued.

Again in April and May 1951, the 2nd Infantry Division was instrumental in smashing the communist's spring offensive. For its part in this action the 2nd Infantry Division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (US), four years after its last unit arrived in Korea, the 2nd D was alerted for re-deployment to the United States.


In the summer of 1954 the 2nd Division was transferred from Korea to Fort Lewis, Washington, where it remained for only two years, until being transferred to Alaska in August of 1956. On 8 November, 1957, it was announced that the division was to be deactivated. However, a few short months later, in the spring of 1958, the Department of the Army announced that the 2nd Infantry Division would be reorganized at Fort Benning, Georgia (U.S. state) (STRAC) unit. Following this the Division became engaged in intensified combat training, tactical training, and field training exercises, in addition to special training designed to improve operational readiness.

Return to Korea

Because of the increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula, the 2nd Infantry Division returned to the Republic of Korea in July of 1965. North Korean forces were engaging in increasing border incursions and infiltration attempts and the 2nd Division was called upon to help halt these attacks. On 2 November 1966, soldiers of the 1st Battalion, US 23d Infantry Regiment worked to stop these border incursions and infiltration attempts, 16 American soldiers were killed that year.

In 1968 North Koreans continued to probe across the DMZ, and in 1969, while on patrol, 4 soldiers of 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry were killed, but by 1970 the North had decided that their efforts against the 2nd ID weren't worth the cost and organized attacks stopped that year. By March of 1971 ROK forces had assumed the responsibility for the defense of all but 500 yards of the DMZ, allowing the 2nd Infantry Division to maintain combat readiness in case of any eventuality.

tree cutting On 18 August 1976, during a routine tree-trimming operation within the DMZ, two American officers were bludgeoned to death in a melee with North Korean border guards in the Joint Security Area. What resulted is known as Operation Paul Bunyan. The 2nd Infantry Division was chosen to spearhead the United Nations Command response to this incident and on 21 August, Task Force Brady, a group of ROK soldiers American infantry and engineers, swept into the area and cut down the infamous "Panmunjom Tree". The 2nd Infantry Division delivered an unmistakable message to the North Koreans, as well as to the world.

Shortly after the incident, North Korean media began airing reports of the fight. The North Korean version stated:

"Around 10:45 a.m. today, the American imperialist aggressors sent in 14 hoodlums with axes into the Joint Security Area to cut the trees on their own accord, although such a work should be mutually consented beforehand. Four persons from our side went to the spot to warn them not to continue the work without our consent. Against our persuasion, they attacked our guards en masse and committed a serious provocative act of beating our men, wielding murderous weapons and depending on the fact that they outnumbered us. Our guards could not but resort to self-defense measures under the circumstances of this reckless provocation."

Within four hours of the attack, Kim Jong-il, son of the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung addressed the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he presented a prepared document describing the incident as an unprovoked attack on North Korean guards, led by American officers. He then introduced a resolution asking the conference to condemn that day's grave U.S. provocation and called on participants to endorse both the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Korea and the dissolution of the United Nations Command, which was seconded by Cuba. With such a short time since the incident, with details still sketchy, and the nature of Conference of Non-Aligned Nations, the members of the conference passed the resolution.

The 2nd Infantry Division is still stationed in Korea, with a number of camps near the DMZ. Command headquarters are at Camp Red Cloud in Uijongbu.

The 2nd Infantry Division, unlike any other division in the Army, is made up partially of Korean soldiers, called KATUSA'S (Korean Augmentation to US Army). This program began in 1950 by an agreement with South Korean President Syngman Rhee. Some 27,000 KATUSAs served with the US forces at the end of the Korean War. Approximately 1,400 served in 2002. As of May 2006, this number had decreased to approximately 1,100 KATUSA soldiers serving with 2nd D.