Seventh Division Highlights
No Division in the history of the United States Army had been called upon to perform so many missions under such varied terrain and weather conditions as the Seventh Division. The Division traveled further than any other Division in any war, covering a total of 16,910 miles from May 1943 to September 1945. Though the Seventh Division never gained the glamour or publicity bestowed on some other World War II Divisions, it most certainly earned the utmost respect and highest admiration by all who are familiar with the Division’s record. A Marine, interrupted not long ago in a diatribe against the Army, its members and its record in the Pacific, paid the Division what was for him the ultimate compliment. Asked, “Well, I guess the Seventh is kind if different.” They’re almost like marines. Major General Archibald V. Arnold, Commanding the 7th Division, hesitated at the implication of vainglory, but did say, “I think this is one of the best Divisions in the United States Army. It can do more different things than any other I know.”
The following brief of the Division History brings us up to the Korean occupation. The Seventh Infantry Division was activated on 6 December 1917 at Camp Wheeler, Georgia. It was sent overseas in August 1918, and took part in the Second Army offensive, including the Penny Ridge attack on November 10, 1918. The Seventh Division was returned home in 1919 and disbanded in 1923. The present Seventh Division was reactivated in July 1940, under the command of then Major General Joseph Stillwell. It homed at Fort Ord, California, and, upon the attack of Pearl Harbor, was immediately moved into defense positions along the California coastline. After six months of patrol and outpost duties the Division resumed training, this time at Camp San Luis Obispo, as a Motorized Division. Maneuvers in the Mojave Desert were followed by amphibious training, prior to launching the attack on Attu. On 11 May 1943, the Division landed the first wave in the battle for Attu. During the next three weeks the Division engaged in bitter fighting against the Japanese. Such names as Massacre Bay, Holtz Bay and Chichagoff Harbor will be ever present in the Division’s history. On 30 May 1943, the last Japanese counterattack was defeated and the Seventh Division had recaptured the first American territory lost in World War II. After the Seventh’s victory on Attu, elements of the Division joined Major General C. H. Corlett’s Ninth Amphibious Force which landed on Kiska in August 1943, only to find that the Japanese garrison had rapidly evacuated a few days prior to the United States troops assault. Upon completion of the Aleutian campaign the Division moved to the Hawaiian Islands, there learning the problems and techniques of landing on tiny islands of a coral atoll and the principles of jungle fighting. On 1 February 1944, the Seventh attacked Kwajaein and after five days of fighting the 32nd and 184th Infantry Regiments killed every living enemy on Kwajalein except a punch-drunk few who surrendered. The 17th Infantry Regiment attacking the nearby island of Ebeye, killed nearly 6,000 Japanese, losing only 171 dead, and 1,100 injured, from their forces. In this action the Seventh Division earned her spurs as a jungle fighting organization. The Seventh Division was committed next in the attack on the island of Leyte where the Division was engaged from 20 October 1944 until 10 February 1945. During the battle of Leyte the Division fought over thirty-seven miles, patrolled 1857 square miles moving a total of 110 miles. IT lost 541 men killed and in return killed over 15,000 Japanese. The Division then received four days rest before re-embarking for Okinawa. On 1 April 1945, the Division landed on Okinawa where it proved its ability to fight all day and take heavy artillery shelling all night. The bloody Okinawa battle ended on 21 June 1945. Just three days after VJ day on 5 September 1945, the Division set sail once more – this time for Korea to receive the surrender of the Japanese troops south of the 38th North Parallel. In the following pages of this pictorial are shown the activities of the Division in occupying South Korea.