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Americal Legacy Foundation

WORLD WAR II

World War II

The Americal Division was formed from Task Force 6814 in New Caledonia, Southwest Pacific, on 24 May 1942. The Americal name was taken from “Americans in New Caledonia” and was the only U.S. Army Division with a name and not a number. Among its many units were three orphaned infantry regiments split from National Guard divisions: the 132nd Infantry Regiment from the 33rd Infantry Division of Illinois; the 164th Infantry Regiment from the 34th Infantry Division of North Dakota; and the 182nd Infantry Regiment from the 26th “Yankee” Infantry Division of Massachusetts.

Part of the Americal Division went into action on Guadalcanal on 13 October 1942, the first Army infantry to engage the enemy in World War II. The entire division soon followed to help defeat the Japanese forces on the island.

The Americal Division fought in extensive operations against Japanese forces on Bougainville and the Philippine Islands (Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental). Division operations included amphibious assaults against fiercely defended jungle islands. The division trained on Cebu for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. The Americal Division landed on Japan on 10 September 1945 to take part in occupation duties. The division was inactivated on 12 December 1945 at Fort Lewis, Washington.

For its service in World War II the Americal Division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) for its actions on Guadalcanal and the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation. Company E, 182nd Infantry Regiment was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its defense of Hill 260 on Bougainville.

Soldier Guadalcanal

Americal soldier finds abandoned Japanese rifle in Japanese camp captured on Guadalcanal (Photo: National Archives)

tank jungles Bougainville

Americal soldiers advance past Army tank during attack in the jungles of Bougainville

american forces cebu

Americal soldiers push up a road moving north to clean up the remaining Japanese forces on Cebu (Photo: National Archives)

directing traffic

Americal soldier directs traffic with the aid of Japanese police during occupation duties in Japan after the Japanese surrender (Photo: National Archives)

Larger views of all images can be seen in our Gallery

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Americal Division Veterans Association (ADVA)

The ADVA is dedicated as a LIVING MEMORIAL to all veterans of the Americal Division. It is pledged to foster true American patriotism, provide social and fraternal activities for all members, encourage allegiance to the United States and to its flag, and to perpetuate the traditions and history of the Americal Division of the United States Army.

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