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.