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30th Division, 117th Infantry Regiment, L Company

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History

Click the link for the history of the 117th Regiment of the 30th Division or read about the division's history below. 

Division History

The division was named "Old Hickory" after famed president and soldier Andrew Jackson. The 30th Division carries on a long tradition of southern military service. The 120th Infantry Regiment was descended from the First North Carolina Infantry, which fought at Gettysburg. The 117th came from the famous Tennessee Volunteers of the Mexican War and both units can trace their heritage to units that fought in the Revolutionary War.

The 30th Infantry Division was activated in September 1917 at Camp Sevier SC and was composed of National Guard units from North and South Carolina and Tennessee. The division served overseas with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I distinguishing itself in the Somme Offensive by breaking the notorious Hindenburg Line and in the Battle of Le Selle, Ypres, St. Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne. After World War I, the 30th was deactivated from Federal Service and reverted to its National Guard role in its respective states.

In September 1940, the 30th Infantry Division, now composed of the National Guards of North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia, was inducted into Federal Service at Fort Jackson SC. After receiving replacements from nearly every state in the Union, the division continued it's training at Camp Blanding FL, Camp Forrest TN, and Camp Atterbury IN, then departed for England in February 1944.

The division started crossing the English Channel to France on June 6, D-Day, to replace some of the units of the 29th Division, which had been almost immediately lost. The balance of the division went into Normandy on Omaha Beach on D-Day plus 4, June 10, and was immediately committed against the German Army. The 120th Infantry captured Monmartin-en-Graignes the following day and then defended the Vire-Taute Canal line. The 117th Infantry attacked across the Vire and the 120th assaulted across the Vire-Taute Canal on July 7, 1944, establishing a bridgehead at St. Jean-de-Day. As the division advanced on St. Lo it checked a German counterattack along the main Hauts-Vents Highway.

Click on the link below to read more about important battles of the 30th Infantry Division in World War Two.

Important battles of the 30th division in World War Two

Old Hickory got another nickname when an AP war correspondent called the 30th "The American Army's workhorse division". It was also known as "Roosevelt's SS", named by German high command because of the consistent vigor and pressure the division brought to bear on the 1st SS Division. The 1st SS was the main force of resistance just before the breakthrough at St. Lo and at Mortain, which the 30th tore to shreds. The 1st SS faced the 30th again during the Battle of the Bulge. Again the 30th defeated this elite unit, which was never to do battle again.

The Army historian S.L.A. Marshall called the Thirtieth the Finest Infantry Division in the European Theater of Operations.

It is the combined judgments of the approximately 35 historical officers who had worked on the records and in the field that the 30th merited this distinction. It was our finding that the 30th had been outstanding in three operations and we could consistently recommend it for citation on any of these occasions. It was further found that it had in no single instance performed discreditably or weakly and in no single operation had it carried less than its share of the burden or looked bad when compared to the forces on its flanks. We were especially impressed with the fact that it consistently achieved results without undue wastage of its men.

Decorations of the 30th Infantry Division

bulgeconvoy.jpg
Pvt. Howard Null and Pvt. Brian Walter sit in "Hawg Driver" awaiting the formation of the convoy.