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.