The 36th Infantry Division—also known as the Fighting 36th, the Panther Division, or the Texas Division—is a modular division of the United States Army National Guard. It was activated for service in World War II on November 25, 1940, and was sent overseas in April 1943.
It was reactivated in 2004 from the previous 49th Armored Division.
The 36th Infantry Division landed in North Africa, 13 April 1943, and trained at Arzew and Rabat. It first saw action, 9 September 1943, when it landed by sea at Paestum on the Gulf of Salerno against intense German opposition. The Germans launched counterattacks on September 12-14, but the 36th repulsed them with the aid of air support and naval gunfire, and advanced slowly, securing the area from Agropoli to Altavilla.
After a brief rest the 36th returned to combat, 15 November. It captured Mount Maggiore, Mount Lungo, and the village of San Pietro despite strong enemy positions and severe winter weather. This grueling campaign was marked by futile attempts to establish a secure bridgehead across the Rapido River, 1 January to 8 February 1944. After assisting the 34th Division in the attack on Cassino and fighting defensively along the Rapido River, the severely depleted 36th withdrew, 12 March 1944, for rest and rehabilitation. On 25 May, the Division landed at Anzio, drove north to capture Velletri, 1 June, and entered Rome on the 5th. Pushing up from Rome, the 36th encountered sharp resistance at Magliano, but reached Piombino, 26 June, before moving back to Paestum for rest and rehabilitation.
On 15 August, as part of the American 6th Army Group, the Division made another amphibious assault landing, against light opposition in the Saint-Raphaël-Fréjus area of Southern France as part of Operation Dragoon. A rapid advance opened the Rhone River Valley. Montelimar fell, 28 August, and large German units were trapped. The 36th advanced to the Moselle River at Remiremont and the foothills of the Vosges. In a grinding offensive, the Division crossed the Meurthe River, breached the Ste. Marie Pass and burst into the Alsatian Plains. The enemy counterattacked, 13 December, but the 36th held the perimeter of the Colmar Pocket. The German Army counterattacks out of the Colmar Pocket were so fierce, that at times, the field artillery was forced to fire over open sights, at point blank range to stop them. On the 20th the Division resumed the attack, advancing northward along the Rhine River to Mannheim meeting heavy resistance at Haguenau, Oberhofen, and Wissembourg. In this action Company "G" 143rd Infantry Regiment gained a Presidential Unit Citation (US).
The Division was taken out of the line for the first time since it had landed in the south of France. It returned to the line early March 1945. The 36th moved to the Danube, 22 April 1945, and attacked the "National Redoubt" at Künzelsau on the 30th in its final action.
In 2005 approximately 100 soldiers of the 36th Infantry Division deployed to Bosnia for Enduring Mission 3 which was a continuation from previous IFOR and SFOR missions. When Task Force Strike left Eagle Base in Tuzla late 2006, it marked the end of an American military maneuver presence in Bosnia which had existed for almost a decade after the Dayton Accords.
In 2005, over three thousand troops from the 56th BCT, 36th ID deployed to Iraq as part of the largest deployment of Texas troops since World War II.
In 2005-2006, 800 Soldiers of 3d Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 72d Brigade, 36th Infantry Division deployed to Afghanistan for combat operations. The Battalion was attached to the 504th Infantry Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division and earned a Joint Meritorious Unit Citation.
In 2006, the 1st Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division served as the first cavalry unit as peacekeepers in the Sinai Desert for the Multinational Force and Observers. The force was made up of soldiers from several units of the 36th Infantry Division including 1-112th AR, 2-112th AR, 3-112th AR, and 3rd Mech.
In late 2006, a Company of Soldiers from the 3d Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment deployed to Iraq to participate in combat operations. They returned in late 2007.
In late 2005 to late 2006, the 36th Infantry Division was the major leading force for KFOR7, the peacekeeping mission on Kosovo.
The Combat Aviation Brigade, 36th Infantry Division shipped to Iraq in September 2006 for a planned one-year deployment.
On May 7, 2007 3d Battalion 144th Infantry Regiment mobilized as "Task Force Panther" in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "Task Force Panther" trained at Camp Shelby, MS, and, after validation, forward deployed to Kuwait, where they processed into theater and transferred into Iraq.
The organization of the 36th Infantry Division is still unclear, as the Army is undergoing a transformation to brigade units of action and the 36th is not expected to complete its reorganization until 2012.
36th Infantry Division consists of the following elements:
|Start Date||End Date||Commander|
|8/23/1917||11/6/1917||MG E. St. John Grebble|
|11/18/1917||12/5/1917||BG George Blakely (during absence of Grebble)|
|12/6/1917||8/2/1918||MG E. St. John Grebble|
|8/3/1918||6/18/1919||MG William "Billy" R. Smith|
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