Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

WTW Affinity Groups

The groups below represent organizations / units and their members that Witness to War has done multiple interviews with. We appreciate their service, and the support they continue to provide to Witness to War and our mission. As a ‘Thank You’ to these groups, we have created personalized pages dedicated to them and their members.

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  • 100th Infantry Division

    Originally drawn up in July 1918 to fight the Germans in World War I, the 100th Infantry Division did not participate in the war because of the November 11 Armistice. It was then reactivated in November of 1942 and again began to prepare for war with the Germans. Arriving in France in October 1944, the division launched an offensive through occupied France and breached the heavily defended "Winter Line." The division continued on its offensive and captured Fort Schiesseck, a German defensive position near the French town of Bitche. During the Battle of the Bulge, the 100th Division successfully held its line despite numerous German counterattacks. Then in March of 1945, the 100th Division again went on the offensive and finally liberated Bitche. The division continued to push through France and soon crossed the Rhine River. The men of the 100th Division then fought a bloody nine day battle with the Germans at the town of Heilbronn before continuing on through Germany, eventually receiving orders to patrol the area around Stuttgart. After V-E day, the 100th Division served occupation duty in Germany. During its time in Western and Central Europe, the division liberated over 400 towns and villages from German occupiers. During the Cold War, the 100th Division was again activated, first as the 100th Airborne Division, and then as the 100th Division (Training). It still performs training missions for the US Army today.

  • 101st Airborne Division

    Formed in August of 1942, the 101st Airborne Division fought the Germans all over Western and Central Europe. The division's first combat was in support of the D-Day invasion. The night before the invasion, men from the 101st Airborne jumped and rode on gliders into Normandy. Despite being widely dispersed because of bad drops, and taking severe casualties, the men of the 101st Division fought with valor. They seized the bridge and area around Carentan, fought for their objectives, and severely disrupted German forces. After the battle for Normandy, the division fought in Operation Market Garden. Despite initially capturing many of their objectives during this operation, the men of the 101st were gradually pushed back by fierce German counter attacks. After retreating, the division held "Hell's Highway" and the town of Veghel while facing severe German attacks. After Market Garden, the division was sent into Bastogne, where they held their lines despite continuous German attacks and encirclement during the Battle of the Bulge. During the final days of World War II, the division captured the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. After being deactivated following World War II, the division was reactivated to fight in the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, the division fought in battles such as Hamburger Hill and Firebase Ripcord. The elite soldiers, especially a specialized unit called "Tiger Force," were greatly feared by the North Vietnamese, who warned their soldiers not to engage with the 101st. The division fought during Desert Storm and provided peacekeeping forces in Somalia and Kosovo. The division has also fought in the War on Terror, fighting against Islamic terrorists during multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • 1st Armored Division

    The 1st Armored Division was the first American armored division to see combat in World War II. As part of Operation Torch, the division first fought the Germans in a series of back and forth battles across North Africa. After gaining experience, the unit was finally able to defeat Rommel and the German Afrika Korps in the Battle of Djebel Achtel, leading to the surrender of the Afrika Korps a few days later. The 1st Armored Division was then part of the invasion of Italy. It first helped breach the heavily defended Winter Line, then proceeded to flank and defeat German forces during the Anzio landings. Afterwards, it launched an offensive north, breaching German lines and chasing Axis forces farther north. Before it experienced anymore combat, it was reorganized so that it could fight more efficiently in the mountains of Italy and the Po Valley, where it fought until the May 2 surrender of German forces. It did not fight in the Korean War, instead it trained for anticipated atomic warfare. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was prepared to launch an amphibious assault on Cuba. The unit as a whole did not fight in the Vietnam War, but two of its sub-units did, both earning Presidential Unit Citations for valor. During the Gulf War, the division acted as an armored spearhead, breaking through Iraqi lines and sweeping through Kuwait. Its first major engagement of the war was the Battle of Al Busayyah, where it used superior tactics and technology to wipe out Iraqi Republican Guard units. It then proceeded to fight in the Battle of Medina Ridge where, in the largest tank battle in American history, it managed to wipe out hundreds of Iraqi vehicles while taking very few casualties. The division deployed to Iraq after Operation Iraqi Freedom in order to combat terror and stabilize its area of operations. During its multiple deployments to Iraq, the division created new tactics and strategies to deal with the insurgents and eventually was able to mostly pacify its area of operations. Its last deployment was to Afghanistan where it helped fight terror and turn the Afghan National Army units in its sector into an effective force. Afterwards, it rotated back to Fort Bliss in the United States.

  • 1st Cavalry Division

    The 1st Cavalry Division gave up its horses and first saw combat in the Pacific Theater during World War II. As part of the island hopping campaign, the 1st Cavalry Division fought and defeated the Japanese during the invasion of the Admiralty Islands, Leyte, and Luzon. The division was also the first to enter Tokyo during the occupation of Japan. The division also served in the Korean War. It was one of the first divisions sent to shore up the Pusan Perimeter. After the landings at Inchon, it was part of the offensive north that captured Pyongyang, where it served as a security force. It was then ordered to head to Unsan. During the Battle of Unsan, the division was attacked by overwhelming Chinese forces and its 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry was almost completely destroyed. The division was soon rotated back to Japan. The division next served in the Vietnam War, where it was an air assault division and pioneered the air mobile tactics that became famous during the Vietnam War. Its most famous fight during the Vietnam War was the Battle of Ia Drang, where it defeated a communist force despite being outnumbered, and it demonstrated the effectiveness of air mobile tactics. The division also fought in Hue during the Tet Offensive, during the relief of Khe Sahn in Operation Pegasus, and during Operation Delaware. During all of those operations, it defeated numerically superior communist forces and served with distinction. The division rotated back to Fort Hood in 1971, by which time it had suffered more casualties than any other Army division. During the remainder of the Cold War, the division served primarily as a test bed for new tactics and equipment, and was one of the first units to use the M-1 Abrams tank. The division then served as an armored spearhead during Operation Desert Storm, and as a peacekeeping force in Bosnia. The division most recently has fought Islamic radicals in Iraq during the Second Battle of Fallujah, and in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

  • 1st Infantry Division

    The 1st Infantry Division first saw combat in France during World War I. It was the first American unit to fire at the Germans, and was responsible for the first American victory of the war- it captured Cantigny. The division next captured Soissons, then fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during which it advanced to Sedan, the farthest point past German lines any American unit got during World War I. The division next fought during World War II. As part of Operation Torch the division landed in North Africa and then fought the Afrika Korps. It then landed in Sicily, fighting and winning at Gela before advancing through the Sicilian mountains. The division then fought in Operation Overlord- it was in the first wave of troops to land on Omaha beach. After fighting inland and helping to capture St. Lo, the division launched a continuous assault through France, eventually capturing Aachen. The division then fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped stop that German offensive. The division then fought through the Siegfried Line and helped encircle German forces in the Ruhr pocket. It managed to fight into Czechoslovakia before the war ended. During the Vietnam War, the division fought from 1965-70, fighting in famous operations such as Operation Bushmaster I and II, Operation Marauder, Operation Cedar Falls, Operation Attleboro, and Operation Junction City. It also fought during the Tet Offensive and the resulting US and ARVN counter-offensives. During the Gulf War, the division was one of the first to breach Iraqi defenses, then launched a 160 mile advance through Iraqi lines. The division destroyed almost a thousand Iraqi vehicles and neutralized thousands of enemy soldiers in just 100 hours. Next, the division provided peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. The division served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the resulting anti-terrorism missions from 2003-2011. It was then deployed to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. In 2014, the division was deployed back to Iraq to fight ISIS.

  • 1st Marine Division

    The 1st Marine Division first saw action in World War I, where it fought with distinction as an infantry unit in battles in Belleau Wood and St. Mihiel. During World War II, the division saw its first combat when it took Guadalcanal from Japanese forces. Landing without tents, insect repellent, or mosquito nets, the division still managed to defeat the Japanese and earned one of its three Presidential Unit Citations. The division then fought in New Britain during Operation Cartwheel. Afterwards, the division was sent to fight on Peleliu, where it fought in some of the most intense and brutal combat in the Pacific Theater, but eventually defeated Japanese forces and secured Peleliu's airfield. The last battle of the war for the division was on Okinawa, where it fought against fanatical Japanese troops until the island was finally secure. After Japan surrendered, the division was sent to China to help round up the hundreds of thousands of remaining Japanese troops and send them back to Japan. While in China, the division also had to fend off Chinese communist attacks on American supplies and trains. During the Korean War, the division landed at Inchon and seized the city from communist forces. It then advanced into North Korea, but was surprised by Chinese forces and forced to retreat through the Chosin Reservoir in freezing conditions. For the remainder of the war, the division fought smaller battles along a defensive line in the Punchbowl region. During the Vietnam War, the division conducted the first ground combat missions of the War- Operation Piranha and Operation Starlight. For the next two years, the division fought in almost 45 large combat operations and then fought in Hue during the Tet Offensive, defeating numerous communist assaults. The division was also the last unit in Vietnam, and it evacuated the embassy in Saigon during its fall in 1975. During Operation Desert Storm, the division helped liberate Kuwait by destroying over 100 Iraqi tanks. After Desert Storm, the division provided humanitarian services in Bangladesh and Somalia. During the 2003 Iraq invasion, the division quickly broke through Iraqi defensive lines and advanced over 800km into Iraq in only 17 days. The division then switched to fighting terrorists, first throughout Iraq and then Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

  • 20th Air Force

    The 20th Air Force was created in 1944 in order to have an Air Force dedicated to bombing Japanese targets with B-29 Superfortress Bombers. Flying out of China, the 20th Air Force was able to launch the first attack on Japan since the Doolittle Raid. However, because of logistics and targeting issues, the 20th Air Force was transferred from China to the Marianas. Once they were based in the Marianas, the 20th switched from high-explosive bombs to incendiary bombs in order to try and burn out most of the industries in Japanese cities. Because most of Japanese industrial output came from its cottage industry, attacks on the few large Japanese factories were ineffective and inefficient. The fire-bombing raids, however, were far more effective in destroying Japanese industry because they completely destroyed the small shops and homes in which goods were being manufactured. The raids were able to destroy most of the medium to large sized Japanese cities, which both knocked out the majority of Japan's ability to produce war fighting materials, and caused a panic in the civilian population that started to lead to calls to end the war. The 20th was also tasked with dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and continued launching conventional raids on remaining Japanese cities until the surrender broadcast on August 15. The 20th then dropped humanitarian aid to Allied prisoners of war in Japan. During the Korean War, the 20th Air Force attacked North Korean troops and air bases. After the war, it became a part of Strategic Air Command. It was reactivated in 1991 and now is part of Global Strike Command and controls Minuteman-III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

  • 25th Infantry Division

    The 25th Infantry Division's first fighting of World War II was on Guadalcanal. Sent to relieve the Marines defending Henderson Field, the 25th Infantry Division began fighting Japanese forces in some of the most ferocious fighting in the Pacific Theater. After finally taking Mount Austen and breaking the back of the Japanese defenders, the division was able to finish off the last pockets of Japanese resistance and secure Guadalcanal. The division was then sent to capture New Georgia, which it did in a matter of weeks. The division was then sent to the Philippines, where it destroyed a large portion of the Japanese tanks and was nicknamed the "Lightning Division" because of how quickly it advanced. The division was able to keep advancing through the Philippines despite numerous Japanese counterattacks, and was eventually able to mop up enemy resistance and secure its area. During the Korean War, the division was renowned for its effectiveness. It broke out of the Pusan Perimeter and quickly advanced up through North Korea, eventually reaching the Yalu River. However, it, like many other units, was surprised by the sudden Chinese counterattack, and was pushed back past multiple defensive lines. It then reorganized and launched offensives that drove communist forces back across the Han River. For the rest of the war, the division defended its line, and managed to repel a massive Chinese attack in 1952. It was one of the most decorated divisions of the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, the division fought from 1966-72 and was called to fight in some of the toughest fights of the war including Operation Junction City and the incursion operations into Cambodia that wreaked havoc on communist logistics. The division also defended Saigon during the Tet Offensive. The division has also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the War on Terror. In Iraq, the division helped provide security for elections and defend Baghdad, and in Afghanistan it helped hunt down terrorists hiding in the mountains. It also provided military assistance to local forces in both countries.

  • 29th Infantry Division

    The 29th Infantry Division first saw combat in France during World War I. During the final months of the war, it was part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, during which it advanced through heavily defended German lines and knocked out hundreds of artillery pieces and machine guns. It next fought during World War II, again in France. As part of Operation Overlord it landed at Omaha Beach, but most of its landing craft were blown off course during the landings because of rough seas and weather. After taking Omaha Beach, the division fought through heavy German defenses in the Normandy hedgerows, and eventually liberated St. Lo despite house-to-house fighting and heavy German artillery fire. The division then fought through Brest and eventually into Germany. The division then served occupation duty until 1946. The division was deactivated during the Vietnam War because the Army was trying to shift resources away from National Guard divisions, such as the 29th. It was reactivated in 1984 as a light infantry division. The division saw its first combat since World War II in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. It helped provide security for Bagram Air Base and for elections in other provinces, along with patrols to find and destroy the Taliban. The division has also fought in Iraq and acted as a peacekeeping force in Bosnia.

  • 2nd Armored Division

    The 2nd Armored Division first saw combat during World War II. Commanded by General George S. Patton, the division landed in North Africa during Operation Torch and fought against Rommel's elite Afrika Korps. The division then landed in Sicily, where it fought in the Battle of Gela before fighting to Palermo. The division was then transferred to England, where it trained for the upcoming invasion of France. Landing on Omaha beach, the division pressed inland and fought against and defeated one of the best German units of the war- the elite 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Division Das Reich. It then punched through the heavily defended Siegfried Line, advancing into Germany. Afterward, the division had to be transferred to Eastern Belgium to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. The division crossed the Rhine and then raced across German territory and was the first unit to reach the Elbe River, where it halted until the end of the war. The unit was stationed in Germany through most of the 50's in order to deter the Soviets from attacking. Once relocated to Fort Hood, the unit mostly trained for armored warfare with the Warsaw Pact, so it didn't fight as a division in Vietnam, although some of its units did. The division did fight in the Gulf War. Instead of fighting as a division, its brigades fought with other units, so it was able to fight in the Battle of 73 Easting, Battle of Kuwait International Airport, and Battle of Norfolk. During those battles, the brigades from the division were credited with destroying hundreds of enemy armored vehicles. The division was inactivated following the end of the Cold War, but one of its brigades was attached to the famous 1st Cavalry Division.

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