The 78th Division History was provided by Jim McGovern
The 78th is the famous Lightning Division. The shoulder insignia mirrors the nickname - a red semicircle with a white lightning bolt streaking through it. There are two stories concerning the origin of the sobriquet. The first holds that, in World War I, the French compared the action of the 78th to a bolt of lightning that seared the field through which it raced. The other is attributed to the fact that the Division was first formed in Burlington County. It was called "Lightning Division" to honor the famous Jersey Applejack whiskey produced in that county.
The 78th Infantry Division was activated on 23 August 1917 at Camp Dix, New Jersey. It consisted of four infantry regiments- the 309th, 310th. 311th and 312th. and three Artillery regiments- the 307th. 308th and 309th. Twenty thousand soldiers made up the original Division.
In France. during the summer and fall of 1918, it was the” point of the wedge” of the final offensive, which knocked out Germany. The 78th was in three major campaigns during World War 1- Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel and Lorraine. Demobilization took place after the war in June 1919.
In World War 11, the 78th Division was reactivated at Camp Butner, North Carolina on 15 August 1942. After two years as a Training Division. the 78th embarked for the European Theatre. There, in combat in Belgium. France and Germany. our men brought even more honor to an already proud name. The Siegfried Line. the Roer and the Rhine rivers, the Cologne plain, the Remagen bridgehead, the Rhur pocket- all lay along the road to Berlin, where after six months of occupation duty, the Division was officially deactivated in May of 1946.
In November 1946. the 78th Infantry Division was reactivated at Newark, New Jersey and in May 1959 it was reorganized as a Training Division. The 78th Division again responded to the nation’s call in 1990 and 1991 during Desert Storm/Desert Shield when the Lightning’s 920th Transportation Company (Medium, Petroleum) was deployed to Southwest Asia and provided vital fuel for the thunder of Desert Storm’s troops and machines in their victorious campaign. The 101 8th Reception Battalion. the 2nd Brigade OSUT Headquarters, and the 1st and 3rd Battalion of the 310th Regiment as well as the 1st Brigade’s 3rd Battalion. 309th Regiment, with a composite detachment from the 78th Training Support Brigade, provided assistance in necessary Training Base Expansion at Ft. Dix. The 348th NIP Detachment conducted protective service missions for key national leaders throughout the world during the mobilization period. Coupled with the 78th’s many individual fillers and volunteers for other mobilized units, the 78th Division’s proud tradition of service was once again illustrated.
In 1992. the Division transformed into an Exercise Division under the Army’s "Bold Shift" initiative. The new mission was to conduct small unit collective training (LANES) and computerized battle simulation exercises for clients in the First Army East area.
The 78th Division was one of five Exercise Divisions in the United States, headquartered in Edison. New Jersey with subordinate units located in New Jersey. Rhode Island, Massachusetts. Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.
In October 1999. the 78th was re-designated as the 78th Division (Training Support). The 78th Division is a tri-component structure for training support, assistance and evaluation as directed by First United States Army for designated priority Reserve and National Guard units during pre and post mobilization. The missions of mobilization training teams, mobilization,, and providing military support to civil authorities are new additional duties. Units are headquartered in Massachusetts. New York, New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina.
|Copyright 1998 - 2020 Glenn G. Geisheimer|