Rainbow Post 2681
History of the 42nd Infantry Division
The 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division's history as a
unit began with America's entry into World War I. Amidst the rush by America to
mobilize, individual states competed with each other for the honor to be the
first to send their National Guard units to fight in the trenches of Europe. To
check the negative implications of this competition and to minimize the impact
the mobilization could have upon any one state, the government decided to create
a division composed of hand picked National Guard units from 26 states and the
District of Columbia.
As a result of this unified effort, the 42nd
Infantry Division was born in August and organized in September 1917 at Camp
Mills on Long Island, New York. Colonel Douglas Macarthur, who had been
instrumental in the forming of the Division, said shortly after its completion.
"The 42nd Division stretches like a Rainbow from one end of America to the
The 42nd Division arrived in France in November 1917 and entered
the front line in March 1918, where it remained in almost constant contact with
the enemy for 174 days. During it's time in France, the 42nd Division
participated in six major campaigns and incurred one-out-of-sixteen casualties
suffered by the American Army during the war. The distinctive half rainbow patch
the division now wears, is a result of the soldiers' of WWI ripping their full
rainbow patch in half before they left France to return to America. This was in
memory of their fallen comrades who would never return home. The 42nd Division's
service officially came to and end in May 1919.
With the onset of America's
participation in the Second World War, the 42nd Division was reactivated. At the
July 1943 reactivation ceremony, the new division commander, Brigadier General
Harry Collins echoed Macarthur's sentiments on the 42nd Division's unique status
when he said, "The Rainbow represents the people
About the VFW
The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War
(1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations
to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many arrived home wounded or
sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them,and they were left
to care for themselves.
In their misery, some of these veterans banded
together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans
of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio,
Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915,
membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.
then, the VFW's voice had been instrumental in establishing the Veterans
Administration, creating a GI bill for the 20th century, the development of the
national cemetery system and the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed
to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW
won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century,
giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty servicemembers,
and members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.