VFW Post 2681 History

42nd Infantry Division SSI.svg

Rainbow Post 2681

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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 other."

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.

Since 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.




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