World War I
The 4th Infantry Division, officially known as the "Ivy" division, and less formally as "Poison Ivy" or "The Funky Fourth" during Vietnam
, was formed in North Carolina during World War I and shipped to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force
. The division fought in the St. Mihiel
campaign and the Meuse-Argonne
offensive, and remained in Germany as part of the occupation force until 1919; the division was deactivated at Ft. Lewis two years later as part of the post-war reduction in force.
World War II
As part of the buildup before World War II, the 4th was reactivated at Fort Benning, Georgia in June 1940 as a motorized division and was shipped to England in 1944. It took part in the D-Day
landings at Utah Beach, where it pushed inland to
relieve the 82nd Airborne
, clear the Cotentin peninsula, and liberate Cherbourg at the end of June. By the end of August, the division had reached Paris, but stepped aside to allow the Free French
the privilege of liberating the capital. It was in Paris that Ernest Hemingway
joined the division as a self-appointed scout; he would accompany the 4th's 22nd Regiment through France, Belgium, and into Germany, where the division took part in the savage battles of the Hurtgen Forest and shortly thereafter, the Bulge. The division crossed the Rhine at Worms on March 29, 1945, and continued to advance through Bavaria until reaching Miesbach on the Isar on May 2, where it was relieved and placed on occupation duty.
Two months later the 4th was redeployed to North Carolina, where it began training for the invasion of Japan
. This having been rendered unnecessary by the atomic bomb, the 4th was deactivated in March 1946 but reactivated the following year as a training division at Fort Ord. In 1950, the 4th returned to Fort Benning, having been redesignated a combat unit, and the
following year returned to Germany as the first division to make up America's contribution to the NATO forces there. It would remain there for a five-year tour, returning to Fort Lewis in 1956.
The 4th Division's part in the Vietnam War began in 1966 when the division deployed to Pleiku in the Central Highlands. Its third brigade, however (including the 2/34 Armored battalion) was deployed to War Zone C northwest of Saigon; in 1970, the brigade would be exchanged with the 25th Infantry Division
, which in return sent its third brigade (which had been operating with what would become the Americal Division
) to the 4th. The division would continue fighting in the II Corps area until 1970, when the 3rd Brigade/25th was withdrawn and deactivated, and the remainder of the division took part in the Cambodian Incursion
. Later that
year, the 4th left Vietnam for Fort Carson, where it was reunited with its old 3rd Brigade, which had previously been withdrawn along with the 25th Division. The 1/22 Infantry battalion remained in Vietnam until January 1972 as a separate
For the next two decades, the Fourth would remain at Ft. Carson, with one brigade (referred to as "Fourth Division Forward" or the Fourth Brigade) stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany as part of V Corps. It was during this period that the Fourth
converted from a "straight-leg" infantry division to mechanized infantry
. In December 1995, the divison moved to Fort Hood, absorbed six armored battalions from the deactivated Second Armored Division
, and became a test bed for Force XXI, the
precursor to Army of Excellence
. Digital communications, night vision gear, new organization and new doctrines were all tested, and would soon be put to use.
Second Gulf War & Afghanistan
Original planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom
called for the 4th Division to stage through Turkey into Kurdistan, but after the Turks refused permission for this, that mission fell to a combination of Special Forces
teams and the 173rd Airborne Brigade
designated Task Force Viking. The 4th instead staged through Kuwait, subjected to periodic SCUD
bombardments, and in March attacked into the northern end of the "Sunni Triangle" near Tikrit, where it would remain on occupation duty for the next year. The division was criticized for not adopting a "hearts and minds
" approach toward counterinsurgency
, to which the division commander, General Ray Odierno
, replied that the area was so full of diehard supporters of Saddam Hussein
that conventional counterinsurgency operations would have been a disaster, and the high level of hostilities required the more aggressive stance taken. The Fourth rotated back to the states in April 2004, and was relieved by the 1st Infantry Division
The second deployment to Iraq from the fall of 2005 until December 2006 saw the Fourth deployed to Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite
provinces of Karbala, An Najaf, and Babil. Casualties were higher, with 235 killed; only 81 soldiers had
been killed in the initial invasion; the division also assumed training responsibilities for the Iraqi security forces during this period.
The third deployment began in December 2007 as part of the surge, and saw the division return to Baghdad. It was during this tour that the division had to cope with the Sadrist uprising that began on March 23, 2008, which caused a sharp spike in attacks on Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad as well as on bases and patrols near Shiite neighborhoods dominated by the Jaish Al-Mahdi militia. Through April and May, the division conducted clearing and security operations to separate the southern end of Sadr City from the more violent northern end, after which the militia were eliminated or disarmed. Training continued through January 2009, when the division turned over security responsibilities in Baghdad to Iraqi security forces and returned home to Ft. Carson in March. Despite the city fighting during the uprising, 4th ID only lost 113 soldiers during its third deployment. In July 2009, the Fourth Division moved back to its longtime home at Ft. Carson, leaving Ft. Hood behind; this move took place without the Fourth Brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan from May 2009 to May 2010.
The Third Brigade deployed to Iraq again in July 2010 as an Advise and Assist brigade, the First Brigade headed for Afghanistan in the summer of 2010, and the division headquarters went back to Iraq in the summer of 2011. The Second Brigade
was also expected to return to combat this year. (2011)
Awards and Decorations
First Brigade is entitled to the Presidential Unit Citation (with cluster) for the battles of Pleiku and Dak To in Vietnam.
Fourteen Congressional Medal of Honor
winners were Fourth Division soldiers, including Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
, who earned his in the first wave at Utah Beach