75th Infantry Division (WWII)

History from 1943 to 1995


The 75th Division (Exercise) began its notable history as the 75th Infantry Division. The Department of the Army (DA) activated the unit on 15 April 1943 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Before deploying to England in November 1944, the division participated in the „Louisiana Maneuvers" and later transferred to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, for additional training.

After a brief training program in England, the division shipped out to France on 13 December 1944 to begin their participation in the Battle of the Bulge. Originally nicknamed the „Diaper Division" because it was the youngest unit to enter the fighting, the 75th´s distinguished combat record in the Battle of the Bulge earned it a new moniker, the „Bulge Busters". Beginning in December 1944, the division fought in the Ardennees campaign. Their participation helped to stop the German offensive and push them out of Belgium.

In addition, the 75th Infantry Division saw action in the Colmar and Alsace-Lorraine regions, as well as the Rhineland campaign. After Germany´s surrender, the division assumed security and military government duties in Westphalia, Germany (and also in Plettenberg, the hometown of the author).

Although it joined the fight against the Germans relatively late in the war, the 75th Infantry Division made up for lost time, spending 94 consecutive days in contact with the enemy. The division captured 21,000 POWs in the various campaigns it fought in.

For its combat participation in World War II, members of the 75th Division received numerous awards, including 4 Distinguished Service Crosses, 193 Silver Stars, 7 Legion of Merits, 30 Soldier´s Medals, and 1321 Bronze Star Medals.

The division suffered numerous casualties, including 817 soldiers killed in action (KIA), 3314 wounded in action (WIA), and 111 who died of wounds. In mid-November 1945, members of the 75th Division embarked for their return to the United States. Shortly after their arrival stateside, the Army deactivated the unit on 26 November.

Post-World War II Period

The 75th did not mothball its colors for long, however. On 15 November 1950, DA reactivated the unit as the 75th Infantry Division, assigning it to Fourth Army (4A) as a U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) unit. DA again deactivated the unit in 1955, exept for a HQ and a HHC, which it redesignated as the 75th Infantry Division (Maneuver Area Command - Type A).

On 15 February 1957, DA reconfigured the unit into the 75th Maneuver Area Command (MAC), consisting of a HQ and an Umpire Group. It also formed a sister unit, the 87th MAC in Birmingham, Alabama. The experiences of World War II and the Korean War confirmed in the minds of military planners the need for units to plan and conduct large-scale maneuvers prior to the deployment of units. They believed that the stateside maneuvers, that American forces had undergone in World War II, had contributed to their succes.

The new MAC concept embodied this training agenda by creating the needed command-and-control centers. The 75th received training responsibility for all the units west of the Mississippi River, while the 87th conducted similar operations in the eastern third of the U.S.

During the 1960s, the 75th MAC received a new mission after convincing 4A that it could not only conduct exercises, but also write the scenarios used. In 1966, 4A gave the 75th MAC the responsibility for administering Army Training Tests (ATTs) and Command Post Exercises (CPXs) to USAR units, down to platoon size. Reflecting these new assignments, the unit restructured into two major functional areas: the Command Group, responsible for preparing tactical exercises for all forces in the maneuver area, and the Umpire Group, which trained and provided umpires.

In the 1970s, the Army´s move to an all-Volunteer army represented a particulary challenging period for the 75th MAC. DA developed its „Total Force Concept," which moved the USAR and the 75th MAC into an era of increased responsibility in the national defense strategy. The 75th MAC received respon-sibility in the national defense strategy.

The 75th received responsibility for the training of the newly developed Military Training Commands (MTCs) created to train batallion and lower-level units, in the Fifth Army (5A) and Sixth Army (6A) areas. The 75th MAC had played a vital role in formulating the MTC concept, working with the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve (OCAR) to complete the pioneering MTC TDA.

In 1975, the unit streamlined its command structure in order to provide a more responsive and cost-effective use of its manpower by creating functional combat arms and combat support/combat service support exercise groups. In part this structure emphasized the growing importance of combat support and combat service support exercises. Each sub-element trained to accomplish broad missions prior to the receipt of training exercises from client units. The 75th MAC used this TDA through the rest of its operational life.

In the late 1970s, the 75th MAC began to move to a computerized training format. Beginning in 1977, the 75th MAC began conducting Computer-assisted-Map-Maneuver-Systems (CAMMS) exercises, which offered an innovative and low-cost approach to battle simulation designed to exercise comman-ders and staffs at the brigade and battalion level. CAMMS offered the 75th MAC its first experience with computer simulation exercises, an approach that would later gain its Army-wide recognition with the creation of the Battle Projection Center (BPC).

In the 1980s, the 75th MAC moved fully into the computer age. In 1981, the unit constructed a simu-lated, realistic wartime CPX training center at the Reserve Center. By 1985, plans had been formalized to build the BPC. Using microcomputers and up-to-date communications equipment, the BPC allowed the MAC to conduct multi-echelon exercises for CAPSTONE-aligned USAR, ARNG, and AC elements in joint operations. This greatly increased the service to customer units, while offering the 75th MAC tremendous cost-saving opportunities. In 1989, the BPC became operational, and two months later it began conducting exercises.

The 1980s saw other important developments for the 75th MAC. In late 1983, the unit held ground-breaking ceremonies for the new SGM Macario Garcia Reserve Center, a 130,000 square foot facility. Visiting dignitaries included United States Senator John G. Tower and then Vice President George H. Bush. In 1987, 5 A reassigned the 95th MTC, organized in 1975 as part of the 95th Division (Training), to the 75th MAC as a major subordinate command. The 95th MTC held responsibility for exercising the staffs of USAR and ARNG elements at battalion-and below-sized units in the 5A area, while the 75th continued to exercise battle staffs at the division, brigade, and group level units in 4A, 5A, and 6A areas.

In late 1990 and early 1991, the 75th MAC had a chance to put into practice its motto, "Make Ready". In preparation for Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the 75th MAC conducted training exercises for units slated for deployment at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. In addition, several members of the 75th MAC and 95th MTC served their country by volunteering for active-duty overseas during the war.

The unit undertook its latest challenge in 1993. A change in the TDA created the 75th Division (Exercise) from the 75th MAC. While the division will continue to conduct computer simulations, it will also add LANES training to its repertoire of exercise capabilities. To better serve its client units, the 75th Division (Exercise) now has a total of five brigades located in Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Kansas City, Missouri.

The lineage of today´s 75th Division (Exercise) is long and distinguished. In World War II as combat unit, the 75th Infantry Division proved ist valor on the battlefield. As the 75th Maneuver Area Command, it trained soldiers from across the nation to operate on new battlegrounds under varying conditions. In recognition of ist training prowess, the 75th MAC received numerous awards for excellence, including the Superior Unit Award, the AUSA/ROA Walter T. Kerwin Award, the ROA´s Outstanding Large Unit Award, and ACOE Awards. Now, as the 75th Division (Exercise), it continues to strive for the high level of achievement a proud tradition demands.

Do you want to know more about the actual 75th Division (Exercise)? Your contact:
Department of the Army
Headquarters, 75th Division (Exercise)
Major General Claude Roberts
1850 Old Spanish Trail
Houston, Texas 77054-2025
Voice: (713) 799-7566

75th Division Exercise

In the building in Houston, there is also the new museum of the 75th Division !!!

The 75th Division also has a very active Veterans Association with annual conventions, please check the page with adresses for contact possibilities.
If you have any questions or if you can help us with documents, contact us:
Rolf G. Wilmink
P. O. Box 1652
D-58816 Plettenberg, Westphalia, West-Germany
Voice: (+49) 2391-3945
Fax: (+49) 2391-3706
E-Mail: MKW-Detective@t-online.de

75th Inf. Div.