Based in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the 29th Infantry Division is an infantry segment of the United States Army and a formation of the U.S. Army National Guard. Units are also located in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
In 1917, the 29th Infantry Division was formed and deployed to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force during WWI. Called for service again in WWII, the division’s 116th Regiment was in the first wave of troops that landed ashore during Operation Overload, the landings in Normandy, France. A special Ranger unit, supported by the division, was tasked with clearing strong points at Omaha Beach. The rest of the 29th Infantry Division came ashore later advanced to Saint-Lo and throughout France and Germany
With frequent reorganizations and deactivations following the end of WWII, the 29th Infantry Division was not called to combat during the next 50 years. It did participate, however, in numerous training exercises throughout the world.
It eventually saw deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo as command elements, and units of the division continue to deploy to various locations including Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (featured in A Few Good Men film) and to the war in Afghanistan as a part of the Global War on Terrorism’s Operation Enduring Freedom. It also deployed to the Iraq War, as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
In 2016, two separate elements of the 29th Infantry Division deployed overseas. In July more than 80 Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. In October, more than 450 29th Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
.The 29th Infantry Division is a popular topic in today’s media, particularly for its role in D-Day. The Longest Day, a 1962 film and Saving Private Ryan (1998), showcased the division’s actions on Omaha Beach. The 29th Infantry Division soldiers are also featured in other films and television series including War of the Worlds film (2005).
There are also numerous video games out today that feature the 29th Infantry Division that are related to WWII. Close Combat, Company of Heroes, Medal of Honor, Allied Assault and Call of Duty 3 allow players to be soldiers of the division and featured are the division’s advance through Normandy and Europe.
Soldiers serving with the 29th Infantry Division have achieved notability for a large variety of reasons. Among them are highly decorated soldier Joseph A. Farinholt, United States Federal Judge Alfred D. Barksdale, soccer player James Ford, and historian Lawrence C. Wroth. Other notables are generals Milton Reckord, Norman Cota, Charles D. W. Canham, and Donald Wilson.
Soldiers who received the Medal of Honor during service with the 29th Infantry Division include Henry Costin, Earle Davis Gregory, and Patrick Regan from World War I. WWII soldiers receiving the Medal of Honor were Frank D. Peregory and Sherwood H. Hallman.