The United States 35th Infantry Division is an infantry unit in the US National Guard. It is also known as the Santa Fe Division and is currently headed by Major General Victor Braden. This division was both reactivated and recognized at the federal level on August 25, 1984. It is headquartered at Leavenworth, Kansas.
The 35th Infantry Division was originally constructed under the National Guard on the 25th of August, 1917. This occurred in Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma and involved soldiers from two states. These two states were Missouri and Kansas. The division’s shoulder sleeve patch was a green bordered, blue circle that encapsulated a white cross. This design was approved on October 29, 1918 and has remained the Santa Fe Division’s insignia up until this day.
Incidentally, the cross in the insignia is called a Santa Fe Cross and was inspired by the Santa Fe Trail, which was the training area of the division at the time. This later became the designated identification mark for the 35th Infantry Division on orders that were issued on the 27th of March, 1918. Also, this is where the division derives its nickname: the “Santa Fe” Division.
Though the division was activated in 1917, by May 7, 1918 it had shipped overseas to participate in the First World War. During this war it sustained a casualty of over 7,000 troops. Among this staggering number, over 1,000 were killed in action while the remaining were severely wounded. The unit returned to the United States in April, 1919 and was deactivated thereafter. One major operation it took part in during World War I was the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
The 35th Infantry Division was also involved in the Second World War. In this regards it was activated on the 23rd of December, 1940 from the Army National Guards of three states. These states were Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. The Santa Fe Division arrived Omaha Beach between the 5th and 7th of July, 1944 and partook of the Normandy landings, also known as the D-Day operations or Operation Neptune. Other operations it was involved occurred in Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe and Ardennes-Alsace. They fought a little above 20 days and received 6 awards. They returned to the United States in September of 1945 and were deactivated in December of the same year.
During World War II, the division suffered casualties of over 15,000 troops. Among this catastrophic number, more than 2,000 troops were killed. About 11,500 were wounded. Over 1,000 were captured by the opposition, while the rest went missing in action.
The 35th Infantry Division was involved in NATO peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. This operation was mandated by the Dayton Peace Accords. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the 35th Infantry Division controlled the operation of the National Guard who were deployed to assist in relief. The 35th Infantry Division was also deployed to Kosovo to partake in NATO’s peacekeeping mission there.
The Santa Fe has appeared in the movie titled Kelly’s Heroes.