The 36th Infantry Division of the United States Army has gone by many names during its history. It has been called the Panther Division as well as the Lone Division. It has been termed the Lost Battalion due to an incident that occurred during the Second World War. However, now it is referred to as Arrowhead Division. The 36th Infantry Division makes up part of the National Guard of Texas. It was first constituted during the First World War from Army National Guard units of two states. These states were Oklahoma and Texas. After the First World War, it was deactivated only to be reactivated during the Second World War, where it fought in the European Theatre of Operations.
During the First World War, the 36th Infantry Division was deployed to Europe. It fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive conducting several major operations. Between 9th and 10th of October, the 36th Infantry Division fought and won the German forces holed up in St. Etienne, where they captured several German prisoners of war including officers, and weapons. Following this victory, the 36th Infantry Division launched another offensive on Forest Farm, which was close to the village of St. Etienne. Though met with fierce opposition, the 36th Infantry Division was victorious. It was, in fact, this victory that was instrumental in bringing an end to World War I. The division suffered more than 2,000 casualties. The dead numbered over 400, while the wounded were about 2,100 troops. In June 1919, the 36th Infantry Division was inactivated.
The 36th Infantry Division was reactivated on the 25th of November, 1940 to be deployed for the Second World War. During their mobilization on the 14th of December, 1940 the United States was still neutral in the war that had engulfed the entire world. December 7, 1941 was the day the United States entered the Second World War following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This led to the 36th Infantry Division’s staging at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts before its final deployment to the European Theatre of Operations.
The 36th got its name “The Lost Battalion” when it had been captured by the Japanese after the Battle of Java. Information that the battalion had been captured failed to reach the US government, and hence their whereabouts were unknown, leading to the name: “the Lost Battalion”. The US government later found out about their capture from interrogating prisoners of war. Most of the captured troops were subjected to slave labor under conditions that were poor, extremely harsh, and guaranteed an exceptionally high mortality rate.
The 36th Infantry Division suffered over 19,000 casualties during World War II. Out of this, more than 3,000 were killed, about 13,000 were wounded in action, and about 2,500 were taken as prisoners of war, while the rest were missing in action.
The 36th, in recent times, has been involved in the global war on terror. They have been deployed to Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, and the Sinai Desert for peacekeeping missions.