History of the 77th
The 77th Division was organized at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York on 25 August 1917. During their 68 days in combat, the division fought in four campaigns – Baccarat, Oise Aisne, Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne. Most notable was the exploits of the “Lost Battalion” with elements of the 306th, 307th and 308th Infantry Battalions who for three days repulsed repeated German attacks. The battalion was not in fact lost but advanced into German territory far beyond any other American unit. When asked to surrender by the Germans, Major Charles S. Whittlesey responded: “Come and get us” or words to that effect. Of the 679 men in the unit, only 252 survived.
The unit was deactivated in May 1919 and reactivated in the spring of 1942 for service in World War II. During its five operations in three campaigns, the 77th spent 200 days in actual combat. The 77th never fought in a losing campaign. At the end of World War II, the division counted 2,140 men killed and 5,737 wounded. The division was deactivated in 1946.
During the postwar period, from 1947 to 1965, the 77th Infantry Division was one of six combat divisions in the Army Reserve and became known as the “Liberty Patch Division.” There were twelve 77th Commanders from 1946 to 2008 and the most famous soldier serving from 1942 until his retirement in 2000, after 58 years of federal service and 53 years with the 77th was CW4 Morris (Mickey) Goldman.
The 77th’s units served with distinction with five units and
countless soldiers serving in Vietnam. Under MG Francis Donohue,
Desert Shield and Desert Storm saw 28 units and some 3,500 soldiers
mobilized. Among the units were four major commands – the 301st Area
Support Group, the 318th Transportation Command, the 411th Engineer
Brigade and the 800th Military Police Brigade. Most noteworthy was
the 800th who processed over 80,000 POWs without a single complaint
registered to the International Red Cross or Red Crescent. Units
also served in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Click here to view some
articles and photos about the history of the 77th, originally
published by the 77th Regional Readiness Command in the Liberty
Torch in July 2000.
Since the 9/11 attack, over 80 units have been mobilized for Operations Joint Endeavor, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The 77th continues to support the Global War on Terrorism as evidenced by the recent successful deployment during Operation New Dawn as “Liberty Warriors”.
Highlights of Service
THE 77th NEVER FOUGHT IN A LOSING CAMPAIGN
From 1967 to 2008, the Headquarters of the 77th was located at Fort Totten, Bayside, Queens, near the Clearview Expressway. In 1983, the Ernie Pyle U.S. Army Reserve Center was built at Fort Totten, as the largest Army Reserve Center in the nation and the only one named for a civilian, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent who was killed while covering the 77th Infantry Division in World War II combat. In September 2008, the 77th Infantry Division was reactivated in the Army Reserve as the 77th Sustainment Brigade, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, following the deactivation of the 77th Regional Readiness Command on 7 September 2008. Click here to view a page on this web site regarding the 77th Sustainment Brigade.
1. World War I
2. World War II
5. Vietnam War
7. The Gulf War
The first U.S. Army National Division to go "on the line" in Europe.
4 campaigns: Baccarat, Oise-Aisne, Aisne-Mame, Meuse-Argonne.
68 days of combat.
No other U.S. division was as near to the German frontier.
The heroic stand of its famed, isolated "Lost Battalion" in the Argonne Forest and the 77th's breakthrough rescue of its holdout survivors.
3 Pacific campaigns: Marianas, the Philippines, Okinawa. About 200 days of combat including amphibious invasions. Liberation of Guam, Leyte (Philippines), Ie Shima, Okinawa.
Occupation of Japan.
1947 to 1965, 18 years which saw East European countries, China and others come under communist control, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the Cold War buildup, the Cuba Missile Crisis, the start of the Vietnam War, and other far-flung international crises, the 77th was one of the six combat divisions of the Army Reserve held ready for worldwide contingencies, if needed.
In 1967, as part of the reorganization of the national command structure of the U.S. Army Reserve, this new command was activated as the nation's largest Army Reserve Command, with approximately 20,000 reservists in over 200 units, mostly across New York State. The new command received the colors and official lineage of the deactivated 77th Infantry Division and the division's last commanding general became its first commanding general.
In 1968, six units of the 77th U.S. Army Reserve Command were called to active duty. Five of these served with distinction in Vietnam and were considered among the finest of their type, with many unit members receiving decorations for outstanding service. The sixth unit served in a stateside support role.
Many of the 77th U.S. Army Reserve Command's units and thousands of its soldiers accomplished real-world missions during their training assemblies, weeks of annual training and special tours of active duty; in such actions as building roads in Latin America, treating patients in military and civilian hospitals, environmental projects, preparing disaster ]plans for communities, performing intelligence assignments and studies, assisting in disaster relief, processing refugees, rebuilding military equipment and ,weapons systems, helping to train Active-Army and other Armed Forces units and personnel, providing military police, administrative, logistical, counterintelligence, intelligence, communications and other support to military installations and activities and to various government agencies, and through many other significant projects and assignments.
In 1990, from many parts of New York State, 28 units of the 77h with about
3,500 soldiers (one of every four 77th reservists), were mobilized and deployed to Saudi Arabia, Germany and elsewhere as part of the ultimate test of the Reserve system.
They performed admirably, and were welcomed home in 1991 with a gala parade down Broadway's "Canyon of Heroes." The parade drew the largest crowd since General MacArthur's return from Korea.
In 1995, the Army Reserve's units were realigned nationally to provide peacetime support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the event of natural or manmade catastrophes, and the 77th U.S. Army Reserve Command became the 77th Regional Support Command, with approximately 12,000 reservists from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, in 113 units, mostly in the New York metropolitan area. That year, nine units of the new command were called to active duty to support NATO peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovina). Since then, 77th soldiers have been serving nine-month active-duty tours in that region and other parts of Europe.
77th soldiers continued the tradition of making Army Reserve history when they processed over 4,000 Kosovo refugees at Fort Dix and arranged for them to live with sponsor families n the U.S. This was the first U.S. -based joint service refugee mission assigned to the U. S. Army Reserve.
77th soldiers also went to Guatemala and built schools, wells and roads, and provided medical and dental assistance to people in remote mountain towns.
Six 77th soldiers died in the World Trade Center; five were firefighters trying to save the lives of others. Immediately after the attacks, the 77th Regional Support Command and a group of well-trained emergency preparedness liaison officers went into action with prompt, effective, meaningful military support to civilian authorities in the New York disaster, recovery efforts being made by civilian police, fire, medical examiner, hospital, and other city agencies, as well as FBI, FEMA and other federal and state agencies. In addition to all the support given by 77h units and soldiers, many other 77h soldiers also made valuable contributions to the rescue and recovery efforts in their civilian jobs and as civilian volunteers, often using their military-acquired skills.
As part of OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE and OPERATION ENDURING FREEEDOM, fourteen additional 77th units with a total of 544 soldiers have been federally activated and are currently operating in a variety of locations. The unit types include engineer, logistics, intelligence, military police, medical, administrative, information, legal and military history.
In 2002, thousands of 77th Regional Support Command soldiers are continuing to perform
important, meaningful missions in the U.S. and around the world.
World War I
World War II
2,375 Killed or MIA
2,140 Killed or MIA
Medal of Honor Awards to Soldiers of the 77th
World War I
8 including 1 posthumously
World War II
7 including 3 posthumously
In each of these wars, this number was greater than that of any other division's members