Rainbow Division Marks 'Century of Service' on Friday with new Historical Display in Troy


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LATHAM, NY (09/08/2017) The New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters unveils a new "Century of Service" historical display this weekend at the unit armory in Troy, N.Y. in partnership with the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation (RDVF). The RDVF arrives in Troy this weekend for a veterans reunion weekend.

The historical display provides a timeline of the military service and accomplishments of the Army's 42nd Infantry Division, known as the "Rainbow" Division for its unique makeup when the combat unit was formed for World War I in 1917.

WHO: Former 42nd Infantry Division commander and Adjutant General for New York, retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, display coordinator retired Maj. Patrick Chaisson, members of the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation and Soldiers of the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters.

WHAT: Unveiling of the "Century of Service" historical display, commemorating the 100 years of military service to state and nation of the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry.

WHEN: 11 am, Friday, September 8.

WHERE: 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters, 137 Glenmore Road, Troy, N.Y.

Media Opportunity: Imagery of a collection of military uniforms, artifacts and information pertaining to four key periods of Rainbow Division service: WWI, WWII, 9/11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Interviews with Rainbow veterans and current Soldiers about the significance of history.

For access to this secure facility, news media organizations must contact Col. Richard Goldenberg, New York Army National Guard public affairs, 518-727-7314. Media outlets should notify Col. Goldenberg if they desire to remain in place for any live broadcast from the Troy armory.


This summer commemorates the centennial of the creation of the Army's 42nd Infantry Division for service in WWI.

The historical display in Troy was produced by the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation in cooperation with the St. John Design Group of Ithaca, N.Y., and the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs.

It is a professionally-executed commemoration of the Rainbow Division's century of service to state and nation. The key element of this display is a series of four vignettes depicting the key events in the 42nd Infantry Division's service in WWI, WWII, 9/11, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The display features properly uniformed mannequins, period artifacts and interpretive panels -- all surrounded by realistic-looking display materials. Additionally, a timeline display will cover key dates and events in the first 100 years of the 42nd Division as well as its veterans organizations.

The 42nd Infantry Division, the "Rainbow Division"

The 42nd Infantry Division was created in 1917 from National Guard units from 26 states and the District of Columbia as a way for the small United States Army to rapidly build strength.

Douglas MacArthur, then a major, suggested to William A. Mann, the head of the Militia Bureau, that he form a combat division from the units of several states. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker approved the proposal, and recalled Douglas MacArthur saying that such an organization would "stretch over the whole country like a rainbow."

The New York National Guard contributed the 69th Infantry Regiment, which was renamed the 165th Infantry Regiment. The "rainbow" name stuck, and MacArthur was promoted to colonel as the division's first chief of staff.

In November 1917 the division deployed to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force led by General John J. Pershing. In 1918 the division took part in four major operations: the Champagne-Marne, the Aisne-Marne, the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In total, it saw 264 days of combat. 2,058 division Soldiers were killed during World War I and 12,625 were wounded.

During World War II the division was reactivated in 1943 at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. The division's Soldiers landed in southern France in December of 1944 and were instrumental in stopping the German's Operation Nordwind offensive along the Rhine near Strasbourg.

The division went onto take a number of German cities to include Wurzburg and Schweinfurt and on April 29, 1945 the division liberated 27,000 inmates at the infamous Dachau concentration camp.

When Germany surrendered, the 42nd Infantry Division occupied the Salzburg area of Austria until late in 1946.

The division inactivated in 1947 and assigned to the New York National Guard. The division has had its headquarters in New York since then, while troop assignments have included units in other states.

In 2004 the division headquarters and division support elements - a total of 3,500 Soldiers - were mobilized for duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. National Guard Soldiers from New York and New Jersey and other states mobilized at Fort Drum, New York and Fort Dix, New Jersey.

The National Guard Soldiers deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in late 2004 and early 2005 and on Feb. 14, 2005, the division took command of Task Force Liberty: 23,000 Army National guard, Active Army, and Army Reserve Soldiers operating in four Iraqi provinces north of Baghdad.

The division returned to the United States in November 2005.

Today the division has training responsibility over National Guard units throughout New England and New Jersey and is involved in homeland defense and domestic support operations.

The Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation

The Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation is a charitable, non-profit that preserves the legacy of 42nd Infantry Division Soldiers who have served since the division was created in 1917.

The foundation, which traces its ancestry back to the veteran's organization created following World War I, does this by:

-- Sustainment of existing 42nd Division memorial sites and the establishment of new memorial sites.

-- Awarding Scholarships to College age students who are the children/descendants of current RDVF members in good standing and sponsored by an RDVF Veteran or Legacy member.

-- Supporting families of RDVF members and as well as supporting family readiness groups throughout the 42nd Infantry Division.

The RDVF will hold its annual reunion this weekend in Troy, N.Y., gathering present members of the division, veterans of the Iraq War and 9/11, the Cold War, WWII and many legacy members of past Rainbow Division members.

The weekend includes the presentation of Rainbow Division memorial scholarships to college bound children or grandchildren of RDVF members.

To find out more about the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation visit www.rainbowvets.org.