Insignia of the 1st Infantry Division. The 1st Infantry Division's nickname, the "Big Red One," originated from the division's insignia, a large red number "1" on a khaki field. This nickname was adopted during World War I, when the 1st was the first American division to arrive in France.
Insignia of the 29th Infantry Division. "Blue and Gray" was coined as the nickname of the 29th Infantry Division by the division's commander during World War I. The name commemorates the lineage of the mid-Atlantic states' National Guard units that formed the division, many with service on both sides during the Civil War.
Insignia of the 36th Infantry Division. The 36th Infantry Division, the "Texas" division, was raised from National Guard units from Texas and Oklahoma during World War I. The "T" in the division's insignia represents Texas, the arrowhead Oklahoma. The division was also sometimes called the "Lone Star" division, again symbolizing its Texas roots.
Insignia of the 42nd Infantry Division. The nickname of the 42nd Infantry Division, the "Rainbow" division, reflects the composition of the division during World War I. The division was drawn from the National Guards of 26 states and the District of Columbia. It represented a cross section of the American people, as the rainbow represents a cross section of colors.
Insignia of the 45th Infantry Division. The 45th Infantry Division gained its nickname, "Thunderbird" division, from the gold thunderbird. This Native American symbol became the division's insignia in 1939. It replaced another previously used Native American symbol, a swastika, that was withdrawn when it became closely associated with the Nazi Party.
Insignia of the 4th Armored Division. The commanding general of the 4th Armored Division refused to sanction an official nickname for the 4th, believing that the division's accomplishments on the battlefield made one unnecessary. "Breakthrough" was occasionally used, apparently to highlight the division's prominent role in the breakout from the Normandy beachhead and liberation of France in 1944.
Insignia of the 63rd Infantry Division. The 63rd Infantry Division was nicknamed the "Blood and Fire" division soon after its formation in the spring of 1943. The nickname commemorates British prime minister Winston Churchill's statement at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 that "the enemy would bleed and burn in expiation of their crimes against humanity." The divisional insignia illustrates the nickname.
Insignia of the 80th Infantry Division. The nickname of the 80th Infantry Division, the "Blue Ridge" division, reflects the home states of the majority of soldiers who formed the division during World War I: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains run through these three states.
Insignia of the 82nd Airborne Division. The nickname for the 82nd Airborne Division originated in World War I, signifying the "All American" composition of its members. The troops who formed the division came from diverse areas of the United States.
Insignia of the 83rd Infantry Division. The 83rd Infantry Division received its nickname, the "Thunderbolt" division, after a division-wide contest for a new nickname held in early 1945. The earlier nickname, "Ohio," was based on the division's insignia (which includes the name "Ohio," where the division was raised during World War I). A new nickname was desired to represent the nationwide origins of the division's personnel during World War II.
Insignia of the 84th Infantry Division. The 84th Infantry Division derives its nickname, "Railsplitter" division, from the divisional insignia, an ax splitting a rail. This design was created during World War I, when the division was known as the "Lincoln" division to represent the states that supplied soldiers for the division: Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. All figured prominently in the life of President Abraham Lincoln, of log-splitting legend.
Insignia of the 86th Infantry Division. The 86th Infantry Division developed the blackhawk as its insignia during World War I, to honor the Native American warrior of that name who fought the US Army in Illinois and Wisconsin during the early nineteenth century. The nickname "The Blackhawks" or "Blackhawk" division is derived from the insignia.
Insignia of the 89th Infantry Division. The 89th Infantry Division's nickname, the "Rolling W," is based on the division's insignia. Created during World War I, this insignia utilized a letter "M" inside a wheel. When the wheel turns, the "M" becomes a "W." The letters "MW" signify the mid-west origin of the troops who formed the 89th during World War I. The division was also known as the "Middle West" division, another variation on its origin.
Insignia of the 8th Armored Division. The nickname of the 8th Armored Division, the "Thundering Herd," was coined before the division went to Europe in late 1944. It was also known as the "Iron Snake" late in the war, after a correspondent for Newsweek likened the 8th to a "great ironclad snake" as it crossed the Rhine River in late March 1945.
Insignia of the 8th Infantry Division. The 8th Infantry Division was known as both the "Golden Arrow" and "Pathfinder" division during World War II. Both nicknames originated from the division's insignia, which includes a gold arrow to represent the nineteenth century explorer of California, John Fremont. The division was formed in California in 1918.
We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.