82nd Airborne Division History

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The 82nd Division was activated at Camp Gordon, Georgia, on 25 August 1917. It was one of the National Army divisions of conscript soldiers. As the Division filled, it was discovered there were soldiers from every state. Through a popular contest, the nickname "All American" was chosen to reflect the unique composition of the 82nd Division.

On 25 April 1918, the Division sailed for Europe. The 325th Infantry Regiment was chosen to parade before the King of England on 11 May 1918 to show America's commitment to the Allies. Early in June 1918 the 82nd sent small groups of officers and noncommissioned officers to the British held Somme sector of the front to gain experience in small unit operations. During one such action, Captain Jewett Wiliams of the 326th Infantry Regiment became the first 82nd Division soldier to give his life in combat.

On 16 June 1918, the 82nd Division moved by train from its location in Somme to Toul, France. Since the Division had moved into a French sector, the troops were issued French Chauchat automatic rifles and Hotchkiss 8mm machineguns, thus making resupply easier.

The Division's assignment was to relieve the 26th Division in the Lagney Sector, northeast of Toul. That section of the western front was known as the Woevre Front. The mission was conducted on 25 June 1918. Although the area was considered a defensive sector, the 82nd Division actively patrolled and conducted raids. The first large scale raid by the Division occurred on 4 August 1918 when companies K and M of the 326th Infantry Regiment, supported by the 320th Machine Gun Battalion, attacked German positions at Flirey and penetrated over 600 meters. The raid was small compared to the operations the Division would soon conduct, but it provided valuable experience. On 18 July 1918, the sector was reduced and redesignated Lucey at which time command was given to the 82nd Division. On 10 August 1918, the 82nd Division was relieved by the 89th Division, and moved to...
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