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Highlights of the

32D ‘Red Arrow’ Infantry Division

during World War II

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Combat Time

654 days of combat (15,696 hours) - more than any U.S. division during the war.

This represents 48% of the total time the U.S. was in World War II.

41 months overseas, over 21 of them spent in combat.

6 major engagements in 4 campaigns.

There has been much debate about which division had more “combat time” during WWII, especially between the 34TH ‘Red Bull’ Infantry Division and the 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Infantry Division. I have not seen a list of days in combat claimed by the 34TH Division, but the days claimed by the 32D Division are clearly laid out below. In reality the ‘Red Arrow’ count should be more than 654 days. The number 654 is the count as of 15 August 1945, the official end of hostilities in the Pacific Theater. Anyone familiar with the Luzon Campaign, where the 32D Division was at the end of hostilities, knows that the Japanese forces on Luzon did not lay down their arms until 2 September 1945.


Decorations and Awards

11 Medals of Honor (9 awarded posthumously)

157 Distinguished Service Crosses (at least 92 awarded at Buna)

845 Silver Stars (at least 273 awarded at Buna)

49 Legion of Merit

78 Soldiers Medals

1,854 Bronze Stars

11,500 Purple Hearts

98 Air Medals


Division Credits

First U.S. Division to fight an offensive action against the Japanese in the Southwest Pacific (Papuan Campaign).

In the vernacular of the War Dept. during WWII, the Guadalcanal Campaign was a strategic defensive victory, plus victory at Guadalcanal was officially declared on 21 Feb. ’43, while victory at Papua was officially declared on 23 Jan. ’43.

First U.S. Division to be airborne into combat (Papuan Campaign).

The term ‘airborne’ had a different meaning in 1942 than it does today. Today ‘airborne’ implies parachuting out of airplanes directly onto the battlefield. As of 15 September 1942 it meant being flown on combat aircraft to an improvised airfield in the combat zone, disembarking the aircraft, and marching the rest of the way to the battlefield. Prior to 15 September 1942, all U.S. combat forces had been transported to the combat zone by ship.

First U.S. Division to make a beach landing in New Guinea Campaign (Saidor).

First to employ General MacArthur's by-pass strategy.

First U.S. Division to embark for overseas service in one convoy after 7 Dec. 1941.

First to simultaneously supply 11 battalions in combat in one action completely by airdrop (Aitape).

First to supply four infantry battalions for two days from artillery liaison “Cub” planes (Leyte).

First to publish an American servicemen's letterpress newspaper in the Southwest Pacific.

First to go into action at the foot of “the road back,” was still fighting when the “cease fire” order came on 15 August 1945.

Elements of the 32D Division were also among the first American occupation troops to land in Japan.



World War II Campaigns of the 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Division








20 Sep. 42 – 22 Jan. 43


New Guinea




2 Jan. 44 – 29 Apr. 44
22 Apr. 44 – 25 Aug. 44
15 Sep. 44 – 10 Nov. 44






16 Nov. 44 – 2 Jan. 45





Villa Verde Trail

30 Jan. 45 – 28 May 45


Mopping Up

29 May 45 – 15 Aug. 45



661 days

Less 7 days overlapping when the Division was in combat at both Saidor and Aitape:

- 7 days

Grand Total:

654 days




Battle Casualties

[added 24 Nov. ’14, TPB]

Total Battle Casualties

Total Deaths Among Battle Casualties

Killed in Action

Wounded and Injured in Action

Captured and Interned

Missing in Action


Died of Wounds and Injuries

Evacuated to U.S.

Returned to Duty



Returned to Military Control



Returned to Duty

Died of Wounds and Injuries

Returned to Duty, Discharged, etc.

Killed in Action

Wounds and Injuries

Other Causes (non-battle)

Declared Dead

Other Causes (non-battle)


















These are official battle casualty figures as of 1 June 1953, from the source listed below.

Non-battle casualty figures will be added when found.



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Bibliography (primary sources for historical information regarding the 32D ‘The Red Arrow’ Infantry Division’s exploits during World War II):

Blakeley, H. W., Major General, Retired.  The 32D Infantry Division in World War II.  The Thirty-second Infantry Division History Commission, State of Wisconsin, n.d.

Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World War II: Final Report: 7 December 1941 - 31 December 1946.  Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, U.S. Army, 1 June 1953.

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