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US Army 45th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve patch with a gold Thunderbird on a red field

Object | Accession Number: 2004.749.28

Shoulder sleeve insignia of the United States Army 45th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Thunderbird Division. The embroidered gold thunderbird design symbolizes the troops from the southwestern states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, who formed the unit when it was established in 1942 as a National Guard Division. The 45th landed in North Africa on June 22, 1943, and was redeployed to Sicily for the Italian campaign on July 10. The unit was then sent to southern France in August. The Thunderbird Division crossed the Rhine River in March 1945 and continued into southern Germany, capturing Nuremberg and Munich in late April. With the 42nd Infantry and 20th Armored Divisions, the unit liberated Dachau concentration camp on April 29th and 30th. US Army and Allied representatives treated the sick and brought food for starving survivors at the camp. The civilian residents of the city of Dachau were ordered to bury the dead. The unit was stationed near Dachau after the surrender of Germany on May 7. The 45th returned to the US on September 14, 1945, and was inactivated on December 7, 1945.

Military Insignia
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:18:01
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