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    Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Buckeye) celebrates a century of service

    Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Buckeye) celebrates a century of service

    Courtesy Photo | An M113 Armored Personnel Carrier of Company D, 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry, 37th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann 

    Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

    On July 18, the Ohio National Guard’s 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will celebrate 100 years of service to the state and nation. Called “Buckeye” since its birth, the 37th has had elements stationed in 126 different communities across Ohio and eight of its Soldiers have earned the Medal of Honor.

    Headquarters, 37th Division was constituted on July 18, 1917, as the Ohio National Guard prepared for Word War I. Since its birth, the 37th has proudly served in World War I, World War II, Kosovo and the War on Terrorism. Additionally, the 37th Infantry Division saw federal service during the Korean War, when nearly all of its Soldiers were sent to the front lines as individual replacements.

    During World War I, the Buckeye Division fought in France and Belgium, earning credit as one of the best American divisions the German Army faced. Following the armistice, the division was selected to escort the King of Belgium back into his country after years of German control.

    Led by Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler for the duration of World War II, the division spent 592 days in combat in the Pacific and earned the nickname “heavyweight” from Yank magazine, which wrote: “Seeing the 37th move toward a new front was like seeing Joe Louis step into the ring after the preliminaries. It’s a big, tough, skilled division for a big, tough job. It’s a heavyweight.”

    After 51 years of service, the 37th Infantry Division was reduced to a single brigade in February 1968 due to Army force structure changes. Ohio Gov. James Rhodes wrote of the removal, “lest any Ohioan ever forget that there was in fact, and remains for posterity, a division for which superb is the only description. It was a superb outfit, and such units are made by superb men.”

    The 73rd Infantry Brigade rose from the ashes of the Buckeye Division. First assigned as an element of Indiana’s 38th Infantry Division, the Buckeye Brigade reorganized as a separate infantry brigade in 1977 and assumed the mission as a Theater Defense Brigade in 1980. With this mission came the war time defense of the Aleutian Islands.

    Army force structure changes in 1993 again reorganized the 73rd as the 37th Brigade. Now a mechanized brigade, 37th units were the first Ohio formations to be called into federal service after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

    On Sept. 1, 2007, the 37th was once again reorganized as the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and proudly brought back the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 37th Infantry Division, a red circle with white border (patterned after the flag of Ohio), which had been dormant since 1968. Since then, the 37th IBCT has deployed to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently to Kosovo.

    Today, the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team maintains approximately 3,500 Soldiers in the Ohio and Michigan Army National Guards, and is the No.1 IBCT in the Army National Guard inventory for readiness (preparedness of units, Soldiers and equipment, measured by a number of statistics).

    The 37th IBCT is currently deployed in support of Operation Joint Guard-Kosovo Force (KFOR), tasked with maintaining a safe and secure environment for people living along Kosovo’s southeastern border, and will return home later this summer.



    The 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Buckeye) was constituted on July 18, 1917, as Headquarters, 37th Division, and this year marks a century of service to the state and nation by Buckeye Soldiers. To commemorate this, here are some important facts about the Buckeye Brigade’s history.

    • Eight Soldiers of the 37th have earned the Medal of Honor.

    • During World War II, the 37th Infantry Division spent 592 days in combat.

    • Maj. Gen. Charles Treat was the first commander of the 37th, appointed in 1917. Since then, there have been 29 commanding generals or officers and 15 command sergeants major of the division/brigade.

    • The 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team displays eight campaign streamers and two unit awards signifying the unit’s service in World War I, World War II, Kosovo and the War on Terrorism.

    • Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler commanded the division from start to finish in World War II and was the only division commander to retain his command for the duration of the war.

    • In 100 years of existence, across the 37th Division, 37th Infantry Division, 73rd Brigade, 37th Brigade and 37th IBCT, 137 communities have been home to division/brigade elements. This breaks down to 126 in Ohio and 11 in Michigan.

    • Hall of Fame NFL Coach Don Shula, 1950 Heisman Trophy Winner Vic Janowicz and the fourth Sergeant Major of the Army Leon L. Van Autreve all served in the 37th.

    • The Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the 37th was approved on Nov. 5, 1918, and is described as a white disc with a red disc in the center and is taken from the state flag of Ohio.


    37th Division Medal of Honor recipients who were Ohio natives
    Rodger Young: Born in Tiffin (Seneca County); entered service from Clyde (Sandusky); unit stationed in Fremont (Sandusky)

    Frank Petrarca: Born in Cleveland (Cuyahoga); entered service from Cleveland; unit stationed in Cleveland

    Albert Baesel: Born in Berea (Cuyahoga); entered service from Berea; unit stationed in Springfield (Champaign)

    Joseph Cicchetti: Born in Waynesburg (Stark); entered service from Waynesburg; unit stationed in Paulding (Paulding)

    Other notable members

    Leon L. Van Autreve (Fourth Sergeant Major of the Army): Served in Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry; stationed in Spencerville (Allen)

    Don Shula (Super Bowl champion coach of Miami Dolphins): Served in Company C, 145th Infantry; stationed in East Cleveland (Cuyahoga); native of Painesville (Lake)

    Vic Janowicz (Heisman Trophy winner with Ohio State): Served in the 37th Quartermaster Company; stationed in Columbus (Franklin); native of Elyria (Lorain)

    Robert S. Beightler (Commanding general of the 37th Division for the entirety of World War II; political figure): Born in Marysville (Union)



    Date Taken: 07.14.2017
    Date Posted: 07.14.2017 17:09
    Story ID: 241207
    Location: COLUMBUS, OH, US 

    Web Views: 589
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