13th Airborne Corps

"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with
.................... ......Franklin Delano Roosevelt - June 27,1936
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326th GIR Crest
(above insignia)
326th GIR Patch

326th Glider Infantry Regiment
Unit History

The regimental shield (picture left) for the 326th Infantry was designed depicting the Regiment's notable achievements during World War I. The shield is blue for infantry, with a wavy white band running through the center, representing the Aire River crossing. A blue square edged with gold divides this white band into, symbolizing the bridge that the regiment built over the river. Two fleurs-de-lis in the lower half of the shield refer to the two major operations of the 326th. In the top center of the shield, a boar's head, the crest of General James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia, indicates the allocation of the 326th to his state when the 326th was later placed in the Organized Reserve. The Latin phrase, "ASPERA JUVANT," is inscribed across the bottom. Literally translated, it means: "Difficult Delight," a more academic way of saying, "The tougher it gets, the better we like it."

ommanded by Colonel John C McArthur, the 326th Regiment was officially activated as part of the 82nd Division on 29 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia.  Being a National Army division, the regiment was composed of draftees. The only personnel actually assigned to the regiment however, were a small cadre charged with the task of preparing for the thousands of draftees who would soon be flooding the camp.

The 326th Regiment and it's sister regiment the 325th were members of the 82nd Division that was comprised of officers and soldiers from what most would consider the "Deep South".  This changed a few weeks into the training program.  The War Department issued orders instructing the division to send all of its soldiers, minus a 783 man training cadre to other camps.  Leaders watched as their soldiers departed to be replaced by soldiers from all regions of the United States.  It was noted that the 82nd Division was now made up of soldiers from every state in the union.  It is from this fact that the 82nd Division received its nickname "The All American Division"  and is represented by the "Double A" patch worn today.

World War I
In April 1918, the Regiment received orders to move to Camp Upton, New York in preparation for embarkation to France. Their short stay at Camp Upton reflected a growing crisis in Europe.  The German offensive in 1918 was a desperate attempt to win the war then and there.  The Germans had made gains of over 45 miles in France.  Other attacks along the Somme, Lys, and Assyne Rivers had stretched the British and French to their absolute limits.

Upon their arrival in Le Harve, France, on May 17th, the Regiment began sending small detachments into the lines to accustom the men to trench warfare. On June 9, 1918, Captain Jewett Williams of the 326th was killed - the Division's first casualty.

The regiment's first combat assignment was to relieve the 101st Infantry of the 26th Division in the Toul sector in France where they would enter the line as part of the 82nd Division under the control of the French VII Army.  On August 4th, the regiment engaged in the Division's first offensive action. The 326th went "over the top" advancing behind an artillery barage to capture 3 German machine guns, inflict 73 casualties, and secure the information needed by headquarters. Shortly after this action the 326th was relieved and moved to form part of the Marbache defense sector.

The Regiment had its first encounter with the deadly mustard gas used by the Germans on September 12th. They endured a night-long barrage of explosive and chemical artillery and persistent straffing by German aircraft.  When the sun rose the next morning the soldiers looked out onto a contaminated wasteland.  Although the attack on St. Mihiel was unsuccessful, the 326th Regiment held its ground and accomplished its mission.

The Meuse-Argonne offensive was the last major offensive of the war.  It was designed to penetrate the German lines and disrupt their logistical base.  This was preparatory to further offensive operations involving the actual invasion of Germany.

Through ten days of battle, the Regiment was able to punch a hole in the German's last line of defense.  With their removal, Allied forces had a clear shot at continuing to advance into Germany.  The Regiment, as an integral part of the 82nd Division, shared the distinction of serving in active operations longer, and without relief, than any other regiment in the AEF.

The 326th remained in France, in the Prauthoy area, after the Armistice was signed. It returned to the United States in April, 1919, and was demobilized at Camp Mills, New York. It was reconstituted as an Organized Reserve Unit after the war and allotted to the Fourth Corp Area until the outbreak of WW II.

World War II
After the war, the colors of the 326th Regiment were cased but were to be unveiled once again on March 25, 1942 under the command of Colonel Stuart Cutler.  Located at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, the Regiment was again to be part of the 82nd Division.

On August 15, 1942 the 82nd Division became the first Airborne Division under the command of General Matthew Ridgeway. The 325th and the 326th were designated Glider Infantry Regiments. In October, 1942 the 82nd Airborne Division moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and continued their training in the fundamentals of airborne tactics and air transport.

During the early days of 1943 the 82nd Airborne Division's composition changed. Instead of two glider and one parachute regiments the Division would have one glider and two parachute regiments. Supposedly, the decision of which glider regiment would remain with the 82nd was decided by a flip of a coin. The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) won the toss. Consequently, the 326th GIR was transferred form the 82nd to Airborne Command on February 10, 1943. The next month the 326th left Fort Bragg for Alliance, Nebraska.

Colonel William O Poindexter - 326th GIR Commanding Officer The 326th GIR arrived at Alliance Army Airbase on March, 4, 1943. In June Colonel William O. Poindexter (picture right) assumed command of the 326th and retained command until shortly after V-E Day. This was the getting tough phase for the regiment. Physical and mental conditioning was the goal of every exercise during this time. A German village was recreated on an abandoned ranch by the regiment and was dubbed"Fuehrerville," to assist in their mental condditioning. The fame of the 326th close combat course here was recorded in "Yank" as the "toughest in the country." Schools in demolition, camouflage, attack of fortified positions, and the detection of mines were held. In October, 1944 the regiment began preparing for deployment overseas.

Camp Mackall Postcard (Picture Courtesy of Jim Hurguy) On the 13th of January 1945, the 326th moved from Camp Mackall NC to Camp Shanks, NY for overseas deployment. Six days later the battalion arrived by train to New York and embarked on the the regular Navy transport,General George O. Squire, while the 88th GIR sail aboard the U.S.A.T. George Washington. Both regiments landed in LeHarve, France on February 6th. On that same day the regiments were packed into 40 and 8s bound for the staging area called Camp Lucky Strike.

( (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) picture above: Postcard of Twelve Troopers under the wing of a Gilder at Camp MacKall.)

On March 1, 1945 a reorganization occurred and the 88th GIR was incorporated into the 326th thus forming one Glider Infantry Regiment of 3 battalions. During this time the 13th Airborne Division was alerted several times for possible operations, however each time the fast moving Army ground forces preempted the need for an airborne operation.

After the German surrender on May 7, 1945 the 13th and 101st Airborne Divisions were notified of their reassignment to the Pacific. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in August, 1945 again dashed the 326th's chance to prove themselves. That same month the regiment was shipped home aboard two overcrowded Victory ships, the Cranston Victory and the Georgetown Victory. The 326th GIR arrived in New York Harbor on August 27th. After a short furlough the regiment reported to Fort Bragg, where they were incorporated into the 82nd Airborne Division. The 326th GIR remained in Fort Bragg until about January 1946. Most of the men were discharged from Fort Dix and the regiment was deactivated soon after at Camp Kilmer, NJ.

326th Glider Infantry Regiment - Pictures  Photos 326th GIR  

R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Ambrose, Stephen E D-DAY June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of WW II. 6/93, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0671673343
Archer, Clark Paratroopers Odyssey : A History of the 517th Parachute Combat Team. 266p., 1985, ISBN: 0961601507
Astor, Gerald 'Battling Buzzards': The Odyssey of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945. 338p., 7/93, Donald I Fine Pub, ISBN: 0440236932
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, 1989 621 p. ISBN: 0-312-03350-8
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel  At the Point of No Return : Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Normandy 7/98, D-Day Pub, 200 p. ISBN: 2960017617
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007
The Center of Military History The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302

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