By Sgt. Alfred Tripolone IIISeptember 8, 2017
BOSTON - The 100th anniversary of the 26th Infantry Division was commemorated during a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House, August 22, 2017.
The ceremony was conducted in front of the historic Yankee Division mural, outside the Senate President's office and across the hall from the House of Representatives. The panel of distinguished Massachusetts speakers included Maj. Gen. Gary Keefe, Adjutant General, Jerome Henry, Deputy French Consul, State Sen. Michael Rush, Norfolk and Suffolk Districts, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, State Rep. Harold Naughton, 12th Worcester District, Sec. Francisco Urena, Veterans Services, and Brig. Gen. (MA-Ret.) Len Kondratiuk, Director of Historical Services.
Throughout the coming months the Massachusetts National Guard will be honoring the Soldiers of the Yankee Division, and their accomplishments 100 years ago.
The 26th Infantry Division was formed July 18, 1917 and activated August 22, 1917. It was, and remains a major formation of the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
The Yankee Division comprised of National Guard units of the six New England states with the Massachusetts Army National Guard providing over half of the 28,000 soldier division which was nicknamed the "Yankee Division." The 26th was the first full U.S. Army division to arrive in France and was exposed to more combat than any other division except for one. The division incurred approximately 18,000 casualties.
The division was part of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I seeing extensive combat throughout France. The division served again throughout France and Germany in World War II assigned to XII Corps, Third Army under the command of Gen. George Patton.
It was eventually deactivated in 1993, transferring the lineage to the 26th Infantry Brigade, which became the 26th Brigade Combat Team in 2004. In 2008, the 26th BCT transitioned to the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade that deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan supporting base and area missions from 2010-2011.
Today, the Yankee Division's heritage is proudly carried on by Soldiers of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement "Yankee" Brigade, in Natick, Mass. It remains actively engaged in brigade operations and community relations, while also serving as the FEMA Region I Homeland Response Force.
The centennial banquet to honor the history of the division is scheduled to be held at Gillette Stadium on September 30. For more information go to; https://www.facebook.com/events/469815576718020