By Spc. Cory E. Grogan, 41st IBCT Public AffairsJune 11, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Last month, over 3,000 Soldiers arrived to Fort Stewart wearing a sunset patch on their left shoulder, calling themselves "Jungleers." The patch is worn by the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of Oregon, nicknamed the "Sunset Division" in 1917 due to its close association with northwest states, where the sun sets on the Pacific Ocean.
It was the first American division sent overseas after Pearl Harbor, and the first American division trained in jungle warfare. The division spent 45 months fighting overseas, where it was also the first division to confront Japanese Imperial forces in an offensive operation in New Guinea, earning them the nickname "Jungleers."
The tour was the longest of any division in World War II, and the brigade killed and captured more Japanese Soldiers than any other division.
The 41st Division was reorganized in 1965 to become an infantry brigade as it continued to serve the state of Oregon before seeing combat action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 2nd Battalion, 162 Infantry Regiment, from Oregon, was deployed to Iraq in 2003. It saw some of the heaviest fighting of the War, in the "Sunni Triangle."
In Sept. 2005, many units deployed during Hurricane Katrina to aid in relief and security near the French Quarter in New Orleans. A month later they were put in charge of a joint task force for Hurricane Rita, to assist with disaster related needs in Texas and Louisiana.
During 2006-07, the brigade had its first major deployment since World War II. More than 1000 Oregon Guard Soldiers helped trained the Afghanistan National Army, serving in supporting roles throughout the nation and gaining a reputation of excellence.
The 41st IBCT is here to train for what will be its largest deployment since World War II. The Soldiers are predominately from Oregon, but the brigade is also accompanied by units from Delaware, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina, and additional support from the Inactive Ready Reserve.
The Jungleers have served their state on numerous missions, fighting natural disasters such as floods and wild fires in Oregon. But this year, about half of the Oregon National Guard will be serving its' country overseas.
When they do, they will be carrying an honored tradition of excellence with them.