80th Division (Institutional Training) –Blue Ridge Unit Rings
The 80th Division is a formation of the U.S. Army constituted on 5 August 1917 at Camp Lee Virginia and is known today as the 80th division (Institutional Training). The unit was designate as the 80th Infantry Division during World War I and World War II. Also known as the Blue Ridge Division, it was initially composed of troops from mid atlantic states of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The 80th was reassigned as the 80th Airborne Division from 1946 to 1952 and was designated Reserve Infantry Division in May 1952 and again designated as Reserve Training Division in March 1959.
The Division gained its full force of 23,000 soldiers and embarked for France, landing on 8 June 1918 during World War I. The Division completed training by mid August with the British Third Army and took part in the Somme and the Meuse-Argonne offensives. The 80th sailed back to the US in May 1919 and was inactivated at Camp Lee on June 26. It was reactivated on 24 June 1921 into the reserve and organized on 1 September 1922 at Richmond Virginia.
On 15 July 1942 the 80th Division was again activated. Troops reported to Camp Forest, Tennessee, and later trained at Camp Phillips, Kansas, and the California-Arizona maneuver area. On the 4th of July 1944, the division boarded the Queen Mary and reached Greenock, Firth of Clyde, Scotland then headed to Northwich, England for additional training. The Division set sail to France and landed on Utah Beach on 2 August 1944. The 80th saw its first combat on August 8 when it took over the LeMans bridgehead in the XX Corps area.
The Division came back to the US in January 1946 and was placed on inactive status. It was reassigned six months later as the Reserve Airborne Division on 10 May 1952 and reorganized as a Reserve Training Division on 1 March 1959. It was organized as two 80th Division units in March 1959 and were called to active duty supporting Operation Desert Storm. The new 80th Training Division has a primary mission of providing Initial Entry Training to trainees at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. In 1988 and 1990, the 80th was tasked on ten-week exercises for wartime mobilization missions named, “Old Dominion Forward” at Fort Bragg, setting up training for nearly 700 new Soldiers.
On 1 October 1994, the division became Institutional Training Division and expanded to provide “The Army School System” or TASS mission taking command and control of 10 Army Reserve Forces Schools.
After the September 11, 2001 attack, the Division specialized training to support Operation Noble Eagle having Drill Sergeant and Instructor units mobilized to training posts in the United States. In 2004, elements of the division provided training and reconstruction during Operation Enduring Freedom to the Afghanistan government. In support of the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, the division was assigned and deployed to Iraq serving in every specialty and skill as part of the Multi National Security Transition Command-Iraq.
On October 1, 2008, the 80th Division was restructured to become the 80th Training Command (TASS) which is the third largest Command in the United States Army Reserve. Although changing and evolving, the Division bears the motto “The 80th Only Moves Forward.”