Friday, September 23, 2011

40th Armored Division Patch, 1954 - 1967, California National Guard

Today's posting is a US California National Guard shoulder patch with an interesting history.  This patch is from the 40th Armored Division that was active from 1954 to 1967. 

The 40th Armored Division was born out of a reorganization of the 40th Infantry Division, right after the Korean War.  After the war, the division was outfitted with tanks and settled into peacetime drill routines.......... that is until the outbreak of the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965.  The 40th Armored Division was sent into the streets of Watts to keep the peace.  Soldiers of the 40th were thrust into the violent and racially turbulent city with "bayonets fixed" and given the task of  protecting the lives and property of their fellow citizens.  This was a very sad chapter in our country's history and a pivotal moment in the growing racial equality movement in the US. The 40th was reorganized again in 1968, and was broken up into two separate components, armored and infantry.

Here is a link to the 1956 "order of battle" list of all of the units that were assigned to the 40th Armored Division:  40th Armor order of battle 1956

Here is an excellent page that gives the history of the Watts Riots for those of you who wish to learn more about this event:
Watts Riots

For more history on the 40th Armored Division of the California National Guard, check out these links:
Wikipedia 40th_Armored_Division
History of the 40th

To finish things off, here are some historic, archive photos, of the 40th Armored Division in action during the Watts Riots:

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