FORT MCCOY, Wisc. 88th Regional Support Command, a U.S. Army Reserve unit that traces its lineage to the 88th Infantry Division, celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding on August 19, 2017. The unit stood up 100 years ago at Camp Dodge, Iowa, and saw action in World War I in the Alsace and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns.
The event is one of many taking place across the nation to mark U.S. involvement in World War I and create a greater understanding of Army history. That conflict shaped the modern global environment as well as the modern American Army by introducing the modern Division, Army branches, staff structure, and many installations. The crowning event will be the dedication of a national World War I monument in Washington, D.C. on November 11, 2018.
Major General Patrick Reinert, the commanding general of the 88th RSC, noted that the unit originally drew citizen soldiers from North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois and became known as the "Cloverleaf Division" because of the clover-shaped patch they wear.
In World War II, the 88th was the first draftee division in combat, serving in the Italian Campaign. They were the first division to reach Rome and were nicknamed the "Blue Devils" by the Germans. Bruce Abbott, a World War II veteran of the 88th, attended the event that included the unveiling of a plaque, a 21-gun salute, and performance by the 451st Army Band from Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
After World War II, the 88th was the first division on line against the Soviet Union in the disputed city of Trieste in 1947. Later, the 88th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) sent units to Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Bosnia.
Most recently, the 88th RSC mobilized units for Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and today supports USAR units in 19 states from Ohio to Washington. Individual soldiers, civilians, and military technicians from the 88th continue to support contingency operations in the Middle East today.
According to LTG Charles D. Luckey, commanding general, United States Army Reserve Command, "the event today is a microcosm of the story of America's Army, of which America's Army Reserve has been a part since 1908. The Army Reserve started with the idea of leveraging civilian medical expertise and has grown to being able to create tremendous effects at a cost savings to the tax payer. While our formations have changed status over the years, the lineage and the legacy hasn't wavered."