Well, I guess every artist would occasionally end up in that special place, where you re-visit your old work and have an overpowering urge to re-do some or all of it… In my case, this is pretty much an ongoing battle. Every time I look at something I created even just a week ago, I manage to notice a thing or two that could have been done better. Usually, I just ignore the urge. But, not this time. The problem was with insignia of the active U.S. Army Infantry Divisions (you can catch my earlier post here), one of the earliest chapters of my “Military Insignia 3D” project. (The earliest and one the most important ones…) One of the major flaws I noticed - the textures for shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) were all over the place. Later in the project, as I was experimenting and trying new techniques, I began to imitate fabric textures for SSIs, to make them look as realistic as possible. This was not the case with my earlier versions of the divisional SSIs, and I wasn’t too happy about it. Of course, this would mean that I had eventually to re-visit every single chapter of the project, involving fabric patches of any kind and re-make them… This would translate into many hours of work, and a major setback for the whole project, but I have concluded, that it was well worth the effort. Logically, the first ones to get an overhaul would be my divisional patches of U.S. Infantry. While I was at it, re-making pretty much all the divisional SSIs using my new fabric textures, I also added a few missing combat service identification badges (CSIB), re-made some of the DUIs, as well as added six new divisions - the 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 23rd and 24th IDs, which I did not cover before. All six were among the recently inactivated, but historically very important divisions, active until very recent time, and the ones, which played important roles during WWII and the Vietnam wars. Below are the results of this artistic detour.
104th Infantry Division
The 104th Infantry Division was an Infantry division of the United States Army. Today, it is known as the 104th Division (Leader Training) and based at Fort Lewis, Washington, as a training unit of the United States Army Reserve. Activated in 1921, the division was created as an infantry unit with a focus on nighttime combat operations. Deployed during World War II, the division saw almost 200 days of fighting in northwestern Europe as it fought through France, Belgium, and western Germany, fighting back several fierce German counterattacks as it advanced through the theater throughout late 1944 and 1945. This was the only combat duty that the 104th Infantry Division has served during its history. At the end of the fighting on 7 May 1945 (V-E Day), this division was in central Germany opposite the troops of its allies from the Soviet Army.After World War II, this division was reorganized primarily as a training division for Reserve forces. After several decades, the division then expanded its role to conducting entry-level training for soldiers of all branches of the Army in the northwestern United States. Its role and size have expanded over that time due to consolidation of other training commands, and the division subsequently took charge of a number of brigades specializing in various entry-level training for soldiers of all types.
In 1967, the division was reorganized. As part of an army wide initiative known as the Reorganization Objective Army Division plan, the division's regiments were disbanded and replaced with larger and more versatile brigades. The 1st Brigade, 104th Division, activated at Vancouver Barracks, and the 2nd Brigade, 104th Division activated at Pasco, Washington. Meanwhile, the 3rd Brigade, 104th Division, as well as the 4th Brigade, 104th Division both activated at Fort Lawton, Washington. Each of these brigades carried the history of other historic units which fought under the 104th Infantry Division in World War II. The 104th Division was then assigned the mission of conducting One Station Unit Training, Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, and Combat Support training. 1st Brigade took on basic combat training, while 3rd Brigade undertook combat support training, 4th Brigade conducted combat service support training. In 1996, three more brigades were added to the division's structure. The 5th Brigade, 104th Division was activated at Salt Lake City, Utah. The 6th Brigade, 104th Division was activated at Aurora, Colorado. The 7th Brigade, 104th Division activated at Vancouver, Washington. The 5th Brigade conducted health services training, 6th Brigade took charge of professional development training and 7th Brigade provided training support to the other brigades. These units were redesignated from other training commands and put under the command of the division. Two additional provisional brigades were created under the 104th Division in 1999; the 8th Brigade, 104th Division was created at Fort Lewis as a unit for training Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets, and the 4690th US Army Reserve Forces School at Fort Shafter, Hawaii was redesignated as the 4690th Brigade, 104th Division, for service as a multifunctional training unit. In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure suggestions included the closure of the Vancouver Barracks, and the 104th Division was subsequently relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington. In 2005, the Distinctive Unit Insignia was designed by Captain Roderic W. Langer under the direction of Major General Terrill K. Moffatt. The 104th received its new distinctive unit insignia in 2006. In October 2007, the division was renamed the 104th Division (Leader Training). This change reflected a change in the division's mission, specifically training officer and non-commissioned officer candidates in their assigned fields.
The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for the 104th Division on 16 August 1924. It was redesignated for the 104th Division (Training) and amended to include a border and add symbolism for the design on 5 June 1985. The insignia was redesignated for the 104th Division (Institutional Training) and amended to update the description on 15 August 2006. It was redesignated effective 17 October 2007, for the 104th Training Division (Leader Training). The timber wolf represents the heartiness and vigor of life in the western states, tenacity in pursuit of mission accomplishment and unity of purpose associated with familial behavior.
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 104th Division (Institutional Training) on 20 July 2006. It was redesignated effective 17 October 2007, for the 104th Training Division (Leader Training) and amended to worn in pairs. The design is based on the historical actions of the Division while training for and campaigning in World War II. The 104th Division was the first Army Division to actively train for nighttime operations as the norm. It was the first military unit to develop written procedures for fighting at night and fighting on the European continent at night, its soldiers were issued hand grenades and bayonets (with no ammunition for their rifles) and told to attack the enemy. 104th Division soldiers were instructed that anyone firing a weapon was an enemy and should be attacked. Using these methods, the 104th Division was successful over 195 days of continuous combat – never once giving ground to the enemy.