World War II, Ground Zero, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will gather during a private reception at the Military Museum on Thursday, July 12 as part of the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation Annual Reunion.
Based in Troy, NY, the Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow) of the Army National Guard, will be holding their national reunion in Albany July 11-14, 2012. The reunion is held in recognition of the division’s modern contributions and as a symbol of the handing off of the Rainbow Legacy from the World War II generation to the Post Cold War and Global War on Terror generation.
The division was first created by Douglas MacArthur in World War I from National Guard units drawn across the nation, including NY’s famous “Fighting 69” Infantry and was re-created for World War II by drawing selective service and volunteers from every state. In 1946, the Rainbow Division was re-assigned back to New York and again as a National Guard formation.
The Rainbow Division veterans association, first organized after the Great War, is among the longest serving veterans associations nationwide. The growing role and success of the 42nd in the National Guard in modern times is adding new life and legacy to a vital and important Army story. It was designated the Northeast Division in the early 1990s as other National Guard divisions were inactivated. It led military support operations at Ground Zero to the civilian authorities following the 9-11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It was mobilized and deployed for Iraq in 2005 and commanded both National Guard and Regular Army brigades during combat operations. It trained, prepared and deployed NY’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team for Afghanistan in 2007-8 and has an ongoing mission for Homeland Defense and overseas contingency operations.
At the Military Museum on July 12, Dachau concentration camp liberators and family members will join with Ground Zero responders and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to remember and share. The service of the modern day Rainbow Division is featured in the Modern Guard, 9-11, Iraq and Afghanistan exhibits at the Museum.