America's entry into World War I in 1917 was marked by the need to quickly build an Army and deploy it to France. Among the units deploying was the 29th "Blue and Gray" Division. Comprised of National Guardsmen from the Mid-Atlantic region, it quickly achieved a reputation as a top-notch outfit during the Meuse-Argonne campaign. This reputation was enhanced in World War II when the 29th was selected for the assault on German-occupied France in the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. The courage and sacrifice shown by Guardsmen that day was later matched in bloody fighting at St Lo, Brest, and Julich. In the years that followed, the 29th would add to its lustrous reputation by becoming the Guard's first "Light" division and serving effectively as peacekeepers in the Balkans--at times only fifty miles from where World War I started. Using previously unpublished material and images from 1917 to 2001, here is their story.
Alexander Barnes is an Army civilian at Fort Lee, Virginia. He served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard, retiring as CW4. He has a masters degree in Anthropology and authored In a Strange Land; The American Occupation of Germany 1918-1923. Tim Williams is an Army civilian in the Combined Arms Support Command, Fort Lee, Virginia. Hes an alumnus of Virginia Tech and the U.S. Army War College. Additionally, he is a Colonel serving in the Virginia Army National Guard.