103d Infantry Division World War II Training



Activated on November 15, 1942, the Cactus Division was assigned to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. There, as a unit, the bulk of the division completed Basic Training.  Their Basic Training culminated with the Louisiana Maneuvers--a large, three-phase field maneuver conducted near Slagle, Louisiana, which lasted nearly two months.


After completing Basic Training, the men of Cactus Division moved to their next permanent training station at Camp Howze, Texas, located just outside Gainesville, Texas. Training continued until September, 1944 when the men, after packing their duffel bags and preparing equipment, departed for Camp Shanks, New York. Uncertainty hung in the air—their destination remained unknown.


Only after the ship sailed from New York Harbor were orders unsealed and an announcement made: the men of the Cactus Division were headed to Marseille, France for deployment into the European Theatre of Operation.

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