OLD IRONSIDES DESIGNATION
As part of the mechanization of the Army and the buildup for World War II, cavalry and infantry units were brought together to form the division on Jul. 15, 1940, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Maj. Gen. Bruce R. Magruder, the Division’s first commander, gave the division its famous nickname soon after its activation. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. had just named his 2nd Armored Division “Hell on Wheels”; not to be outdone, Magruder held a contest to find a suitable nickname.
Over 200 names were submitted, but none seem to fit the bill. At the time Magruder had just purchased a painting of the famous U.S. Navy warship, the U.S.S. Constitution, which had the nickname “Old Ironsides”.
Magruder happened to glance at his painting while mulling over potential nicknames. He was impressed with the parallel between the development of the tank and the Navy’s “Old Ironsides” spirit of daring and durability and immediately named his division the same.
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