The 2ndDivision was organized with headquarters in Bourmount, France in October 1917. It consisted of regular army troops drawn from across the United States and a Marine Corps brigade drawn from Quantico, Va. and France. Troops of the 2ndDivision sailed from New York City and Hoboken, N.J. to St. Nazaire, France between June 26, 1917 and March 30, 1918.
By March 13, 1918 the 2ndDivision had completed its initial training and was assigned to the French Second Army near Verdun, France for front-line experience. On March 17, 1918 elements of the 2nd Division occupied sectors near Toulon, Rupt, and Troyon on the west face of the St. Mihiel salient (a salient being an area that projects into the enemy’s defensive line).
On June 1, 1918 the 2ndDivision deployed north of the Marne River, defending the Paris-Metz highway west of Chateau Thierry. After successfully defending, the division attacked the Germans near Vaux, Bouresches, and Bois de Belleau on June 6, 1918. The attack continued through the rest of June and resulted in a series of bitter battles. The legendary battle for Belleau Wood lasted from June 1-26, 1918 and can be best described as see-saw back-and-forth attacks leading to bloody close quarter combat. It seemed a deadlocked contest between dug-in American and German soldiers until resistance cracked after a final successful American attack on June 26, 1918. There were 9,777 U.S. casualties in Belleau Wood, including 1,811 deaths.
The 2nd Division participated in every major American campaign during World War I, and suffered 5,155 killed and 18,080 wounded. This is about one-tenth of the casualties suffered by the American Expeditionary Force, more than those of any other division.
Constituent Units of the 2nd Division
4th Marine Brigade