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This is the story, told as factually as possible, of the activities of the US Army's Eighty-Sixth "Black Hawk" Infantry Division in World War II.
For eight years, the fighting record of the Black Hawks has been fading into oblivion. The author has attempted in this volume to bring to light for future generations the part played by the Black Hawks in winning the war. In so doing, he requests the indulgence of all of his former comrades, as the length of time that has lapsed since the end of the war has erased many memories and likewise official records of the divisions’ activities.
Much of the information in this book originates from the various after action reports, and other official classified documents in the office of the Adjutant General Army Records Center. Without these documents this book would have been impossible.
The author also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of all former members of the Division who furnished material when requested. This list would be large, but special recognition must be given to Maj. General Harris M. Melasky, our former Commanding General, who is still heart and soul, a Black Hawk.
The author invites correspondence regarding the Black Hawk History, and has indicated a desire to see a permanent Black Hawk Division Association formed, with an annual reunion in some central location in the states each year.
The book is dedicated to all former members of the Division who gave their all for the success of its mission in World War II. Composed almost entirely of selective service inductees, the unit became known as the "Kid Division," because of its youth. The average age of the entire division, officers and all, was only 22. In writing a history of an infantry division, far too many noble acts and deeds are overlooked, because the act dropped where some obscure doughboy fell. Many a battle was won when some infantryman fired one last round with his M-1 rifle as he fell in battle. These are the acts that will never be recorded, as they fell with the individual that carried them through.
As this book is read, many memories will come to light. Some of them will be pleasant, others will not. The purpose of this book is not fiction, nor is it to glorify any particular unit or individual. It attempts to tell only the story of the Black Hawk Division, as documented from official Army records.
The author of this book served as a rifleman in the 86th Infantry Division for over two years. Joining the division at Camp Livingston and remaining with it thru the Philippines. After his discharge from the army in 1946, he studied Journalism at the University of Louisville, and until 1951 was the editor of a Kentucky newspaper. In 1951 he was appointed Postmaster at West Point, Kentucky, and since that time has served in that position.
World War, 1939-1945, Regimental histories, World War II, 86th Division United States Army, Black Hawk Infantry Division
Briggs, Richard Arthur, "Black Hawks over the Danube: The history of the 86th Infantry Division in World War II" (1954). World War Regimental Histories. 220.