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Hudson Helps Secure Presidential Unit Citation for 30th Infantry Division

 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08) released the following statement after President Donald Trump announced today that he has directed the U.S. Army to award the Presidential Unit Citation to the 30th Infantry Division for its service in World War II. Made up in part by soldiers from the North Carolina National Guard, Rep. Hudson has advocated for this designation for the 30th Infantry Division since entering office.
 
“The 30th Infantry Division has waited more than 70 years for this announcement and I applaud President Trump for taking action to recognize such a deserving group of American heroes,”said Rep. Hudson. “While many veterans from the 30th Infantry Division have already passed away, I’m glad their heroic service to our country will finally get the recognition it deserves.”
 
For seventy years, the 30th Infantry Division has been seeking the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions on the Siegfried Line during World War II. Nicknamed the “Old Hickory Division” and comprised of soldiers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, the division landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and became a vital part of the Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany. Among their accomplishments, the president’s announcement cited the division of 13,000 soldiers holding off an advance of 80,000 German troops at Mortain, France in August 1944.
 
“Today, I am proud to direct the Army to honor the remainder of the Division and attached units with the Presidential Unit Citation for their heroic stand at Mortain,”said President Donald J. Trump. “This action rightfully recognizes our Veterans who triumphed against incredible odds, as well as those who died during a critical battle that helped ensure the Allied victory in Europe.”
 
Historical records indicate that General, and later President, Dwight D. Eisenhower intended for the 30th Infantry Division to be recognized with the Presidential Unit Citation. However, the designation went overlooked for nearly 70 years until today’s announcement. Since his predecessor Rep. Larry Kissell asked him to carry on this fight, Rep. Hudson has worked for more than seven years throughout the Obama and Trump administrations to have the 30th recognized. He led letters signed by all members of the North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia congressional delegations, and appealed directly to the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Army, Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor, and ultimately to the President himself. Rep. Hudson most recently raised this issue at a White House meeting two weeks ago.
 
Rep. Hudson also engaged with veterans of the 30th Infantry Division, including Harrisburg resident King Kenny. In 2018, Rep. Hudson helped arrange for Kenny to meet President Trump in Charlotte where Kenny and Hudson appealed directly to the President for the citation.
 
“I want to thank Congressman Hudson and President Trump for finally giving our 30th Infantry Division the recognition we earned so many years ago,”said King Kenny. “Congressman Hudson never took no for an answer, and I’m so proud he helped make this dream a reality.”
 
In addition to Rep. Hudson and veterans of the 30th, securing this Presidential Unit Citation has been a key priority of the North Carolina National Guard. Currently, the standard bearer to the 30th Infantry Division, the 30th Armored Brigade, is deployed to the Middle East. Major General M. Todd Hunt, Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard, released a statement praising the citation and enduring legacy of the 30th Infantry Division.
 
“On behalf of the NC National Guard, I want to thank North Carolina Congressman Richard Hudson for his diligent work and support in getting the Presidential Unit Citation approved and securing this final victory for the men of the 30th Infantry Division, ‘Old Hickory’,” said Major General M. Todd Hunt, Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard. “The 30th Armored Brigade is the standard bearer of the lineage and honors of the 30th Infantry Division from WWII and WWI. The 30th Armored Brigade has mobilized for federal service multiple times since Sept. 11, 2001 and has protected the lives and property of the citizens of NC during numerous disaster response events."
 
Read the president’s statement detailing the heroic actions of the 30th Infantry Division here:
 
Statement from the President
At my direction, the United States Army will award the Presidential Unit Citation to the 30th Infantry Division.  More than 75 years ago, Soldiers of the 30th Infantry Division slept in their foxholes after hastily taking defensive positions around the small town of Mortain, France. They woke to find themselves under attack by an entire German Panzer Corps.  Through this assault, Adolf Hitler gambled to keep American forces from breaking out of the Normandy beachhead and into the open countryside.  The Nazi plan required the Panzer forces to cut through the 30th Infantry Division en route to the sea.  However, the actions of the 30th Infantry Division would prove to be decisive in blunting this attack.

Nicknamed the “Old Hickory Division” because its Soldiers hailed from National Guard units from North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia – all States closely associated with President Andrew Jackson – the 30th Division Soldiers proved as tough as their unit’s namesake.  The situation they faced on August 6, 1944, was dire.  They found themselves confronted by overwhelming enemy armor, and the German Panzers broke through their lines.  The Old Hickory Division, however, did not stop fighting.  It pressed its cooks, clerks, and drivers into service as riflemen.  The Division’s artillery protected its encircled and isolated elements with a constant barrage of fire.  At daybreak, American and British close air support arrived to help.  By the afternoon of August 7th, the German attack stalled and the Division quickly counterattacked to relieve its trapped elements, through another five days of fierce fighting.  More than 2,000 Old Hickory Soldiers were killed or wounded during the weeklong battle, but their efforts and sacrifice would have a profound impact on the course of history.

After the War, eight units within the 30th Infantry Division were recognized with the Presidential Unit Citation.  Today, I am proud to direct the Army to honor the remainder of the Division and attached units with the Presidential Unit Citation for their heroic stand at Mortain.  This action rightfully recognizes our Veterans who triumphed against incredible odds, as well as those who died during a critical battle that helped ensure the Allied victory in Europe.
 
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