47th Infantry Division (United States)

The 47th Infantry Division was a formation of the United States Army active from 1946 to 1991. It was provided by the Army National Guard. The division was created on 10 June 1946 as a National Guard infantry division from the efforts of Minnesota's Adjutant General Ellard Walsh. The division was built from scratch with veteran transfers and new recruits, mostly from Minnesota and North Dakota, under the command of Major General Norman Hendrickson. General Hendrickson was the Chief-of-Staff for the 34th Division in the North African and Italian campaigns in 1943 and the IX Corps in occupied Japan.

Units of the division were allotted to the Minnesota National Guard, and North Dakota National Guard. The division never saw combat throughout its history, although it was federalized and sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama from 1951 to 1954 during the Korean War. During the Korean War the division was used as a replacement division, and its men and units transferred to Regular Army units. It returned to state control, and its home state, in 1953. The unit returned to Minnesota, with active army personnel from Camp Rucker taking a convoy from Fort Benning, Georgia in 1954.

The division's North Dakota elements were transferred out in 1959 during a service-wide reconfiguration to the Pentomic structure. Infantry regiments were dropped and replaced by battle groups bearing the regimental number (1st Battle Group, 135th Infantry, for example) as well as numerous other redesignations and reconfigurations.[1] It became an entirely Minnesotan division. The division was again reorganized in 1963, this time according to the Reorganization Objective Army Division (ROAD) structure. Battle group designations were dropped and substituted by battalions assigned flexibly to brigades. Several other significant redesignations and changes were also made.

The most sweeping reorganization occurred in February 1968. Principal among them was the extension of the division into Iowa and Illinois as a result of Pentagon-mandated cutbacks of the Guard in those states. Iowa's 67th Brigade was disbanded, redesignated as the 34th Infantry Brigade, and assigned to the Viking Division. In Illinois, units of the disbanded 33rd Infantry Division were reorganized into the 66th Infantry Brigade and made part of the 47th Division.

In December 1965, the division became one of three National Guard divisions earmarked for the Selected Reserve Force, capable of more rapid deployment.[1] This status was removed on February 1, 1968.

The division was deactivated in 1991. Immediately afterward, the division's former units were reactivated as the 34th Infantry Division. Effectively, the division was renamed, but for official lineage purposes, the Department of the Army does not recognize any continuity.

The 47th Infantry Division remained on the rolls longer than any other National Guard division that did not see combat (45 years of service). The only Army division that did not see combat to have remained on the rolls longer is the Army Reserve's 108th Infantry Division, elements of which have seen action now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

47th Infantry Division
47th Division Shoulder Patch
47th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Country United States
Branch United States Army
Nickname(s)"Viking Division"
Motto(s)Furor Vikingorum
Norman E.Hendrickson
Distinctive unit insignia
47 Inf Div DUI


  • Norman E. Hendrickson (1 Aug 1946 - 20 Jan 1954)
  • Philip C. Bettenburg (25 Jan 1954 - 31 Jan 1958)
  • Richard Cook (1 Feb 1958 - 14 Jan 1960)
  • Robert P. Miller (15 Jan 1960 - 6 Oct 1963)
  • Donald C. Grant (7 Oct 1963 - 31 Mar 1971)
  • Paul V. Meyer (1 Apr 1971 - 27 Sep 1973)
  • William S. Lundberg Jr. (28 Sep 1973 - 30 Jan 1976)
  • James S. O'Brien (1 Jul 1976 - 23 Jun 1979)
  • Robert G. Walker (24 Jun 1979 - 31 Oct 1982)
  • Edward W. Waldon (1 Nov 1982 - 8 Dec 1985)
  • Allan R. Meixner (9 Dec 1985 - 20 Sep 1986)
  • Robert L. Blevins (21 Sep 1986 - 31 Oct 1988)
  • David H. Lueck (1 Nov 1988 - 10 Feb 1991)


  1. ^ a b Military Historical Society of Minnesota, The 47th “Viking” Infantry Division: Minnesota’s Cold War Division


47th Division

In military terms, 47th Division may refer to:

Infantry divisions

47th Reserve Division (German Empire)

47th Landwehr Division (German Empire)

47th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

47th Volksgrenadier Division (Wehrmacht)

47th Infantry Division Bari (Kingdom of Italy)

47th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

47th (1/2nd London) Division (United Kingdom, World War I)

47th (London) Infantry Division (United Kingdom, World War II)

47th Infantry Division (United States)Aviation divisions

47th Air Division (United States)

Minnesota Army National Guard

The Minnesota Army National Guard, along with the Minnesota Air National Guard, is an element of the Minnesota National Guard. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state missions. In fact, the National Guard is the only United States military force empowered to function in a state status. Those functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full scale law enforcement of martial law when local law enforcement officials can no longer maintain civil control.

The National Guard may be called into federal service in response to a call by the President or Congress.

The Minnesota Army National Guard is composed of approximately 11,000 Soldiers, spread out in 65 training and community centers across the state.

When National Guard troops are called to federal service, the President serves as Commander-in-Chief. The federal mission assigned to the National Guard is: "To provide properly trained and equipped units for prompt mobilization for war, National emergency or as otherwise needed."

The Governor may call individuals or units of the Minnesota National Guard into state service during emergencies or to assist in special situations which lend themselves to use of the National Guard. The state mission assigned to the National Guard is:

"To provide trained and disciplined forces for domestic emergencies or as otherwise provided by state law."

The State Defense force is a military entity authorized by both the State Code of Minnesota and executive order. The State Defense Force (SDF) is the state’s authorized militia and assumes the state mission of the Minnesota National Guard in the event the Guard is mobilized. The SDF is composed of retired active and reserve military personnel and selected professional persons who volunteer their time and talents in further service to their state.

The Minnesota Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. Nationwide, the Army National Guard comprises approximately one half of the US Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organization. National coordination of various state National Guard units are maintained through the National Guard Bureau.

Minnesota Army National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the United States Army. The same ranks and insignia are used and National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The Minnesota Guard also bestows a number of state awards for local services rendered in or to the state of Minnesota.


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