The 28th Infantry Division

American Legion Post 35 Table of Contents

"The Keystone Division" from Pennsylvania

Compiled by SFC John M. Holman, U.S. Army of Occupation

Gablingen, Germany -- 1953

Proudly Served!

We can well be proud, as members of the 28th Infantry Division, to be part of an organization whose record stands so high in the military history of our country.

["Proudly Served", right:] The famous photograph of American troops before the Arc de Triomphe, marching in battle parade down the Champs Elysees, shows the men of 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division in late August 1944. With no time to rest, the Division moved on to fight some of the most bloody battles of the War the day following the parade. (The song that was playing was "Khaki Bill".)

Formed in 1917 at Camp Hancock, Georgia, from units of the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Division, after its period of training, was sent to Europe as part of the American Expenditionary Force. On the battlefield an enviable record was made in five major campaigns in France, drawing from General Pershing high commendation and appellation of "The Iron Division." After the war ended the Division was returned to Pennsylvania on an inactive status.

A few years later, the 28th Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, was reorganized and continued in training.

When the emergency of 1941 arose, the Division was again called to the colors for further training at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation. War broke out, the Division continued its training at Camp Livingston, La., Camp Gordon Johnston, Fla., and Camp Pickett, Va., and was sent to England in October 1943. Landing at Omaha Beach, the Division engaged in the campaigns and Central Germany. Suffering high casualties the Division served with great distinction.

In 1946 the Division was reorganized as part of the Pennsylvania National Guard and continued in that status until the Division was again inducted into Federal service in September 1950.

We have a noble heritage; we are proud of our Division. Let us be soldiers, in turn, of whom the Division will be proud.

The 28th Division in the Hurtgen Forest
[Note the red Keystone Division shoulder patches,
nicknamed by the Germans as the "Bloody Bucket Division.]

The Old Gray Mare Story

Contributed by Harry Niece, Port Allegany, PA.

From "The Old Gray Mare" Newsletter, January 2002, Issue #29
and "THE COLT", booklet, 1953

109th Infantry Regiment Veterans

"Best Wishes, Old Gary Mare"

The 109th Infantry was nicknamed the "Old Gray Mare Regiment" during World War I when commander Colonel Millard D. Brown, led his troops across the pock-marked battlefields of southern France astride an old gray horse. Twenty five years later while serving their third call to Federal duty, the men of the 109th finally acquired an Old Gray Mare to serve as a living symbol of their unit.

The story of the Old Gray Mare, like the story of our regiment itself, is a fascinating one. The sixteen year old Mare has probably done more and served mankind in more capacities than any six horses. Born of mixed parentage, believed to be of Arabian and Belgium blood, the Mare began her first of many jobs as a polo pony in northern Germany. After several unsuccessful polo seasons she was sold to a riding stable in the Augsburg area where she worked for a short period before being drafted into the German army as an artillery horse. No record of her war service is available, but it is believed that she served on the Italian front and was wounded slightly on her left rear leg during street fighting near Salerno.

With the liberation of Europe the Old Gray Mare became a free agent again. She was brought home from the war by a local merchant who sold her to another riding stable near Ulm. A German wheat farmer, who lives, west of Augsburg, bought the Mare from the riding stable and made her a plow horse . . . . a four gaited plow horse.

Next, the 109th Infantry, content that the horse belonging to this farmer was old and gray enough to be a capable mascot for the 109th, rallied together to buy the Mare on a preferred stock basis, making her a horse with over 4000 owners and one of the largest corporations in Germany at the time.

[Photo right] The Old Gray Mare surprised everyone but her many owners last year as she finished seventh in a field of 16 of Germany's best jumping horses in Munich.

After joining the 109th, the Mare, who finds her second army hitch much better than the first, was assigned the job of "spreading good will and creating morale for the men of the regiment". She does her job well.

In November of last year [1953?] the Old Gray Mare surprised everyone but her owners when a skinny 109th soldier named Tony Hemerich booted her across the finish line seventh in a field of sixteen of Germany's best professional jumping horses at the Munich-Reim track. Cameras from prominent newsreel firms photographed the race and newsmen from all the major wire services gave the race full coverage while Armed Forces Network technicians aired a trackside broadcast spreading the Old Gray Mare's fame across the continent.

During the Christmas season the Old Gray Mare went with soldiers of the 109th and the Augsburg lord-mayor to the Fuggeri, an age-old city within the city, where old people live for less than a dollar a year, to present cakes to these old citizens. The Germans were almost as pleased with the Mare as they were with the cakes.

More recently she pranced through the streets of downtown Augsburg with world feather- weight boxing champion Sandy Sadler up.

[Photo left] On the way to the Fuggeri with the Augsburg lord-mayor ... When it was all over, the German citizens were as happy with the Mare as they were with the gifts the Regiment presented.

On her birthday the Old Gray Mare received greetings from Triggers, Champion, eight handsome studs who cavort for the Anheuser-Busch Corporation, Francis, the talking mule and U.S. Military Academy mascot Mr. Jackson. In addition, bags of sugar, salt and carrots were sent by the Mare's German friends.

She is regarded as an important part of the 109th Infantry, so important in fact, that the conservative British Broadcasting Company devoted ten minutes of their important radio time to her. In addition, newspapers all over the world have carried stories on the Mare.

Photographs taken of the Old Gray Mare are uncountable, but it is estimated that well over 900 prints have emerged from various dark rooms. Newspapers the world over have carried stories of the Mare and it is believed that over 20,000 printed words have appeared concerning our mascot.

The Mare is a formality at Regimental reviews and parades, she is introduced to visiting dignitaries and is a permanent fixture at regimental sporting events.

Though old and minus a few teeth, she has a big heart and is strong of spirit. To the men of the 109th Infantry, the Old Gray Mare will always be their mascot -- the best mascot!

"The Old Gray Mare"

Adapted Spiritual

Author Unknown

Copyright Unknown

The old gray mare,
She ain't what she used to be
Ain't what she used to be,
Ain't what she used to be
The old gray mare,
She ain't what she used to be
Many long years ago.

Many long years ago,
Many long years ago,
The old gray mare,
She ain't what she used to be
Many long years ago.

The old gray mare,
She kicked on the whiffletree,
Kicked on the whiffletree,
Kicked on the whiffletree
The old gray mare,
She kicked on the whiffletree
Many long years ago.

Many long years ago,
Many long years ago,
The old gray mare,
She kicked on the whiffletree
Many long years ago.

Old Gray Mare Leaving 109th

Stars & Stripes

May 18, 1954

109th Regimental Commander, 1953
AUGSBURG, May 18 (S&S) The old gray mare, mascot of the 109th Inf. Regt. once given 10 minutes of praise over the British Broadcasting Co. (BBC), will be retired from active military service today.

The mare will be presented to Klaus Mueller, Lord Mayor of Augsburg, by Col. Charles R. Kutz, 109th Inf. CO.

Mueller has promised to find green pastures for the mare, rendered "surplus" by the pending redesignation of the 109th Inf. to the 10th Inf. Regt, 5th Div.

Although the actual age of the old lady is hazy, the regiment last year gave its mascot a 16th birthday part. In addition to gifts of salt and sugar from German friends, birthday greetings were received from movie steeds Trigger and Champion; Frances, the talking mule; Mr. Jackson, the West Point mule, and a group which signed itself "eight handsome studs who cavort for Anheuser-Busch Breweries."

However old the mare is, she bellied her age last year by playing seventh in a field of 16 of Germany's best professional jumping horses at a Munich race track.

She also evidenced some girlish youthfulness by becoming involved in an abortive international romance with Mr. Jackson. Although she is believed to be the first actual old gray mare to belong to the Old Gray Mare Regiment, the unit has been called by that name since Col. Millard D. Brown, then CO of the 109th, rode an old gray horse across the battlefields of south France in World War I.


Hq and Hq Company
109th Infantry Regiment
110th Infantry Regiment
112th Infantry Regiment
Division Artillery
103rd Engineer (Combat) Bn
899th AAA (AW) Battalion
628th Medium Tank Battalion
103rd Medical Battalion
28th Infantry Division Band
28th Military Police Company
728th Ordnance Company
28th Quartermaster Company
28th Reconnaissance Company
28th Replacement Company
28th Signal Company
28th Ranger Company
28th CIC Detachment

[See also: History of the 109th Infantry Regiment]
American Legion Post 35 Table of Contents