Officially called a Distinctive Unit Insignia, the Unit Crest is worn on both shoulders of the uniform
. Each is unique and contains symbols of significant events and ideals unique to that unit. The 40th Infantry Division’s Unit Crest is no exception.
The sunburst (a heraldic device known as a “sun in splendor”) set amid a field of blue similar the design found in the division’s ACU Patch
and Combat Service Identification Badge
, forms the centerpiece of the crest. The diamond-shaped field and sun represent the 40th Infantry Division’s roots and origins in the sun-drenched Southwest. Nicknamed “The Sunshine Division,” it was organized on September 16, 1917, in San Diego, California in anticipation of deployment to Europe during WWI. The core of the division was comprised of units eventually pulled from six different Southwest states.
The crest is topped by a demi fleur-de-lis which represents its service during World War I
. The division’s motto “Duty Honor Courage” is prominently displayed on the crest and wraps around its lower half in a semi-circle. The division’s motto denotes the virtues of the division on display during its storied combat experiences, from World War I through the Global War on Terrorism.
Inside the motto’s boundaries is an image of a red arrow seemingly dissecting a Korean torii gate. The red arrow represents one of the division’s proudest moments in combat history: the invasion of Luzon, Philippines where its soldiers pushed back the Japanese to the mountains in just a few months.
The torii gate depicted on the crest references the heroic efforts of the 40th Infantry Division’s combat role in the Korean War. The 40th United States Infantry assumed control of the Kumwha sector of the central front, neutralized the enemy’s advances and maintained the security of the battle area and successfully contained the enemy. Later in the war, the division was assigned to defend the “Punch Bowl” region and the Heartbreak Ridge sector. These actions gained the 40th Infantry Division respect and gratitude for which they were awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.