The design of the 5th Infantry Division's Unit Crest, or Distinctive Unit Insignia, combines the shapes of a diamond (taken from its Shoulder Sleeve Insignia and CSIB) and arrowhead, symbolizing the piercing of the Germans' Meuse River defenses in World War I. This signal achievement led to the organization's informal nickname of the "Meuse Division" and was worked into the justification for the "Red Diamond" insignia, which was actually adopted by the unit when it arrived in France. General John Pershing called it "one of the most brilliant military feats in the history of the American Army in France."

The U.S. Army Center of Military History explains the design as "the diamond that cut into the line of the Vosges in August 1918, and by the capture of Frapelle was the only indentation suffered by the Germans in their southern sectors in three years of trench warfare that helped shear off the salient of St. Mihiel; and that after slowly grinding the Boche cut of the Bois des Rappes, became the point of an arrow that pierced the Meuse and thereby gave the division its name." The unit motto, "We Will," is written on a scroll at the base of the crest.

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