From the Website on the 100th Division
|Greeting Center for the new member of the 100th, Spring 1944|
|Grenade Training for the 100th|
|Additional roadmarches toughened the new infantry physically and mentally while bonding |
the new men with their veteran buddies
Throughout the Division's tenure at Fort Bragg, rumors abounded regarding the Division's ultimate role in the war. The temporary issue of camouflage utility uniforms led some to believe that the Division was bound for the Pacific; ranger training made some believe the outfit was headed for Norway. Some hopeful few believed the emphasis placed on physical conditioning and drill -- actually a coherent attempt to build discipline and cohesion -- indicated that the 100th was really only a "show division." This latter rumor was reinforced by numerous visits by dignitaries such as the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, and dozens of generals, senior businessmen, and the like. The participation by a select provisional battalion of the Division's smartest marchers in the Fifth War Loan Drive in New York City did little to allay this rumor of nothing but stateside soldiering in the 100th's future.
Nothing could have been more untrue. On 10 August 1944, the Division was alerted for deployment to the European Theater of Operations. The words of the Story of the Century say it best,
To the accompaniment of martial strains from the 100th Division van, first elements of the Century, carrying full field packs and horseshoe rolls, boarded the long line of waiting Pullmans and flopped onto prearranged seats. For several moments the inspiring tunes, which had paced our steps on uncounted reviews across the drill fields of Bragg and Jackson were drowned in the cacophony of grunts and curses as we shifted duffel bags in an effort to make ourselves comfortable. Then, noses and foreheads pressed to windows, we watched Fort Bragg hide behind a curve in the railroad.
By 30 September, the Division had closed on Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, where preparations were made for embarkation in New York. Final passes were granted, essential classes were taught, and the staff and chain of command made last-minute plans and adjustments. On 5 October, the Division loaded aboard the George Washington, George Gordon, McAndrews, and Mooremac Moon. The convoy, which also included the entire 103d Infantry Division and the advance party of the 14th Armored Division, set sail the next morning, bound for Marseilles -- and combat.