Who are the
45th Infantry Division
World War II Reenactors

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 Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) President of the United States of America during the Second World WarThe 45th Infantry Division was one of four National Guard Divisions activated in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, foreseeing the possibility of war on the horizon. Originally, the National Guard division was comprised of four infantry regiments; the 157th, the 158th, the 179th, and the 180th. These soldiers, many of whom were of a Native American ancestry, were originally from the home states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, the U.S. Army reduced the size of a division to three regiments. Colorado's 157th Infantry Regiment, and Oklahoma's 179th and 180th Infantry Regiments stayed with the 45th Infantry Division. Arizona's 158th Infantry Regiment (the "Bushmasters" (archived site)) was detached from the 45th and reassigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations as a separate regiment. After activation, replacements for the 45th came from all across the United States. This brief history gives you an idea of who the Thunderbirds were; a group of ordinary citizen soldiers taken from all walks of life, brought together to put their lives on the line and who accomplished amazing things defending their country.

 

First and foremost, we are a living history organization, not a militia unit.

This unit was established in 1997 for the main purpose of honoring the veterans of World War II who were members of the 45th Infantry Division. Throughout the year we attend various living history events where we have the opportunity to teach the public about the Thunderbirds, and to meet some of the men who served in this fine unit. We also attend tactical battle reenactments, in which the event hosts try to recreate scenarios from the war. Although we will never truly know what the men who served during those times went through, we strive to learn as much as we can about what they experienced.We are also a B.S.A., Venturing Crew building leadership and passing the knowledge of the World War Two generation.

Even if you are not inclined to go out in the woods for tacticals or wear uniforms we could still use your help. We need people who can interview Veterans. Transcribe taped interviews. Even do reaserch work for our website project.

Why do we do this?

The United States Army .. Then, Now, Forever      World War Two The 45th Infantry Division has a long and proud history. The men who served in this unit proved themselves to be some of the finest citizen soldiers the United States had to offer. These men deserve our respect, and they deserve our gratitude. Saying "Thank you" just didn't seem to be enough. We formed a non-profit educational association dedicated to the preservation of the history of World War II. The World War II Recreation Association has recently become official partners of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, helping form a national archive of oral histories from veterans. Through living history presentations we are able to teach people about who these men were, and what they did to defend the freedoms we have today. Through the Venturing Crew that is a part of our association we are teaching the next generation about a time that is being forgotten by many, and keeping their legacy alive.

The other reason we do this is because we think it's fun. The living history events are a great time to learn more about other units that served during World War II, and a great time to just hang out with members of our own unit, and other reenactors. The tactical events let us, grown men, run around in the woods, play Army, and shoot blanks at German reenactors! What more could someone want in a hobby?

Yup... we think this is fun.

 

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