Last Saturday I visited an Antique Shop in Vinita, Oklahoma where I was fortunate to buy a Badge for the 25th Silver Anniversary of the Rainbow Division. The Rainbow Division has a colorful history created in August 1917 it comprised mobilized units of the National Guard from 26 states and The District of Columbia. At the time the Division Chief of Staff Major Douglas MacArthur said that they would “stretch over the country like a Rainbow”. The Rainbow was numbered the 42nd Infantry Division and was the first combat division sent to France.

42nd Rainbow Division – Midwest Region Units

Some of the midwest states represented were:

  • Iowa, 168th Infantry Regiment
  • Wisconsin,150th Machine Gun Battalion
  • Illinois, 149th Field Artillery Regiment
  • Indiana, 150th Field Artillery Regiment
  • Minnesota, 151st Field Artillery Rergiment
  • Missouri, 117th Field Signal Battalion
  • Kansas, 117th Ammunition Train
  • Nebraska, 166th Field Hospital
  • Oklahoma, 168th Ambulance Company

The division fought in the Second Battle of the Marne, the Chateau-Thierry Counter offensive, Saint Mihiel, Verdun Champagne Woevre and the Meuse Argonne. It suffered 12,000 casualties in 264 days of combat. It was one of the few units that had Five Battle Clasps on the Victory Medal.

This background makes items from the 42nd Rainbow Division a popular collectible for World War I collectors.

42nd Rainbow Division Badge   42nd Rainbow Division Badge close up   42nd Rainbow Division Badge details

42nd Rainbow Division – 25th Reunion Badge

The 25th Reunion badge is named to Q.P. Shreck who was member of B Company, 117th Ammunition Train. The Reunion was held at Tulsa and Camp Gruber, Oklahoma during July 1943. The badge was made by The Midwest Badge and Novelty Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The badge was cheaply made and the “metal” hanger is made with a cardboard stiffener that is clad on both sides by embossed aluminum foil. as fragile as it was made it is surprising that it survived the last 79 years in good condition.