23rd Infantry Division Americal, US Army

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Coat of arms (crest) of 23rd Infantry Division Americal, US Army

(Shoulder Sleeve Insignia)
Coat of arms (crest) of 23rd Infantry Division Americal, US Army

(Distinctive Unit Insignia)

Official blazon

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. Description: On a blue norman shield 2 5/8 inches (6.67cm) high and 2 1/8 inches (5.40cm) wide, four white stars of varying sizes all slightly tipped to the dexter, arranged to represent the Southern Cross.

Distinctive Unit Insignia. Description: A gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/8 inches (3.49cm) in height overall consisting of a blue enamel saltire with each arm charged at its terminus with a white enamel five-pointed star, the vertical axis of each star diagonally from upper left to lower right, in front of a horizontal gold anchor, crown to left and gold cable passing through the anchor ring and behind the saltire arms, and a vertical stylized red enamel arrowhead between and touching the two upper arms of the saltire and surmounting a gold sun with gold rays extending above the saltire, overall a gold unsheathed sword, point to top and within the confines of the arrowhead, the ends of the guard between and conjoined with the inner edges of the two lower arms of the saltire and the pommel resting on a continuation of the gold anchor cable, the areas to each side of the blade where it extends below the saltire and the hilt above the anchor cable all in red enamel, all other areas between the anchor, anchor cable and arrowhead and the saltire of gold stippled, all above a gold motto scroll, the ends terminating at the lower arms of the saltire, bearing the inscription "AMERICAL" in blue enamel letters, the area between the scroll and anchor cable of gold stippled.


The Southern Cross Constellation on the SSI indicates raising on New Caledonia in the Southern Hemisphere.

Distinctive Unit Insignia: The saltire (or cross of St. Andrew) alludes to New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific where the Division was created and first activated 27 May 1942, and with its blue color (for Infantry) and four white stars forms a "Southern Cross" and refers to the Division's shoulder sleeve insignia (approved 20 December 1943) and the area in which the Division initially served. The four stars (the brightest in the Southern Cross constellation) also allude to the four campaigns (Guadacanal, Northern Solomons, Leyte and Southern Philippines) World War II in which the Division participated. The anchor refers to the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) awarded the Division for Guadacanal and the red arrowhead and Philippine sun for the assault landing, Southern Philippines, and the award of the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation (17 October 1944 to 4 July 1945). The unsheathed sword with point to top refers to Vietnam where the Division was recently activated. In view of the Division's origin and outstanding service in World War II and inasmuch as it was one of the few U.S. Army Divisions to bear a name instead of a number, the Division's former name "Americal" has been taken as a motto, the association with that name being both inspirational and of historical military significance.

The Shoulder Sleeve Insignia was originally approved for the Americal Division on 20 December 1943. It was redesignated for the 23d Infantry Division on 4 November 1954. The Distinctive Unit Insignia was approved on 14 December 1967.

Literature: Images from Wikimedia Commons. Information from The Institute of Heraldry, US Army.

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