The 98th Infantry Division never got to fire a shot in combat, but it wasn’t for any lack of desire. The luck of war kept the division stationed in Hawaii from the time it went overseas— April 1944—until the Japanese surrendered sixteen months later.
But the 98th got a look at the enemy, if only at an enemy already defeated. The “Iroquois” Division was one of the Divisions selected for occupation duty in the home islands of Japan.
The Indian Chief shoulder patch of the 98th Division has a long history behind it. The Division, between World Wars, was kept alive as a Reserve outfit by the New York officers who had served in World War I, and their insignia reflects their geo-graphical origins. New York was the home of the old Iroquois Confederacy, composed of five Indian nations, and the five feathers on the Chief’s head symbolize this ancient government.
Blue and orange was selected as the divisional colors because they had earlier been the colors of the Netherlands House of Nassau, which sent its colonists to New York.
The Chief himself? The Iroquois men of today identify him as Hiawatha.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
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