Thirty Second Division

Wisconsin's State Highway 32 is one of several historic routes through Wisconsin (along with the Yellowstone Trail, the old Military Road, Green Bay Heritage trail, US 41, etc.) but Wisconsin's STH-32 is also known as the Red Arrow Highway. The Red Arrow designation comes from an action by the Wisconsin State Legislature to renumber components of the trunk highway system as STH-32, in honor of the US Army's 32nd Division. The statute also describes that the shields "…carry a red arrow and that historical markers be erected and maintained along the highway in honor of the 32nd Division and its members."
STH-32
A typical STH-32 Shield with emblems

The 32nd Division was formed on May 29, 1917 as a National Guard Division from Wisconsin and Michigan. The division was called up just two months later, in July of 1917 and arrived in France in February of 1918. Once on the battlefield, the division was under constant fire but never gave ground to the enemy. General de Mondesir saw the 32nd in action and declared they were "Les soldats terrible" for the way they cleared German positions with unrelenting attacks. The name stuck, and [em]Les Terribles[/em] became official in a citation for their efforts at Juvigny.

The 32nd Division symbol of a line penetrated by a red arrow became the official insignia of the division because it penetrated every German line it faced during the World War.

The division was all but inactive between the wars and was based in Lansing. It was called up again in October, 1940 and became one of the first to be called to active duty after Pearl Harbor. The division served in the Pacific Theater, eleven members were awarded the Medal of Honor.

The 32nd Division was put on alert in 1961, after the historical markers had gone up. The 32nd reported to Fort Lewis, Washington because of Cold War tensions in Europe, but they were never deployed. It was called up again in 2009 and deployed 3,200 members to Iraq on a fourteen month assignment.

The division has been honored by numerous communities around the world. Lowell High School (Michigan) named the mascot the Red Arrows after WWII. There is a Red Arrow school in Hartford, Michigan and in San Nicolas, Pangasinan, Philippines. There is a Red Arrow Park in Kenosha, Marinette and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The monument that replaced the old Whitefish Bay National Guard Armory is laid out in the shape of the Red Arrow symbol.

There are markers in Arcadia, Wisconsin and at both the Michigan and Illinois state lines. Those two markers are at the terminals of Wisconsin Highway 32, the Red Arrow Highway.

The Red Arrow Highway, WI 32, enters Wisconsin from Illionis on Sheridan Road in Pleasant Prairie. From there, it runs 325 miles through 13 counties in Wisconsin until it ends at the Michigan State Line in Land o' Lakes, Wisconsin.

It also runs concurrently with the Yellowstone Trail through Kenosha and Racine Counties, and into downtown Milwaukee before the Yellowstone Highway turns northwesterly and the Red Arrow Highway continues north.

The WI 32 state highway shields, as required by state statute 84.104, carry the Red Arrow logo of the division. (The Red Arrow logo does not appear on Interstate Highway information signs.)


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