Panama Canal Division

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Panama Canal Division
Panama Canal Div. SSI.jpeg
Active 1921–1932
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army

The Panama Canal Division was a unit of the United States Army, established in order to ensure the United States could adequately defend the Canal Zone in Panama. When it was authorized in 1920, similar divisions were organized to defend Hawaii and the Philippines. The division was organized in 1921, and active until 1932.[1][2]

Its initial composition included the 19th Infantry Brigade commanding the (14th and 65th Infantry Regiments, of which the 65th was stationed in Puerto Rico) and the 20th Infantry Brigade commanding the (33rd and 42nd Infantry Regiments).[1] The two brigades appear to have been active until 1927.[3]

Later, however, the commander of the Panama Canal Department, Major General Preston Brown, determined that the defense of Panama would be better served by command groups representing the Atlantic and the Pacific. In 1932, the Army inactivated the division, keeping its Tables of Organization on file should the need arise to reactivate it. It never has.[1]

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara decided to bolster available U.S. Army forces in the Caribbean area in 1961, after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion and rumors of Soviet assistance to Cuba. The Army reinforced the resident 1st Battle Group, 20th Infantry Regiment in the Panama Canal Zone with the 193d Infantry Brigade, which was activated on 8 August 1962.[4] On 14 October 1994 the 193d Infantry Brigade was the first major unit to inactivate in accordance with the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 which mandated U.S. Forces withdrawal from Panama by December 1999.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Wilson, John B. (1997). Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. Washington, DC: Center of Military History.
  2. ^ US Army Order of Battle 1919-1940 p288
  3. ^ McGrath, 'The Brigade,' p.166
  4. ^ Army Lineage Series, Maneuver And Firepower, The Evolution Of Divisions And Separate Brigades, pg 402
  5. ^ US Army Order of Battle 1919-1940 p285
  6. ^ US Army Order of Battle 1919-1940 p285
  7. ^ US Army Order of Battle 1919-1940 p288
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