The 9th Infantry Division has various nicknames, but the most common, well known nickname is “Old Reliables“.
Let’s have a look where this nickname came from.
While fighting in Germany in February 1945, the 78th Infantry Division had the objective to capture Dam number 3, named the “Schwammenauel Dam”. After some fighting, the town of Schmidt and the high ground around the dam was captured on February 7th, 1945.
However, after repeated attacks on the dam itself were unsuccessful, Major General Clarence Huebner, Commander of V Corps, asked VII Corps Commander Major General Louis A. Craig to get support from a Combat Team of the 9th Infantry Division in that area. This was approved at once, and on February 8th, a Combat Team of the 60th Infantry Regiment moved out.
The 60th Infantry Regimental Combat Team launched its attack on Hasenfeld on February 9th, and at 4:30 PM the next day, Hasenfeld was cleared. This allowed the 309th Infantry Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division to move up on the north side of the Dam and take it. After the attack, the 60th Infantry Regimental Combat Team moved back to the village of Dreiborn that they took a couple of days earlier.
Here, a little later, a letter of commendation written by Major General Clarence Huebner, Commander of V Corps, was send to General Louis A. Craig, the 9th Infantry Division Commander at the time, which read:
“I take great pleasure in complimenting you and your most competent division for the smooth, efficient and professional manner in which you executed the difficult mission I assigned you on the morning of February 8th, 1945.
You will recall that at eleven o’clock on this morning I made the decision to have you attack through the 78th Infantry Division and capture Schwammenauel Dam, and there by accomplish the Corps mission. The importance of the accomplishment of this mission was such that it affected future action on the entire Western Front. In order to execute my decision it was necessary that you turn over a large part of your sector, move your division some 20 kilometers over most difficult roads and launch an attack through another division which at the moment was engaged heavily with the enemy. I further required that this be done with all possible speed.
Your attack was launched at 05:30 hours on February 9th, 18 hours and 30 minutes after receipt of orders. The displacement was admirably coordinated and smooth, efficient and experienced staff work, as well as sound, decisive and rapid command. Your division performed in a manner of which your officers and men should be justly proud.
The old reliables of your command have again proved there is no substitute for a battle hardened and experienced combat division, that no Army has ever known better soldiers than we are now privileged to command, and that the 9th Division is of this distinguished company“.
This was the first mention of “Old Reliables”, and thus the start of the 9th Infantry Division’s nickname.
The nickname caught on, and has been used ever since!