CU to award honorary master's to Tenn Maneuvers veterans

From 1941 to 1944, more than 850,000 soldiers from 25 U.S. Army divisions participated in seven large-scale maneuvers across 22 counties of Middle Tennessee deadly serious war games (250 soldiers and civilians died in the training) to prepare for the war in the European and Pacific theaters.

Cumberland University, which served as 2nd Army field headquarters for those massive exercises, wants to award honorary Master of Military Arts degrees this spring to as many of the soldiers from the Maneuvers as it can find.

The simulated combat in Middle Tennessee was a critical element in the Allied victory in World War II, said Dr. Harvill Eaton, president of Cumberland University. What soldiers learned here, as they engaged in rigorous corps-level exercises, was an important part of their education for their overseas combat assignments. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 2nd Army Maneuvers Field Headquarters moving to our campus in Lebanon, we will award the honorary degrees in a special Remembrance and Respect celebration.

Eaton said the university plans to host the event and confer the degrees on May 8. The date the anniversary of Victory in Europe Day is significant because 22 of the 25 U.S. Army divisions that trained in the Tennessee Maneuvers fought in the European theater.

We have titled our commemoration Remembrance and Respect Cumberland University Honors the Veterans of the WW II Tennessee Maneuvers because its important for us to remember how Cumberland University and Middle Tennessee contributed to the Allied victory, Eaton said. But, more important, we want to pay our respects to the men who trained here and fought with such skill and tenacity.

Were hopeful that many veterans will be able to attend the May 8 event on our campus, Eaton continued. Were planning a variety of interactive displays that will allow the veterans to see and touch a large assortment of vehicles and equipment they used, to hear music from that era, to be in the company of other soldiers who shared their wartime experiences, to see World War II re-enactors, and most important to be honored by Middle Tennesseans who recognize and appreciate their sacrifices and service. Those who are unable to attend the event can, of course, receive their degrees by mail.

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The seven large-scale Tennessee Maneuvers involved the following divisions:

2nd Armored June, 1941

4th Armored September November 1942

5th Armored April June 1943

5th Infantry June 1941

6th Infantry September-November 1942

8th Infantry September-November 1942

10th Armored July-August 1943

12th Armored September-November 1943

14th Armored November 1943-January 1944

17th Airborne January-March 1944

26th Infantry January-March 1944

27th Infantry June 1941

30th Infantry (Participated twice) June 1941 and September-November 1943

35th Infantry November 1943-January 1944

78th Infantry January-March 1944

79th Infantry September-November 1943

80th Infantry July-August 1943

81st Infantry September-November 1943

83rd Infantry July-August 1943

87th Infantry November 1943-January 1944

94th Infantry September-November 1943

98th Infantry September-November 1943

100th Infantry November 1943-January 1944

101st Airborne (Participated twice) April-June and July-August 1943

106th Infantry January-March 1944

The terrain of Middle Tennessee allowed soldiers to make river crossings and engage in simulated combat in conditions similar to those expected in France and Belgium. The training was very realistic, with more than 250 soldiers and civilians killed in the Tennessee Maneuvers. The Cumberland University commemoration will also pay tribute to those who died in training and in overseas combat.

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