Following the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, the National Guard expanded its roles and missions, assuming more of the nation’s defense requirements than before the war. Part of this expansion included, for the first time, the organization of two armored divisions in the Guard. One of these was formed around the Headquarters, 72nd Infantry Brigade, which had been reorganized in the Texas Guard on August 25, 1945. The brigade was reorganized and redesignated as the 49th Armored Division on July 2, 1946.
Maj. General Albert Sidney Johnson commanded the division for more than 11 years during its formation. This is by far the longest period of service of any commanding general in its history. General Johnson is widely credited with having given the division a sense of purpose and an esprit de corps.
The 49th was ordered to active federal service in October 1961 and reverted to state control in August 1962. The 49th was deactivated in 1968 and re-organized into three separate brigades, the 36th, 71st and 72nd. The division was reactivated on 1 November 1973, with its headquarters at Camp Mabry, Texas.
On 18 July 2004 the division was re-flagged and again designated as the 36th Infantry Division. Prior to its redesignation, the 49th was capstoned to the U.S. Army III Corps and stood as the only fully functional, reserve component, armored division in the U.S. Army.
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