The 76th Division was organized in August 1917 as the first Army Reserve combat division to be drawn from civilian ranks through the draft. Because its designation of "76" for the year "1776" and because it was the first Army Reserve unit organized from the draft, the Division was known as "First Sons of the Nation."
The Division trained in Camp Devens, Massachusetts and was sent to France in 1918, but did not see combat as a division The division was reduced to 7,000 troops on August 3, 1918 and then skeletonized on November 7, 1918. Soldiers from the 76th Division served in multiple combat sectors across France.
The 76th Division was inactivated May 1919 and reactivated for World War II on June 15, 1942 as the 76th Division, renamed the 76th Infantry Division on August 1, 1942. Winter training began in September 1943 at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. In March 1944, the Division returned to Camp McCoy and during April 1944, 7,000 troops were reassigned to other units to build up forces for the D-Day invasion of France and to resupply units in North Africa.
In November 1944, the Division sailed for combat in Germany, landing in France on January 25, 1945, relieving the 87th Division along the Sauer and Moselle Rivers. Serving as the spear tip of Patton's 3rd Army from February 7, 1945 until May 9, 1945, the Division crossed 20 rivers, fighting continuously for over 400 miles. The 76th Infantry Division captured 17 German Divisions and over 33,000 prisoners of war. The Division suffered 811 killed in action and 18 missing during its 110 day march across Europe. Pvt. William D. McGee and Pfc. Herman C. Wallace were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in combat.
The 76th Division was in activated in Hof, Germany on 31 August 1945. The 76th Infantry Division was reconstituted in October 1946 then reactivated in November 1946 as part of the Organized Reserve in West Hartford Connecticut. In May,1959 the Division was re-designated and reorganized as the 76th Division (Training) with the mission of training initial entry Soldiers , later certifying to also train infantry volunteers and draftees. In 1985 and 1986, the Division established and executed the first USAR Mobilization Army Training Center at Fort Campbell, Kentucky which became the model for mobilization training for the other Reserve Training Divisions. In 1990-91 during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Division validated and deployed over 600 Soldiers with the 3rd Army.
In October 1994, the Division was re-designated and on 18 April 1995 was reorganized as the 76th Division (Institutional Training). It was inactivated on 15 November 1996 in West Hartford Connecticut.
On 1 February 2013, the Joint and Special Troops Support Command was redesignated as the 76th USAR Operational Response Command in Salt Lake City, Utah with the mission of providing operational engagement packages and joint enabling capabilities for homeland response, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE), and global force space enhancement requirements to U.S. Joint and DoD Commanders.
Most recently the 76th Operational Response Command’s Task Force was activated in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Task Force 76, renamed Task Force West, was responsible for Department of Defense operations in FEMA regions VIII, IX, and X.