The 80th Division was first organized August 5, 1917 in the National Army and headquartered at Camp Lee (now known as Fort Lee), Virginia. The Division originally consisted of men mostly from Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia and was nicknamed the "Blue Ridge Division." The unit's distinctive insignia was adopted in 1918 and consists of three blue mountain peaks representing the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The Division also adopted the Latin Motto, "Vis Montium" or "Strength of the Mountains."
In World War I, the 80th Division reached full strength with 23,000 soldiers and sailed to France, landing on June 8, 1918. The 80th Division trained with the British Third Army and joined forces on the front lines near the Artois sector with heavy action in the Somme Offensive of 1918 and in the Meuse-Argonne. The 80th returned to the States in May 1919 and was inactivated at Camp Lee on June 26, 1919.
The Division of Unique Distinction - never failed to gain its objective. It was the only A.E.F. Division called upon three times in the great Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The 80th was ranked first of all National Army Divisions by the War Department. It always led and captured two Huns for every man wounded. The 80th accomplished these results of vast importance to the success of the general operations with a far smaller percentage of casualties than any other division engaged.