What's in a Name - History of The Illini-Blackhawk
The current IRS MOS Chicago Chapter took its name as a combination of two historical legacies that took place from the state of Illinois. The Illini were a combination of several Indian tribes that settled in the southern part of the State. They had no contact with Europeans until the early 17th Century. The word Illinois was originally used by the French as an autonym to describe the geographic area where the various tribes were located.
Black Hawk was not a tribe but a military leader of the Sauk Indians (1767-1838). The Sauk Indians settled in Illinois & Wisconsin. The Black Hawk War fought between May- August 1832 was significant that three future historic Americans participated in the conflict: Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, & Jefferson Davis. The Black Hawk war was also a turning point in the life of Abraham Lincoln, who would understand the rights of individual liberty, & the horrors of war. This event would foreshadow the Civil War.
Black Hawk was seen as a noble warrior who spent the rest of his life trying to secure peace & understanding between all concerned groups in the disputed areas after the conflict had ended. His name lives on with the US Navy calling four of its ships USS Black Hawk since 1862.
The US Army calls the UH-60 Helicopter, Black Hawk, which has been used prominently since the end of Vietnam in all conflicts. One of the most significant uses of the Black Hawk helicopter was the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan Compound in 2011.
The US Army’s 86th Division was known as the Black Hawk Division, & served overseas in both World War I & World War II. MAJ Fredrick Laughlin had served in the 86th Division during World War I. When he was granted the rights to a Chicago hockey franchise in 1926, he called his new team, the Blackhawks.
The name Illini & Blackhawk live on. They represent integrity & pride by Veterans who continue to serve their country in a civilian role.