The division was activated on 15 February 1942 at Fort Knox out of "surplus" elements of the reorganized 1st and 2nd Armored Divisions, with Brig. Gen. Carlos Brewer assigned as its first commanding general. It moved to Camp Chaffee on 15 March 1942 to make way for other Armored units and then completed its assembly and unit training. The division then participated in the VIII Corps Louisiana Maneuvers from 25 August 1942, and then returned to Camp Chaffee on 21 September 1942. The 6th AD then moved to Camp Young at the Desert Training Center on 10 October 1942 and participated in the first California Maneuvers. The 6th AD then moved to Camp Cooke to continue its training, where it was reorganized, losing its "heavy" organization of two armored regiments and one armored infantry regiment in favor of a "light" organization of three tank battalions and three armored infantry battalions. Maj. Gen. Robert W. Grow assumed command of the Division at Camp Cooke, California in May 1943 and commanded the division through the war until 30 July 1945. The 6th AD then staged at Camp Shanks, New York on 3 February 1944, departed the New York Port of Embarkation on 11 February 1944, and arrived in England on 23 February 1944.