The 109th Combat Engineers were a National Guard Unit, with most members from South Dakota. We were part of the 34th Infantry Division.
Because we were part of the National Guard, we were mobilized soon after Pearl Harbor. We got into the “Ground Floor” of the war, and were among the first into Europe. We spent more days in combat as we worked our way through Africa and Italy than any other American Division. Our Division casualties at the close of WWII were officially counted at: 3,737 killed, 14,165 wounded and 3,460 missing in action - a total of 21,362 battle casualties for a Division that started the war with about 14,000 men. Our Combat Engineer Company casualties were not quite as bad as the infantry.
We comprised three companies - A, B and C. Each company normally supported one infantry regiment. Company A normally supported the 133rd, Company B the 135th, and Company C the 168th. Our mission was to do what ever was needed, which included building bridges under fire, constructing roads, setting mine fields, clearing enemy mine fields, patrolling, and fighting with small arms.
We are writing this account in the year 2004, nearly 60 years after we won the war. Many of our members are no longer with us.
We won the war, and then returned home to our families, raised children, and became part of the “Greatest Generation”. We don’t usually use that term, but our children do, so we gratefully if reluctantly accept it.
Clifford Harlan Hullinger