March 12, 2010


109th Combat Engineers

34th Infantry Division

World War II

















Division Symbol        -       The Red Bull

Motto  -   ATTACK!   ATTACK!   ATTACK!

Introduction 4

Roster 5

Casualties 6

Red Bull Trivia 34

Clifford Harlan Hullinger 38

Lyle Haug 19

The Service of Harry Halverson 43

From the Home Front- Louise Hullinger 51

Fonduk  Gap Citation 52

Iron-Man Battalion 60

Battle Of The Roads 71

War Ends • Germans Surrender in Italy 76

Sculpture 79

Medals 80

Veterans' Records Access Procedures 82

133rd Infantry Regiment 86

135th Infantry Regiment 92

168th Infantry 97

100th Battalion / 442nd Combat Infantry Group 99

Books about the 34th Division 110



Introduction

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.



Roster


To be added
Casualties

From a table printed in The Washington Post Friday, May 28, 2004  (percentage columns added)

                Killed /    
Service Number Served Wounded   Percent     Missing   Percent

Army* 7,900,000   574,000     7.27%     165,800       2.10%

Air Force*   3,400,000    17,900     0.53%        54,700       1.61%

Navy 4,200,000    17,800     4.24%        36,900       0.88%

Marines             669,000    67,200       10.04%        19,600       2.93%

Total          16,169,000   676,900         4.19% 277,000 1.71%

*The Army Air Force was technically part of the U. S. Army

From 34th Div. data - number served is T.O. estimate, not the same basis

                Killed /    
Unit     Number Served Wounded   Percent     Missing   Percent      
133rd Inf Reg 3,100 1,115 35.97%

135th Inf Reg 3,100 1,205 38.87%

168th Inf Reg 3,100 1,257 40.55%

Company A 109         165 75  45.45%     35 21.21%

Co. A, 109th Engineering Company - 35 Killed, About 75 Wounded
KILLED

# NAME Serial # Rank DATE CAUSE
1 Pardy, James G. 20717379 Pvt. 09/13/42 Acc. DNB
2 Bean, Willard W. 32375007 Pvt.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
3 Christensen, Robert   20717345 CPL   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
4 La Fave, Cleo W. 37036991 Pfc.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
5 Loesch, Roger S. 20717375 Tech 5   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
6 Marchison, Michael   6209408 Pvt.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
7 Moore, Walter 34118829 Pfc. 03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
8 ONeil, James J. 37026381 Pvt. 03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
9 Ortmayer, Leland R. 20717409 Pfc.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
10 Satre, Wayne K. 20717501 Sgt.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
11 Stanton, William R. 11052735 Pvt.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
12 Thomas, Joseph R. 33059862 Pvt.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
13 Yaworski, John C. 32376944 Pvt.   03/30/43 Mine Ex. KIA
14 Fitzpatrick, Thomas 32748115 Pvt.   10/31/43 ? DOW
15 Crichton, Scott         0-420183 1st Lt.   06/05/43 Mine DNB
16 Sorenson, Henry 20717471 Sgt.   11/02/43 Plane KIA
17 Koopman, Henry M. 37036762 Pfc.   11/02/43 Plane DOW
18 Weiss, Wilfred P. 37036777 Tech 5   11/02/43 Plane KIA
19 BeJensky, Michael   0-1102622 1st. Lt   12/03/43 Mine KIA
20 Poulos, George 16146150 Pvt.   12/07/43   ? KIA
21 Brenner, Lester M. 36181993 Pvt.   01/04/44   ? DOW
22 Garber, Russell G. 35553055 Pvt. 04/25/44 Mor KIA
23 Loebe, Carl F. 36822200 Pvt.   04/25/44 Mor KIA
24 Comeau, Leo J. 31207277 Pfc.   05/22/44 Mor KIA
25 Spencer, Philip J. 39837388 Pvt.   05/22/44 Mor KIA
26 Minier, Gene F. 20717466 Tech 5   05/22/44 Mor KIA
27 Pahl, Jack A. 20717795 Sgt   05/25/44  ? KIA
28 Cawley, Andrew G. 32394799 Pvt. 06/01/44  ? KIA
29 Waters, Veloris E. 20717489 Pvt.   06/26/44  ? KIA
30 Adams, Houston J. 31024344   Pvt.   07/16/44 R/MG KIA
31 Skala, Leonard C 32251714   Tech 5   08/02/44  ? DNB
32 Haley, George W. 20717488   Tech 5   08/??/44 Mine KIA
33 Horner, Austin V.     0-1695581 2nd Lt.   10/05/44 Mine KIA
34 Rector, Clifford B. 33530954 Pvt.      ?    ? KIA
35 Nazarchyk, Michael 33357739 Cpl.   12/23/44 cave-in DNB
WOUNDED & INJURED Incomplete Morning Reports

# NAME Serial # Rank DATE CAUSE

1 DeBoer, Roger 20717508 Sgt. 04/02/43 MG WIA
2 Keller, Joe NMI 37025946 Pfc.   11/02/43 Plane WIA
3 Davis, Lester J. 20717526 Tech 5   11/02/43 Plane WIA
4 Gile, Dene W. 20717365 Sgt.   11/02/43 Plane WIA
5 Burkett, Walter A. 37036755 Tech 5   11/02/43 Plane WIA
6 Quiring, Henry P. 37936760 Pfc.   11/02/43 Plane WIA
7 Katowicz, Joseph W. 12017386 Pvt.   11/02/43 Plane WIA
8 Rolf, Charles H. 37036988 Tech 5 11/04/43 Art/M WIA
9 Stevenson, Barry A. 31091899 Pvt.   11/07/43 Art/M WIA
10 Suillivan, Dennis M. 20717386 Cpl.   11/24/43 Art/M WIA
11 Erickson, Carl E. 37158876 Pvt.   11/24/43 Art/M WIA
12 Davis, Lester J. 20717526 Tech 5   12/01/43 art/m WIA
13 Wishard, Fred W. 39236751 Pvt.   12/01/43 art/m WIA
14 Hermson, Donald L. 37037031 Pfc.   12/03/43   ? WIA
15 Hohman, Fred W. 39399728 Pvt.   12/03/43   ? WIA
16 King, Welby W. 0-442472 1st Lt.   12/03/43 mine WIA
17 Flanagan, James H. 11064174 Pvt.   12/04/43       ? WIA
18 Ahearn Dennis P. 32763454 Pvt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
19 Babcock, Francis G. 32350326 Pvt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
20 Blanco,Adam E. 38261511 Pvt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
21 Brenner, Lester M. 35181993 Pvt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
22 Corcoran, Charles 32346362 Pfc.   01/04/44 plane WIA
23 Judice, Camile J. 38409374 Pfc.   01/04/44 plane WIA
24 Larson, Edwin K. 37081697 Pfc.   01/04/44 plane WIA
25 Plener, William L. 35600507 Pfc.   01/04/44 plane WIA
26 Hytholt, Dale M. 20717403 Sgt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
27 Sheets, Sam A. 0-1109003 2nd. Lt. 01/04/44 plane WIA
28 Tubet, Mitchell 35426113 Pvt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
29 Wright, Albert B. 32315939 Pvt.   01/04/44 plane WIA
30 1st Platooon - Capt Hummel, SS Hullinger, Sgts. Gile, Hauske, &
Pauley  & men attached to133rd Inf for a week trek up mountain past Venafro
32 Karge, Theron F. 0-3-79222 1st. Lt.   01/24/44 Art/M WIA
33 Garbo, Sam J. 34635475 Pvt.   02/11/44 R/Mg WIA
34 Harding, Daniel S. 20717368 Sgt   02/11/44 R/Mg WIA
35 Gile, Dene W. 20717365 Sgt.   02/15/44    ?     WIA
Moved to Anzio
37 Urban, Joe NMI 35179871 Sgt.   03/25/44 Art/M WIA
38 Lugo, Ralph NMI 39337545 Pfc.   03/25/44 Art/M WIA
39 Andrews, Lawrence 39913540 Pvt.   04/28/44 mine WIA
40 Madison, William E. 36433736 Pvt.   04/28/44 mine WIA
41 Waters, Veloris E. 20717389 Pvt.   04/28/44 exh.
42 Harding, Daniel H. 20717368 Sgt.   04/29/44 mine WIA
43 Jaeger, Edward J. 20717461 SSgt.   04/29/44 mine WIA
44 Stanko, George 32376864 Tech 5 05/04/44 exh.
45 Van Hove, Arnold A. 20717354 Tech 5   05/03/44   ? WIA
46 Canfield, Leo H. 20717148 Cpl.   05/07/44 Accd.
47 Britton, William P. 37043301 Pfc. 05/20/44 R/Mg WIA
48 Phillips, Harold H. 20717523 Sgt.   05/20/44 R/Mg WIA
49 Western, John J. 33741933 Pvt.   05/20/44 R/Mg WIA
50 Brich, Richard J. 20717395 Cpl.   05/22/44 Art/M WIA
51 Hoskins, Edward E. 20717567 Sgt.   05/22/44 exh.
52 Urban, Joe NMI 39179871 Sgt.   05/22/44 exh.
53 Brazil, Anthoney C.   31234938 Pfc.   05/23/44 R/Mg WIA
54 Pahl, Jack A. 20717795 Sgt.   05S/23/44 R/Mg WIA
55 -Hullinger, Clifford   20717453 1st Sgt.   05/24/44 Appendix
56 Monge, Ernest 32322185 Pvt.   05/24/44     ?
57 Brown, Arnold W. 20717337 Sgt.   05/27/44 R/Mg WIA
58 Pahl, Jack A. 20717798 Sgt. 06/01/44 R/Mg KIA
59 Schilling, Russell R. 0-1105795 1st. Lt.   06/01/44 Mine WIA
60 Chipman, Ralph S. 34735245 Pvt.   07/05/44 AC-LOD
61 Dunn, George 33417364 Pfc. 08/02/44 Mine WIA
62 Tanoury, Anthony J. 36864767 Pfc.   08/21/44 Burns WIA
63 Johnson, William R. 34281159 Pvt.   09/02/44    ? WIA
64 Lazaro, Joseph C. 31079260 Pfc.   09/08/44 Mine WIA
65 DeCrease, Angelo 35747831 Pfc.   09/12/44 Wreck
66 Merritt, Charles J. 39837344 Pvt.   09/12/44 Wreck
67 Hendon, Perrin P. 36758654 Pvt.   09/12/44 Wreck
68 Leonard, Arthur W. 36826911 Pvt.   09/12/44 Wreck
69 Parker, Clifford L. 36417548 Pvt.   09/12/44 Wreck
70 Wishard, Fred W. 39236751 Pvt.   09/12/44 Wreck
71 Bauer, Erwin A. 0-1108957 1st. Lt.   09/16/44 Art/M WIA
72 Horner, Austin V. 0-1595581 2nd Lt.   09/16/44 Art/M WIA
73 Davids, Donald L. 20716054 Tech 5   09/24/44 Art/M WIA
74 Babcock, Francis G. 32350826 Pvt.   09/29/44   ? WIA
75 Bumpus, William R. 36902461 Pvt.   Oct. 4 Art/M WIA


DEATH CASUALTY BIOGRAPHIES -109TH COMBAT ENGINEER BATTALION
(WORLD WAR II    1942 -1945)

2 BADER, CHARLES E. - Technician 5th Grade - Company "C" (Butte County, South Dakota): Charles Bader was originally a National Guardsman with Company "F" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Sturgis, South Dakota. The date was October 31, 1943. Company "C" was near Ailano, Italy, and Charles Bader had decided to bury a nearby dead German. As Bader had finished burying the German, he stuck the shovel into the loose dirt nearby and tripped a "Bouncing Betty" mine. The mine canister sprung up out of the ground and sprayed all around with metal fragments. Bader had extensive perforation wounds of his right thigh and arm, and the left side of his abdomen. Bader's left leg was also fractured in several places. Bader died at (18:15) hours at the 109th Medical Battalion Clearing Station. "It is believed several men were wounded from the blast. (See also: Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. #19). Bader is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (I) - Row (12) - Grave (71).

3. BEAN, WILLARD W. - Private - Company "A": On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying  mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Willard Bean in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66) .

4. BELENSKY, MICHAEL W. - First Lieutenant - Company "A" - 2nd Platoon - Platoon Leader (Washington, D.C.): Lieutenant Belensky joined the Battalion during its training in Ireland. Belensky was first wounded on November 25, 1943, While the 2nd  Platoon was preparing a bridge by-pass. Belensky received a penetrating wound in his left arm. Belensky was sent to the aid 109th Medic's Clearing Station, and he returned to the Company on November 26, 1943. The 133rd Infantry was trying to flank the German positions at Mt. Pantano. On December 3, 1943 a "Bouncing Betty" mine killed Lieutenant Belensky, and the Company Commander was wounded in the blast. Belensky's death was the second time he had been wounded in action. Belensky is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (C) - Row (1) - Grave (38).

5. BESTGEN, LEO T. - Technician 4th Grade - Company "C" (Sturgis, South Dakota) Leo Bestgen was a National Guardsman with Company "F" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of  Sturgis, South Dakota. After the fighting in Tunisia ended, the Engineers conducted an Engineer school. On or about June 5, 1943, there was a demonstration on disarming mines. Lieutenant Scott Crichton was carrying a German "butterfly" bomb when it exploded. The blast killed Leo Bestgen and Lt. Scott Crichton. (See also: Crichton, Scott M. 15b). Bestgen is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (I) - Row (20) - Grave (8).

5. BANKED, LOUIS E. - First Lieutenant - Company "B" - Company Headquarters (New Jersey): Lieutenant BANKED joined the Battalion while it was training in Ireland. It is believed BANKED was lightly wounded in his left thigh by an artillery shell fragment on or about December 1, 1943, west of Scapula, Italy. BANKED led quite a few reconnaissance patrols in North Africa and Italy. Lieutenant BANKED was killed on April 10, 1944, while leading a detail on the Anzio beachhead about five miles northeast of Casale Campomorto, Italy. BANKED and Sgt. Robert A. Harris led a detail to lay mines out in front of Company "C" - 135th Infantry's positions. The detail came under fire, and Sgt. Harris withdrew his men. At that point, they discovered that two of the men from the detail were missing. BANKED went out with some men to find the two missing men. They had just located the missing men when the Germans opened up on the group with machine gun fire. Lieutenant BANKED was severely wounded in the chest, and Pvt. Joseph King was wounded in the leg. The group withdrew, and was not able to evacuate BANKED. A search party went out the following night to recover Bianchetti's body, but was unable to find it.  BANKED is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (J) - Row (6) - Grave (51).

7. BLEDSOE, DERALD G. - Staff Sergeant - Company "B" (Fall River County, South Dakota): Derald Bledsoe was a National Guardsman with Company "D" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Hot Springs, South Dakota. In North Africa, Sergeant Bledsoe went on some reconnaissance patrols with the 34th Reconnaissance Troop, and he regularly led reconnaissance parties for Company "B". Sergeant Bledsoe was promoted to staff sergeant on November 14, 1943. On February 3, 1944, Company "B" was bivouacked one and one-half miles west of Portella, Italy. Company "B" was working on widening the mule trails south and east of Cairo, Italy so that the weapons carriers could drive on them. They also were keeping the trails open, taping trails for night movement. The Company was under constant artillery fire while working in this vicinity. On February 6, 1944, Sergeant Bledsoe was killed by German artillery fire, along with Pfc. Goeden and Pfc. Wolf. (See also: Goeden, Emil A. #22; Wolf, Valentine J. #65).

7b. BREAULT, RAY M. Sergeant - Company "B" 2nd Platoon (Minnehara County, South  Dakota): Corporal Ray Breault was promoted to sergeant on November 14, 1943.  After the 34th Division was relieved in late July 1944, the units of the division went to a rest camp near Rosignano, Italy. A mine school for selected personnel from each of the units in the 34th Division was started at the rest camp. NCOs from each units of the 109th Engineers taught the school. On August 2, 1944, a truck loaded with men from the 109th Engineers and other units of the 34th Division blew up at Vada, Italy. The truck had been parked at the time when someone tossed a fuzzed mine into the back of the truck during the class that day and blew up the truck. Sergeant Raymond was one of the men in the truck who were killed. The official cause of the explosion was never determined. (See also: Maxvold, Lawrence E. #36b; Raymond, Enoch W. #47; Skala, Leonard C. #53).

9. BRZOZOWSKI, ARTHUR E. - Private (Cuyahoga County, Ohio): Arthur Brzozowski was killed in action on January 3, 1944. Brzozowski's death was the second time he had been wounded in action. (See also: Brenner, Lester M. #8; Estrada, Jose #17; Raymond, Harold M. #48). Brzozowski is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (E) -Row (1) - Grave (23).
10. CALLOWAY, MARVIS - Sergeant - Company "B": Marvis Calloway joined Company "B" as a  corporal on May 1, 1942. Calloway was promoted to sergeant on December 9, 1942. Sergeant Calloway was seriously}' wounded by a mine explosion in the vicinity of Livorno, Italy on July 22, 1944, and died after being evacuated to the medics on that same day. (See also: Boyd, Robert G. #7; Cullers, Hollie G. #16).

11. CHRISTENSEN, ROBERT L. "BOB" - Corporal - Company "A" (Lake County, South Dakota):  Bob Christensen was a National Guardsman with Company "A" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Medison, South Dakota. On March 30, 1943, Company}' "A" was laying mine fields in  the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Bob Christensen in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" -was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66) .

13 COMEAU, LEO J. - Private First- Class - Company "A" (Essex County, Massachusetts): Leo Comeau was promoted to Pfc. on November 8, 1943.  During the night of May 22, 1944, Leo Comeau was a member of a four-man detail to clear a path for the infantry's breakout from the beachhead. The four were making a gap in the wire and minefield in front of the 133rd Infantry's positions when they came under heavy mortar fire. Comeau and at least one other man from this detail were killed in this incident. (See also: Spencer, Philip J. #56).  Comeau is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (G) - Row (1) -  Grave (16).

14. CORBETT, DEWEY E. - Private - Company "C": De\-ley Col.-bett was a member of a platoon from Company "C" (led by 1 Lt. T. F. Karge) that was assigned to the 168th Infantry. Private Dewey Corbett was seriously wounded by flying shrapnel during a shelling. Corbett was evacuated to the hospital where he died on March 28, 1943.

15 CRICHTON, SCOTT M. - 1st Lieutenant - Company "C" - Platoon Leader (Brookings, South Dakota): Scott Crichton was a National Guardsman with Company "B" - 109th Engineer  Regiment out of Brookings, South Dakota. It is believed that Crichton was a sergeant, and received his commission as a 2nd Lt. when the unit went to Camp Claiborne. Crichton was assigned to Company "c" in Northern Ireland on April 8, 1942. Crichton was promoted to 1st Lt. Later while in Northern Ireland. Crichton took part in the Algiers landings on November 8, 1942. Crichton accompanied the troops of the 168th Infantry on numerous patrols in Tunisia. On February 26, 1943, Crichton was leading a reconnaissance patrol and was fired upon by the Germans. Crichton narrowly escaped with his life. He was forced to lay motionless in a slit trench for six hours until he could escape. He later found four bullet holes in his field jacket where the bullets tore across the back. Crichton had another close call at Hill 609. 's platoon prepared a wadi crossing for the tanks to cross over at the foot of Hill 609. The platoon was under constant artillery fire during this time, and one artillery round impacted only a few feet from RICHTON. It had been a dud round. RICHTON surely would have been killed if the round had exploded. After the fighting in Tunisia ended, the Engineers conducted an engineer school near Mateur, Tunisia. On or about June 5, 1943, there was a demonstration on disarming mines. Lieutenant Scott  Crichton was carrying a German "butterfly" bomb when it exploded. The blast killed Lt. Scott Crichton and Leo Bestgen. (See also: Bestgen, Leo T. 4b).

19 F'ITZPATRICK, THOMAS J. - Private - Company "C" (Schenectady County, New York): The date was October 31, 1943, and Company "C" was near Ailano, Italy. Charles Bader had just finished burying a dead German when his shovel tripped a "Bouncing Betty" mine. The mine canister sprung up out of the ground and sprayed all around with metal fragments. Fitzpatrick had severe head injuries from the explosion, and he was dead upon arrival at the 109th ~1edical Battalion's Clearing Station. It is believed several men were wounded from the blast. (See also: Bader, Charles E. #2).  Fitzpatrick is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (G) - Row (1) - Grave (42).

22. GOEDEN, EMIL A. - Private First Class - Company "B": It is believed that Emil Goeden joined the 109th Engineers at Camp Claiborne in 1941. Goeden was a corporal at Ft. Dix when the unit was re-organized into a battalion at Camp Claiborne in February 1942. Goeden was promoted to sergeant on December 11, 1942. After the end of the North African campaign, Goeden was demoted to a private because he went AWOL for two days during May 1943. Goeden was promoted to Pfc. on July 19, 1943.  On February 3, 1944, Company "B" was bivouacked one and one-half miles west of Portella, Italy. Company "B" was working on widening the mule trails south and east of Cairo, Italy so that the weapons carriers could drive on them. They also were keeping the trails open, taping trails for night movement. The Company was under constant artillery fire while working in this vicinity. On February 6, 1944, Pfc. Goeden was killed by German artillery fire, along with Sgt. Bledsoe and Pfc. Wolf. (See also: Bledsoe, Derald G. #6; Wolf, Valentine J. #6S).

23. HALEY, GEORGE W. - Technician 5th Grade - Company "A" (Brookings, South Dakota):  George Haley was a National Guardsman with Company "B" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Brookings, South Dakota. Haley was later transferred to Company "A". It is thought that Haley was killed in action sometime during October 1944.

22. HORNER, AUSTIN V. - Second Lieutenant (New Castle County, Delaware): Second Lieutenant Horner was killed in action on October S, 1944. Horner's death was the second time he was wounded in action.  Horner is buried at the American cemetery near Florence, Italy in Plot (G) - Row (13)  - Grave (lS).

23 JOHNSON, VIRGIL O. - Technician 5th Grade - Company "B" - 1st Platoon (Medison, South Dakota): Virgil Johnson was a National Guardsman with Company "A" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Medison, South Dakota. Johnson was later transferred to Company "B" - 109th Combat Engineer Battalion. Private Johnson was promoted to Pfc. on October 26, 1942, and to Technician 5th Grade on November 23, 1942. The Engineers sometimes had problems with getting the infantry units they were supporting to provide them with men to help them. One example of this \~as on April 13, 1944, Virgil Johnson and another man, by the name of Barton, were sent to the 13Sth Infantry to lay wire. Once they got there, the infantry outfit would not supply them with a work detail to help them lay the wire. On the night of April 22, 1944, Virgil Johnson went out on another work detail on the Anzio beachhead, about one and one-half miles northwest of Isolla Bella, Italy. Johnson was sent up to lay mines in front of an infantry company. Johnson was accidentally shot and killed by the troops of the 13Sth Infantry while he was out in front of the company positions laying mines.

24 KAISER, BENJAMIN L. "BEN" - Technician 5th Grade - Company "B" (Hot Springs, South Dakota): Ben Kaiser was a National Guardsman with Company "D" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Kaiser was promoted to Pfc. on July 1, 1942, and to Technician 5th Grade on January lS, 1943. Kaiser went on detached service with the 13Sth Infantry on November 8, 1942, and rejoined the company in Africa on January 9, 1943. During the night of July 18, 1944, 3rd Platoon of Company "B" became the first troops to enter Leghorn. The platoon was clearing mines on the road from Gabbro to Leghorn. They encountered no Germans, so they continued into town thinking it had already been liberated. Once they made their way into Leghorn, they discovered there weren't any American troops there. A short while later, a patrol from the 91st Division arrived. On July 20, 1944, Company "B" set up camp on the outskirts of Leghorn,. The company found that Leghorn and the surrounding area had been heavily mined. On that day, Ben Kaiser and John Machnik were killed by an S-mine on the beach  one-half mile south of Vada, Italy. Kenneth A. Helseth and Roy T. Franze were wounded  in the blast. (See also: Machnik, John F. #35).

25 KIPP, HOWARD F. - Private First Class - Company "B" - 1st Platoon (New York County, New York): Darl W. Gray recalls that there was a kid by the name of Kipp who was accidentally shot and killed on or about June 21, 1944. The Battalion was moving by truck to the Grocetto, Italy vicinity. Kipp was involved with trading a German or Italian pistol while riding in the truck: A loaded American (.45 caliber) pistol was also being handled, and Kipp was accidentally shot from about two feet away. Gene Pfeifer was sitting right across from Kipp when he was shot. Pfeifer thought that Kipp was dead when he was lifted out of the truck. It is believed that Kipp died on or about July 26, 1944.

26. KLINE, CARL J. - Staff Sergeant - Company "B" (Hot Springs, South Dakota): Carl Kline was a sergeant with South Dakota National Guard Company "0" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Kline was promoted to staff sergeant on September 12, 1942. On March 31, 1943, the battalion was in a cactus patch north of Dj. Touile, which was still held by the Germans. The Germans had been sending harassing fire into the valley, but the location of the German guns could not be located. This prevented any advance on the Germans in this valley. During the morning, a company of American tanks, and a tank destroyer battalion attacked toward Dj. Touile. Their mission was to make a thrust toward the Germans in order to locate the enemy gun positions. The engineers had a perfect view of the operation. Enemy artillery and mortar fire forced the tanks to withdraw. By early in the afternoon, the tanks had withdrawn and got into a position where the enemy guns could not get to them. With no tanks to fire upon, the Germans discovered the presence of the engineers, and began to shell the Battalion area at (13:25) hours. The concentrated barrage lasted forty minutes. There were about thirty-six shell bursts, and another twenty-two "dud" .shells, hit the battalion area. Two men were killed during this shelling. Staff Sergeant Kline was killed from a direct hit on his slit trench. (See also: Peterson, Melvin E. #45). Kline is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (C) -Row (4) - Grave (7).

27. KOLBE, RICHARD F. - Private - Company "B" - 3rd Platoon (Cuyahoga County, Ohio): Richard Kolbe joined Company "B" as a replacement in North Africa on May 1, 1943. During the entire day of November 9, 1943, an area south of Montequila, near Hill 321, was swept for mines. Sergeant Murray's squad worked from (08:30) hours until (12:00) hours. Sergeant Calloway's squad worked the detail from (13:00) hours until (17:00) hours. The details discovered many S-mines and Teller mines. This included (44) mines in a draw leading up to Hill 321. At (17:00) hours, S/Sgt. Russell White discovered an S-mine. White called Kolbe to come over with the mine detector. Apparently the s-mine was booby-trapped, because it exploded as Kolbe came over to S/Sgt. White. Kolbe was seriously wounded by the blast, while White was killed. Kolbe received lacerations of his back and head in the explosion. Kolbe was evacuated to the 109th Clearing Station, then to the 15th General Hospital, where he died on November 10, 1943. (See also: White, Russell W. #63).

28. KONICEK, DONALD L. - Private - Company "C" (Tama County, Iowa): On March 26, 1943, Private Don Konicek was killed instantly when he triggered a mine while helping to clear a minefield. Konicek is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (F) - Row (4) - Grave (1). \

29. KOOPMAN, HENRY M. Private First Class - Company "A" - 2nd Platoon - Weapons Squad: On November 1, 1943, Company "A" was moving to a new bivouac area. It was just after (16:00) hours when several German fighter planes swept up through the valley. The low-flying aircraft bombed and strafed the vehicles from the 2nd Platoon with (20-mm)  cannon fire. Bombs were dropped on both sides of the half-track. Sergeant Henry Sorenson, Tech 5 Wilfred Weiss, Tech 5 Lester Davis, and Pfc. Joe Keller were operating the (.50 caliber) machine guns and returning fire. Weiss had just called for more ammunition, and Henry Koopman, Dene Gile, and Walter Burket were taking ammo out from the side well of the half-track was hit by a bomb blast, and set on fire. Koopman, and the others were wounded in the blast. Koopman received a severe shrapnel wound in his neck. Koopman died from his wounds in the hospital on November 17, 1943. (See also: Sorenson, Henry #55; Weiss, Wilfred P. #62).

32. LA FAVE, CLEO W. - Private First Class - Company "A" (Gregory County, South Dakota): On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Cleo La Fave in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66).

34. LOESCH, ROGER S. - Technician 5th Class - Company "A" - Driver (Kingsbury County, South Dakota): Roger Loesch was a National Guardsman with Company "A" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Medison, South Dakota. On March 30, 1943, Company "A" "Tas laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Roger Loesch in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66).  Loesch is listed as Missing In Action at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia.

36. MARCHISEN, MICHAEL W. - Private - Company "A" (New Jersey): On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Michael Marchisen in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66).  Marchisen is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (H) - Row  (2) - Grave (5).

36 MAXVOLD, LAWRENCE ELMER - Technician 5th Grade - Headquarters and Service Company (Beadle County, South Dakota): Lawrence E. Maxvold was originally with Company "B", serving as a Pfc. Maxvold was transferred to Headquarters and Service Company on June 29, 1942. Maxvold was promoted to Tech 5 while with Headquarters Company.  After the 34th Division was relieved in late July 1944, the units of the division went to a rest camp near Rosignano, Italy. A mine school for selected personnel from each of the units in the }4th Division was started at the rest camp. NCOs from each unit of the 109th Engineers taught the school. On August 2, 1944, a truck loaded with men from the 109th Engineers and other units of the 34th Division blew up at Vada, Italy. The truck had been parked at the time when someone tossed a fuzzed mine into the back of the truck during the class that day and blew up the truck. Sergeant Raymond was one of the men in the truck who were killed. The official cause of the explosion was never determined. (See also: Breault, Ray M. #; Raymond, Enoch W. #47; Skala, Leonard C. #53).
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37. MC CRAY, LEE D. - Corporal - Company "B": Lee McCray was promoted to Pfc. on March  11, 1942, and to corporal on October 1, 1942. On March 9, 1943, eight men from Company "B" were wounded from a minefield explosion near Rohia, Tunisia. Corporal McCray was seriously wounded in the explosion, and evacuated back to the hospital. It is believed that Mc Cray died at a British hospital (8th Evacuation Hospital) on March 16, 1943.

38. MC LAUGHLIN, ROBERT - Private - Company "C" (New York): On November 5, 1943, the 1st  and 3rd Platoons of Company "C" were checking for mines and booby-traps in an area one  mile south-west of Santa Maria Olivetto - Campobasso, Italy. There were numerous S- Mines and trip wires found and disarmed. Robert Mc Laughlin was killed at (14:00) hours on that day when he accidentally stepped on an S-Mine.  Mc Laughlin is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (I) - Row (13) - Grave (47).

39. MINIER, GENE F. - Technician 5th Grade - Company "A" (Brookings, South Dakota): Clif Hullinger remembers Gene Minier well. The two went to college together at SDSC (South Dakota State College) and went into the Guard together. Gene Minier was a National  Guardsman with Company "B" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Brookings, South Dakota.  Minier's father was a Major in the South Dakota National Guard. Minier was later transferred to Company "A". It is believed that Minier was killed at Anzio. Sergeant Edward J. Jaeger was with Minier when he died. Jaeger was Minier's squad leader and Jaeger took his squad out one night at Anzio. Minier was seriously wounded and Jaeger carried Minier out piggyback to the aid station. Jaeger found that Minier was dead by the time he got him back to the aid station.

39 MOORE, ISAAC C. - Private - Headquarters and Service Company (Polk County, Iowa): It is believed that Isaac Moore joined the Engineers at Camp Claiborne in 1941. Moore was serving with Company "B" when he was promoted to Pfc. on July 1, 1942. Moore was transferred to Headquarters and Service Company on November 18, 1942. Moore died from some sort from a non-battle-related injury on June 19, 1943. (See also: Hansen, James W. #23b). Moore is listed as Missing In Action at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia

40. MOORE, WALTER - Private First Class - Company "A": On r1arch 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Walter Moore in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66) . \

41. ONEIL, JAMES J. - Private - Company "A" (Hennepin County, Minnesota): On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing James O'Neil in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, vvayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66).  O'Neil is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot ©) - Row (7) - Grave (4).

42. ORTMAYER, LELAND R. - Private First Class - Company "A" (Miner County, South Dakota): Leland Ortmayer was a National Guardsman with Company "A" - 109th Engineer Regiment out  of Medison, South Dakota. On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Bob Christensen in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'l~eil, James J. #41; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66).  Ortmayer is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (B) - Row (2) - Grave (7).

43. PAHL, JACK A. - Sergeant - Company "A" (Lawrence County, South Dakota): Jack Pahl was corporal with National Guard Company "E" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Lead, South Dakota. Pahl was transferred to Company "C" - 109th Combat Engineers at Fort Dix in 1942. Pahl was transferred to Company "A" while in Ireland. Pahl was eventually promoted to sergeant also. It is believed that Pahl was killed during the Anzio breakout near Cisterna, Italy during late May 1944.

43 PARDY, JAMES G., JR. - Private - Company "A" (Kingsbury County, South Dakota): James Pardy was an original South Dakota National Guardsman with Company "A". It is believed that Pardy took up a residence in Lincoln County, Arkansas while training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. On September 11, 1942, Pardy was riding a dispatch motorcycle in the town of Irvinestown, Northern Ireland when he was struck and run over by an Irish farmer on a tractor. Pardy was severely injured with a fracture of his left femur, patella and tibia. It is believed that Pardy died of shock on or about September 13, 1942. Pardy was initially buried in the Belfast City Cemetery on September 16, 1942.  Pardy is buried at the American cemetery at Cambridge, England in Plot (0) - Row (6) - Grave (94).

44. PARLEE, ROGER T. - Technician 5th Grade - Company "B" (Beadle County, South Dakota): Roger Parlee was Pfc. with Company "C" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Huron, South  Dakota. It is believed that Parlee was transferred to Company "B" - 109th Combat Engineer Battalion. Parlee was promoted to Technician 4th Grade on June 1, 1942. Parlee was demoted back to January 22, 1943. Parlee was promoted back to Tech 4 on February 8, 1943. Almost a month later, the First Sergeant busted Parlee back to a private on March 7, 1943. Parlee was promoted to Pfc. on June 19, 1943. Parlee was later promoted to Technician 5th grade on May 14, 1944. Parlee was killed on July 21, 1944, about two miles north of Leghorn, Italy when an anti-tank mine exploded. The Company Commander, Lt. Mangler, was wounded in the explosion, along with T/4 Snyder. Snyder died from his wounds after being evacuated. (See also: Snyder, Donald B. #54) .
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45. PETERSON, MELVIN E. - Private First Class - Company "B" (Mower County, Minnesota): Melvin Peterson was an original with the National Guard. Peterson was assigned to Company "B" on March 23, 1942. Peterson was promoted to Pfc. on December 4, 1942. On March 31, 1943, the battalion was in a cactus patch north of Dj. Touile, which was still held by the Germans. The Germans had been sending harassing fire into the valley, but the location of the German guns could not be located. This prevented any advance on the Germans in this valley. During the morning, a company of American tanks, and a tank destroyer battalion attacked toward Dj. Touile. Their mission was to make a thrust toward the Germans in order to locate the enemy gun positions. The engineers had a perfect view of the operation. Enemy artillery and mortar fire forced the tanks to withdraw. By early in the afternoon, the tanks had withdrawn and got into a position where the enemy guns could not get to them. With no tanks to fire upon, the Germans discovered the presence of the engineers, and began to shell the Battalion area at (13:25) hours. The concentrated barrage lasted forty minutes. There were about thirty-six shell bursts, and another twenty-two "dud" shells, hit the battalion area. Two men were killed during this shelling. Pfc. Melvin Peterson was killed from a direct hit on his slit trench. (See also: Kline, Carl J. #28). Peterson is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (H) - Row (7) - Grave (11).

47. RAYMOND, ENOCH W. "JACK" - Sergeant - Company "B" (Rosebud, South Dakota): Darl W. Gray recalls that Sergeant Raymond was a half-blooded Sioux Indian who grew up near Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Gene Pfeifer and Jack Raymond grew up together. The two lived only a few miles from each other. They went to school together and attended the same church. Jack Raymond was promoted to Technician 5th Grade on July 1, 1942. Raymond was promoted to corporal on October 7, 1943, and to sergeant on April 12, 1944.  After the 34th Division was relieved in late July 1944, the units of the division went to a rest camp near Rosignano, Italy. A mine school for selected personnel from each of the units in the 34th Division was started at the rest camp. The school was taught by NCOs from each unit of the 109th Combat Engineers. On August 2, 1944, a truck loaded with men from the 109th Engineers and other units of the 34th Division blew up at Vada, Italy. The truck had been parked at the time when someone tossed a fuzed mine into the back of the truck during the class that day and blew up the truck. Sergeant Raymond was one of the men in the truck who were killed. The official cause of the explosion was never determined. (See also: Breault, Ray M. #7b; Maxvold, Lawrence E. #36b; Skala, Leonard C. #53).

51. SATRE, WAYNE K. - Sergeant - Company "A" - Squad Sergeant (Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota): Sergeant Wayne Satre was a National Guard private with Company "B" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Brookings, South Dakota. Satre was later transferred to  Company "A" - 109th Combat Engineer Battalion and promoted to sergeant. On March 30,  1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Sergeant Satre in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. Lt's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66). Satre is buried at the American cemetery near Carthage, Tunisia in Plot (H) -Row (3) - Grave (8).

52. SIEP, CHARLES F. - Private First Class - Company "C" - 1st Platoon (Kingsbury County, South Dakota): Charles Siep was a National Guardsman with Company "B" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Brookings, South Dakota. It is thought that Siep was transferred to Company "A", and later transferred to Company "C". During November 1943, Company "C" was clearing mines and working on improving infantry trails northwest of Montequila, Italy. On November 22, 1943, 1st Platoon of Company "C" was clearing mines in the bivouac area for the 3rd Battalion - 168th Infantry near Montaquilla, Italy. Charles Siep was part of that mine clearing detail on that rainy November day. It is believed that Private Bernard Maurer was operating the detector and found a "Bouncing Betty" mine at about (11:30) hours. Siep uncovered the mine, and was about to disarm it when it bounced up and exploded. Siep was killed by the blast, and Maurer was wounded. The blast had caused a compound fracture of Siep's left arm, and he had shrapnel wounds in his shoulder and face.

54. SNYDER, DONALD B. - Technician 4th Grade - Company "B" (Fall River County, South Dakota): Donald Snyder was a National Guardsman with Company "0" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Hot Spring, South Dakota. Donald Snyder was promoted to Technician 4th - Grade on July 1, 1942. It is believed that Donald Snyder was awarded the Bronze Star medal (date and circumstance unknown). Snyder died on about July 21, 1944 when he was seriously wounded about two miles north of Leghorn, Italy by an anti-tank mine explosion. Roger Parlee was killed immediately, and the Company Commander, Lt. Mangler, was wounded in the explosion. Snyder died from his wounds after being evacuated. (See also: Parlee, Roger T. #44).

55. SORENSON, HENRY - Sergeant - Company "A" - 2nd Platoon - Weapons Squad (Roslyn, South Dakota): Henry Sorenson was a National Guard Pfc. with Company "B" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Brookings, South Dakota. Sorenson was later transferred to Company "A" - 109th Combat Engineer Battalion, and promoted to sergeant. On November 1, 1943, Company "A" was moving to a new bivouac area. It was just after (16:00) hours when several German fighter planes swept up through the valley. The low-flying aircraft bombed and strafed the vehicles from the 2nd Platoon with (20-mm) cannon fire. Bombs were dropped on both sides of the half- track. Sergeant Henry Sorenson, Tech 5 Wilfred Weiss, Tech 5 Lester Davis, and Pfc. Joe Keller were operating the (.50 caliber) machine guns and returning fire. Weiss had just called for more ammunition, and Henry Koopman, Dene Gile, and Walter Burket were taking ammo out from the side well of the half-track was hit by a bomb blast, and set on fire. Sorenson and Weiss disregarded this and continued firing until they became severely wounded by an explosion. It is believed that Ellison and Harding pulled Sorenson from the fire. Sorenson's left wrist was broken and he had multiple lacerations on his chest, left thigh, and left leg. Sorenson was in shock, and was taken to the 109th Medical Battalion's Clearing Station, where he died at (21:30) hours. Henry Sorenson was posthumously awarded a Silver Star medal for his devotion to duty in the face of such grave danger. (See also: Koopman, Henry M. #31; Weiss, Wilfred P. #62).

56 SPENCER, PHILIP J. - Private - Company "A" (Glenn County, California): Philip Spencer joined Company "A" as a replacement on November 21, 1943. During the night of May 22, 1944, Philip Spencer was a member of a four-man detail to clear a path for the infantry's breakout from the beachhead. The four were making a gap in the wire and minefield in front of the 133rd Infantry's positions when they came under heavy mortar fire. Spencer and at least one other man from this detail were killed in this incident. (See also: Comeau, Leo J. #14).  Spencer is buried at the Americar, cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (D) - Row (12) - Grave (13).

57. STANTON, WILLIAM R. - Private - Company "A": On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing William Stanton in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or .artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, 11ichael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58; Yaworski, John C. #66).

58. THOMAS, JOSEPH R. - Private - Company "A": On March 30, 1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A" with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing Joseph Thomas in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" wa.s killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Iflalter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Yaworski, John C. #66).

59. TURNER, WILLIAM L. "BILL" - Private - Company "" (Lead, South Dakota): Bill Turner was a National Guard corporal with Company "E" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Lead, South Dakota. Turner was transferred to Company "C" - 109th Combat Engineer Battalion at Fort Dix in 1942. Turner and five other engineer buddies joined the British commandos while in Ireland. Turner took part in the landings near Algiers, and several commando raids. The other buddies who joined the commandos were: Le Roy Anderson; Jerry Gorman; Richard Griffin; Andrew Hjelvik; Kenneth Scissions. Turner returned to Company "C" at Maktar, Tunisia sometime during March 1943. It is believed that Bill Turner was slightly wounded on October 31, 1943. Charles Bader had set off a "Bouncing Betty" mine while burying a dead German. The mine canister sprung up and sprayed all around with metal fragments.  On November 4, 1943, the 1st and 2nd Platoons of Company "C" cleared mines from both sides of the Vo1turno River and the trail leading to the main road. Bill Turner was severely wounded on November 4, 1943. Turner had multiple wounds in his abdomen. Turner was evacuated to the 109th Clearing Station. Turner died from his wounds on December 17, 1943. Turner is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (D) - Row (15) - Grave(38) .

60. WATERS, VELORIS E. - Private - Company "A" (Lake County, South Dakota): Veloris Waters was a National Guardsman with Company "A" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Medison, South Dakota. Waters was killed on June 26, 1944.

61. WAYNE, MILTON J. - Sergeant - Company "B" (Steele County, Minnesota): Milton Wayne was promoted to Pfc. on February 17, 1942. Wayne was promoted to corporal on January 30, 1943, and to sergeant on August 1, 1943. During the advance on Cecina, Italy, Company "B" was assigned to sweep the roads leading through the towns of Surereto, Castagneto, and Bibona. A mine explosion killed Sergeant Wayne on July 1, 1944, while on a minesweeping detail about two miles south of Cecina, Italy.
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62. WEISS, WILFRED P. - Technician 5th Grade - Company "A" - 2nd Platoon - Weapons Squad (Pipestone County, Minnesota): On November 1, 1943, Company "A" was moving to a new bivouac area. It was just after (16:00) hours when several German fighter planes swept up through the valley. The low-flying aircraft bombed and strafed the vehicles from the 2nd Platoon with (20-mm) cannon fire. Bombs were dropped on both sides of the half-track.  Sergeant Henry Sorenson, Tech 5 Wilfred Weiss, Tech 5 Lester Davis, and Pfc. Joe Keller were operating the (.50 caliber) machine guns and returning fire. Wilford Weiss had just called for more ammunition, and Henry Koopman, Dene Gile, and Walter Burket were taking ammo out from the side well of the half-track was hit by a bomb blast, and set on fire. The half-track had been hit, and set on fire. Weiss and Sorenson disregarded this and continued firing until they became severely wounded by an explosion. It is believed that Ellison and Harding pulled Weiss to safety. Weiss had shrapnel wounds in his right shoulder and right thigh. Weiss was taken to the 109th Medical Battalion's Clearing Station, where he died on November 4, 1943. (See also: Koopman, Henry M. #31; Sorenson, Henry #55).

63. WHITE, RUSSELL W. - Staff Sergeant - Company "B" - 3rd Platoon (Fall River County, South Dakota): Russell White was a sergeant with Company "B" - 109th Engineer Regiment out of Hot Springs, South Dakota. White was later promoted to staff sergeant while with Company "B". The First Sergeant demoted White to sergeant on May 13, 1942. White was promoted back to staff sergeant on June 1, 1942. During the entire day of November 9, 1943, an area south of Montequila, near Hill 321, was swept for mines. Sergeant Murray's squad worked from (08:30) hours until (12:00) hours. Sergeant Calloway's squad worked the detail from (13:00). hours until (17:00) hours. The details discovered many S-mines and Teller mines. This included (44) mines in a draw leading up to Hill 321. At (17:00) hours, S/Sgt. Russell White discovered an S-mine. White called Kolbe to come over with the mine detector. Apparently the S-mine was booby-trapped, because it exploded as Kolbe came over to White. White was killed with severe lacerations to his head. Kolbe was seriously wounded by the blast, and later died from his wounds. (See also: Kolbe, Richard F.  #29) . White is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (H) - Row (9) - Grave (36).

65 WOLF, VALENTINE J. - Private First Class - Company "B" (Steele County, Minnesota): Valentine Wolf was a National Guard original. Wolf was promoted to Pfc. on May 1, 1943. On February 3, 1944, Company "B" was bivouacked one and one-half miles west of Portella, Italy. Company "B" was working on widening the mule trails south and east of Cairo, Italy so that the weapons carriers could drive on them. They also were keeping the trails open, taping trails for night movement. The Company was under constant artillery fire while working in this vicinity. On February 6, 1944, Pfc. V. Wolf was killed by German artillery fire, along with S/Sgt. Bledsoe and Pfc. Goeden. (See also: Bledsoe, Derald G. #6; Goeden, Emil A. #22). Wolf is buried at the American cemetery near Nettuno, Italy in Plot (I) - Row (11) - Grave (63).

66. YAWORSKI, JOHN C. - Private - Company "A" (Broome County, New York): On March 30,  1943, Company "A" was laying mine fields in the wadis near Qued Zeroud (in the vicinity of Hadjeb el Aioun, Tunisia) to block the possibility of an enemy tank attack through there. At about (12:00) hours, a huge smoke cloud billowed into the sky followed by a tremendous roaring explosion. A truck from Company "A” with a load of (450) mines had exploded, killing John Yaworski in the blast. The cause of the explosion was unknown. The truck was standing still, and the neutralized mines were being unloaded. It's suspected that the explosion was triggered by the activation of an unexploded aerial bomb or artillery shell. An entire twelve-man squad from Company "A" was killed. (See also: Bean, Willard W. #3; Christensen, Robert L. #13; La Fave, Cleo W. #32; Loesch, Roger S. #34; Marchisen, Michael W. #36; Moore, Walter #40; O'Neil, James J. #41; Ortmayer, Leland R. #42; Satre, Wayne K. #51; Stanton, William R. #57; Thomas, Joseph R. #58).

UNCONFIRMED ADDITIONS

1. NAZARCHYK, MICHAEL - Corporal - Company "A” (Columbia County, Pennsylvania): Michael Nazarchyk joined Company "A" as a replacement sometime while the company was in North Africa. Nazarchyk was eventually promoted to corporal. It is believed that Nazarchyk died from an accident on December 23, 1944.
Red Bull Trivia

34th ID Association  US Army

Compiled by the 34th Infantry Division Association    www.34infdiv.org

    * In the Civil War the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Volunteers forbearers of the 135th Infantry Regiment fought at Bull Run, Peninsula Valley, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Petersburg.

    * The 34th Infantry Division was first organized at Camp Cody, New Mexico, on 17 Oct 1917.

    * Official Record of the battle of Mount Pantano reads: At the beginning of the fight the mountain was wooded. When the 168th Infantry regiment was relieved, the slopes were bare.

    * World War II officially ended in Europe on 7 May 1945. The enemy had been defeated.

    * In World War II soldiers of the 34th ID were awarded: 10 Medals of Honor, 98 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1,052 Silver Stars, 116 Legions of Merits, 1,713 Bronze Stars, and 15,000 Purple Hearts.

    * Battle casualties for the 34th Division at the close of WWII were officially counted at: 3737 killed, 14, 165 wounded and 3,460 missing in action - a total of 21, 362 battle casualties.

    * During assignment to the 42nd "Rainbow Division" in WWI, the 168 Inf Regt and the 175th FA BN were awarded streamers for Champagne Marne, Aisne-Marne, Lorraine, St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns.

    * Those who served with the Red Bull Proudly in WWII included the gallant Nisei: Americans of Japanese descent who formed the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

    * The 1st Iowa, later to become the 168th Infantry Regiment, fought in Arkansas, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Alabama, Atlanta and North and South Carolina, during the Civil War.

    * The Civil War saw the forebearers of Iowa’s 133rd Regiment battle at Fort Donaldson, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Atlanta.

    * The 1st Minnesota, now the 135th Infantry Regiment, marched to the aid of New Ulm, MN during an Indian uprising in 1858.

    * Forerunners of the 133rd Infantry Regiment marched through snowdrifts to Spirit Lake, Iowa to aid settlers in a Sioux Indian uprising in 1858.

    * In 1946 the 34th Division is reorganized with soldiers assigned from the Iowa and Nebraska National Guard.

    * World War II ends as the 34th ID takes control of the PO Valley, Northern Italy, May 1945.

    * In 1948 US Highway 34 was designated as the 34th Infantry Division Memorial Highway as it passes through the state of Iowa.

    * The 34th Infantry Division was never known for handing out medals with the "C" Rations.

    * Cassino became a yardstick by which to measure the ferociousness of battles.

    * Ten Soldiers of the 34th were awarded the Medal of Honor in WWII:

Pvt Furman M. Smith* Lt. Thomas W. Wigle* Cpt William W. Galt*
Pvt Robert Booker* Pfc Leo Powers Lt Ernest Dervishian
Lt Beryl R. Newman SSG George J. Hall* Lt Paul Riordan*
Pfc Sadao S. Munemori*

* - Awarded Posthumously

    * Mobilization of the " Red Bull" on 10 Feb 1941 brought components from Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana.

    * In 1942 the 34th ID became the first US Army division to be sent overseas in WWII.

    * The 34th was deactivated at the end of WWII in 1945, credited with over 600 days of actual combat, more than any other US Army division in WWII.

    * The 168th Infantry Regiment, then the 51st Iowa, was mustered into federal service at Camp McKinley, Des Moines Iowa on 30 May 1898, for service in the Spanish American War.

    * A monument to those who served the 34th Infantry Division in WWII was dedicated on 12 September 1987 and stands at Camp Dodge, IA for all to witness.

    * Re-live the memories- Visit the Memorial Museum at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, IA. Military memorabilia is accepted by anyone wishing to contribute.

    * The 34th received its nickname in North Africa and Italy (1943-1945) from the enemy German captives, who referred to it as the thundering "Red Bulls".

    * "Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Black Jack" Pershing, were members of the Nebraska Militia Brigade, later to become the 135th Infantry Regiment.

    * The 1st BN, 168th Inf Regt received the Distinguished Unit Citation for action on Mount Pantano, 29 Nov 43 to 3 Dec 43.

    * The 34th ID was the first US Army division to enter combat in the European Theatre of Operations in WWII ( November 1942 - North Africa).

    * 1 May 1943 saw a brilliant victory of the 34th Division - the capture of Hill 609 was completed. (Tunisian Campaign)

    * The official slogan for the 34th Infantry Division is:

Attack! Attack! Attack!

    * March 1944 - Cassino finally taken - no less than five divisions were required to finish the task which the 34th Division had begun - and so nearly completed.

    * From the invasion of Italy to Cassino the men of the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 133rd Infantry Regiment, Fought side by side with the Nisei, 100th Battalion and the 442nd regimental combat Team, a Japanese-American organization from California and Hawaii.

    * The 34th German Division officially surrendered to the 34th "Red Bull" Division in Italy in 1945.

    * The 135th Infantry Regiment established a command post in Rome at 0130 hours on 5 Jun 44 and laid claim to being the first infantry regiment in Rome.

    * The only 34th ID unit to land at Salerno on D-Day, 9 Sep 43, was the Minnesota 151st field Artillery Battalion.

    * The 151st FA BN fired 10,504 rounds during the battle for Salerno - this compared to 7,904 rounds expended during the entire African Campaign.

    * At Fondouk, Pvt Robert D. Booker, Co B, 133rd Inf Regt bought his buddies’ lives with his own - He was the first 34th ID soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Clifford Harlan Hullinger

I served the entire war with the 109th Combat Engineers of the 34th "Red Bull" Division. It was the first American unit sent to the European Theater and, after service in North Africa and Italy, had more combat time - over 500 days- than any other US division.  The Division, which numbered under 14,000 men at full strength, had over 21,000 casualties which included 3737 killed, 14,165 wounded, and 3460 missing.  Most of the latter were captured when cut off during the Kasserine Pass battle in Tunisia.  Since about 80% of casualties are borne by the infantry and there are about 9000 infantrymen per division, their casualty rates were in the 2-300 % range.  Men from the 34th earned 11 Medals of Honor, 98 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1052 Silver Stars, 1713 bronze stars, over 15,000 Purple Hearts, as well as citations and awards.  We had about 4.5 years of active duty with about 3.5 years overseas.

I have a whole shelf of books on the African and Italian campaign and some comments may be of interest.  Eisenhower in his book, CRUSADE IN EUROPE, p 454 in commenting on the value of experience in battle adds "But when kept too long in the fight they not only become subject to physical and mental weariness; the most venturesome and aggressive among them -the natural leaders -begin to suffer an abnormally high percentage of casualties.  Consequently the periodic relief of units from the front lines is mandatory to the preservation of efficiency.  In Italy and in northwest Europe we were frequently unable to do this and sometimes regiments and battalions had to remain in line for excessive periods.  Some divisions bore far more than their share of combat; the 34th, 45th, 3rd, and 1st Divisions led in number of days in battle....,they also suffered relatively high casualties."

The Tunisian campaign blooded the Division and gave us needed experience.  The Italian campaign started well but losses mounted after three crossing of the Volturno river and driving the Germans off the mountain massif between Venafro and Cassino.  After 79 days without a break we had about 10 days off.  The Infantry had almost 50 percent losses by then. It was now December with almost constant rain in the valleys and snow and sleet on the mountains.
     We went back into the line in January to attack the  German Gustav Line anchored on the mountain above the town of Cassino.  The 34th penetrated that line and forced a salient behind the famous Abbey of Cassino but were almost destroyed in the process.   The reserve American Divisions had been sent to the Anzio beachead in an attempt to flank the Gustav Line so American historians followed that battle and largely ignored the battle of Cassino.  Since we were eventually relieved by New Zealand and Indian Divisions from the 8th Army, one must read British authors to get an understanding of the Cassino battle.

Fred Majdalany, an English author, in his book, THE BATTLE OF CASSINO, p. 85 writes "The performance of the 34th Division at Cassino must rank with the finest feats of arms carried out by any soldiers during the war.  When at last they were relieved by the 4th Indian Division fifty of those few who had held on to the last were too numbed with cold and exhaustion to move.  They could still man their positions but they could not move out of them unaided.  They were carried out on stretchers.....  They had earned the praise which for soldiers is the best to receive- that of other soldiers who have moved in to relieve them and who alone can see at first hand what they have done, what they have endured.  It was the British and Indian soldiers of the 4th Indian Division, moving in to relieve them, who proclaimed the achievement of the Americans the loudest."

Eric Morris, also an English author, on page 270, of his book CIRCLES OF HELL, says that when the Royal Sussex Regiment relieved the 135th and 168th Regiments of the 34th Division, "There were just 840 left of the 3200 Americans who had begun the battle." Since two Infantry regiments would have about 6000 men at full strength, their losses exceeded 80%.  The battalion of the 133rd Regiment we were working with in the town of Cassino had 45 men who walked out.

On page 272 he quotes an eye-witness, "Our troops were living in almost inconceivable misery.  The fertile black valleys were knee deep in mud.  Thousands of the men had not been dry for weeks.  Other thousands lay at night in the high mountains with the temperature below freezing and the thin snow sifting over them.  They dug into the stones and slept in little chasms and behind rocks and in half caves.   They lived like men of prehistoric times and a club would have become them more than a machine gun.  How they survived that dreadful winter at all was beyond us who had the opportunity of dryer beds in the warmer valley."

David Hapgood on page 153 in his book, Monte Cassino, writes "The soldiers of the Indian Division began climbing up the murderous hillsides where so many French and American soldiers had struggled and died.  When they got to the part of the ridge where the American of the 34th Division had been in combat for two weeks, the newcomers were appalled by what they found.  Corpses lay all around and the living were not much better off than the dead.  The Americans had fought up to and beyond the limits of human endurance.  Fifty men still defending their positions were found to be too cramped and too weak even to walk.  The men of the Indian Divsion had to lift them bodily from their stone shelters and carry them out on stretchers.  Not all of them made it.  Some of the stretcher bearers, and the exhausted men they were carrying, were killed by German shellfire on the long, difficult journey down the mountain side.

Majdalany, page 85, writes "Three years after the end of the war a party of British officers were walking over these same mountains, studying the battle of Cassino as a military exercise, under the direction of officers who had fought there.  As they clambered over the rocks, incredulous that anything resembling organized warfare had been waged there, they came at one point upon a grim sight.  Crouched against some rocks, in the position in which an infantryman would take guard with his rifle, they found a human skeleton.  At its side were the rusted remains of a rifle and steel helmet, both identifiable as American.  It seemed a final comment on the endurance of the 34th U.S. Division and the men of the 36th who shared their ordeal in the later stages of the battle."

Morris again, on page 267 says "The 34th (US) Infantry, the Red Bulls,  was known as the hard luck outfit. It was the first American division to reach Europe, fought with distinction in Tunisia and showed dogged courage at the Volturno.  It fought in every battle but never made the news, hence the nickname.  Cassino tore the heart out of the Bulls, from which it took a year to recover"

Farley Mowat, the Canadian author who also served in Italy, in his books, THE REGIMENT, and NO BIRDS SANG, best captures the feeling of hopelessness and resignation that troops experience under such conditions.  Only the extremely strong bonding formed between experienced soldiers who have gone through so much together enables them to continue to function.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

I enlisted in the SD National Guard in the spring of 1939 while a freshman at SDSU. The unit was Company B of the 109th Engineers of the 34th (Red Bull) Division. The Engineers came from SD while the Infantry and most of the other units were from Minnesota and Iowa.  It was a square division then with 4 regiments of Infantry and 6 companies of Engineers but was reorganized to a triangle Division in late 1941 with three regiments of Infantry. and three companies of Engineers. About 40 men, including me, from Company B from Brookings was combined with Company A from Madison to make a new company A.
I joined up to get the $1.00 per weekly drill for "mad" money since I didn't feel right squandering the support from the folks on riotous living!  However I should point out that even then one couldn't get into serious sin on $1.00.  The folks were concerned even then- I suppose they remembered 1917 and knew that war was likely but that never occurred to an 18 year old.
We went to spring camp for two weeks at Rapid City for my first glimpse of the Hills.  I don't think any of the family had been there before since that was a major trip on those roads in those cars. I spent most of my time on KP on WW I equipment- Metal stove tops set on the ground and dirt banked up around the sides to keep the heat in.  The food and water were heated in what we used to call boilers -oval or square sheet metal pots that held about 10-15 gallons.  Shorty, the mess sgt. (whose only qualifications seemed to be that he had been a machine gunner in  WW I) would get a pot of water boiling and throw in a few pounds of ground coffee in what we suspected was his laundry bag and let it cook all day.  Only the veterans could handle that boiling liquor in an aluminum canteen cup which promptly turned black inside and I suspect we did too!

We went to Camp Ripley near Brainard, Minn. in the summer of 1940.  I was a pfc. then and remember swimming in the Mississippi River (we could wade across there).  Sgt. Siep of A Co. shot a deer out of season with govt ammo and only the ubiquitous Shorty dared to cook it.  He simply cut it up into pieces and boiled it in one of his pots.  It was fat and greasy and probably dirty and we all got diarrhea and since we left for Brookings the next day, there were bare bottoms hanging out the back of the army trucks all the way across Minnesota.

They were starting to mobilize the Guard units across the country in the fall of 1940 and we heard we would go about the first of the year.  I got in the fall quarter of my Junior year and started my second quarter when they called us up.  Over half of the company were from the college.  We had a good share of the football team, a good sprinkling of juniors and seniors and a few graduate students so we were not a typical company.  We left Brookings by troop train at 2:00AM in zero degree weather so not many saw us off!  Most of us were not Brookings natives anyway.  I was promoted to Corporal about then.

We went to Camp Claiborne, La., about 20 miles south of Alexandria.  This was a new camp carved out of red clay and brush but they had built mess halls and latrines and set up wooden frames and floors with tents over the top.  They had even piped in natural gas heaters in each tent so we considered ourselves in luxury. We did build the rifle ranges which was good experience, learned to drill, shoot, and some bridging and demolition.  We had no real training in mines and booby traps and nothing under live fire, either rifle or artillery.  However we were far from home and there were four camps near Alexandria so we had few distractions and so we graded well in the maneuvers in the fall.

The guard units were supposedly in for one year but congress extended our time to 18 months in the fall by one vote!  We started to get some draftees to build us up to strength in the summer.  Since they were called inductees, we called ourselves seductees.  I passed a test to go to Ft. Belvoir, Va. to a school on surveying by splitting my toe with an axe while cutting trees to build a log bridge.  Spent a month in the hospital and missed the school.  

Most of us had a week furlough in the fall and drove home in borrowed (or begged) cars.  I had made Sgt. in December and was sewing on my Sgt. stripes on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 when we heard about Pearl Harbor.  We started loading out within the week and were in Camp Dix, NJ., by early January.  They put us in tents with small coal burning stoves.  The soft coal sent up a lot of sparks and we burned several tents but no one was hurt since it don't take long to crawl under a tent wall when fire is right behind.  They were giving shots and taking passport pictures on a 24 hour basis.  They woke us up in the middle of the night and had us line up in snow and  cold for our pictures. You can imagine what we looked like-  dirty, cold, unshaven, mad, sore arms, sleepy, and wearing all the clothes we had.

At that time you could take a train to New York in the late PM, spend the evening there, and come back at about midnight.  I went twice, saw the Glenn Miller and Gene Krupa bands at the Paramount, got an autograph of Jack Dempsey, and saw the lights of 42nd St.  Big time for a small town guy!

The first contingent (Co. A, from Madison and the rest of the 133rd Inf. Combat team) left in mid-January for what we learned later was North Ireland.  They reorganized the Division at that time and about 40 of us Co. B men were transferred to Co. A who we would join later in Ireland.  Since we considered ourselves the elite of Co. B, there was a lot of griping in the next year as they sent most of those who didn't go overseas to officers school.   We shipped out in February '42 on the USS American Legion and about a day out our ship broke down.  This was at the height of the submarine activity and the north Atlantic is a cold dark sight at that time of year.  The convoy went on and left one small warship running around us and dropping depth charges every so often.  More was going on then we knew. (see page 21) We got back to Halifax, N. S. where we sat in the harbor for two weeks while they made some temporary repairs.  We had sent most of our money home or blew it in Camp Dix or on an evening pass to New York.   The only thing to do was sit in the ship or go to the NAAFI canteen on top of the hill but we couldn't buy anything. Almost every day a ship would come or be towed in with a big hole in the side and one time only half a ship.  Gave us a real feeling of confidence.

Two weeks later we dashed back to Boston in a big storm which was supposed to keep the subs down.  Went to Camp Edwards on Cape Cod with our rifles and one barracks bag and still no money. We finally got enough that I had an afternoon in Boston and saw Ted Williams and the Red Sox.  In April, we took a train to NY and tried again on another convoy.  Had no trouble this time although a depth charge or torpedo went off close enough one night to put out the lights on the ship.  No panic but when the lights came on we were lined up with life preservers except Snuffy Smith at the head of the line with his pillow in his arms.  He gave a squawk, jumped off the ladder and made the switch in record time.

We  reached North Ireland in early May and joined Co. A at Camp Killadeas near Enniskillen on Lough (lake) Erne in the south west corner of the country.  I made staff Sgt. at this time and was the non-com in charge of a platoon of four squads of about 12 each.  If we strayed over the border we would have been interned.  We weren't that smart!   Spent the summer and fall getting organized, learned bailey bridging, lots of marching, and one maneuver which didn't do much except wreck the local roads and fields.    We engineers spent most of the fall patching them.  Since they were usually a layer of stone and blacktop over peat, we hauled rock for weeks from the quarries.  Learned a little about rock blasting but an old Irishman came up one day and watched us for awhile.  Finally he said "Yanks, we've been quarryin' rock here for 30 year and this is the first time we iver had stones bouncing about the village."

Co C and the 168th Inf. went to Scotland in the fall and they surfaced again in North Africa at Algiers on Nov. 8, 1942.  We went to England and spent Christmas on the HMS Orontes in Liverpool harbor.  Had to sleep in hammocks which we strung up in the holds at taps.  The rest of the time we sat at picnic type tables and ate English rations.  Oatmeal porridge and tea in the AM; fish, scalloped potatoes, and bread for lunch;  dinner wasn't much better.  We went by Gibralter in blackout except the ships were silhouetted against the bright lights of Tangiers across the Strait.  Landed in Oran and got our trucks and drove about 200 miles south to Tlemcen and camped in a race track.  The rest of the Division were all in the same area training and getting gear together and we started to move by truck some 900 miles to Tunisia along a road about 1-200 miles from the coast.  Most of  the towns had Arab or French names but one was called McDonald.  Always thought there was a story there somewhere.

Some British troops and Commandos (a mixed group which some of our guys had volunteered into- Kenny Scissions for one) had tried to take Bizerte but the Germans had stopped them.  The lines were extended rapidly south along a ridge of small mountains and we got plugged into some passes east and north of Kasserine. We were all spread out and still only had 37 mm antitank guns and no bazookas so the German armor had little trouble breaking through south of us at Faid Pass and capturing most of the 168th Combat Team including one platoon of Co. C of the 109th Engrs.  They were eventually stopped (or ran out of gas!) as they started to move up the valley about 30 miles behind us.  We got a commendation for building and finding about 30 miles of road to pull our Combat Team back and established a line to keep them to the south and prevent them from widening the salient to the north of Faid and Kasserine.

The US Army got a lot of criticism over the defeat but at least they finally started getting tanks with more than 37mm guns and gave the antitank companies some British 57mm.  We didn't get Sherman tanks until Italy but the Grants had 75's even if they didn't traverse!  The Engrs. finally got a chance to work with mines and booby traps- more then we wanted.  We dug up and disarmed the German and Italian mines and booby traps that were used to train the rest of the Army.  Had a few casualties but the big loss was when a whole truckload of British mines blew up and wiped out Wayne Satree's squad of 12 men from the third platoon.  Many of them had been mobilized with me.

The Germans had air superiority at this time and we got strafed a few times and had to run for the ditches a time or two.  Had one bad shelling from some 88's while we were dug in a cactus patch but only had one or two killed.  The shrapnell would cut of some of the cactus and the joke afterwards was the guy who yelled "I'm hit! No,  only a cactus!"

We went over onto the offensive and moved back through the passes but Montgomery's Eighth squeezed us out so pulled back and moved north to a road leading south and west of Tunis.  The big battle there was when the 34th took Hill 609 and broke through to the west of Tunis.  The whole thing collapsed then and we took many prisoners and spent the next few weeks cleaning up minefields and hauling truckloads of bombed and partially destroyed ammunition dumps out of the Arab towns.  Had some hairy times.  We would take it up into a ravine somewhere, put about 10 minutes of fuse on some of the mines and get out of there!  Some of the stuff would fly for hundreds of yards and explode when it landed.  Set an Arab wheatfield on fire from a bunch of 20mm HE antiaircraft banana clips and I had to sign a release to the Arabs to keep from getting lynched!  Maybe not that bad but they were definitely unhappy.  I doubt if it had any value to them but it calmed them down at the time.

     The 34th skipped Sicily and moved back to Oran to train for Italy.  We weren't in the assault team but when the 36th Texas Division couldn't get off the beach, we loaded in a hurry.  But by the time we got there the beachhead was secure and we moved  inland and started up the Italian boot.  Little did we know that we would be doing that for the next two years!  
     We leapfrogged infantry battalions against rearguard action.  The Germans would blow a culvert or bridge and hold us up for a  few hours with an SP  gun and then drop back to the next spot.  Our platoon was leapfrogged up one night and told to bypass a culvert where the 133rd Inf. had taken some casualties in the afternoon.  Lt. Belensky who had taken over my platoon in Ireland pulled out his 45 and said "OK Sarge, lets go look at it" but  thought better.  The next morning before daylight, we went through the outpost line, swept for mines and took the bulldozer and platoon to the bridge.   We were back in a valley on the hillside and the SP gun couldn't reach us but the 100th Hawaiian Battalion moved past us and drew fire at the next corner.  This was their first action.   After a few more of these, we came up to the Volturno river and had to make an assault crossing with boats and build pontoon bridges later.  The resistance was stiffening and the Infantry were taking casualties but not so many for us.  That river wound back and forth across the valley and we had to cross it twice more.  At least it was getting smaller as we moved up into the mountains.  An Engr. platoon had three line squads and a heavy weapons squad in a half track for protection against planes. We had air superiority now but they would still send in sneak attacks in the mountain valleys.  Most of my weapons squad was killed or wounded in one of these attacks.  We had been together about 3 years by then.

    In December the cold and snow made the roads a big problem and we did a lot of pick and shovel work.  We were trying to cross the large mountain in front of Cassino and the resistance got stiff.  The Infantry lost a lot of people and we lost a few to plane attacks and mines.  My platoon and company commanders were lost to a bouncing betty mine.  They were both top-notch and had come to us in Ireland.  I was in charge of the platoon after that although one or two green 2nd Lt's went with me for experience on a few missions.  One night we were ordered to repair a blown bridge.  Our Infantry held one ridge and the Germans the next along the side of the mountain. The bridge was back in the valley between the two.  I took the platoon through the outpost and we scouted and swept the road for mines up to the gap in the road.  Since I needed to know how much water was in the stream, I crawled through the dirt and rubble to the waters edge feeling for mines in the dark.  I waded the small stream to get an idea of how big a culvert we needed.

We went back and built it and the next night we took the bulldozer and the culvert back in following the Infantry.  We got the bypass in by noon but we knew we were under observation and they gave us the most concentrated artillery workup I had in the war.  We eventually moved up the stream and got on the reverse side of a hill that was apparently the same slope as the incoming shells.  They just seemed to shave us and explode about 50 yards past.  Had two guys wounded and my jeep driver, Ole Davis, had to be carried out.  That was his third wound but the only serious one.

     The Division was relieved after 75 days on the line for Xmas and I had my first 3-day pass since going overseas.  Had 3 days in Naples and got to see Pompeii but not much else to do.  We went back into action by New Years and walked over the mountain from Venafro toward Cassino.  We were up on the rocks and snow for about two weeks with one blanket and a shelter half building mule trails and checking for personnel mines.  Since we couldn't dig in, we would make forts with rocks but actually didn't get shelled much there at all. It took us a full day to walk back for our trucks and equipment and we drove around and caught up with the Infantry who had walked on down and closed up to the Rapido River in front of Cassino.

     Books have been written about that battle so I won't go into much detail. After the 36th lost the best part of two regiments trying to cross in the valley below Cassino, the 34th had to cross the flooded Rapido above the town.  It was a very tough crossing and we lost a lot of people to mines and artillery.  We were only at part strength anyway but got across after several days and got a toehold on the mountain.  While the rest of the Division worked on up the mountain, the 133 Inf. with "A" in support turned left along the edge of the mountain and pushed into the town itself.  This was our first experience at house- to-house and even room-to-room fighting.  Tried the old flame throwers but they wouldn't ignite when we needed them.  There was a drainage ditch along the north side of town and we spent one night passing stones from hand to hand laying on our backs to make a tank crossing since the Germans were in the next building.

Spent another night depositing 3 wooden box culverts further down the ditch.(see page 18)  Arnold Brown and I had slipped in and reconned it the night before so the 3 culverts fit nicely.  A tank wrecker would bring in a section and we would help lower it into place.  We would then duck back under the concrete slab bridge the Germans had blown because the noise brought in all kinds of fire.   After the third section, they really hit us with rockets and artillery but with the concrete slab over us and the ends forted up, we had no trouble.  After about 10 minutes they stopped and the new Lt. asked me if it wasn't time to go.  I said not yet.  This was partly hunch but I knew that they might recognize the pattern after the 3 trips of the tank wrecker and expect a fourth.  I was right since about 10 minutes later they hit us with another mess of stuff.  When it stopped, I said lets go now and we didn't get a single shot as we pulled out.  We were in an olive grove across the valley from the Monastery and about level with it and went into the town during darkness only.

     I had probably my closest shave there.  The road into town from the north was the supply line and the Germans had machine and SP guns at the end of the road and could sweep it clean.  We would leave the road and come in over the rubble and through the walls that still were standing.  As I came through one doorway, a shell, probably 20mm, went by my neck so close I could feel the heat at a single point.  It exploded behind me but my reflexes were good and I was already flat on the ground.  Shells pick up a lot of heat from air resistance in a long trajectory.

     We had a perfect spot to see the bombing of the Abbey and it did a lot for our morale since we were sure the Germans were in it and looking right at us.  History says otherwise but the Div. lost over 2000 men on that mountain and after 6 weeks of the mud and snow and shelling, the Abbey didn't seem very important to us.  The Infantry took most of the casualties as always.  The last battalion of the 133rd that was relieved in the town had 45 walking out of about 900 normal strength.  Of course many of those were wounded and came back and some were lost before we got to the Rapido as well.  The folks sent me a letter that a Dale Henderson who had married cousin Allen Hullinger's sister Myrtle, was in the 34 Div. Infantry.  I went to see him and found that he had made Sgt. and been wounded and shipped back in about a months time so I didn't get to meet him till after the war.  Myrtle, her mother and little brother were killed in a train accident near Butler, Ind. about this time.

     We were relieved in mid February 1943 and went back for replacements and got our equipment in order.  We then went to the Anzio beachhead but the heavy fighting was over there by that time.  I made First Sgt. then and had a relatively safe job spending most of my time in Company Hdqtrs. about 2 miles inland.  The platoons went out at night to lay wire and mines in front of the Infantry and it was so flat that we lost several non-coms and old timers due to machine gun fire.  A different type of war negates the experience factor.

Sgt. Dan Harding who took over my platoon when I made First Sgt. had them laying concertina wire in front of an infantry position one night.  They saw these two soldiers in a foxhole and moved the wire out to include them.  Dan went over to them and asked them how it was going.  They answered in German!  Turned out it was a German outpost with two very scared recruits in it.  He promptly took them prisoner and the barbed wire line made a sharp bend at that point. (See page 19)

We had several air raids there but the ack-ack was so intense that the Luftwaffe stayed high and didn't hurt much.  They had a 15 inch Railroad gun in a tunnel up in the mountains that made a lot of noise but didn't hit much most of the time.  It was about 25 miles away and you could hear a boom when it fired, the sonic boom when it broke the sound barrier on the way back down, and the explosion when it hit. It took about 5 seconds for all this to happen and you can do a lot in 5 seconds when the motivation is right!

      In May as we were getting ready to break out, I had an appendicitis attack and was operated on the tent hospital.  The ward boy who came in to shave me used a double edge blade in a pair of forceps.  In addition he was shell shocked and every time a shell came over he would flinch and look up at the top of the tent. I knew it would be a funny story to tell if a shell didn't get too close but I didn't laugh until later!  In later years I would get a good reaction when I told people the story, and then told them that it was my closest shave in the War.

  I was sent back to Naples on a hospital ship and got back to the Company in July after they had moved through Rome and on up close to Leghorn.  Col. Coffey (the football coach from SDSC who had been a Captain in the guard, stayed in and made general after the war) offered  me a field commission to 2nd Lt.  So I gave up my safe spot as 1st Sgt. and went back to platoon leader in "B" Co. which was originally men from Huron and Hot Springs.  Went to Rome with Don Byerly of Huron who had also been a 1st Sgt to get officers uniforms and see the sights.  I got another break then and got 3 months as Asst. Adjutant assigned to Div. rear which was really out of danger.  In the meantime the Div. moved through Florence and on up into the mountains to the north to another defensive line.  They had some hard fighting and almost broke through into the Po valley.

I rejoined "B" Co. in Nov. but we were about fought out by then and after some attacks which didn't go anywhere, the generals went on hold until spring.  We still got involved in  patrolling, mines, and maintaining roads and mule trails and had a few narrow escapes but nothing major.  Morale was pretty low, especially in the Infantry.  By this time they had most of the 21,000 casualties that the Div. had by war end.  The few old timers that were left had been overseas 3 years and knew that the only way to survive was to get wounded bad enough to be sent home.  From where we were in the mountains, we could look north and see the tops of the Alps on a clear day.  We figured we would be there for the next winter and they were higher and colder than anything we had seen so for.  Anyway, quite a few would deliberately do something to be court martialled and put into the stockade.  For a while, we would take details of stockade prisoners out to work on roads but they knew we had no way to make them work and we hated the job anyway.

Some of them were battle fatigued enough so they should have been sent back.  As soon as a shell came in they scattered like a covey of quail so Headquarters stopped that practice.  We had been a very good division when we came to Italy but were never very good after Cassino. But after a winter of not much fighting, and with the weather warming up, things started looking up again.  I was promoted to 1st Lt. which was fairly automatic at this time.

  The European front started to collapse in the spring and by the time we jumped off in May, the Germans didn't have much left and we broke into the Po valley and it was a rat race from then on.  We first swung left up to block any Germans in the mountains west of Bologna, and then made another loop across the Po to trap the Germans who had been on the France/Italian border west of Milan.  The whole division was on the road with our lights on as we moved west towards Milan when we met a convoy of Germans in trucks driving in blackout.  They were full of soldiers heading for the Brenner Pass.  There were no guards or anything and we never knew if they had already surrendered or not.  If not, meeting a full division with lights on coming from what was your supply line and homeland, would be a real morale buster.

They had started giving furloughs a few months before to about one man per company per month.  My name came up then and I flew back to Naples in a DC-3 about 3 days after the surrender in Italy and had VE day in a transient camp in Naples.  They wouldn't let us go into town to celebrate!  We were given a choice of going home by ship or plane.  I chose plane but should have been warned since the Air Corp men were choosing ships.  They left shortly but we waited weeks for planes.  Finally they loaded us onto a B-17 that had been stripped of bomb racks, turrets, and had benches along the side.  As the only officer, I was asked to ride in the jump seat behind the pilot.  They had replaced the top turret with a flat piece of plexiglass which blew out when we got going and shards flew all around but didn't seem to hurt anything.  The bomber  pilots were very unhappy since hauling people was way beneath their dignity.  The co-pilot changed seats with me so he could sleep and the pilot put the plane on automatic and dozed off too.

I was enjoying myself until I saw another B-17 converging from the right.  I eyeballed it and estimated that we would probably miss by at least 200 yards so wasn't too concerned.  But after years of traveling at a maximum of 30MPH, I had no concept of closing speeds at 350MPH.  When he crossed in front of us at about 400 yards, the pilot woke up very quickly and stayed awake all the way to Casablanca.

     No one had bothered to tell Casablanca that we were coming and that they were going to get 10 plane loads a day at this transition point to the Zone of Interior.  So it took a week to find another plane, a regular transport C-54 with plush seats and the works.  We flew south over the Sahara to Dakar, refueled at night, and were in Natal, Brazil by morning.  While refueling, a baggage truck backed into the plane and we waited 3 days for a bucket seat C-54.  We took off and were over the Amazon estuary when an engine gave out.  We still had 3 but turned back and landed at Belem, Brazil and waited four days for another engine.   Finally got to Miami, took a train to Minneapolis and Vivian, SD in June, 1945.

It was almost 4 years since I had been there and had been overseas 3.5 years.  I had over 500 days of combat and never wounded and no psychological problems. (in my unbiased opinion!)  I had a lot of good luck.   Soldiers that survive the first few days of combat learn a lot.  You listen all the time to know what's going on and where the action is.  You watch constantly to stay out of observation and to have a hole or a ditch or even a depression picked out to get into if necessary.  You develop some automatic practices that stay with you for months or years.  Thunder storms gave me some trouble for a while and I listened to every plane that came over since the German multi-engine planes had a different sound that we could identify.  I really enjoyed 30 days at home.  I then reported to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio where I stayed about three weeks, and was then sent to Belvoir, Va. with a delay in route to go to SD again.  Stayed 30 days to help Dad and my brother Jack and little sisters get the harvest in.  The  atom bomb and VJ day at this time made my expected assignment to the Pacific moot and I was discharged on October, 1945.

Fini le Guerre, Fini le Armee.

Except for the killed and severely wounded, it didn't seem to hurt us permanently.  We hadn't heard of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome so were not alarmed when loud noises or low flying planes made us jump or hit the ground.  I couldn't stay still in violent thunder storms for about a year but got over it as did most of the rest of the men.  Most of us had fathers or uncles in WW I and sort of expected that reaction.  Drugs weren't an option but alcohol consumption was considered normal and several of the men have since died from alcoholism.  However I have never seen any evidence that alcoholism was any more common in veterans than in comparable populations.  It sure doesn't seem to be related to the amount or severity of combat experience.

AFTERMATH:
After the war, I re-enrolled at SDSU in the middle of my junior year right where I had left 5 years before.  I thought I might be rusty so cracked the books hard and got better grades than I ever had.  The GI bill made it possible to go farther than I would have.  Got my BS and MS at SDSU and got a fellowship to Purdue where I completed the academic work for my Ph.D. in biochemistry.  Went to work at American Maize in Hammond, Indiana in 1950 and stayed 32 years as Research Chemist, Dir. of Research, and Production Manager before retiring in 1982. I have had several consulting jobs overseas since, and play a lot of golf and bridge.

I married Louise Liffengren from Draper, SD while we were at SDSU on June 6, 1946.  The fact that that was the first anniversary of D-day has no significance!  We had four children.  One has passed away but two are near Chicago and one in Montana.  We see our six grandchildren frequently and have lived in the same house in the south west corner of Chicago since 1950.  We have traveled to all the states and many foreign countries including Italy.  It looks a lot better now than it did then.

Clif Hullinger        6-6-95 10628 S. Lawndale Chicago, Il 60655
Clifhull@juno.com Added page 21 and revised slightly September 1999   Lyle Haug , a Staff Sergeant with Co. A. 109th Engr, 34th Division  in WW-II
February 11, 1941

We're billeted in the Armory at Madison, S.D. Activity abounds, new recruits are being processed, and they have enlisted to beat the draft, which  seemed inevitable. The Company Commander was pleased because men were needed to bring the company up to full strength. The Supply Sergeant was busy giving each soldier an allotment which consisted of a barracks bag, two blankets, mess kit, canteen, fatigues, boxer shorts and shirts, O.D.s, combat boots,  cartridge belts, 03 rifles and bayonets, flat steel helmets, leggings and a web belt.

A Medic was busy filing the medical records of each of us; a quick look by a Captain of the Medics was completed. We opened our mouth and said "ah" and bent over for him to take a quick look, and as long as he couldn't see clear through we were 1-A.

I signed up for a $10,000 G.I. insurance policy to be paid  out of my wages of $21/month. I decided to keep $6 for incidentals and send the rest home to my folks. I stood in line to pick up my dog tags and received my  serial number, 20717371. The final details seemed to have been completed and a farewell dance was scheduled just before our departure. A very cold morning greeted us, so we were issued a heavy overcoat, which we donned in a hurry, formed ranks, and began a march to the depot at the south end of Main Street. In spite of the cold, the sidewalks were lined with people wishing us a fond farewell. Flags and banners waving, we marched to the troop train and loaded for our trip to somewhere. I had been in and out, pushed  back and forth, and now I was determined that I would make the best of the next year and be a good soldier.
We headed south on the Milwaukee Road and were picked up at a switch station by the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe. We continued southward and after three days and two nights we reached Alexandria, LA. A convoy of ton and one-half trucks waited for us to load and we arrived thirteen miles later at Camp Claiborne, a massive tent city. The only wooded structures were the mess halls and supply depots. Each tent would house five soldiers. William Proehl, Kermit Hansen, John Lowry, Arden Kern, and I were assigned our quarters. Five cots were made up without a wrinkle and kept that way. We purchased a footlocker for our individual belongings and kept each of them in good order. Our shoes were polished, our mess kits were spotless, and our rifles were cleaned and oiled to perfection. Our tent was recognized as the best in the company, and I was chosen best appearance several times.

We became accustomed to the early morning bugle call, joined ranks and answered roll call, fell out and waited in line to enter the mess hall. Policed the area, picked up cigarette butts, pieces of paper or whatever, fell back into ranks and awaited the assignments for the day. One day the first Sergeant said he needed volunteers to escort the Captains daughter and anyone interested take one step forward. Three of us stepped forward, Evie Hockett, Roger Loesch, and Lyle Haug. We were told to report to the Supply Sergeant's office where we were issued three sand shovels and three pick axes and spent the day digging a garbage pit. A humble lesson well learned.

I volunteered for K.P. and Guard Duty on every weekend so that I wouldn't get talked into going to town on a weekend pass. I didn't have enough money to go looking for fun, though now our wages had been increased to $30/month. I always felt good when we stood at attention as the bugler sounded retreat and the colors were lowered for the day. Lights out at 10 and as I heard "Taps" there seemed to be peace.

Orders came down that we were to be a part of the Red and Blue Armies and we'd be engaged in a mock war. This meant a move to the woods and bayous of Louisiana. We'd be in bivouac for a week or ten days. The area was littered with snakes; copperhead, water moccasins, rattlers, and corals. I hated all of them and remained on a constant alert. I pulled off one boner because I swiped two watermelons, one under each arm, and as I walked back to join my group I stepped on a hollow log. It collapsed with such a boom I though someone had taken a shot at me. When light came, we saw that we had amassed forty or fifty melons. As we settled back for a delicious feast, a bunch of local sharecroppers arrived pleading with us that it was their only harvest, so we gave up our treasures.

I was promoted to Private First Class and my wages had advanced to $36/month. It was October. We had been away about eight months, and we were eligible for a ten day furlough. There were about 35 of us who had saved up a few dollars, so we charted a bus from Alexandria, LA to Madison, SO, arriving there about 10 P.M., after a long, straight through drive. I slept on the bus and hitchhiked a ride to my folks the next day. Dad didn't have much to say, he was really pretty distant, but the little kids were happy to see me. Harvey was kind of smug; he was graduated from High School and was driving an F-14 tractor. He had rented the south quarter and harvested a crop of volunteer rye that had grown there after Norman Olson had left and had some money of his own. Norman though that he should have had a part of the crop, but Harvey had told him to go to hell. A ten-day furlough went by in such a hurry that I headed back before I had a chance to do anything. Oh well, I had but a few months left and my year of Army training would be over.

We returned to camp and fell back into the same old routine. I was promoted to Corporal, which would pay me $42/month. This meant no more K.P., but now I would be Corporal of the Guard and wouldn't have to walk a post anymore. I'd been a good soldier and was proud of it. We celebrated Thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings. Our tour in Louisiana would soon come to an end.

I had traveled very little in the area and I wanted to see New Orleans, probably never be this close again, so a three day pay would do the trick. Gerald (Bud) Slagel had a car and he was willing to drive, it was a snazzy '31 Model A, so Buford Gray, Lyle Sage, Dale Hytholt, and I made arrangements to go. We'd go the first weekend of December. We headed south to Baton Rouge, the capitol city, then over to Lake Charles and across over to Beaumont, Texas, just so we could say we had been in Texas, then over to Lake Pontchartrain and on to New Orleans. We strolled through the French Quarters, drank chickery coffee and visited with the locals.

We walked down Canal Street, went up a ramp to a ship anchored in the harbor for a Saturday Night dance. The first girl I asked to by my partner told me she didn't dance with no damn Yankee. We rented a cabin with beds that had mattresses of foam rubber, which topped our nights on the army cots.

The morning sun came up big and bright, dressed in suntans we drove to Audubon Park across the campus from Tulane University. Pretty girls and pretty birds lolled on the grounds in the area. We were relaxed and comfortable, suddenly an Army jeep, carrying several M. P.s with a loud speaker blaring, Japan has just bombed Pearl Harbor, your units have been placed on alert, return to your posts at once, by orders of the President." There was a solemn air back at camp; a nation at war had a new meaning for seasoned soldiers. Activity abounded, orders seemed to be coming from everywhere. Within a couple of days we boarded a troop train and headed northeast. Four days later we unloaded at Trenton, N.J.'Tor an assembly at Fort Dix. Piles of snow were everywhere and it was cold for troops fresh from the South. We stood in long lines for identification pictures and shots for many infectious diseases. Guards were posted and air raid signals were being tested. Confusion was number one for all of us. Everything in order, we again boarded a troop train and a short time later we were unloaded at a post-side in New York City.

We were billeted in a warehouse close top harbor, took turns on guard duty and remained on an alert schedule. I wanted to see some sights in New York so I asked for a pass. Twelve hours were granted which suited me fine. I went to the top of the Empire State Building, visited the R.C.A. Music Hall, watched the King Sisters perform, and the Harry James Orchestra. Looked in on the Arthur Murray Dance Studio and danced a few steps with Ann Murray.

Had lunch in a fancy restaurant and reported back to Company Headquarters. Our ship, the Chateau-Thierry, was anchored and being loaded with all kinds of freight. It was used to transport mules to France during the First World War and it was now converted into a troop ship, not very glamorous but hopefully stable. On the afternoon of January 13, 1942, we threw our barracks bangs over our shoulders and silently boarded the ship. My quarters were on the lower deck up near the prow of the boat, dark and musty damp, I'd have to spend most of my time up on deck.

We circled in the harbor waiting for the convoy of ships to be assembled, and now it was the morning of January 15, 1942. Our ship slowly began to sail past the Statue of Liberty; soldiers lined the deck waving farewell with many a tear gracing the eyes of these hardened combat ready soldiers. We veered far left, as we must sail the north Atlantic to try and avoid the German U-boats.

The North Atlantic this time of the year was especially stormy and rough with waves and white caps as high as the buildings in New York.  A couple days out and everyone was seasick. I puked and ate and puked some more, and ate some more. The lower deck was a real stink hole and men lay in their bunks sick as a dog, but I crawled up on deck and let the waves splash over gradually getting better with each day. The plates in the galley flew off  the tables as we ate while the ship lunged up, down, side ways and whatever.

We sailed for ten days before slowing and finally a horizon appeared on the 26th of January. We anchored in the deep and a flat-decked boat came to meet us, piloted by English sailors. "Aye, " they said, "we've been looking for you yanks for a month now."  They served us some tea and a slice of bread sprinkled with caraway seeds. We moved toward shore and came into port at Belfast, Northern Ireland, the first A.E.F. to reach the European shore.

We went single file through an air raid shelter and picked up a noon ration. A boiled potato, a couple of rank cabbage leaves, and a tablespoon of beef flavored juice poured over the potato. Then we were handed individual pies with an attractive brown crust, thinking at least we'd have desert. They turned out to be pigeon pies and most of them ended up in the garbage can. We joined ranks and marched to an area of Nissen Huts where we would be sheltered for awhile. Some idiot discharged his rifle and the loud bang scared all of us. We though the Germans were shooting at us.

We had boards on the ground for a bed and when I was given a typhoid shot, I really got sick. The boards rattled as I lay rolling with a fever. We were a combat engineer unit and we had to know infantry tactics, mine warfare, bridge building, tank traps and obstacles, wire concertinas for roadblocks and defensive positions, plus the attitude of survival. We began learning all there was to know about German soldiers and their equipment. Personnel mines, tank mines, booby traps, S-mines, bouncing babies, their tanks, trucks, and planes. I went to a special school on mines and mine warfare, TNT, bangolore torpedoes and the works. I was an expert on time cord, prima cord, dynamite and everything else. If and when we faced the Kraut forces, I intended to survive.

We moved from the Londonderry area to an old distillery building in Coleraine (the Coleens of Coleraine). Everyone thought that here would be a fun time but we went through a rigorous training schedule performing every tactical field maneuver known to the Army. We did get a pass to Port Rush, a scenic area on the coast. A big dance hall there was a gala affair. I went to the home of Jean Peacock, (an Irish lass) for tea and cakes. Then we were moved to Enniskillen near the boarder of the Irish Free State.  I had been a line Sergeant for several months and now I was screened by three military V.I.P.s and promoted to a Platoon Sergeant. The responsibility weighed heavy on my mind but as a Platoon leader, I made up my mind to lead these fifty soldiers wherever we might have to go. I wouldn't send them, I would lead them, so help me God.

We had traveled the length and breadth of Northern Ireland; it's seven counties and most of the town. These are some omitted; Omagh, Lisnaske, Limavaddy. Joe Culver and I had our pictures taken in Enniskillen. Now we were getting ready to leave. We'd sail across the Irish Sea past the port of Glasgow, Scotland, and over to Newport, England. We went by convoy up towards Cardiff, Wales and across to Manchester, England. The towns of Coventry and Macalsfield and been seriously bombed in German air raids.

We practiced forced landing attacks and simulated air raid runs. I got a three-day pass, hitched a ride to Crewe and rode the train from there to London. I visited St. Paul's Cathedral, No. 10 Downing Street, Trafalager Square, Piccadilly Circus, The Tower of London, the River Thames, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, saw Buckingham Palace, attended church service at Westminster Abbey.

Back at camp we rehearsed shore landings with L.C.I. (landing craft infantry) near Liverpool and were aware of preparation for a convoy of movement to somewhere. It was late September, I had forgotten about home and family. I hated the Germans and all the havoc that had been ravishing the British Isles.

Now it was October 1, 1942, we loaded on a ship at Liverpool in full combat gear. The flat helmets and the 03 rifles were replaced. The M1 rifles were issued to all the privates, I carried a .45 pistol and a Carbine, plus binoculars, map case, knap sack, bedroll and cartridges for two weapons. This was some convoy, troop ships, supply ships, torpedo boats and even the huge carrier "the Wasp." We headed south, on the outer edge of the Day of Biscayne on the West of France. The torpedo boats dropped depth bombs off and on as they searched for Kraut Submarines. We kept southward in pretty mild seas and rumor came that we were approaching the Rock of Gibraltar at the opening of the Mediterranean Sea. I stayed up because I wanted to see what it looked like, but our trip was made in the dark of the moon so all I could see was a big dark mass. The Mediterranean was calm and we sailed eastward. Bright lights dotted Spanish Morocco otherwise the world seemed to be a complete blackout. We had been given clues for the beach landing - but weren't sure just where it would be. Our movements were top secret so we sailed and waited.

Our troop ship began to slow and we could see land probably thirty rods away, a barrage of heavy artillery was exploding in the water to our left. This was the coast of northwestern North Africa west of Oran. Marshall Petain of France, Head of the Vicy Government, had established Headquarters in North Africa and was in sympathy with the Nazi Party of Germany and he was a greater threat in this area than the Germans, but we didn't know this until later. The ship ground to a halt, snubbed into a sandbar at least twenty rods from land. We were ordered to throw rope ladders over the sides and hit the water and onto shore as fast as we could go. I hit the water not realizing the depth, at least nine or ten feet deep. Full pack, bedroll, loaded down with guns and ammunition, I hit the bottom and struggled with all my might to keep from drowning. The deep water lessened as we continued toward shore.

We hit the beach and took cover behind a low bank. I lay panting beside Roger Loesch, (my tent mate) who was earnestly repeating Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. I think the date was October 8, 1942. We scattered and infiltrated the area finally assembling near Tlemcen where we dried off and began to establish our bearings. Our task force commander, General Mark Clark was in conference with Marshall Petain trying to straighten him out in the course of new front now taken in the war. General Rommel (the Desert Fox) was commanding the German Panzer Division;  moving west out of Egypt and Montgomery was the Commander of the British Eighth Army engaged in heavy fighting at EI Alamein. German troops were scattered the length and breadth of North Africa.

We moved to Sidi Bel Abbes, home of the French Foreign Legion and turned northeast-ward in battle formation and were engaged in our first heavy combat at Fondouk and Kasserine Pass, everything seemed to go haywire with many stupid moves, it turned out to be a total disaster. Casualties and prisoners totally disillusioned us. Arabs pilfered the dead bodies and gathered all they could of wares lying about. We reorganized and were joined by masses of new troops and equipment all intent on moving east.

We went beyond Algiers out into the open country and found bridged wadis (deep ravines) sometimes wet, sometimes dry but difficult to cross in any manner. We had to capture some high points called djebels; one in particular was Djebel Trozzia and Hill 609. Here we encountered hunger
amongst the natives. The children jumped into the garbage pits to recover the grapefruit rinds covered with coffee grounds and dishwater, also the moldy bread crusts that had been cut from the bread arriving in gunny sacks from the Quartermaster Supply. I cut holes for the arms and head on the bottom of a sand bag and slipped it over the head of a little naked Arab and he beamed with pride over his new apparel. I managed to strip milk from a camel into my canteen cup and gave him a drink. It tasted like goat milk. I had my picture taken with my arm around a baby camel too; I think Vernon Jackson has the picture. The camels would take a bite from the huge cactus plants and I wondered how those long stickers kept from piercing their tongue and cheeks.

We were an offensive Army continually on the move. We went through Bone and Philipville, Bizerta and down towards Gafsa and Constantine. We took a position in a huge cactus patch, dug foxholes and felt some security put soon our location was sighted and a barrage of heavy artillery blasted us beyond belief.  St. Sergeant Kline from C Company was killed so we were moved to a new defensive area and posted our platoon in a guard situation. Sergeant Roger DeBoer, Joe (Red) Zwolski and Gureno Rossolini were sent out on a Recon patrol to see where all the small arms fire was coming from. Six hours later Red and Gureno returned out of breath reporting that Roger had been shot.

Our Lt. James Robertson was really nerved up, he said the value of a soldier was only 37 cents so we'd leave him be out there in no man's land, there being no way to know if he was alive or dead. I protested and Stan Hanson agreed so Donald Davids drove the half-track out In the open area between fronts and when Roger fired his weapon, Stan, Bob Berry and Red discovered the wounded man and brought him back to us. A bullet had pierced his lung just below the heart and came out in the back. Medics took care of him and he was returned to the States.

The German Luftwaffe seemed to have control of the skies, and we were being strafed and bombed what seemed like forever. Christmas 1942 was approaching and propagandist stationed in the coastal town of Bizerte, we called her Dirty Gertie from Bizerte, played 'White Christmas," "Jolly Old St. Nickolas," and urged us to surrender so that we could go home for Christmas. We had been out in the field on "c" rations for a long time, and we were promised a hot meal. Dehydrated potatoes and canned strips of chicken were prepared in gravy form, which would be a delight indeed. I sat down with my mess kit fully served, and upon my first spoonful I discovered the tail with the oiler and the asshole intact. I threw that portion on the ground and ate the meal with relish.

A British Tank Corp had been severely defeated in the desert just north of Constantine. I crawled up on one and looked at the burned body of the driver. Someone had broken off his burned ring finger and taken his ring. I didn't have time to brood because enemy pressure was too great. We'd have to lay mine fields and protect our positions. One of our ton-and-a-half trucks loaded with mines blew up with such a tremendous explosion that it rocked the earth. Twelve of our men were blown to bits. My very dear friend, Roger Loesch, was among them. I was detailed with a bed sack to try and recover portions of his body for burial. The remnants were few, but I did find his dog tags and his Rosary. War was Hell!

Scott Crichton from Watertown, Charles Seip from Oldham, and George Haley were killed by small arms fire. Lt. Robertson cracked up so Lt. Welby Mathew King came in to command our platoon. Some of our men formed a Ranger BN and were to spearhead our force out of southern Tunisia. Gen. Montgomery's British Army was squeezing off the supply route for Rommel's forces.  January, February, March, and April continued in a dogged fashion until a combined northward movement in Tunisia, plus the push from the east, pushed the massive German Forces out on the Bay of Tunis. Rommel and his staff managed to board a boat and escape, but the rest of an entire army surrendered there. Seems like it was thirty five thousand German and Italian troops held as prisoners. We hurried and built wire enclosures to secure the prisoners and posted guards on a continual routine.

It was May 1943. Lorres and tanks, weapons carriers and trucks stood in a line at least two miles long. Some of those hard-nosed Nazi soldiers drove their vehicles as far as they would go into the Mediterranean Sea. They ended up behind the barb wire enclosure that we had prepared for them.

The North African Campaign finally over after seven months brought a sigh of relief, but we knew it was a long way from being over. We gathered all the German small arms and took turns firing them into sand dunes to learn all we could about their war machines. It was their ammunition and their guns and some of them got so hot that we warped the barrels.

I visited several stores in Tunis and drove over to the Ruins of Carthage. Then it was time to get back to work. Some of the units were moved out, a new invasion was planned on Sicily but our group wasn't included in this. We received a new group of recruits from the Repl. Dep. (replacement center) to bring us up to full strength. We began a strenuous training program in new invasion tactics. This was to last through June, July, and August. The hillsides were covered with blooming poppies and the weather was hot - hot. We went on forced marches of thirty five to forty miles just about every day, full combat gear with a five-minute break every hour. I was in the lead going out and still leading when we came back to bivouac.

A Medic jeep followed to pick up the dropouts, but I never faltered on any of the runs. I did go to the Medics twice. Once when a scorpion bit me when I put my hand in my knapsack. A red streak went up my arm clear to my armpit, and I was in real pain. Another time a bug crawled deep into my ear, and the buzzing was crazy. They flushed it out with some water so guess I was okay. Had a little dental work done too. I remember eating lunch on the north edge of the Sahara Desert near a stable, and the flies flew from piles of horseshit to my mess kit like a parade of vultures.

The food still tasted pretty good. Raymond (Fat) Ellison and Joe Graves were scheduled to return to the States on a rotation program, so I sent my army issue pocket watch home to my Dad. The crystal had been broken, so I took it to Ordinance and there they took a piece of the heavy plastic dome cover of a downed Messer Schmidt airplane (this was a German plane) and cut a new crystal for it. I had purchased a Van Buren wristwatch from Jack Pahl for four pounds, about $12, because he had found a G.I. wristwatch. Fat delivered it to my Dad.

We had experimented with some one-quarter TNT bombs, cast them into a small river in our area and sever hundred fish came floating to the surface. We gathered them up and had a fish fry for the whole company. It was an illegal move but we enjoyed the fish all the more. I traded a package of cigarettes for a chicken and with my mess kit, Bunsen burner and some olive oil; I fried a pretty good tasting chicken. Food other than Army rations was always a treat.

Now that our company was up to full strength, we had new recruits that needed combat training. There were two new men that kept pace with me on all strenuous maneuvers, and I admired them from the start. They were Leo Comeau and Michael Nazarchyk. They and the rest of our platoon, about fifty men, pledged that as long as I was leading them, they would eagerly follow me all the way to Berlin.

The war in Sicily seemed to be pretty successful. It was September 1943, we were loaded aboard Lcl 's (Landing craft infantry) and headed across the Mediterranean Sea to make a landing at Salerno, Italy and establish a beachhead there. The sea was relatively smooth and when the front gates of the boats dropped open we raced for shore through knee deep water. Artillery shells were bursting in the water all around us, machine guns were crackling on the shore. A sand beach with no cover, a small brush plant here and there. A U.S. Gunship had lobbed some artillery sheIIs to rout the Nazi forces so the crater holed offered some protection. Our firepower strengthened and the Krauts retreated northward allowing us to bring in supplies.

We moved inward and up a corkscrew lane to the top of the Apennines Mt. Range with orders to push northward and overcome the enemy. The British Tenth Crop. was pushing north on the east coast of Italy to capture Foggia and establish an allied airport there. The German Military were out to stall our forward movement in every way possible. They laid mine fields, blew up bridges, retreated northward and left a rear guard to harass us in our every move and their planes kept a constant vigil. Our first town after Salerno was Benevento (the Hollywood of Italy) here Gerino Rossolini deserted. He blended in with the Italian natives and there was no way to find him. G 2 in charge or Army intelligence said these delaying tactics would give Kesselring, the Nazi Cmdr time to build his Gustav line on the mountain above Cassino near the Abbey of Monto Cassino where religious scrolls for centuries were kept. The Rapido River running east and west on this side of the town of Casisno was a perfect position for a defensive line, as we would come to know.

Snow and cold moved in early on the mountaintop, mule trains brought rations and water. They removed the wounded and the frostbite victims on the backs of the miles. A temporary tent was set up to shelter some of the wounded until the mule train could return. One G.I. that I helped onto the stretcher had a raw shrapnel wound in his upper thigh, looked like a cut of beefsteak. He was luckier than most.

This was just a foretaste of scenes to come. Booby trapped German soldier bodies would be laying face down and some gullible, souvenir hunting G.I. would turn them over looking for a watch or a Luger, the body exploded killing the G.I. One learned fast.

The Kraut resistance finally came to an end on the high elevation. We moved westward to a lower plain with some rolling plains dotted with black olive trees. Our division was placed in reserve for a few days. We had to regroup and be re-supplied. I was given a three-day R & R pass (rest and recreation) so I climbed into the back of a ton-and-a-half truck and rode to Naples. I bought a coral necklace that divers had retrieved from the base off the Isle of Capri. I mailed it to my sister LaVonne. We spent some time in Naples, and then toured the Ruins of Pompeii. We rode an electric Tram up and around Mt. Vesuvius.  This mountain had been erupting earlier and we had watched the smoke clouds reach up into the sky. The three days passed and we returned to our units.

The 34th Info Div. began moving northward again, slowly and methodically as an army moves. The German fighter planes, circling above were having a hay day. They zoomed down and around with their twenty millimeter machine guns blazing unmercifully. On one of their passes the bullets riddled our area killing Henry Sorenson, Wilferd Weise and Henry Koopman. Joe Kellar lost a leg and Ole (Buck) Davis was severely wounded. Pools of blood gave all of us a sickening feeling, but we had orders to keep moving. A grove of olive trees off to the right seemed to offer a little cover and here we were told to dig in and form up a defensive position because it appeared that we were to face a counter attack.

Everyone began digging their foxholes but one of my new recruits had lost his little spade that we carried on our backpacks, so I gave him mine and told him to dig really fast. A few artillery shells were being lobbed in and we posted guards to be on the lookout for troop movements when suddenly a barrage of big shells began hitting our area beyond all comprehension. I didn't have a foxhole so I took refuge behind a Half-Track, they had their 37 mm Anti-tank gun in place, and so I lay flat on my stomach with my nose in the dirt. Shrapnel was whizzing in every direction. I heard the guy next to me groan and a bubbling sound caused me to look sideways to see a huge wound in his stomach with his guts gurgling out. I yelled for a Medic and gathered up my platoon into a defiladed position behind a slight bluff on the edge of a shallow dry creek bed. Our heavy artillery finally got zeroed in on the enemy gun positions and we formed up a strong guard group for the night.

A little patrol activity Of or a day or so and by cover of darkness we moved to a low hilly area on the south side of the Rapido River. The Allied Army assembled here along this front was beyond belief, the 34th, 36th, 45th Div. The 1st Indian Army from India, an army of New Zealanders, proud and gallant men of many nations. The British and Canadians were moving up along the Adriatic Coast and along this line is where the Germans had prepared their massive defenses. A mountainous area with high rocky pinnacles, deep gorges cutting sharply between huge rocky ledges. Mine fields, concrete bunkers reinforced with railroad steel and iron rails, machine guns big and small plus artillery pieces were protected inside these emplacements.

The Huge White Abbey glistened in the sun on top of the Mount overlooking the town of Cassino and the Rapido River. The orders we received were to cross the river, capture the town of Cassino, pulverize the Gustav line and free the city of Rome. Our Artillery guns began firing into the city and onto the hillside and the retaliation was extended to us, so we had to take cover through the day and wait for night to carry out our missions. We carried materials for footbridges down to the rivers edge. Their machine gun nests raked the area and mortar shells continued to destroy our materials, we carried boats down to paddle across only to be driven back. The buildings in Cassino were being demolished by our big shells and patrols were sneaking in to capture some portions of the city. Allied bombers dropped bombs on the mountainside but their positions held and then low clouds and rain came grounding that activity. The river began to rise making everything more difficult. Lt. King had stepped on a mine, not wounded too badly but Lt. Belinski was killed.

Lt. Giroux, a tall, lanky new man, became our platoon Cmdr. The guys called him the Lynx, we had to train him. We finally got a footbridge up as bodies of dead soldiers floated by. Leo, Mike, and I managed to cast some hand grenades into the slit of the bunker housing the machine gun that had been molesting our site. However, a four wheel driven Lorre with mounted mortar type gun with six upright tubes lobbed shells in destroying most of the bridge. We called them the "Screaming mimies." Believe me, they did make a screaming noise and lowered the morale of everyone, Mike, Leo and I went out again and exploded a flamethrower burst into one of those bunkers, so that we could secure a beachhead on the north shore of the river. The 1st Sergeant was a nervous wreck making out causality reports as every night, week after week was the same old story.

The dedicated soldiers of the 36th Div, the New Zealanders, and the Indians had been riddled to pieces. The weather cleared for a bit and a wing of bombers came over and dropped bombs totally pulverizing the Abbey. The G-2 (intelligence) determined that the Krauts were using it for a lookout and that it had to be destroyed. I didn't believe that the Germans were in there and later we found out that they never were in there, but they hid behind the rubble after the bombing so it didn’t do a bit of good. America would rebuild the Abbey after the war.

The Captain briefed us on the possibility of a new invasion south of Rome to cut off the supplies to Kesserling and his troops on the Gustav line and that the 34th Division would spearhead that landing. Lt. Giroux was on the verge of a nervous breakdown so Lt. King was being returned to us. This would be a blessing and we were to be replaced by new units. We gathered up what remained under the cover of darkness and hiked beyond the range of artillery fire to a line of waiting trucks. We were leaving one hell only to face another. The park lights and tail lights of our vehicles were covered with strips of black tape allowing only a small slit of light to shine through, this move was to be made in complete blackout. We traveled some distance in silence. The artillery noises seemed far away.

My jeep was leading the convey, Bob Sullivan driving, Welby King, Evie Hockett and me. I told Lt. King, I think we should stop and check on the welfare of these tired men. King agreed so signaled the convoy to halt. I stepped out and used my flashlight that was covered with black tape offering a minimum of light to the front of the vehicle and within two feet of the front of our vehicle was a crevice at least twenty feet deep. Evidently the bridge had been blown without our knowledge. This discovery caused us to bivouac for the night. I laid down beside a tree and woke up to find it was a fig tree. I tried a green fig but it was uneatable. Everyone talked of the miracle that caused us to stop in the night. Certainly an Almighty God had been watching over us. We detoured and continued our trip to Naples where ships were gathered in the harbor. We filed aboard and waited for the cover of darkness to move northward on the Tyrrhenian Sea. I believe it was early in January 1944 and our convoy sailed north in the night. Pre-dawn and the gun ships began shelling the harbor at Anzio just fifty miles south of Rome.

We went ashore to a battered shore area and met little resistance, just a few German guards that surrendered at our approach.  One jeep, its driver and a scout managed to drive clear in to the outskirts or Rome.  I think our commander was Gen. Truscott, a timid soul who felt that we should secure a beachhead with ample fortifications until a good quantity of men and materials would arrive. The area would be a half moon perimeter eight miles deep on a sandy beach with a few trees and channels of the Po River crisscrossing a little to our right flank. The smart move would have been to move eastward across the Appian Way onto the foot of the Alban Hills and cut off the supply route of the Germans south to the Cassino area. Instead we began laying minefields, springing barbwire concertina and moving artillery pieces into makeshift covered areas. We dug foxholes and covered them with bits of wood pieces and filled sandbags to give us a little cover. The calm lasted a couple of days and it gave the Nazi forces time to bring everything they needed to drive us back out to sea and from then on all hell broke loose. Axis Salley on the radio from Bertin told us to surrender if we ever hoped to return to our native America.

We had been overseas for two years, three years in the service and the future looked pretty bleak. Enemy artillery and small arms raked the area with a torturous effect plus daily passes by German planes dropping their "Butterfly" bombs (containers filled with bits of steel that would explode about five or six feet in midair) aimed for the head of its victims. I had a feeling of hatred for every German on the earth, I'd walk past the body of a fallen Kraut and could almost spit on them thinking they were just another dead pig. Every night would be a new experience, a reconnaissance patrol to seek out a gun emplacement and destroy, lifting anti-personnel booby trapped mined, patrols to contact the enemy strong points and direct fire power to these sites. Lt. King was relieved of duty because of problems with a previous combat wound so Lt. Greenough came in to replace him.

He appeared to be a good soldier, and I was thankful for that. The new Lt. along with Leo Comeau, Michael Nazarchyk, William Watts, Leo Canfield, and I took two mine detectors and reported to the Info C.P. to learn of the whereabouts of an anti-tank mine filed that was holding up our advance. An infantry runner came running in our direction in the pitch dark and the edge of his steel helmet collided just under the nose of the Lt., blood ran into his mouth and down his chin causing him to leave so I was in command. We went out into no man's land beyond the infantry outposts to find the minefield and remove it. Gunfire shattered the mine detector that Watts was carrying, but we found the mines, removed the detonators, tore the wire emplacement away, all the time machine guns were riddling the area and flare guns were shot into the air revealing our every movement.

A huge artillery piece was placed in the stucco house with the barrel pointing in our direction through a window. We relayed a call for our tanks to come in and destroy the gun that had been harassing our troops. We all would have been awarded the Bronze Star if there had been an office present to record our efforts. We had to move a Kraut stiff and because rigor mortis had set in, it was like rolling a post over into the ditch. Those "Master Race Nazi" were giving us a rotten attitude. We sneaked away from the hot spot and took cover behind a slight rise. It would be daylight soon, I was wet to the knees, hadn't shaved or washed up for such a long time that I couldn't remember when.

Whispers came through that a Chaplain was preparing for a sunrise service, it was Good Friday I guess, so we gathered just as the first rays of light appeared in the East. I was so tired that I barely heard the story of the Crucifixion but as the sun began to appear I felt a sense of remorse. A humble feeling came over me, I felt like a tiny mite in this vast world. I thought I heard a voice speaking, be strong in the Lord. I earnestly prayed, Lord, if it be your will that my life will be spared perhaps one day I'll be called on to do something good for your people. Then huge shells exploded nearby and it was time to dig another foxhole. Here I could use my little Bunsen burner to heat water in my canteen cup, stir in a little coffee out of the C-ration can and a couple of hard biscuits made up my nutritious breakfast.

Orders came for me to report to the C.O.  Lt. Greenough had several stitches in his upper lip, he would be unavailable for duty perhaps a week or two so I would be in full command of the platoon. He was recommending me for a Field Commission and would arrange for the paperwork to be done as soon as conditions would permit. Nothing really very different about it, I had been leading this Platoon of over four hundred in our efforts to defeat Nazism.

We were making attempts at breaking out of this place. A read bride had been blown up causing a halt in the movements of the Tank Corp., so I moved the platoon to a site under the cover of darkness. We worked most of the night laying a by-pass with broken pieces of concrete and rock, three foot deep and twelve feet wide lined with white tapeline to guide the tanks forward. Then we formed into a guard position to defend the little new area gained in the recent skirmish. Mortar shells and volleys of machine gun fire kept us in a low position throughout the next day. We'd have to sweat out the day and lift a field of S-mines, booby-trapped to prevent our forward movement as soon as darkness arrived.

Cliff Hullinger was pulled off the line to go back for his Lt. bars, what a break for him. That left Ed Jaeger, 1st Plst., Lyle Haug, 2nd Plst., and Joe Culver, 3rd Plst, all three wounded on the same night at a later date.

The minefield lifted, a different unit came in to replace us giving all of us a little respite. Victor Gallo gave us a little pep talk, one of these days we'd be in Florence to rescue his father and brother who had been interred there since before the war. There were the shelled remnants of a town nearby, but I can't remember the name of it however, I gathered up my guys and began leading them to what I though might be a little safer area. It was April 23, 1944, 4 a.m., machine gun bullets kept spraying us periodically. The tracers, every fifth bullet lit up to show the operator where his bullets were traveling, were pretty bright in the dark night. I scoffed at the stinking Krauts, when all of a sudden they spattered at my footsteps and I fell to the ground wounded like a stunned rabbit. This was too close, I rolled into a ditch filled with ten to twelve inches of water, and the whole platoon was smart enough to do likewise.

I crawled over to see that my men were okay and told Stan Hanson to lead every one to safety. Swede Halverson stayed with me and we crawled about fifty rods in the ditch because the machine guns came rattling over our heads. My combat boot was oozing with blood though I didn't really feel much hurt, but I knew that I couldn't walk. Swede, carried me piggyback for quite along way when we spotted a jeep. He gave us a ride to a waiting ambulance. They gave me a couple of sulfa pills and a shot of whiskey and carted me away to an Evac, tent Hospital near the beach. I was distraught, how will those guys survive without me. A nurse came and gave me a sedative and a Surgeon came and said that it looked pretty severe and that he'd probably have to take the foot off. But we would wait until morning for a second opinion.

Shrapnel cut through the side of the tent but by now I was dog tired and went to sleep. I was awakened in the morning to a mess kit full of juicy spinach and beans and I wanted to puke. My foot throbbed but I ate some of the crap offered me along with a slice of bread. The surgeon, a Major, sat at the foot of  my army cot and gave me the report. The leg bones supporting the ankles have all been shot away, it is a compound complete fracture and you will be lucky to ever walk again. We will telegram you parents that you have been severely wounded in action. I was alarmed at what the telegram would do to my mother so encouraged them to say slightly wounded which wouldn't sound so bad.

I wouldn't give my permission to cut the foot off so the Doctor said they would cut into it and manage some kind of repair. The M.G. was an 8 mm that had cut a nasty path. I woke up after about five hours, pretty groggy with a cast all the way up to my crotch., Buford Grey, the supply Sergeant came to retrieve my army issue pocket watch but I didn't have it cause it was home with my Dad.

I spent a couple days at the Evac. Hospital then I was placed on a stretcher and placed aboard a flat ship along with another one hundred or more stretchers. We sailed out to an anchored hospital ship, as waves tossed the ships up and down we were cast aboard the deck of the white ship carrying a bright red cross. The boat slipped away to the south, we came into port at Naples, a convoy of ambulances waited for their cargo of stretchers. A trio of Salvation Army workers met me at the shoreline with a Yank magazine, a Mr. Goodbar and an orange, a real prize. loaded into the vehicles, we went to an Army Hospital located there. I was placed on a bed with a mattress and a white sheet, the first one in over three years. I was told to stay in bed as a bed patient and to ring for a ward boy if I needed anything. Well, I hadn't had a bowel movement for several days so I called for a bedpan (Bomber, B52, or whatever). I managed to lay on that pan with a sheet covering and what a hard job that turned out to be. When I raised the cover, the stench was so terrible, that I vowed that the next time would be different. Next morning I crawled out of bed and crawled on my hands and knees to the bathroom. The ward boys gave me some jazz, but from then on I was mobile.

Word came down that mortar fire had killed Comneau and Spencer. Oh, what a sad, sad day, my beloved Leo, I felt a sense of guilt. I should have been there to look after him. They carried him back to the burial detail, his once strong arms hanging limp and the proud head tilted back in total despair. He rests today beneath a white cross on Anzio and I shed a tear for one so gallant and brave.

The Chaplain noticed my grief and his consolation was that Leo was safe in the arms of Jesus away from the ravages of war. It was to last a lifetime for me, and when an artillery shell exploded into a rocky area sending fragments into the air striking Michael in the temple was another extreme loss. He too lies beneath a white cross on Anzio in Italy not to far from the Appian Way leading into Rome. I will never understand the reason why, but there are things beyond human understanding, and my grief would linger on.

There were a lot of moans and groans on my ward, so I begged for a pair of crutches and began to hobble around to different patients, reading to some of them, writing letters for some of them whose arms were immobile. I tried to console one man whose legs and arms were gone and bad facial burns made him look grotesque. There were other mutilations too which made me count my blessing so I did what favors I could for many of these men. I made the daily rounds, met two soldiers from Bryant, Walter Peterson and Norman Hanson; I knew some of their families back home. A brother of Bernell Clark of Willow lake was also there so it was like old home week. Dale Hytholt, my oId A. Company buddy, came in as a wounded patient so we found a lot of things to do as we waited for a ship back to America. The troops that we had left had broken out of Anzio and were driving the Germans out of Rome. I felt that I should be with them, but Jack Pahl who had taken my place had caught a bullet between the eyes, I suppose that it could have been me, only the Lord knows.

It was early June, 1944. I had a new cast just from the knee down. I could handle the crutches like a pro. Lt. Greenough was commanding my platoon. Ed Jaegger and Joe Culver had been wounded the same night that I had been wounded and the rest of A. Company was on the move. Rumors were being passed around that ships were assembling in the harbor at Naples, among them a white Hospital ship bearing the huge Red Cross. It was true. We were loaded aboard ship for a six thousand mile ride home.

Two and one-half years (30 months) had been a long time. German planes still circled overhead, but we felt pretty safe aboard our ship though a stray bomb could easily have hit us. We sailed out into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and east. I thought the ship moved awfully slowly, but we finally sailed into the wide South Atlantic Ocean at a steady pace. We were on the water twelve of thirteen days when lights appeared on the shore at Newport News, Virginia, on June 14th.

Someone was playing a record, "Harbor Lights." The ship halted, and we would have to wait until morning to unload. I hobbled down the gangplank with other ambulatory patients. We gathered into an eating area where a little black girl with a white head band and a white apron brought a breakfast to me of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, coffee, and orange juice. She was a pretty girl and the breakfast was super.

We were loaded on a train and rode to Martinsburg, West Virginia to a hospital there. We had a little check up there, a baggage check. We rested for a while and then boarded an ambulance convoy for a ride to Hagerstown, Maryland. I was placed on a stretcher and fastened to a position on a waiting plane along with my backpack with my shaving gear, toothbrush, paste, soap and comb, a wash rag and towel. The rest of my things were put into a barracks bag and left there because there wasn't enough room on the plane for any more baggage, however, Officers were bringing extra baggage on board. They promised that my things would arrive at my destination later but they never did.

I heard that my things ended up in a warehouse in St. Louis, Missouri and was burned up in a fire there. We flew in the D.C. 10 to Columbus, Ohio, landed there, unloaded some passengers and flew to Moline, Illinois. We were unloaded here, put into an ambulance, rode across the river to Clinton, Iowa and admitted to the Schick General Hospital there. June 15, 1944 and it was a morning to remember for and yet another evening for my Company in far away Italy.

Mr. and Mrs. Carl Anderson, Sr., Hazel (she had been my classmate in High School) and Lee, came from Rockford, Illinois to visit me. They had lived in Willow Lake for years so I felt like I was HOME. Schick General would be my home for the next six months. The first move had to be the removal of the cast for a little minor surgery. There were a number of bone splinters that had infected below the skin, which had to be removed, then a new cast covered a skinny wrinkled chicken looking leg, ankle, and foot.

I was granted a furlough so that I could go home to my folks in South Dakota. I boarded a train at Clinton, Iowa and had to stand in the aisle, leaning on my crutches all the way to St. Paul, Minnesota. The train was packed with passengers and nobody bothered to give me a seat. I road the Empire Builder from Minneapolis to Benson, Minnesota and from there I rode the Galloping Goose to Willow Lake, South Dakota.

This train made its daily run to Huron and back. I hadn't been home for three years and everything looked so different. My Mom and Dad looked so much older. Kenny and Roger, two gangling boys, were shocking oats in a field south of the mailbox. I couldn't put any weight on my left foot, but I did pick up a couple bundles and place them on the shock. Marlyce and Marleen were two little shy girls and as I looked around home it just didn't seem like home anymore. Friends and relatives greeted me enthusiastically and I felt a little pride but in spite of it all I felt a little awkward and out of place.

John Meyer, Tebbo Harms, and Augie Mudhenke were conversing in German on the corner near the cafe in Willow Lake, which was very distasteful. Those same guttural tones had caused many hours of grief for me just a few months back.  Aunt Minnie was dying of cancer and news of the war plagued my every thought. Time passed quickly and I was back at Schick General just ninety miles south of Chicago. I was fixed up with a hinged cast, one that could be removed so that I could sit with my foot in a tub of hot swirling water that would return proper circulation to the wounded area. They called it physical therapy.

Fall came, Minnie died. I went home for the funeral and stayed for Ben Bahl's sale. Back at the Hospital, I was given permission to take the cast off once in a while and attempt a few steps. It was difficult, but I had every intention to start walking as soon as possible. I made good progress and on January 5, 1945, I was discharged from the Hospital and the U.S. Army. Thanks be to God. I guess that I was glad but a shadow of sadness would be with me for a lifetime.       The Service of Harry Halverson
Taken from an Interview by Amanda Armstrong, Kelly Arneson, Ashley Johnson, and Stephanie Rohwer, which was published on the internet at http://academic.luther.edu/~jorgmary/ohp/harryhalverson/

Harry Halverson enlisted in the army in May of 1941, at the age of 24, as the World War II began to become part of the near future. Most young men at this time were joining the army, so that is what he did. He picked it because war was what people were doing at that time. He had a high draft number so he decided to enlist with friends who he remained with throughout basic training. This was around the first or second of May 1941. He enlisted with friends with the agreement that he would only serve for 12 months. Five years later, he was released from the army with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his bravery and service in the military.
Entry into the War
Once Mr. Halverson enlisted in the military, he was placed in the 34th National Guard consisting of men from South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, affectionately known as the "Red Bulls." He was trained in the field artillery in basics and then transferred to the combat engineers. He left Decorah, Iowa for Des Moines, Iowa where he had his physical, next to Jefferson Barracks for training and then he was sent Camp Claybourne, where the division participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers. He was planning on going home for Christmas when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. Instead of traveling to Iowa for the holidays, his unit traveled to Fort Dix, N.J. for subsequent shipment overseas. In the end, the 34th Infantry saw more combat days than any other infantry division in Europe.
Basic training was difficult for Mr. Halverson since he was recovering from a broken ankle. He mentioned that his instructors were sympathetic, gave him time to heal, and broke him in "easy like," and in about a month he was in shape. Some of the instructors in boot camp he remembers were Lieutenant Bower, Captains Marlow and Robertson and First sergeant Cecil Brown. Mr. Halverson was trained as a combat engineer.
Combat engineers' job was to clear mine fields and to tear and build bridges, but mostly to keep the army moving. Mr. Halverson was a member of the 34th National Guard for Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota, known as the "Red Bulls." His division was the 185th field artillery 'A' battery out of Clinton, IA. At this time the division was broken up and became part of the first battalion of the 109th engineers from South Dakota, with whom he spent the remainder of the war.

Africa
The 34th Infantry left the United States on January 15, 1942, not knowing their exact destination, and landed two weeks lat~r in Belfast, Ireland for training on January 24, which Mr. Halverson remembers well as it was his birthday. It was also the first time he was able to eat in five days due to seasickness. His unit was stationed in Belfast for almost a year, until November or December of 1942, when their orders were to travel to Scotland for a week, then to Prescott, England on December 24, 1942. He then loaded ship in Liverpool, England, headed for Africa.
Mr. Halverson was first sent to Oran, Africa where he immediately was engaged in combat. At first they had some difficulties with the French and a few shots were fired, but no casualties resulted. Next he went from Oran to Algiers, met with the rest of his battalion, and prepared for actual combat. Mr. Halverson was in combat for 610 days and experienced front line combat for over three and a half years. Mr. Halverson's division was the first American division to have contact with the German army. His first combat was in the Kasserne Pass. They were caught off guard with inexperienced generals. They lost companies, and many soldiers were captured. His segment barely escaped the Germans and was split and 2,200 were captured. They succeeded in reorganizing and staging a counterattack. The first armored division lost 100 tanks and personal in this confrontation. It was bittersweet to have lost so much, yet they captured 250,000 Rommel Africa Corps, which he described as "hard core Nazis." It was now the third or fourth of May 1942.
Italy
After the war ended in Africa, Mr. Halverson was pulled back for training. He was always learning new techniques. Most of his time not spent in combat was spent in training. He described being in the desert as learning how to create bridges over small streams. They participated in combat training and learned new pontoon techniques.
Soon after the war ended in Africa, the United States invaded Sicily, he was not apart of this operation. The first few days of September 1942, he boarded a ship in Tunisia, and was in the Mediterranean for five days. On September 9, his division landed in Salerno. The first was the 36th division and his was the second wave. He described the situation as bad there. The country was poor and the conditions were bad. As he moved further north conditions improved. During their down time they keep busy, there was not time to goof off, but he did mention swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and setting up ball fields occasionally.
Mr. Halverson's platoon was attached to the 100th Japanese American battalion, which he spoke very highly of, as they felt that they had to prove themselves as
Americans and not as Japanese. He described them as "little fellas" and said they were terrific fighters. The third day his platoon was with them they picked were picked off by a German machine gun nest and within a few minutes they had control of it.
After Salerno they moved stage-by-stage north through Italy. They went from Naples through the mountains of Venerfo. He mentioned crossing the Volturno River three times. There was always a lot of combat at river crossings. They would create pontoon bridges by creating a string of boats that would be let loose and then the "guys" would pull it over to the other side. Mr. Halverson was also a part of the Anzio Beach landings in September of 1944.
Individual Honors
Harry received several awards during his service. He was wounded and received a Purple Heart. He was also awarded the Bronze Star. He was in a fierce battle when a retreating tank came down and was disabled and he was with a few platoon members in a house. One man came running out of the tank, it was smoking and his buddy was still inside. Harry jumped out, crawled into the tank, and pulled out the other man, who had a broken leg. The two were being shot at while he pulled the man into the house as the tank burst into flames. Harry describes it as an act of stupidity, yet it saved the man's life. The officer of his platoon learned of Harry's actions and turned in his name for the Bronze Star. He never found out what happened to that man or even his name. Medics came quickly to take care of the man.
Daily Life
Harry received very little communication during the war. It was hard to receive letters from home. He would only receive them every three to four months, but occasionally at mail call, a handful of letters would arrive. Harry felt fortunate that at this time, he was single and did not have to worry about someone back home; he only had to look out for himself.
Harry described the food during the war as horrible. When he was in Ireland they ere able to get American-style food, but after that they had to eat whatever was provided. Often they would get English mutton which smells like dead sheep and he said you had to be "awfully hungry" to eat it. When they would get fresh bread, some guys would pay $5 just to have another piece. Food was sparse and the men were grateful when they received what they could.
Often other supplies were scarce and late. He mentioned everything was usually
three weeks late. There would be a snowstorm before snow boots arrived, and they would have cold, wet feet and sometimes had to leave their boots on for up to three weeks. They would sleep in snow banks, on rock piles, in a blowed-out house, just as long as there was a dry place to "hang our hat" and through a blanket over it if was dry. Mr. Halverson also mentioned that it would often be a long time before they were able to bath, some times as long as a month to six weeks. When he had the opportunity he would stand in snow banks to bathe.
The End in Italy
After his unit liberated Rome, Harry was north of Rome and was sent back for some R&R. While in Rome the pope opened up the Vatican and he got an audition to meet the Pope. He also went to St. Peter's basilica and said it was a sight to see. When he was past Cassino he was injured and sent back to a hospital in Rome and got a second audition to see the Pope again. When they liberated Florence the people were thrilled to death. They brought out bottles of wine and girls came to kiss the soldiers who they had to "slap them away." They still had a job to do to set up a defensive line. He really enjoyed Florence since he had recently lost a lot of men and they were deactivated for a while and stationed on the edge of town. Harry and several of the older guys would sneak into town during that time. When Mr. Halverson was in Como he saw Mussolini, Mussolini's mistress and another man after they were hanged on a scaffold.
Into France and the End of the War
He had just crossed the Swiss boarder and was into southern France when they received word that the war was over. When the end of the war was declared Harry's division moved into Austria as part of the occupation forces. His division crossed the French boarder along Swiss boarder and entered southern France through a narrow strip in a lake. Here they took up mines that the Germans had built. Harry stated that the Germans had built five hundred pound bombs in the roads that would blow up as the United States troops would pass by. Throughout the war troops had moved by these mines so quickly that they were not detonated, however, when the war was finished the mines had to be neutralized in order to protect civilians. Harry reca11ed losing some of his fellow men when they attempted to neutralize the mines. Harry stayed in Italy near the Austrian boarder from May until August 17 when he began his return home. Harry landed in the United States on September 1, 1945 after almost five years in fighting in Africa and Europe. At the end of the war Harry was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for being injured.
Homecoming
Upon his return home, Harry attempted to return to civilian life; however, he found
this to be very difficult. He was very nervous and shaky; he then went to the veteran's hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When he arrived at the hospital, he weighed only 176 pounds because he had spent the last few years of his life living on cigarettes and black coffee. When he returned home, Harry worked at a sale barn in Waukon. He was also given the position of funeral detail in the Veteran's of Foreign Wars. During this time he participated in 42 military funerals.

He then took a position in sheriff's office and worked there for three and a half years. During this time Harry got married and had a little boy. His wife wanted to move to the country, and so they moved to farm south of Ridgeway and started farming. While farming Harry started his own sale barn and he has been doing so for 52 years.
Today Harry belongs to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Lately he has become inactive, but he was formerly the commander, and the building committee. While in office he coordinated the building of the new VFW in Decorah, Iowa.
t the end of the interview Harry reminisced of his times during the war he concluded that his experiences during the war affected the rest of his .life; he is a firm religious believer especially because the war should have taken his life many times, but through his faith he survived. Harry then told us that the war was a million dollar experience, but he wouldn't give two cents to do it again.
The following site has many maps of World War Two and several covering North Africa and Italy where Mr. Halverson served:
For more information about the 34th Division:
http://www.dma.state.mn.us/redbull/ww2_red_bull_trail.html

From the Home Front- Louise Hullinger

The World War National Monument was dedicated on Memorial Day 2004.  It honors not just the men who served in uniform, but all Americans who contributed to the War effort.  Men stayed home on the farm and in the factories to raise the food and build the equipment necessary to prosecute the war.  “Rosie the Riveter” came to symbolize the women who took jobs normally done by men.  We could not have won the war without the dedicated support of all Americans.

I taught school in a one room school house during the war.  But Margaret Hullinger and I also traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to work in a defense plant there.


LOUISE HULLINGER TO  INSERT TEXT HERE, BASED ON INTERVIEWS AT REUNION AND HER HOME FRONT MEMORIES Fonduk  Gap Citation

S E C R E T
 [subsequently declassified]

(It seems unusual for a Division to use a General Order to publish a Commendation to all troops. But there's a part of the story that Maj. Gen. Ryder couldn't tell back then; here it is now:)

HEADQUARTERS 34TH INFANTRY DIVISION
UNITED STATES ARMY
GENERAL ORDER NUMBER 8
1 April 1943
COMMENDATION

Officers and Men, 34th Division and Attached Units:

1. This General Order is being published so that every officer and man of this command will understand the reasons for the readjustments which have just been made in our dispositions.

2. We must realize that the action in which we have been engaged and in which we are now engaged is not an isolated action of the 34th Division but is a part of the general offensive plan of the high command. This being the case, this division must conform to the plan of the high command, attacking, defending, or retiring as we are directed.

3. This division with attached units attacked the heights Southeast of FONDOUK GAP for five days. Our fundamental mission was to pin down the present enemy garrison to these heights and to attract troops from other fronts to our front.

4. This mission was successfully accomplished. The Corps Commander has repeatedly told the Division Commander that the 34th Division was eminently successful.

5. We have attracted enemy infantry, artillery, tanks and aircraft to this front thereby relieving the pressure on our comrades to the North and South. This action has facilitated the general advance against the enemy. In addition, we have caused the enemy heavy casualties in men and materiel and made him expend much of his limited resources against us.

6. Above all, the 34th Division has proved to our High Command and to the enemy that it is an attack division of the highest order.

7. I am proud to be your commander. You have lived up to the highest traditions of our Country and of our Army. In the hard fighting ahead of us, I know that with the experience of our first attack behind us we will be able to deal even heavier blows to the enemy and that we shall be in the vanguard of the Allied attack against the enemy.

8. This order will be read to every officer and man of this command and will then be destroyed so that it will not fall into the hands of the enemy.

CHAS. W. RYDER
Major General,
Commanding.

Source: 34th Infantry Divison General Orders collection of the Iowa Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge, Iowa. Thanks to Jerry Gorden, Director of the Museum for giving me access to that collection.
Now, the rest of the story ...

The Allied Forces under General Sir Harold Alexander were drawn into a single front for their final assault against the combined forces of Generals von Arnim and Messe in Tunisia in April 1943. The 34th Infantry Division, Major General Charles W. Ryder commanding, was part of the US II Corps under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton. The 34th went into combat as a full division for the first time. Read now the words of a "soldier's soldier":

"... A provisional or makeshift corps was formed [to attack through Fondouk Pass] under the British command of Lieutenant General John T. Crocker.

Crocker rejected Ryder's plan for a feint and encirclement of the main enemy position, demanding instead that he take it by frontal assault. As a result, the 34th was rebuffed with heavy losses in its initial assault, and the British suffered severe casualties in attempting to force the pass. Eventually Crocker took Fondouk and pushed on to Kairouan, but by then the enemy had withdrawn north to Sousse into the hills to Enfidaville.

Irritated by the enemy's escape, Crocker went out of his way to criticize the 34th Division, holding it responsible for the failure of his mission. Ryder flatly refuted Crocker's charges of inexperience and excessive caution. The attack failed, he contended, primarily because of Crocker's scheme of attack. Because of Ryder's reputation for excellent tactical judgement I tended to side with him.

As a result of Crocker's outburst, however, the 34th was blacklisted in Alexander's [18th] Army Group headquarters and his staff there proposed that it be pulled out of the line for training in the rear. Until now the 34th had been scheduled to join the 9th Division as part of the II Corps' Bizerte campaign.

When I [(then) Major General Omar N. Bradley, Deputy CG, II Corps] learned of these British plans to scuttle the 34th and run it through a humiliating round of training, I warned Patton that any such withdrawal would dishearten the division and wreck its morale. The 34th was no better and no worse than our other II Corps divisions, but it was in need of self-confidence, the self-confidence that comes from winning battles and killing Germans.

"Just give Ryder an objective he can take," I told Patton, "and no one will have to worry any more about the 34th. If Alexander will give me the division for our push up on the north, I'll guarantee him that it makes good."

With George's consent I flew back to Alexander's headquarters at Haidra.

Alexander was no less distressed than we over Crocker's recrimination on the "failure of the 34th." Not only was he anxious to make amends, but as a former division commander himself he instantly saw what I meant when I spoke of the need for self-confidence in a combat unit.

"But my staff tells me the 34th is badly in need of further training," he said.

"Give me the division," I pleaded, "and I promise you they take and hold their very first objective. They'll take it if I have to support them with every gun in the corps."

Alexander laughed. "Take them," he said, "they're yours."

[then, less than a month later ...]

... Seldom has an enemy contested a position more bitterly than did the German high on Hill 609. For he know that once that rampart fell, he had no choice but to withdraw to the east and thus open a path to Mateur on the flank of his Tunis line."

... On the morning of April 29, 17 tanks with Ryder's infantry on their tails moved up to Hill 609 from the flank and rear. They rumbled through machine-gun and mortar fire until they sighted the enemy strong points, and soon the hill echoed to their guns as they slammed shell after shell into the enemy's position.

... With this successful attack against Hill 609 the 34th rid itself of the poor reputation with which it had emerged from Fondouk. The following September Ryder sailed with his division from Tunisia to Italy. In two terrible years of campaigning in the mountains there the 34th Division put in a total of 605 days in the line. Altogether in World War II it suffered approximately 20,000 casualties - almost one and one-half its full strength."

Source: "A Soldier's Story". Omar N Bradley. Copyright © 1951, Henry Holt and Co. Published 1999, Modern Library. ISBN 0-375-75421-0. pp 67-68, 87. History of the 133rd Infantry Regiment
War Ends • Germans Surrender in Italy

The following is taken from the official narrative history of the 133rd Infantry Regiment, May 1944.

2 May 1945 Arborio (J6271, Map Italy Road, 1/200.000, Sheet 4). This day the German armies surrendered in Italy. It marked the period of a long, long trail which stretches far back into Africa, some 2500 miles and 30 months ago. During that time there have been mountains, deserts, rolling flat land, scorching heat, bitter cold, snow, ice, and sleet to plague the men in in the unit as well as long, drawn out fanatical enemy resistance.

Several thousands of our buddies who once wore the patch of the "Red Bull" are sleeping their eternal sleep in cemeteries stretching from Oran to the Swiss and French borders. These men are not present to give thanks with us that the long trail in Italy has drawn to its end. However, their deeds and contributions to the cause of our arm will never be forgotten by those of us who came through to this point.

In addition, there are those who were so unfortunate enough as to fall by the wayside seriously wounded and are now sitting on the sidelines. Though not present with us today, those of our buddies who have spent hellish months as prisoners of the enemy have more than earned their share of thanks that the people of the liberated nations bestowed upon the victorious Allied Forces.

To these we offer our whole-hearted thanks for their heroic performances and the sacrifices they made in the cause of Democracy and freedom for mankind. Kef-el-Amar, Sbeitla, Hajeb-el-Aioun, Fondouk, Hill 609, Eddekhila, Tunis, Bizerte, Raf Raf, Amphibious training at Arzew, Battle Inoculation (after a six-month campaign) near Slissen, the soft, cool sands and cork-oak near Ain-el-Turck, waterproofing vehicles and loading for a combat amphibious landing, if necessary, in the Gulf of Salerno.

As we sailed past the cliffs and casino at Canastel and left the Oran Harbor behind, we knew that the African chapter of our Odyssey had ended. Then came Salerno, landing on the beaches in assault boats, two or three days in a mosquito infested bivouac and then back to the, by now, old business of chasing Krauts. Few of us at that time realized how long, grueling, and bloody the chase was to be. Up through the rough, rugged, sometimes almost precipitous terrain of Italy's boot to our first real contact with the enemy near Benevento, on out across the Calore River and up to the notorious Volturno which has become both a legend and a nightmare to the men of the Regiment.

Across the Volturno a second time and out on to the famous "Pool Table" near San Angelo D'Alife, where the Regiment suffered heavy casualties from a combination of a fierce enemy counter-attack and from shells from our own artillery and tank destroyers falling short and landing among the troops. Superb leadership on the part of the officers of the battalions quickly restored the situation and the mission was accomplished. San Angelo D'Alife, the hills before the now widely cussed Volturno River, across the river for a third time and up into the cold mountains again and head on into the enemy's Gustav Line defenses.

Cassino, a three weeks that are still a nightmare to those of us who remember them. Then an all too short rest and another boat trip. As we sailed out of Naples harbor, aboard an LCI  [Landing Crafty Infantry], bound for the Anzio Beachhead, we knew that another phase had passed and that soon we would be pushing again. Anzio - flat-land, perfect enemy observation, no one daring to move during daylight hours; Lenuvio, the Alban Hills, and then Rome, the eternal city. Just a glimpse of the most storied places in the world and off on a wild foot race after the broken and retreating elements of the enemy armies.

Civitavecchia, Tarquinia, San Vincinza, Cecina, mountains again and then the Arno River and the famous leaning tower of Pisa across the river. Back again north of Florence and into the hall of the well-prepared Gothic Line defenses. On and on and finally grinding to a halt on Mount Belmonte, the farthest point of penetration by any Fifth Army unit in the fall offensive about 10 miles south of the promised land of the Po Valley. Here came a long winter of active defense and as spring came on, the tension in the air bespoke all too well of the coming attack.

After the jump-off, came Bologna, Modena, Reggio, Parma, and patrols to the river. Then came storied Mantova, the gateway to the Brenner Pass and swiftly on westward to Brescia, Bergamo, Milano, Gallarate (J946872, Map Italy, 1/50,000, Sheet 44 I), and on to our present location Avigniana (H820330, Map Italy, 1/100,000, Sheet 55), just west of Turin. Today marks the end of a slashing, hard driving campaign which lasted only sixteen days and destroyed the will to resist of two powerful enemy armies. Today, the men wearing the "Red Bull" can look back proudly on a longer period of time of actual contact with the enemy than any other division.

The source for this information is the regimental monthly operations report, "History - 133rd Infantry - 34th Infantry Division: From 1 May 1945 to 31 May 1945". Thanks to Jerry Gorden, Director of the the Iowa Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge, Iowa, for access to their files. Iron-Man Battalion     Yank Magazine, 22 December 1944:

By Sgt. Joe McCarthy, YANK Staff Correspondent

34th Inf Div Assn press ironman.html

WITH THE FIFTH ARMY IN ITALY - Most of us were still waiting for our first notice from the draft board on the day that Pvt. Milburn H. Henke of Hutchinson, Minn., walked down the gangplank at Belfast, Ireland, wearing a new helmet, blouse, necktie, regulation full field pack, M1, gas mask, and canvas leggins, and posed on the dock, smiling, for pictures that later appeared in practically every newspaper in the U.S. The date was January 26, 1942. Henke was the center of so much attention because he was the first American combat infantry soldier in this war to set foot on European soil.

Henke is back in the States now, reclassified as limited service, with an excellent combat record in Tunisia where he served as communications sergeant in a rifle company and won the Silver Star. But his old outfit, the 1st Battalion of the 133d Infantry in the veteran 34th "Red Bull" Division is still here, finishing its third year overseas and sweating out its third straight winter in the front lines.

Only a few of the original GIs who landed with Henke in Belfast are left now - less than 60 out of the whole battalion. In Henke's old company, Baker Company, there are seven. They have more overseas time than any infantrymen in Europe today because the 1st Battalion arrived in Belfast a couple of weeks ahead of the other early infantry units in that first American Expeditionary Force. If they were shown now the pictures that were taken on the dock, they would have a hard time recognizing themselves. They have almost forgotten what blouses, neckties, gas masks, and canvas leggins look like. Few, if any, infantrymen in any theater of operations have seen more combat than they have been through in the last two years. The battalion fought the entire Tunisian campaign, including Hill 609, and it has been in the line in Italy since late September, 1943, with only one rest period that lasted more than a month.

As a matter of fact, you can get some idea of the terrific physical and mental strain of the Italian campaign by comparing the amount of time this battalion has been able to rest in the past 15 months with the amount of time it has spent in the line during the same period.

The battalion landed at Salerno two weeks after D-Day and took over a sector from the 45th Division on Sept. 27, 1943. Its men did not get a chance to relax from that day until the day after Thanksgiving when they were relieved by the French and brought back to Castelnuovo for two weeks rest. During those two months of combat, which included two bloody crossings of the Volturno and the taking of Ashcan Hill at Santa Maria de Oliveto, they had only one week, in October, out of the line. That week could hardly be called a week of rest because they spent it in an area where they were shelled by German artillery every day.

They moved up front again on Dec. 11 and stayed there until Feb. 22 when they were pulled out of the Cassino sector and given 21 days off to prepare for a move to Anzio. During this long, uninterrupted stretch of fighting in bitterly cold winter weather, the battalion made five attempts to cross the Rapido River.

The battalion landed at Anzio on March 25. It did not get another rest until June 8, a few days after it had advanced on Tarquinia, 18 miles ahead of the Fifth Army with no protection on its flanks, and completely wiped out a whole German bicycle battalion.

"We made our first contact with them a little after midnight," Pfc. John F. Weidler of Wichita Falls, Tex., one of the battalion headquarters men, was saying recently. "By 4 o'clock the next afternoon it was all over. That next night every man in our battalion had his own bicycle."

They were relieved 24 hours later by a battalion from a new American infantry division which had just arrived from the States.

"I think it was the only time I ever saw a whole outfit with fixed bayonets," S/Sgt. Ned Levinson of the Bronx, N.Y. says. "There wasn't a German within miles of us. But these guys came up at night in trucks with everyone of them carrying his rifle at port arms with the bayonets fixed on every gun. And not a German within miles. Damndest sight I'd ever seen."

A little more than two weeks later, on June 25, the battalion was back on the line at San Vincenzo. Then came the tough battles at Cecina and Mount Maggiore. At the end of July the battalion went on the first real vacation it had enjoyed in Italy - six weeks at a beach resort on the coast below Leghorn [Livorno].

"It did us a lot of good," one of the officers says. "We came out of there pepped up and in the best of spirits. If it hadn't been for those six weeks on the beach last summer, I don't think we could have taken what we went through in September and October."

On Sept. 10, the battalion moved north from Florence and plunged into the hardest fighting over the most difficult terrain they seen overseas. Slugging their way up the steep ridges of the Gothic Line, they found an enemy who was resisting as strongly as he did at Cassino and Anzio. They had six days out of the line at the end of the month. Then they went back for six more weeks. Early in November, when the advance had slowed to stop in the rain and mud before Bologna, the battalion hiked out of the mountains at night, climbed into trucks and drove to a rest camp west of Florence for 10 days of peace and quiet.

When you figure it out, the battalion has had about 16 weeks of rest in the last 15 months.

Adding this long stretch of Italian combat to the battalion's time at the Tunisian front, you get something like 350 days of line service.  [The division's combat service at war's end, 2 May 45, was 516 days.] And 76 Bronze Stars, 64 Silver Stars, nine Legions of Merit, and 17 Distinguished Service Crosses. (When the Fifth Army announced on the first anniversary of Salerno that it had awarded 201 DSCs, the battalion had 16 of them.) The battalion also had one Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously to Pvt. Robert D. Booker of Callaway, Neb., who was killed April 9, 1943, at Fondouk when he was making a single-handed attack across 200 yards of open-ground on two enemy machine guns and a mortar position. "With his last remaining strength," the citation says, "he encouraged members of his own squad and directed their fire."

The 34th Division was an Iowa-Minnesota-Dakota National Guard outfit when it went into active duty at Camp Claiborne, La., in February,1941. Later that year, while the Army was still wearing dark-blue fatigues and old flat-topped World War I helmets, the 34th was streamlined from a four-regiment square division to a three-regiment triangular one. The Dakota regiment, the 164th, was lopped off and sent first to the West Coast and then to the South Pacific where it later became famous at Guadalcanal and Bougainville as part of the Americal Division.

That left the 34th almost exclusively a division of soldiers from Iowa and Minnesota. Two of the regiments, the 133d and 168th Infantries, were Iowa National Guard outfits. The other regiment, the 135th Infantry, was from Minnesota. Two of the divisional artillery battalions were from Minnesota, the other one was from Iowa.

In the 1st Battalion of the 133d, A Company was a National Guard unit from Dubuque and most of the boys in Baker and Dog Companies were from Waterloo. Charlie Company was organized by men from Cedar Rapids. after they moved away from home to start their training at Claiborne, these men started to worry about the Selective service System. They were afraid it might send them a lot of draftees from the East or South which would make the battalion lose its Hawkeye flavor. But their fears were groundless. when the draftees arrived in the battalion area, it turned out that 75 percent of them were from Iowa.

The battalion was still an Iowa outfit in Ireland, in North Africa and in Italy until it moved into the Cassino sector. Then it began to change. The familiar Iowa faces of the original National Guardsmen and the early draftees started to disappear. A lot of them were killed; others, with what the boys enviously called "million dollar wounds," didn't come back from the hospital. When the battalion embarked for Anzio, it was almost a new outfit. And later when it pushed north from Rome to the Gothic Line, most of the remaining old men went home to Iowa on rotation or TD.

The few GIs left now who have been with the battalion since the beginning are, for the most part, clerks, cooks, truck drivers and cannon company men - the soldiers in the Infantry who get the low priority on rotation because, compared to the riflemen and machine-gunners, they have a somewhat lower priority on death. Most of the cooks, truck drivers and cannon company men in this battalion, however, have Purple Hearts. When it gets rough, they work up forward as litter bearers and face as much danger as anybody else. But that doesn't show up on their service records.

And probably because rotation and TD are worked on an alphabetic basis, most of the Jan. 26 men in the battalion seem to have last names beginning with "S" and other low letters. There is, for instance, S/Sgt. Everall Schnobrich of Casey, Iowa, from the Dog Company mortar platoon; S/Sgt. Jerry Snoble of Hazleton, Iowa, supply sergeant of Charlie Company who served in a rifle platoon before he was wounded in Tunisia; S/Sgt. Stanley Setka of Raceville, Iowa, an anti-tank squad leader; and T-5 Raymond E. Snokenson of Gurney Center, Iowa, acting mess sergeant in Baker Company. There were 22 men from Gurney Center back at Claiborne. Snokenson is the only one left.

And only two of the Waterloo men who formed almost two full companies of the original National guard battalion are still here. They are S/Sgt. Max Shepherd, whose father, Major Lloyd H. Shepherd used to be battalion commander, and Pvt. Ralph Loy, who has one more of those very important combat stars on his theater ribbon than anyone else in the battalion. Loy was transferred to the 3d Division after Tunisia, went through the Sicilian campaign and then managed to get back into his old Iowa battalion when it was leaving for Italy. "The adjutant fixed me up," he says. "He and I were old friends. He court-martialed me one time in Ireland."

Although the battalion is now composed of soldiers from practically every state in the Union, the old Iowa men still have great pride in their outfit. They will argue for hours to prove that their battalion entered a certain town last July three hours ahead of one of the other 133d Infantry battalions. They are sore because the recent official account of the advance to Rome gives the [Canadian-American] 1st Special Service Force credit for taking Highway 7 and the railway line during the breakthrough from Anzio. "We passed through the Special Service Force there on the night of May 24 and attacked the next morning," they say. "Charlie Company did most of the job and cleaned it up in two hours."

Just as they think their battalion is the best in the regiment, they also consider the 133d the best regiment in the division. They have a deep respect for the 3d and 45th Divisions, which shared their hardships in Italy before moving on to Southern France, but they don't feel that any division in the U.S. Army can quite measure up to the 34th. In a rest town recently, one of their officers noticed a GI, loaded with cognac, passing out on the street in front of his CP [Command Post]. He asked a couple of his men to pick the soldier up and put him under cover. When they started to lift him from the sidewalk, one of them noticed he was wearing the shoulder patch of another division. Without a moment's hesitation, they dropped him back on the sidewalk and walked away brushing their hands gingerly. It took the officer quite a while to convince them that it was their duty to take care of the drunk, even though he wasn't a member of the 34th.

The pride in their outfit, and the personal pride of each man, who knows the silent contempt that veteran GIs feel for those who turn in stragglers or awols without good reason, keeps the battalion going at times when the demands made upon them seem to be more than a human being can take. These demands are made often in the Italian campaign.

"Sometimes, the men will gripe about going out on a tough patrol," one of the officers says. "They'll curse the war, curse the people back home, the government and the Army that sent them here and the higher command that is making them do this insane thing. But all the time they are cursing, they are putting on their equipment. Then, when they are loaded down with grenades and ammo and when they have given their BAR or Tommy Gun a last check, they'll stop cursing and turn on somebody and say, 'Well, what the hell are you waiting for? Let's go.'

"Times like that when they're griping, it's not so bad. The worst times are when they don't say anything at all. The phone rings in the CP and the battalion tells you what to do. You know that it has been bad for the past three weeks and that every man has been through about as much as he can stand. But you have to call in the platoon leader and his sergeant and say to them, 'Look, we got to do this job tonight.' The platoon leader just nods. Maybe he says, 'O.K. Got a map?' But not much more. He listens and he says to his sergeant, 'Get soandso and soandso and tell them we are going out tonight.' That's all. They get ready to go and nobody says anything because they know if they start talking about it, they'll probably break down and start to cry. Jesus, it tears you all to pieces inside."

When you talk with the men in the battalion about the war in Italy and ask them why it has been so slow and tough, they give you straight and simple answers that make more sense than most of the profound comments that military experts have written on the subject. For instance, they don't go back into the terrain of the Po Valley or the industrial centers of Milan or Turin to explain why the Germans are putting up stiff resistance on this front.

"Listen," they say. "The Jerry has got all that stuff piled up here. He can't take it with him and he doesn't want to leave it for us. So he is staying here until he uses it up, just like any smart guy would do. You can tell that's the way he is thinking from the amount of artillery he's throwing at us. It's as bad as Anzio."

They feel that GIs in the rear echelon and the people at home do not understand the number of Germans they are facing.

"This may be a forgotten front and all that, but we had 10 battalions against our division last month. it may be forgotten by us, but it's not forgotten by the Germans. We captured a Jerry payroll a while back. It showed a division with a strength of 10,300 men. That is a pretty good sized division these days in any Army," they will tell you.

The terrain?

"Miles on the map here don't mean anything. They may tell you to advance to a point three miles away. But by the time you get there, up and down ridges and around chasms, zigzagging up the sides of mountains, you will cover eight or nine miles. The squad on your right may be within talking distance. But there is a canyon dropping down between you and them. If you want to get to them, you have to walk a half mile to the rear and then a half mile forward again on their side of the canyon. I heard about a captain, a company commander in the 168th, not far from us. On pay day he covered 72 miles paying off the men in his platoons without going outside his own company area."

Despite the ample German supplies and men and the difficult terrain on the Fifth Army front, the GIs in the battalion think that the Allies could have been more successful here if they had been able to attack the Gothic Line in more depth.

"That's been our trouble ever since we've been in Italy," they say. "When we take a position or make a breakthrough, we never seem to have enough fresh troops behind us to really make something out of the gain. We have to stop and there's nobody to follow us up and keep on pushing."

They don't blame the command for this lack of depth.

"If the command hasn't got enough troops to give us strong supporting forces, it isn't their fault," they say.

The older men in the battalion and the veteran officers, like Capt. Richard Wilkinson of Toano, Va., who missed only 15 days of Charlie Company's combat until he was transferred recently to battalion headquarters, have seen a lot of changes in the Army's methods during the two years they have been in action. Most of the changes, they feel, have been for the better.

"Take the handling of replacements," Capt. Wilkinson says. "We used to get our replacements sent to us when we were on the line. Sometimes they'd come up at night, a couple of hours before we were due to make a combat patrol. Their platoon sergeant wouldn't even have a chance to talk to them before they went out. He wouldn't even know their names or what they looked like.

"Now it's being done more sensibly. We take them when we're out of the line or in a quiet sector where we can have a chance to find out exactly what kind of weapons and training they've had and where they can get acquainted with the old men before they go under fire. That helps."

"These replacements we're getting now are younger and better trained that the ones we got last year," Shepherd says. "But now and then we get truck drivers or ack-ack men, who've never had infantry training. They're useless."

All the men in the battalion say they're eating much better food now than they had earlier in the Italian campaign or in Tunisia.

"The 10-in-one rations are damned good," Snokesen says. "We're getting fresh meat and bread more often. Back in Tunisia we used to go without bread for weeks. The boys had it so seldom they used to eat it for dessert, like cake, when the did get it. Somebody ought to tell somebody to give us more coffee and lay off the bullion and lemon drink powder and cocoa. And speaking of coffee, the Coleman stove is one of the great inventions of the war."

"You ain't kidding." Shepherd said, using another word in place of kidding. "The Coleman stove, the jeep and the Bailey Bridge are winning the war. The guys who have Coleman stoves would rather go up forward without a helmet than leave them behind. We carry them im Jerry gas mask containers. And they don't make much light, either, once you get them started. That hot cup of coffee and hot can of K-ration ham and eggs in the morning makes all the difference in the world."

When you mention clothing, the GIs in the battalion think first of shoes and socks, the most important items in the infantry's wardrobe. They don't know why the Army didn't give them combat boots, instead of service shoes and leggins, back in 1941. They don't have a high opinion of the combat shoe with the rough side of the leather on the outside. It doesn't shed water as well as the smooth finished boot and it takes longer to dry. They are not satisfied with the shoepac, the new type of winter boot with a rubber foot and waterproof black leather top.

"It's a step in the right direction," Weidler says. "It's an attempt to keep our feet dry and that's the only way to beat trenchfoot. But the shoepac gives the foot no support. If you walk a long distance in them, they kill you."

Everybody likes the GI woolen socks. The men usually carry two pairs of them. When the socks on their feet get wet, they take them off, put on dry ones and pin the damp socks inside their shirts. Their body heat dries the wool in a short time.

Everybody also likes the GI woolen sweater, but they prefer last winter's combat jacket with the zipper front and high woolen collar and cuffs to the new green hip length jacket. "The new jacket is not bad," one GI says, "but it acts like a shelter half in the rain. If you rub against one spot from the inside too much, the water comes through."

Nobody wants any part of the new sleeping bag with the zipper that pulls up from the feet to the chin.

"It may be fine for the Air Force," one of the BAR men says, "but I wouldn't get into one of those things in the line if you paid me. Suppose a Kraut found me with my arms and legs all zippered up, like I was in a strait-jacket? No, brother. I'll take an old ordinary GI blanket that I can get out of in a hurry."

The battalion has not noticed much change for the better or for the worse in their weapons or ammunition in the two years that they have been in combat. Some of the men would like lighter weapons with more fire power; others would prefer more heavy weapons, like the BAR. They still envy the German smokeless powder as they did in Tunisia. They like the German light machine gun better than ours and they think that the German machine pistol is a better weapon than our Tommy Gun.

They won't always admit it you but you can tell from talking to them that the men in the battalion have a deep satisfaction from the knowledge that their job is the toughest one in the Army. They know that, if they come through the war safely, their own part in it will be something they will be able to look back on with pride for the rest of their lives. They know that it will be a good feeling to be able to say at a gathering of veterans years from now, "I was with the 34th Division in Tunisia and Italy. First battalion of the One-Three-Three."

But that is something connected with the remote future. Right now they are tired and their attitude toward the fate that put them here in the Infantry in the snow of the Apennine Mountains instead of some softer branch of the service is one of resignation. They are accepting it, trying to make the best of it and trying to tell themselves it could have been worse. One of the men in the battalion, describing recently the ordeal he had been through at Cecina, ended up by saying, "I think we were the first ones to get into the town itself. Anyway, we were pulled out of there for a couple of days on July 3. On the Fourth of July we had a hot holiday meal."

Then he thought for a moment and added, "You know, that's one thing about this outfit. We've had it tough all along but, somehow or other, we've always managed to hit some place on holidays where we can have a hot meal. Christmas of 1942 we were on the boat in Liverpool harbor, waiting to push off for North Africa. On the Fourth of July, 1943, we were back in a rest area after the Tunisian campaign. Thanksgiving Day in 1943 we had just finished the fighting at Ashcan Hill but we had a turkey dinner, right there on the side of the hill. It was raining and the Germans were shelling us but we didn't give a damn - we had the turkey. That Christmas we had another hot meal because we were in division reserve, just before we went to Venafro. Then on the Fourth of July, like I just said, we had a hot meal at Cecina. This last Thanksgiving we were lucky again. The week before they had brought us back to a rest town for 10 days. So we were still there for the turkey."

He smiled and shook his head. "Maybe you better not print that," he said. "Somebody at division headquarters may read it and say, 'Those guys have had it too good. We'll see that they spend their next five Thanksgivings and Christmases on the line eating K-rations.'"

The battalion reminds you of the Bill Mauldin cartoon of the infantryman looking sadly at the rifle on his lap and saying to it, "I've given you the best years of my life."

Source: "Iron-Man Battalion". Sgt Joe McCarthy, Yank Staff Correspondent. Yank Magazine, European Edition, Vol. 1, No. 38, Dec. 22, 1944. pp 2-5.
Battle Of The Roads:

Every Soldier Has A Stake In Keeping
Italy's Highways Open
by Sgt. Stan Swinton, Staff Writer
The Sunday Stars and Stripes Magazine,
31 December 1944

   WITH THE 5TH ARMY - The Road runs north. Like a twisted ribbon in a rock heap it veers through Futa Pass, winds between the crags at Radicosa, points northward to Loiano and dying Livergnano. Beyond are the Germans and Bologna.

   Its name is Highway 65. After four o'clock the fog sifts down at Futa and drivers curse. Jeeps and trucks jounce and slide over an eternal procession of chuck holes and upthrust rocks. The snow falls more often and the mud freezes.

   For months Highway 65 has been the greatest supply artery for the 5th Army. It is one of the best roads leading to the front - better than Easy Street or the Firenzuola route, which break off to the east; better than Highway 12, looping crazily northeast from Lucca; the equal of Highway 64, roughly paralleling it to the west; second only to Highway 1, skirting the Tyrrhenian coast.

   Today Highway 65, along with the other roads up front, is a battleground. The struggle is old. Operations of modern, motorized armies basically depend upon roads and successful road maintenance. And the bare skeleton of highways available for Allied use in Italy has posed a tremendous and continuing engineering problem.

   As the 5th Army thrust north of Florence, unending streams of heavy military vehicles hammered highways planned for pleasure cars and an occasional light truck. Side roads over which only ox carts jogged were pressed into service. Jeep trails were blasted up mountain slopes which challenge mules.

   Nature, too, played a role. The 1944 fall rains were tremendously heavy. Waters poured down rocky mountain sides to gully dirt roads. Secondary routes were transformed into axle-deep sloughs. Mud plastered Highway 65 and surfaced axis lines.

   The battle of the roads was joined. Tons of rock were blasted from Apennine crags, then crushed and utilized as fill. Ditches were gouged to funnel off the rain. Craters were patched. Massive log revetments were bullied into place.

   Bulldozers, road scrapers and lesser weapons in the road maintenance arsenal played their part, but the starring roles went to men and not machines. Through day upon rainy day the engineer shoveled sirupy mod off the roads, hammered home crushed rock, leveled fills and dug drainage furrows. Passing vehicles sloshed mud upon his grimy fatigues and his feet were never dry.

   It was a thankless task - but the roads stayed open. Ammunition, food, clothing and replacements, life blood to an Army, got through almost without interruption. Wounded were evacuated. The tenacity and skill of the engineers had triumphed. But the battle is only half won.

   Winter has trapped the 5th Army deep in the Apennines and short of the Po Valley. New enemies - snow and ice - now confront the engineer. And upon his ability to conquer them hinges the success of winter operations.

   The challenge is a bigger one than that successfully met by the engineers last fall, as a few statistics illustrate. A year ago January, 12 feet of snow blocked Futa Pass. Radicosa rates high among critical Apennine show points. Drifts up to ten feet have been recorded throughout the snow belt. La Cisa pass was mantled with snow for 64 consecutive days. In the acute snow period between December and March an average of 16 inches blankets the ground at higher altitudes. Even ignoring drifts, maximum depths approximate 39 inches. Snow hangs on in direct ratio to the altitude; below 500 feet the problem is secondary.

   The engineers' program to meet this dual threat of ice and snow is of personal importance to every truck driver and jeep jockey who must wheel a vehicle up front. It is just as significant to service troops in Rome or Naples, for this winter can succeed in the measure that supplies are brought up over the eroded, overburdened highways.

   Fifth Army engineers - experts like Col. William F. Poe, Engineer S-3, and Maj. John Kenyon, assistant Engineer S-3 - began to analyze the winter road hazards in September. Natives were interviewed, old records studied.

   From sheafs of data they extracted facts upon which their plans could be based. Slippery roads will present as critical a problem as drifts. Thaws and quick freezes are inevitable. The Italians struggled to keep only two or three key routes clear through the mountains. If the Army is to be sustained, secondary routes ignored in peacetime must be kept in operation along with Highways 65, 64 and 1.

   How to meet the problem? Rotary snow plows were mounted on trucks. Blades were salvaged from Italian plows which the Germans stripped in their retreat. Gravel and sand was heaped by roadsides to rescue the truck driver stalled before a slippery slope.

   But the most unusual feature was the chain of snow posts. They were strung over the snow belt, which falls in Army territory. From them come up to the minute radio reports which are correlated at the 5th Army base station. Within their doors the stranded GI finds food, rest and assistance.

   Visit a typical snow post and see how they work. Sgt. Forrest Fidell of Clementon, N.J., is in charge. Twice during the daylight hours and four times nightly he sends out his road patrol. When it returns with a report on conditions over the post's eight miles of roads, Cpl. George Martin of Belleville, N.J., and Pfc. Itlo Petrucci of Providence, R.I., quickly transmit the data to headquarters.

   If your visit comes on a day when patrols discover snow of two-inch depth, you'll see Cpl. Jack Wright of Easton, Pa., and Pfc. Paul H. Reich of Columbus, Ohio, hustle out to a rotary plow, V-plow or road grader. The old fashioned shovel may get a workout, too. If there's need, crushed rock, gravel or sand will be spread over the packed snow or ice.

   To the individual driver just about the most important snow post feature is the personal attention it is geared to furnish him. When the road patrol discovers a damaged or stalled vehicle, Pvt. Ralph Babbin of Gloucester, Mass., and Pfc. Joseph A. Butcher of Gainesville, Ohio, bring it in with their 10-ton wrecker.

   Once back at the post the driver - and it might be you - receives first aid from Pfc. Thomas Fortuna of Cambridge, Mass., and Pvt. Grady Glasscock of Cambridge, Mass., trained medics.

   Hot food, specially prepared by Pfc. Harry Schinstine of Phillipsburg, N.J., follows. Then there's a bunk and blankets for the driver to relax upon until his outfit sends for him. The engineers concentrated on the big picture of snow removal - but they didn't forget the GI who wheels the trucks over the roads they strive to keep open

   Farther up front - beyond the Army and Corps territories - engineers attached to combat divisions will bear the brunt of the battle against snows. For them the struggle is more difficult, because equipment is limited.

   "We use bulldozers, shovels and whatever else we can muster," reports Capt. Alvin Gosserlin of Lynn, Mass., who works with the 91st Division. "One thing which the average driver will be interested in is the road markers set up by the roadsides. They're from four to six feet high. Snow won't cover them and they'll serve as a guide."

   The jeep trails will have to take care of themselves, of course. The highways will be problem enough. For the same reason, if your outfit is bivouacked on a small side road you'll have to keep the road clear on your own hook. But the Axis roads - Highway 65 and the others which keep the 5th Army fighting - are the engineers' task.

   "Twelve hours after a storm the engineers will have things under control," predicts Lt. Kenneth H. Mayhew of Canton, N.Y., a 5th Army engineer. "Our job is to keep the highways clear for supply and evacuation. We licked the mud. We'll lick the snow."

Created 2001 May 12.
Design Copyright © 2001, Patrick G Skelly.
For further information, contact milhist.net. War Ends • Germans Surrender in Italy

34th Inf Div Assn feature 133warends.html

The following is taken from the official narrative history of the 133rd Infantry Regiment, May 1945.

2 May 1945 Arborio (J6271, Map Italy Road, 1:200,000, Sheet 4). This day the German armies surrendered in Italy. It marked the period of a long, long trail which stretches far back into Africa, some 2500 miles and 30 months ago. During that time there have been mountains, deserts, rolling flat land, scorching heat, bitter cold, snow, ice, and sleet to plague the men in in the unit as well as long, drawn out fanatical enemy resistance.

Several thousands of our buddies who once wore the patch of the "Red Bull" are sleeping their eternal sleep in cemeteries stretching from Oran to the Swiss and French borders. These men are not present to give thanks with us that the long trail in Italy has drawn to its end. However, their deeds and contributions to the cause of our arm will never be forgotten by those of us who came through to this point.

In addition, there are those who were so unfortunate enough as to fall by the wayside seriously wounded and are now sitting on the sidelines. Though not present with us today, those of our buddies who have spent hellish months as prisoners of the enemy have more than earned their share of thanks that the people of the liberated nations bestowed upon the victorious Allied Forces.

To these we offer our whole-hearted thanks for their heroic performances and the sacrifices they made in the cause of Democracy and freedom for mankind. Kef-el-Amar, Sbeitla, Hajeb-el-Aioun, Fondouk, Hill 609, Eddekhila, Tunis, Bizerte, Raf Raf, Amphibious training at Arzew, Battle Inoculation (after a six-month campaign) near Slissen, the soft, cool sands and cork-oak near Ain-el-Turck, waterproofing vehicles and loading for a combat amphibious landing, if necessary, in the Gulf of Salerno.

As we sailed past the cliffs and casino at Canastel and left the Oran Harbor behind, we knew that the African chapter of our Odyssey had ended. Then came Salerno, landing on the beaches in assault boats, two or three days in a mosquito infested bivouac and then back to the, by now, old business of chasing Krauts. Few of us at that time realized how long, grueling, and bloody the chase was to be. Up through the rough, rugged, sometimes almost precipitous terrain of Italy's boot to our first real contact with the enemy near Benevento, on out across the Calore River and up to the notorious Volturno which has become both a legend and a nightmare to the men of the Regiment.

Across the Volturno a second time and out on to the famous "Pool Table" near San Angelo D'Alife, where the Regiment suffered heavy casualties from a combination of a fierce enemy counter-attack and from shells from our own artillery and tank destroyers falling short and landing among the troops. Superb leadership on the part of the officers of the battalions quickly restored the situation and the mission was accomplished. San Angelo D'Alife, the hills before the now widely cussed Volturno River, across the river for a third time and up into the cold mountains again and head on into the enemy's Gustav Line defenses.

Cassino, a three weeks that are still a nightmare to those of us who remember them. Then an all too short rest and another boat trip. As we sailed out of Naples harbor, aboard an LCI [Landing Crafty Infantry], bound for the Anzio Beachhead, we knew that another phase had passed and that soon we would be pushing again. Anzio - flat-land, perfect enemy observation, no one daring to move during daylight hours; Lenuvio, the Alban Hills, and then Rome, the eternal city. Just a glimpse of the most storied places in the world and off on a wild foot race after the broken and retreating elements of the enemy armies.

Civitavecchia, Tarquinia, San Vincinza, Cecina, mountains again and then the Arno River and the famous leaning tower of Pisa across the river. Back again north of Florence and into the hall of the well-prepared Gothic Line defenses. On and on and finally grinding to a halt on Mount Belmonte, the farthest point of penetration by any Fifth Army unit in the fall offensive about 10 miles south of the promised land of the Po Valley. Here came a long winter of active defense and as spring came on, the tension in the air bespoke all too well of the coming attack.

After the jump-off, came Bologna, Modena, Reggio, Parma, and patrols to the river. Then came storied Mantova, the gateway to the Brenner Pass and swiftly on westward to Brescia, Bergamo, Milano, Gallarate (J946872, Map Italy, 1/50,000, Sheet 44 I), and on to our present location Avigniana (H820330, Map Italy, 1/100,000, Sheet 55), just west of Turin. Today marks the end of a slashing, hard driving campaign which lasted only sixteen days and destroyed the will to resist of two powerful enemy armies. Today, the men wearing the "Red Bull" can look back proudly on a longer period of time of actual contact with the enemy than any other division.

The source for this information is the regimental monthly operations report, "History - 133rd Infantry - 34th Infantry Division: From 1 May 1945 to 31 May 1945". Thanks to Jerry Gorden, then-Director of the the Iowa Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge, Iowa, for access to their files.
Sculpture Commemorating Battle at Hill 810, Torricella

Tenente [Lt.] Riccardo Barni, Vice-President of the Prato Section, Italian National Association of Reserve Officers, and Major Jay Morsching, Secretary of the General Staff, 34th Infantry Division (NG), with the sculpture presented to the Association at the Council Bluffs Reunion.

The sculpture was created from the shrapnel and debris of our 17-21 September 1944 battle at Hill 810 - Torricella - on the Gothic Line. It is intended to represent for us the hands of those who fell there, the men of all armies and of all times, coming forth from that place, and saying, "Touch me, Remember me".

Tenente Barni was designated an Honorary Life Member of the Association for his work in planning and creating the Memorial to the Fallen Soldiers on Hill 810. The sculpture is on display for one year at the 34th Infantry Division Headquarters, and then will be returned to the Iowa Gold Star Museum, Camp Dodge IA.

"May they have no more hills to climb,
nor cold, nor rain, nor mud, nor enemy fire,
and may they now rest in Peace."
Medals

The 109th Combat Engineers was part of the 34th ID Division in WW II.
These are the Medals rated by many of the unit members ( I think June 22, 2004)
 
The European, African, & Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. The
109th rates two stars, one for Africa and one for Italy.

The American  Campaign Medal.  This medal was  awarded to all those
who served in the U.S. from Dec 7, 1941 to Mar 2, 1945.

The Victory Medal for WW2.

French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered
BELVEDERE

Good conduct medal

Presidential Unit Citation
(Ribbon, no medal)


"Ruptured Duck"
World War II
 Lapel Pin

The PUC and Croix de Guerre were awarded to the 34th Division Regiments.  The Companies of the 109th were working directly for those companies.


http://www.thebattlezone.com/medals/armymedals.html

http://www.americal.org/awards/cib.htm


Veterans' Records Access Procedures

With respect to the French Croix de Guerre with Palm awarded to the US 34th Infantry Division and 88th Infantry Division, I found - unofficially but reliably - that it was applies to the personnel of those units assigned - not attached - to the divisions in the interval 1 December 1943 - 31 July 1944, as authorized by Department of the Army General Order 43-50.  Source
http://www.milhist.net/reference/records.html

There's been a lot of indirect information appearing lately given about finding records and awards for veterans. I've 'gone to the well' to find the authorities. I now try giving you just enough information to know which direction to go, together with visible links (web addresses) directly to the responsible federal agencies.

If you should find more helpful resources - not second-hand - that should be cited, please send me an e-mail - patskelly@earthlink.net - to suggest inclusion here.

Service Records • Basic Approach

On the matter of getting service records, the proper channel is the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR),
   http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records.html

Here you find the Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records",
   http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records/standard_form_180.html loaded into your computer or 'faxed' to you. They also suggest several other sources for the form which may be local for you. The only thing you can do by e-mail is to ask that a form be mailed to you.

If you are unable to obtain this form, that web page lists the information that should be included in an equivalent letter, addressed to:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR)
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis MO 63132-5100.

Service Records • Restricted Approach

If you are a military veteran, or the next of kin of a deceased former member of the military, NPRC offers another path:
eVetRecs,
http://www.archives.gov/research_room/vetrecs/
The next of kin can be only be one of the following: a "surviving spouse that has not remarried, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother".

You submit the request via a special e-mail message generated by the eVetRecs program, however ...
 • The eVetRecs program requires, as far as I could probe, current 'glitz and glitter' web browsers and high-speed access on your machines in order to reasonably load and execute. 'Javascript' support is a must.
 • Even if you can load and follow through on the program, you may not be able to print the necessary "Signature Verification Form" which is to be mailed of faxed. There is, however, a work-around if you get that far.
Death/Burial Record For Those Killed Overseas

The paragraphs below are taken from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command FAQ
https://www.perscomonline.army.mil/faqs.htm
There is no e-mail or telephone avenue for this request. Any requests, anywhere, for documents under the Freedom of Information Act should include your printed/typed name, signature, and mailing address.

If a relative was killed overseas during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam, the death/burial record (also known as the Individual Deceased Personnel Files) can be obtained by submitting in writing a letter to the following address:
U.S. Army Human Resources Command
Public Affairs Office (FOIA)
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, VA 22332-0404.

The requestor should cite in his/her letter the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and provide the full name of the relative, service number, and date of death (or whether the death was during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam).

A return mailing address is required. Please allow up to 20 weeks for the research process. FOIA fees are waived for requests from family members for death/burial records on their loved ones.
The 1973 Fire, Reconstructing Information

Comments seen online such as "... St. Louis said the records don't exist anymore" are only half-true. Here, in two parts, is the full story.
 • Information related to the loss of records at the NPRC is found at The 1973 Fire
   http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records/fire_1973.html
 • Use of alternate sources to reconstruct basic service information is reported at Alternate Record Sources,
   http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records/alternate_record_sources.html
Award and Decoration Inquiries

The information in this section is taken directly from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command webpage,
Army Retiree and Veteran Award Inquiries,
https://www.perscomonline.army.mil/tagd/awards/index.htm
Requesting Currently Documented Awards and Decorations

Award actions pertaining to Army retirees and veterans are normally handled by the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO; also known as NPRC.
   http://www.nara.gov/regional/stlouis.html

Foreign Awards

To the question of obtaining foreign awards, the US Government does not provide the medals for those awards. They must be requested from the government of their issuing nation. I am attempting to document further information in this regard.
133rd Infantry Regiment
http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/j/r/jrr17/infantry/34inf.htm
Coat of Arms

SHIELD: Argent, a Spanish castle debased gules, to chief a fleur-de-lis of the like and on a mount a giant cactus vert.

CREST: That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Iowa Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors argent and gules, a hawk's head erased proper.

MOTTO: Avauncez (Advance, or forward)

The shield is silver, or white, the old infantry color. The Spanish castle, taken from the Spanish' campaign medal, is used to represent service during the War with Spain, while the cactus is for Mexican Border service. The fieur-de-lis refers to service in France during World War I.

Distinctive Insignia

The insignia is the shield and motto of the coat of arms.

Lineage of the 133rd Infantry

Constituted and organized in May 1861 as the 2d lowa Volunteer Infantry and mustered into Federal service 27 May 1861. (3d Iowa Volunteer Infantry [constituted and organized in May 1861] consolidated with the 2d Iowa Volunteer Infantry 4 November 1864.) Mustered out of Federal service 12 July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.

Reorganized 1876-1878 as independent companies of volunteer militia. (Iowa State Militia redesignated lowa National Guard 3 April 1878.) Separate companies in central portion of State consolidated to form the 8th Infantry, Iowa National Guard, 11 September 1879. Reorganized by exchange of companies and redesignated 1st Infantry, Iowa National Guard, 1 October 1881.

Mustered into Federal service 2 June 1898 at Camp McKinley, Des Moines, as the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry; mustered out 13 May 1899 at Savannah, Georgia, and resumed State status. Reorganized and redesignated 30 November 1902 as the 53d Infantry, Iowa National Guard. Reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Infantry, Iowa National Guard, 3 July 1915.

Mustered into Federal service 2 June 1916 at Camp Dodge, Iowa, for Mexican Border and stationed at Brownsville, Texas; mustered out 15 January 1917 at Fort Des Moines, lowa. Called into Federal service 25 March 1917; drafted into Federal service 5 August 1917. Reorganized and redesignated as the 133d Infantry and assigned to the 34th Division 1 October 19 ] 7. Demobilized 1 ;4 February 1919 at Camp Grant, Illinois.

('consolidated with the 4th Infantry, lowa State Guard (organized 1918-1919), reorganized and Federally recognized 29 March 1921 as the 134th Infantry with Headquarters at Sioux City. Redesignated as the 133d Infantry and assigned to the 34th Division 11 July 1921. Inducted into Federal service 10 February 1941 at Sioux City. (34th Division redesignated as the 34th Infantry Division 1 February 1942.) Inactivated 3 November 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. Reorganized and Federally recognized 25 November 1946 with Headquarters at Cedar Falls.

Relieved from the 34th Infantry Division 1 May 1959 and reorganized as the 133d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

Campaigns

Civil War
Fort Donelson
Shiloh
Vicksburg
Atlanta

World War I

Streamer without inscription

World War II

Tunisia
Naples-Foggia
Anzio
Rome-Arno
North Apennines
Po Valley

Decorations

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered NORTHERN ITALY

French Croix de Guerre with Palm. World War II, Streamer embroidered BELVEDERE
  
133rd Infantry Regiment

Coat of Arms

SHIELD: Argent, a Spanish castle debased gules, to chief a fleur-de-lis of the like and on a mount a giant cactus vert.

CREST: That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Iowa Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors argent and gules, a hawk's head erased proper.

MOTTO: Avauncez (Advance, or forward)

The shield is silver, or white, the old infantry color. The Spanish castle, taken from the Spanish' campaign medal, is used to represent service during the War with Spain, while the cactus is for Mexican Border service. The fieur-de-lis refers to service in France during World War I.

Distinctive Insignia

The insignia is the shield and motto of the coat of arms.

Lineage of the 133rd Infantry

Constituted and organized in May 1861 as the 2d lowa Volunteer Infantry and mustered into Federal service 27 May 1861. (3d Iowa Volunteer Infantry [constituted and organized in May 1861] consolidated with the 2d Iowa Volunteer Infantry 4 November 1864.) Mustered out of Federal service 12 July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.

Reorganized 1876-1878 as independent companies of volunteer militia. (Iowa State Militia redesignated lowa National Guard 3 April 1878.) Separate companies in central portion of State consolidated to form the 8th Infantry, Iowa National Guard, 11 September 1879. Reorganized by exchange of companies and redesignated 1st Infantry, Iowa National Guard, 1 October 1881.

Mustered into Federal service 2 June 1898 at Camp McKinley, Des Moines, as the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry; mustered out 13 May 1899 at Savannah, Georgia, and resumed State status. Reorganized and redesignated 30 November 1902 as the 53d Infantry, Iowa National Guard. Reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Infantry, Iowa National Guard, 3 July 1915.

Mustered into Federal service 2 June 1916 at Camp Dodge, Iowa, for Mexican Border and stationed at Brownsville, Texas; mustered out 15 January 1917 at Fort Des Moines, lowa. Called into Federal service 25 March 1917; drafted into Federal service 5 August 1917. Reorganized and redesignated as the 133d Infantry and assigned to the 34th Division 1 October 19 ] 7. Demobilized 1 ;4 February 1919 at Camp Grant, Illinois.

('consolidated with the 4th Infantry, lowa State Guard (organized 1918-1919), reorganized and Federally recognized 29 March 1921 as the 134th Infantry with Headquarters at Sioux City. Redesignated as the 133d Infantry and assigned to the 34th Division 11 July 1921. Inducted into Federal service 10 February 1941 at Sioux City. (34th Division redesignated as the 34th Infantry Division 1 February 1942.) Inactivated 3 November 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. Reorganized and Federally recognized 25 November 1946 with Headquarters at Cedar Falls.

Relieved from the 34th Infantry Division 1 May 1959 and reorganized as the 133d Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

Campaigns

Civil War
Fort Donelson
Shiloh
Vicksburg
Atlanta

World War I

Streamer without inscription

World War II

Tunisia
Naples-Foggia
Anzio
Rome-Arno
North Apennines
Po Valley

Decorations

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered NORTHERN ITALY

French Croix de Guerre with Palm. World War II, Streamer embroidered BELVEDERE

   135th Infantry Regiment

Coat of Arms

SHIELD: Argent, on a saltire azure between in chief a fleur-de-lis gules, ill fess the Corps badge of the 2d Division, VIII Army Corps, during the War with Spain proper (two white circles overlapping each other one-third radius, resembling the figure "8") fringed of the third, and two bolos saltire-wise, and in base a bull's skull of the like: the 2d Division, 11 Corps badge of the Civil War of the fourth (a white three-leafed clover with stem, voided).

CREST: That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Minnesota Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors argent and azure, a sheaf of wheat proper.

MOTTO: To the Last Man.

The shield is white, the old infantry color. The saltire is taken from the Confederate flag and represents Civil War service. At the battle of Gettysburg the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was in the 2d Division, II Corps (Hancock's), whose badge was the three-leafed clover. The figure "8" represents service during the War with Spain, the crossed bolos Philippine Insurrection service, and the fleur-de-lis, World War I service in France. The bull's skull, the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 34th Infantry Division, indicates service with that Division during World Wars I and World War II.

Distinctive Unit Insignia

The insignia is the shield and motto of the coat of arms.

Lineage of the 135th Infantry

Constituted as 1st Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and organized 27 April 1861 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Mustered into Federal service 29 April 1861 at Fort Shelling for three years. Reorganized during April 1864 as the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry; expanded and redesignated as 1st Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, 23 February 1865. Mustered out of Federal service 14 July 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Reorganized 1870 from regimental veteran association and designated 11 September 1871 as the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Enrolled Militia. (Minnesota Enrolled Militia redesignated Minnesota National Guard 1 March 1871.) (Regimental organization remained inactive after about 1875, except for St. Paul Light Infantry, active 1875-1879.)

Reorganized in 1880 as the 1st Battalion, Minnesota National Guard, to embrace following independent volunteer companies in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area: Minneapolis Light Infantry, (organized 1879) as Company A; Minneapolis Zouave Corps, (organized 1879) as Company B; St. Paul Guards. (organized 1879) as Company C; and Allen Light Guards. (organized 1879) in St. Paul as Company D. Expanded and redesignated in 1883 as 1st Infantry, Minnesota National Guard, with companies at Minneapolis, St. Paul, Fergus Falls, Red Wing, Litchfield, and Stillwater.

Redesignated 4 May 1898 as the 13th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and mustered into Federal service 7 May 1898 at Camp Ramsey, Minnesota; served in the Philippines with the VIII Army Corps and mustered out 3 October 1899 at San Francisco, California. Reorganized as 1st Infantry, Minnesota National Guard 27 March 1900. Mustered into Federal service 30 June 1916 at Fort Snelllng for Mexican Border and stationed at Llano Grande and San Antonio, Texas; mustered out 14 March 1917 at Fort Snelllng.

Mustered into Federal service 7 April 1917; drafted into Federal service 5 August 1917. Redesignated as the 135th Infantry and assigned to the 34th Division 1 October 1917. Demobilized 18 February 1919 at Camp Grant, Illinois. Reorganized as the 1 st Infantry, Minnesota National Guard and Federally recognized 6 January 1921 with Headquarters at Minneapolis. Redesignated as the 135th Infantry and assigned to the 34th Division (subsequently the 34th Infantry Division) 21 November 1921.

Inducted into Federal service 10 February 1941 at Minneapolis. Inactivated 3 November 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. Relieved from the 34th Infantry Division and assigned to the 47th Infantry Division 19 June 1946. Reorganized (less companies of former 3d Battalion) and Federally recognized 23 September 1946 with Headquarters at Mankato.

Ordered into active Federal service 16 January 1951 at Mankato. (135th Infantry [NGUS] organized and Federally recognized 16 January 1953 with Headquarters at Mankato.) Released from active Federal service and reverted to State control 2 December 1954: concurrently, Federal recognition withdrawn from the 135th Infantry (NGUS).

Relieved from the 47th Infantry Division 22 February 1959 and reorganized as the 135th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

Campaigns

Civil War

Bull Run
Peninsula Valley
Antietam
Fredericksburg
Gettysburg
Petersburg
Virginia 1861

Virginia 1862
Virginia 1863
Virginia 1864
Virginia 1865

War with Spain

Manila
Philippine Insurrection
Luzon
San Isidro

World War I

Streamer without inscription

World War II

Tunisia
Naples-Foggia
Anzio
Rome-Arno
North Apennines
Po Valley

Decorations

French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War I1, Streamer embroidered BELVEDERE
168th Infantry

COAT OF ARMS

SHIELD:  Argent, a bend archy in the colors of the rainbow between in chief a prickly pear cactus and in base a palm tree on a mound proper. The shield is white, the old infantry color. The bend archy in the form of a rainbow shows the service of the regiment in World War I in the 42d (Rainbow) Division. The cactus represents the Mexican Border duty and the palm tree is for the Philippine service.

CREST:  That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Iowa Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors argent and azure, a hawk's head erased proper.

MOTTO:  On Guard.

DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA

The insignia is the shield and motto of the coat of arms. The sample of the insignia was approved 8 August 1931. Organized from independent companies in southwestern Iowa (including the Council Bluffs Guards, organized 1855-1856) as the 4th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Grenville M. Dodge, and mustered into Federal service by companies 8-31 August 1861. Reorganized 1 January 1864 as the 4th Iowa Veteran Infantry and mustered out 24 July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.

Reorganized 1868-1876 as independent companies of militia in Iowa. Companies consolidated 1876-1877 to form the 3d and 5th Infantry Regiments, Iowa State Militia; 3d Infantry organized 18 February 1876 and the 5th Infantry organized 15 January 1877. (Iowa State Militia redesignated Iowa National Guard 3 April 1878.) (5th Infantry consolidated with the 3d Infantry 30 April 1892.)

Redesignated as the 51st Iowa Volunteer Infantry and mustered into Federal service 30 May 1898 at Des Moines; served in the Philippines with the VIII Army Corps and mustered out 2 November 1899 at San Francisco, California. Reorganized 26 March 1900 as the 51st Infantry, Iowa National Guard. Redesignated 55th Infantry, lowa National Guard, 26 November 1902. Redesignated 4 July 1915 as the 3d Infantry, Iowa National Guard.  Mustered into Federal service 26 June 1916 for Mexican Border and stationed at Brownsville, Texas; mustered out 20 February 1917. Mustered into Federal service 15 July 1917; drafted into Federal service 5 August 1917. Redesignated as the 168th Infantry and assigned to the 42d Division 16 August 1917. Relieved from the 42d Division and demobilized 17 May 1919 at Camp Dodge, Iowa.

Assigned to the 34th Division and reorganized and Federally recognized 13 July 1921 with Headquarters at Council Bluffs. Inducted into Federal service 10 February 1941 at Des Moines (34th Division redesignated 34th Infantry Division 1 February 1942.) Inactivated 3 November 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. Reorganized and Federally recognized 23 January 1947 with Headquarters at Council Bluffs.

Relieved from the 34th Infantry Division 1 May 1959 and reorganized as the 168th Infantry, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.

CAMPAIGN STREAMERS

Civil War                               World War I
Vicksburg                               Champagne-Marne
Chattanooga                             Aisne-Marne
Atlanta                                     St. Mihiel
Arkansas 1862                         Meuse-Argonne
Alabama 1863                           Lorraine 1918
North Carolina 1865                   Champagne 1918
South Carolina 1865                  
Philippine Insurrection            
Manila                                      
Malolos                                    

World War II
Morocco                                    
Algeria-French
Tunisia
Naples-Foggia          
Anzio
Rome-Arno
North Apennines
Po Valley
    

DECORATIONS

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered MT PANTANO ITALY (lst Battalion, 168th Infantry cited; WD GO 86, 1944)

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered CERVARO ITALY (2d Battalion, 168th Infantry cited; WD GO 6, 1945)

French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War 11, Streamer embroidered BELVEDERE (34th Infantry Division cited; DA GO 43, 1950)



100th Battalion / 442nd Combat Infantry Group

Constituted 22 January 1943 in the Army of the United States as the 442d Infantry. Activated 1 February 1943 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi with American citizens of Japanese ancestry who had resided in the United States since birth. 1st Battalion reorganized and redesignated 10 August 1944 as the 171st Infantry Battalion; concurrently, 100th Infantry Battalion, Separate, reorganized and redesignated as the 100th Battalion, 442d Infantry.

CAMPAIGN STREAMERS

World War II
Naples-Foggia
Rome-Arno
Anzio
North Apennines
Rhineland
Po Valley

DECORATIONS

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered GOTHIC LINE (442d Infantry [less 2d Battalion] cited; WD GO 34, 1946 as amended by WD GO 106, 1946)

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BELVEDERE (100th Battalion, 442d Infantry cited; WD GO 66, 1944)

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered BIFFONTAINE (3d and 100th Battalions, 442d Infantry cited; WD GO 68 and 78, 1945)

Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered FRANCE AND ITALY (Companies F and L, 442d Infantry cited; WE) GO 14, 1945)

Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered EUROPEAN THEATER (Service Company and Medical Detachment, 442d Infantry cited; GO 107, Hq Fifth Army and undated Fifth Army citation)

COAT OF ARMS

SHIELD: Per bend argent and azure, in chief a taro leaf proper, in base a Mississippi River steamboat of the first.

CREST: That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Army Reserve: On a wreath of the colors argent and azure, the Lexington Minute Man proper. The statue of the Minute Man, Captain John Parker (H. H. Kitson, sculptor), stands on the Common in Lexington, Massachusetts.

MOTTO: Go For Broke (To give your all)

Blue and white are used for infantry. The taro leaf, from the coat of arms of the 100th Infantry Battalion, is identified with Hawaii and the Mississippi River steamboat symbolizes the place of activation of the 442d Infantry.

DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA

The insignia is the shield and motto of the coat of arms. The sample of the insignia was approved 11 April 1956.
From:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/100-442in.htm

The 100th Battalion and 442nd Combat Infantry group were attached to the 34th Division, and often supported by the 109th Engineers. The unit was composed of  Japanese Americans who served in the U.S. Army. The unit fought very well and took enormous casualties.

Because young Japanese men of the second generation [nisei] were often eager to fight against the Axis Powers Japanese-American units were created in the Army. In order to eliminate the confusion that might arise in the Pacific, the nisei units were to be employed only in the Mediterranean and European theaters of operation. The 442nd Infantry Regiment was the largest nisei unit. Fighting in Italy and southern France, the unit was known for its bravery and determination, as reflected by the unit motto, "Go for broke!"

The first all-Japanese American Nisei military unit was the 100th Battalion, which was the designation for the unit which was formed from the Japanese Americans who comprised a large part of the Hawaiian National Guard. These Nisei were sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for combat training and later were moved to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for additional training. They adopted the phrase "Remember Pearl Harbor" as their motto.

In 1943, the War Department in need of manpower reverse itself and sent recruiters to the relocation camps asking for volunteers to form a new Japanese American combat unit the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Volunteers were also accepted from Hawaii where 12,500 men had volunteered. The Nisei volunteers were combined with Japanese Americans still in the military and were sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for combat training.

At Camp Shelby, they were formed into the 442nd Infantry Regiment, consisting of three battalions plus support companies, the 522nd Artillery Battalion and the 232nd Combat Engineers. The unit designation was the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and most of its officers were Caucasians. The 442nd chose "Go For Broke", a Hawaiian slang term from the dice game craps. "Go For Broke" meant to risk everything, give everything you have--all or nothing!

While the 442nd was being formed and trained, the 1,432 men of the 100th battalion had entered combat in Italy, September 26, 1943. The Italian campaign bloodied the 100th battalion and it suffered heavy casualties earning it the nickname "Purple Heart Battalion" as it was depleted down to 521 men by 1944. Replacements came from men who had finished training with the 442nd at Camp Shelby.

On June 2, 1944 the 442nd had landed at Naples and pushed to the Anzio beaches. On June 15th the 100th Battalion and the 442nd were merged into a single unit. The 100th battalion became the first battalion of the 442nd because the original first battalion of the 442nd had been used for replacements for the 100th. They were attached to the 133rd Regiment in the 34th Division.

After heavy fighting at Belvedere, Luciana, and Livorno, the 442nd was pulled back for a rest and was presented with a Presidential Unit Citation. After fighting at the Arno River in August, 1944, the 442nd moved to France for an attack in the Vosages Mountains. While in France, the 442nd was detached from the 34th Division and attached to the 36th Division of the Seventh Army. Given the assignment to capture the town of Bruyeres, the 442nd fought a bitter house to house battle and captured over 200 German soldiers.

Their bloodiest battle occured during their rescue of the "Lost Battalion". The First Battalion of the 36th Division had been given the assignment to clear a ridge deep in the Vosages, but had been cut-off by the Germans. The battalion, the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment (a former Texas National Guard unit), had been cut off since October 24,1944. The other two battalions of the 141st were unable to break through. The 100th /442nd, was ordered to rescue the Lost Battalion in a real-life "Saving Private Ryan" mission (More men were lost in the 100th/442nd in the rescue operation than there were to save in the 1st of the 141st.).

The 2nd Battalion jumped off at 0300 on the 26th. Before dawn on the 27th, the 100th and 3rd Battalions were called in, too. Fire support came from the 522nd FA Battalion. Enemy resistance was fierce; captured German prisoners revealed that orders from Hitler were to prevent any relief of the trapped battalion. The soldiers of the 100th/442nd fought in dense woods and heavy fog in freezing temperatures. Late in the afternoon of October 30, scouts from the Lost Battalion spotted soldiers in olive-drab uniforms and with Japanese faces approaching and knew the 442nd had broken through.

In five days and nights of continuous combat, the 100th/442nd RCT had suffered more than 800 casualties. In the 3rd Battalion, Company K had 17 riflemen left and Company I had eight riflemen left. Sergeants commanded both companies; all the officers had been killed or wounded. The 2,000 men on the casualty list included 140 killed.

In spring, 1945, the 442nd was sent back to Italy. The 442nd was made part of the U.S. 92nd Infantry Division, which also included the all-African American 370th Infantry and the all-white 473rd Infantry. 1 Mounting a diversionary attack in the Appenine Mountains, the 442nd took their assigned objectives cracking ther German defensive line. By May 2, 1945 the war was over in Italy.

These Japanese American units suffered an unprecedented casualty rate of 314 percent and received over 18,000 individual decorations. Many were awarded after their deaths for bravery and courage in the field of battle. Among the decorations received by the 100th/442nd soldiers were one Medal of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 28 Oak Leaf Clusters to the Silver Star, 4,000 Bronze Stars and 1,200 Oak Leaf Clusters to the Bronze Star and, perhaps most telling of the sacrifices made by these gallant soldiers, 9,486 Purple Hearts. The 442nd Combat Infantry group emerged as the most decorated combat unit of its size in the history of the United States Army. For its service in eight major campaigns in Italy and France, the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team earned eight Presidential Unit Citations.

Second Lt. Daniel K. Inouye, who received a battlefield commission in November 1944, was one of those brave men. On April 21, 1945, while leading his platoon in an attack on enemy positions on Mount Musatello in Italy, Lieutenant Inouye was wounded in the right arm by an enemy grenade and in the right leg by another bullet. For his bravery in leading the attack while wounded, Lieutenant Inouye received the Distinguished Service Cross. His arm proved to be more seriously wounded than first realized and required amputation. Inouye was promoted to captain but not released from the hospital until February 1947.

President Truman was so moved by their bravery in the field of battle, as well as that of African American soldiers during World War II, that he issued an American order to desegregate the Armed Forces.

Although their impeccable service earned the 442nd the respect of their fellow soldiers, they were not perceived in the same way by American society when they returned to the West Coast. It is a shameful legacy in the history of the country that when the patriotic survivors of the 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry returned to the United States, many were reunited with their parents, their brothers, and their sisters who were locked up behind barbed wire fences living in concentration camps. Immediately following their return, the 442nd realized that the attitudes of many Americans had not changed. World War II veterans of Japanese ancestry were welcomed home by signs that read, "No Japs Allowed," and "No Japs Wanted." In many cases, veterans were denied service in local shops and restaurants, and their homes and property were often vandalized or set on fire.

Following post-war occupation duty in Italy, the soldiers of the 100th/442nd -- who had once been suspected of disloyalty because of their Japanese ancestry -- came home as heroes in the summer of 1946. President Harry Truman, in a ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington on July 15, 1946, personally pinned the 100th/442nd's seventh Presidential Unit Citation on the unit's colors. A month later, the 100th/442nd was inactivated in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In 1947, the 100th/442nd was reactivated in Hawaii as an Organized Reserve unit.

On June 21, 2000, twenty-two Asian Pacific American U.S. Army World War II veterans (or their surviving family members for those deceased) received the nation's highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. This action corrected their not receiving these decorations in World War II, when the prejudice of the time kept them from receiving their just recognition then. Twenty of the 22 recipients were members of the 100th Infantry Battalion or the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. This unit (The 100th was attached to the 442nd in June 1944 and fought as the 442nd's first battalion for the rest of the war.) was already considered the most highly decorated unit of its size in U.S. military history. The June 21 ceremony added a new statistic to the 100th/442nd's history: it has 21 Medal of Honor recipients on its roles, the 20 now added to its one earlier recipient.   SOURCES

The internet provides a wealth of sources for military unit research.  The following internet pages provided information for this book.


Stuff added June 23, 2004


http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/34id.htm


The RED BULL insignia of the 34th Infantry Division was based on a design by Marvin Cone of Cedar Rapids, IA who drew it for a contest while training with the Division at Camp Cody in 1917. A steer skull imposed on the shape of a Mexican water jar (called an "olla") recalled the Division's desert home not far from the Mexican border. During WW II, German soldiers in Italy referred to the American soldiers who wore the familiar patch as "Red Devils" or "Red Bulls". The latter name stuck, and the Division soon adopted it officially, replacing its WWI name of the "Sandstorm Division".

The 34th Infantry Division was created from National Guard troops from Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas and Nebraska in the late summer of 1917. It arrived in France in October of 1918 but was too late to see action in World War I as the war ended the following month.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had ordered the 34th Infantry Division, among others, to active duty for a period of 12 consecutive months unless sooner relieved. Although the call-up was authorized in October 1940, the camp they were to occupy had not yet been readied. Consequently, February 10, 1941 had been set for the official muster. Few men in the 34th Infantry believed that they would return to civilian life after one year for the world's militaristic scenario offered little hope.

The 34th Infantry Division was activated during World War (WW) II on February 10, 1941. After completing several small-scale maneuvers, the division, by then under the command of Maj. Gen. Russell P. Hartle, participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers, which involved the Second and Third U.S. Armies. The Division made a good showing at the Louisiana Maneuvers. With the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 and declaration of war, the division was spread through the South, guarding sensitive installations. But January 1, 1942 found them enroute to Fort Dix, N.J. for subsequent shipment overseas. As the first U.S. Division to be shipped overseas, Pvt. Henke of Hutchinson, Minnesota was credited as being the 1st American soldier to step off the boat in support of the war effort.

The Division participated in six major Army campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. The Division is credited with amassing 517 days of continuous front line combat, more than any other division in the European theater. One or more 34th Division units were engaged in actual combat with the enemy 611 days. The division was credited with more combat days than any other division in the theater. The 34th Division suffered 3,737 killed in action, 14,165 wounded in action, and 3,460 missing in action, for a total of 21, 362 battle casualties. Casualties of the division are considered to be the highest of any division in the theater when daily per capita fighting strengths are considered. There is little doubt the division took the most enemy-defended hills of any division in the European Theater. The division's men were awarded 10 Medals of Honor, 98 Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, 1,052 Silver Stars, 116 Legion of Merit medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, 1,713 Bronze Stars, 51 Soldier Medals, 34 Air Medals, with duplicate awards of 52 oak leaf clusters, and 15,000 purple hearts.

The U.S. Rangers trace their lineage through the 34th Infantry Division. Volunteers from the 34th Division provided 80 percent of the men for a newly formed 1st Ranger Battalion and many of them participated with the British Commandos in the famous raid on Dieppe, France. During WW II, the 1st Ranger Battalion was formed under the command of one of the Division's officers, CPT William Darby. Eighty Percent of the 1st Ranger Battalion's volunteers were drawn from the 34th, and they soon became famous as "Darby's Rangers".

Books about the 34th Division
The Story of the Famous 34th Infantry Division
By LTC John H. Hougen
A Narrative history of the 34th ID in World War II Compiled from several resources. Available Through: CIB Media, P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948-0119 Catalog # BP-249 (Hardcover) $45.00, ISBN: 0-89839-024-9, 1-800-324-4177, Cust Svc 415-892-3116, FAX 415-892-5523

Dogfaces Who Smiled Through Tears
By Homer R. Ankrum
An Outstanding Chronicle of heartbreaks, Heroics and Humor of the North African and Italian Campaigns in World War II, 665 Pages, With several illustrations, photos, maps, and drawings. Published by Graphic Publishing Company - 1987, 204 N 2nd AVE, Lake Mills, IA 50450

Anzio Anne, She Was No Lady
By Richard J. O'Rourke, 168th Infantry, who saw and overwhelmed by his sighting of one of the two mammoth railroad guns, dubbed "Anzio Annie" by the men of the Red Bull who were targets of this weapons system. First at Anzio, then in Northern Italy. Available through book stores: Library of Congress card No. 95-92083, ISBN 0-9645884-0-0 (softcover), published at Fort Washington, MD

Through Hell and High Water
By LTC Leslie W Bailey, a platoon leader in CO H, 135th Infantry, writes about the experiences of young officers and enlisted personnel in North Africa and Italy. Available through: Vantage Press, Inc., 516 West 34th Street, NY, NY 10001.

As You Were , The story of Cannon Company, 168th Infantry, in Italy
By Howard d. Ashcraft, in which he writes about his experiences and the experiences of the men of Cannon Company. Library of Congress catalog No. 90-93304, ISBN 09626936-0-X, Available through: McClain Printing Co., Parsons, WV, or contact Howard at 3113 Aspen Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228.

In The Presence of Mine Enemies: An American Chaplain in World War II prison Camps
By Chaplain Eugene L. Daniel, 168th Infantry. Chaplain Daniel relates his experience as a prisoner of war, having been captured in North Africa at Fiad Pass, and was Chaplain of Stalag VII-A, Oflag A/Z, and Stalag Luft III. Chaplain Daniel was decorated by the German Army for his dedication to the wounded and killed German soldiers at Fiad Pass and received the Distinguished Service Cross for his dedication to prisoners of war during his twenty-seven months as a POW. Colonial Lithograph Company, Attleboro, MA, 1985 Library of Congress Catalog No. 85-70894, ISBN 0-9617501-0-3.

Citizen Soldier
By COL Robert J. Berens, 168th Infantry, who has written the biography of Edward W. Bird, from his enlistment in the 168th in 1936, through Claiborne, North Ireland, invasion of Algeria, the capture of Hill 609, being wounded at Mount Pantano, his return to duty and assignment to the 45th Division in France and Germany. Available through: Bird, Bird & Kline, Inc., 1910 Willowmere Drive, Des Moines, IA 50315.

500 Days of Front Line Combat: the World War II Memoir of Ralph B. Schaps
By Ralph B. Schaps and Theresa M. Deane. Made up of men from Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division was the first American division to sail for European Service in World War II. This is the account of one of these men, Ralph B. Schaps, a common soldier who saw over 500 days of front line combat - from North Africa to marching up the boot of Italy in pursuit of Rommel and Kesselring and the withdrawing German forces. After the 34th Division was inducted into federal service in February 1941, until May 1945, when ironically the German 34th Division surrendered to the American 34th Division near Milan, the reality of the hardships, fears and heroism of the front line soldier come to life in this personal history as told by one who was there. ISBN: 0595274005

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to find information on my grandfather, Leonard A. Erickson. I was wondering if the Leonard A. Erickson, who served with the 109th could be my grandfather, although it seems unlikely since he was from Illinois and this company was based out of South Dakota.

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