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The Red Arrow Pierced Every Line (Freeper father at war)
Saturday Evening Post ^ | 11/10/45 | T/4 Charles P. Murdock

Posted on 11/20/2004 7:37:43 PM PST by Homer_J_Simpson

Freeper Preface: On November 26, 1945, my father wrote to his parents from the convalescent hospital at Ft. Lewis in Washington. In the letter he asked that they keep a copy of the Saturday Evening Post from November 10th as it had a “quite a write up of the 32nd in it.” He had served in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 128th Regiment, 32nd Division from March of 1943 through January 3, 1945, when he was evacuated from Leyte Island and hospitalized. (He was to remain in Army hospitals until his discharge in April 1946.) During his time with the 32nd he participated in a number of major operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. I attended a 32nd Division reunion a few years ago, and none of the veterans were from Co. F of the 128th, or even knew of any survivors. I believe Company F was just about wiped out on Leyte.

The reason I am posting this now is because sixty years ago this month and next, my father was fighting in the “knee-deep mud and interminable rain” on Leyte. On Christmas Day 1944 his family got the cheery news that he was missing in action.

Next month we will hear and read plenty about the sixtieth anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge and nothing about the battles described in this article. Not to take anything away from the heroes in the 101st Airborne and the other units that fought in the Ardennes, but I hope we all remember that Americans fought and died in other World War II battles that have already been mostly forgotten.

The writing style in the following article are not exactly my cup of tea (“sickening burst after sickening burst,” “screaming wave after screaming wave”) but I’ll give the writer a break because he was a G.I. attached to the P.R. department of the division. Actually, it’s kind of fun to see what the public was reading at the time. The Saturday Evening Post had a large national circulation. This is the only place I've read that G.I.'s referred to themselves as "doughs," or "doughfoots."

So far, I haven’t found anybody who is particularly interested in my father’s war story, even in my family. I hope I have better luck here at Free Republic.

There may be a quiz later.

May God bless our fighting men and women all over the world, past and present.


The Red Arrow Pierced Every Line

By T/4 Charles P. Murdock

Kids from our high-school-football-and-milk-shake circuit made up the 32nd Infantry Division, an outfit with a unique fighting record from Buna to Luzon.


The walkie-talkie said, “The war’s over.” The grimy sergeant from A Company flicked the butterfly on the mike and said, “Yeah, all over these damned mountains.”

It was the morning of August 15, 1945. For the book, it was the 32nd Division’s 654th – and last – day of combat in World War II. But not for the men of A Company. Part of the company had just beaten off a banzai charge. One dough was dead and two were wounded. The platoon was cut off. Back through the mountains at B Company, eleven miles by trail, 1st Lt. Troy Ricks, one-time basketball star from Booneville, Mississippi said, somewhat grimly, “There’s no celebrating here. This is the Thirty-second. We always fight after the campaigns are over,” which made him something of a prophet.

Less than eighteen hours later, A Company was hit by another banzai. Another dough was killed and seven were wounded.

Back at the divisional public-relations office Capt. William A Fleischer, of New York City, said, “That’s the Thirty-second – first to start fighting, last to finish.”

Sgt. Marion Hargrove, of Yank, up to cover the 32nd’s “reaction” to the end of war, jotted down some notes.

He’d just come from talking with some doughs who had started it out almost three full years before by hiking over the Owen Stanley Mountains from Port Moresby to Buna.

A T/5 rolled a piece of paper into a typewriter and started writing:

WITH THE 32ND INFANTRY DIVISION IN NORTHERN LUZON Aug 15-Maj. Gen. William H. Gill, commander of the 32nd (Red Arrow) Infantry Division, said, on receipt of the news of Japan’s surrender, “I doubt if anyone, anywhere is more profoundly moved by this news than the men of this division, who have fought so hard, suffered so much and waited so long for this moment.”

Thirty miles farther up the Cagayan Valley, the Japs apparently hadn’t got the word.

At Divisional HQ, a soldier from Special Services read the news before the evening movie. “’San Francisco,’” he said, trying to sound dramatic, “’let out all stops. No pretty girl could walk a block without being kissed.’” The soldiers moaned.

“No one,” said Pfc Knox Mellon, of San Marino, California, “will want to kiss us by the time we get home.”

Over at Baguio, a twenty-four-year-old South Carolina farm boy was awaiting plane transportation to Washington, where President Truman would decorate him with the nation’s highest award – the Congressional Medal of Honor. Of the 32nd’s five Medal of Honor winners, he was the only one alive. Public Relations was adding up the combat time: “Buna, 117 days; Saidor, 119 days; Aitape, 125 days; Morotai, 56 days; Leyte, 47 days; Villa Verde Trail, 119 days; mopping up, 71 days.”

Mud and Mountains

SEVEN months before, in February, a truck had pulled up in front of a bomb-shattered, century-old church in Pangasinan Province, Luzon, P.I. American soldiers with the atabrine-yellow complexion of South Pacific veterans jumped out. They were casuals following the division up from a hospital on Leyte. T/4 Donald A. De Brue, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, looked at the church, at the market place near by and at other signs of civilization – slightly mauled by the hand of war, but still civilization.

“This can’t be the Thirty-second,” said De Brue. “Where’s the mountains? Where’s the mud?”

“The mountains,” said the truck driver, pointing to a range rising sharp and blue a half dozen miles to the east, “is over there. This is rear echelon.”

“Oh,” said De Brue, “I knew there had to be mountains.”

“The only kind of fighting this division hasn’t done,” said a near-by dough, “is street fighting.”

Over in the mountains, the new chapter had already begun. The 127th Infantry, only one month out of the mud of Leyte’s Ormoc Corridor, was probing up a trail called the Villa Verde. Nine hundred and sixteen soldiers from the 32nd were to die before the Villa Verde was secure. These doughs never found out they were writing the beginning of the last chapter.

These men from the 32nd have developed a strange, irreverent pride in their outfit. They’ve cursed the war. They’ve cursed their fate. They’ve cursed the Army. They’ve hated every minute in the line with a deep and enduring hatred. They’ve scoffed at what they called “flag waving.” “Ain’t there any other divisions in this Army?” they complained.

Yet they’re quick to take issue, by force if necessary, with anyone who challenges the Red Arrow’s impressive array of claims to top Pacific battle honors – most combat time of any United States division; first United States division to fight an offensive action against the Japanese in the Southwest Pacific; first United States division to make a beach landing in the New Guinea campaign; first United States division to be airborne into combat; first division to supply simultaneously eleven battalions in combat in one action completely by air-drop. Barroom brawls are on record as a result of conflicting claims.

Given a chance to talk, these soldiers from the 32nd will tell you about a lot of guys. They’ll ask you if you ever heard of Herman Bottcher, the German-born veteran of the Spanish Loyalist army who jumped from staff sergeant to captain on the Buna battlefield and died two years later in the cold dawn of December 31, 1944, above Silad Bay on Leyte, his leg blown off by a Jap mortar shell. Or how about T/Sgt Willie Brown, the drawling Jap catcher from De Witt, Arkansas, who argued, tricked or cajoled five Nips into surrendering on four different occasions and – as a result – won a furlough to Australia, three cases of beer and three trips to Manila?

They’ll talk quietly about Pvt. Donald R. Lobaugh, of Freeport, Pennsylvania, one of the division’s five Congressional Medal of Honor winners, who one hot July morning in 1944 charged a Japanese machine gun in the jungles of New Guinea and, although hit, continued to run forward, firing as he went, absorbing sickening burst after sickening burst until he fell, paving the way for a successful counterattack.

Given a little encouragement, they’ll go into the story of Lt. Col. Charles R. (Monk) Meyer, West Point’s 140-pound All-American of a decade ago, who holds a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster, and a Purple Heart with cluster – all won in leading with a certain grim recklessness a battalion of Red Arrow doughfoots in New Guinea and on Leyte and Luzon. Or they will talk in puzzled fashion about Pfc Manuel Perez Garcia, the thirty-six-year-old Cuban jungle fighter who believes so passionately in democracy that he left his native land to volunteer for the Army of the United States and has piled up the division’s record total of eighty-three Japs killed in personal combat on Luzon.

And they’ll get around to mentioning the man who leads them, leathery Maj. Gen. William H. Gill, A V.M.I. man born in Virginia, but whose family lives in Colorado Springs. He takes an enduring pride in this outfit he has led up MacArthur’s long road back up through New Guinea to the Philippines.

Or maybe they’ll ramble on about the division’s most recent Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Pfc Thomas E. Atkins, farm boy from Campobello, South Carolina.

In the predawn hours of March 10, 1944, Pfc Atkins, wounded severely in the leg, lay in a lone foxhole outpost on the Villa Verde with two dead companions and fought of attack after attack. They found forty-five Jap bodies within close range of Atkins’ foxhole. Yes, it’s a tough outfit. It’s killed more than 34,000 Japs.

Yet they haven’t been free and easy with the medals. Five Congressional Medals of Honor, 142 Distinguished Service Crosses, 36 Legion of Merits, 832 Silver Stars and 1810 Bronze Stars, 10,812 Purple Hearts, 95 Air Medals and 75 Soldier’s Medals aren’t a lot of medals for an outfit with 654 combat days on the record. The general observes that the medals have thus “retained their original value.”

Perhaps the greatest tribute the division gets is from other soldiers. All over the Pacific, a Buna man is a little special. They say, “Oh, you’re from the Thirty-second.”

Inside the division, the men argue about which one was the toughest. The memory of fearful, malarial Buna, the 32nd’s horrible baptism of fire, has dimmed a little and other hells have come to challenge it.

There were those nights in New Guinea when ghostly screaming wave after screaming wave from General Adachi’s 18th Imperial Army came splashing through the moonlit shallows in a supreme effort to break out of the Wewak trap. The bodies were piled high in front of the hot machine-gun muzzles, the Driniumor ran red and the 32nd held the line.

Then there was the matted jungle of Leyte with its first fearful taste of heavy Jap artillery. Bearded, filthy doughfoots of the 126th Infantry, their supply trail cut behind them, went five days without food. They were so weak they couldn’t get out of their foxholes. From Limon up the tall timber of the Ormoc Corridor, the 32nd punched relentlessly, pushing before it the fanatically stubborn Japanese Imperial 1st Division. The Imperial 1st was annihilated. The engagement lasted forty-seven days. It was the shortest, but one of the most awful of the 32nd’s trials by fire. In those forty-seven days 6700 Japs and 401 doughboys of the 32nd died. Yes, there are those – Buna men, too – who will argue Leyte was the most frightful of all.

But a great, loud chorus of men of fresh memory will declare the Villa Verde was the worst of all – the story of the Villa Verde is the climax, really. But the story of Villa Verde cannot be appreciated without the full picture of the background.

An alarmed and immensely hospitable Australia opened its arms to the 32nd. Kids from Grand Rapids and Madison learned about afternoon tea and Australian beer and amazingly friendly girls. Words like “cobber” and “dinkum oil” came into their vocabularies, and you hear them yet on Luzon. A lot of men have wives in Australia.

A draftee from Minnesota set down the saga of the Australian arrival in a book called C/o Postmaster, which became a Book-of-the-month Club selection. His name was Thomas Richard (Ozzie) St. George. Three years later, he was writing brilliantly for Yank about the Villa Verde Trail.

In mid-September, 1942, the Australian idyl came to a grim end. The Japanese tide was within thirty-two miles of Port Moresby. On four hours’ notice, elements of the 128th infantry prepared to move by air to New Guinea. Light-colored fatigue uniforms were sprayed with green camouflage dye. The men who were to become the heroes of Buna were frankly scared as they flew north – the newly dyed uniforms wet on their backs. On the twenty-eighth of September, these elements of the 128th Infantry took up the left flank of the Allied positions along the Goldie River defending Port Moresby. The division lays proud claim to this commitment as being the first by a United States division in World War II, save for those units which fought against the original Japanese sneak attacks.

The grim business of death had actually begun. In mid-October the second battalion of the 126th Infantry started out to parallel the Kokoda trail across the Owen Stanley Mountains. The men who made that terrible march are still regarded as human curios – those that are left. For forty-two days they climbed and suffered, often cutting their own trail through some of the most awesome country in the world. They threw away everything they didn’t absolutely need – and al lot they did. It was bitter cold amid the 8000-foot peaks.

On the highest point of the trail there stands a simple monument, put there by Pfc Elvin W. Penn, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, to mark the grave of a doughboy who died on the trail to Buna. Penn was one of two medics left behind on the trail with seven sick men and a group of native litter bearers. One patient had died. Penn hewed a headstone of solid rock for the grave. He made a cross from newly peeled white limbs of trees. He built a neat wall of stone around the plot. A buddy who passed the spot some weeks later said, “It was the most beautiful grave I ever saw anywhere.

The second battalion moved down into the dank jungles of Papua, crossing and recrossing the roaring waters of unmapped rivers. Forty-two days after it left Port Moresby, the filthy battalion emerged from the green twilight of the rain forest of Soputa. The long green line snaked single file through the kunai grass. A Jap sniper’s rifle crackled. A man went down. A staff sergeant lifted his tommy gun and sprayed the treetop. The tommy gunner’s name was Herman Bottcher. The soldiers looked at him admiringly and began to have confidence in him.

Thus began the hell of Buna. The 127th and 128th Infantry regiments moved by air to bases east of Buna, which is the reason the doughs today will tell you they were the first United States troops to be airborne into combat. Kids who one year before had been playing high-school football learned for the first time the terror of the night perimeter – a terror which was to be with them for a long, long time.

Uniforms, continually wet, rotted on their backs. New shoes rotted off the feet in ten days. The men were covered with festering sores – the jungle rot which has plagued the division ever since. Blankets became fly-blown, green with mold, leaden with rain, and were usually abandoned. Fever – malaria, dengue, typhus – felled men faster than Jap bullets. Dysentery took its toll.

These were the men who went up against 5000 veteran Jap jungle fighters entrenched in what the Army – not given to superlatives – called “superb defense positions.”

“We wrote the book on jungle fighting,” a Buna man said casually. “We learned as we went, and we were up against guys who were supposed to be the best in the world at the business.” The research was nasty. Units of the 126th Infantry went into action on the Sanananda front with 1119 officers and men, and came out with 165.

The Bottcher legend, which will be forever a part of the 32nd, was molded on the steaming morning of December 5, 1942. Staff Sergeant Bottcher led a thirty-one-man platoon forward when all other elements of the attacking force were pinned down by enemy fire. Wading across a creek under constant mortar fire, Bottcher led his men through to the beach. He drove a wedge between Buna and Buna village. Bottcher, one eardrum broken by mortar blast, his hand cut by shrapnel, held that wedge. The tide of the battle of Buna turned. Bottcher became a captain. They gave him the Distinguished Service Cross. Three men out of those thirty-one were still with the platoon when it came off the Villa Verde three years later.

By the time Buna was over, on January 22, 1943, a total of 5000 Japs had been killed. This was the entire Jap force in the area. The 32nd’s cost was brutal. The division sent 9825 men into combat and suffered 2620 battle casualties. However, disease took its toll as well; 6336 men were lost due to malaria, dengue, jungle rot and dysentery. The division received the Distinguished Unit Citation from President Roosevelt.

Sick remnants returned to Australia. Word got around that the 32nd was finished, that it would go home. Then Gill, the lean Virginian, came to take over. He told the 32nd in no uncertain terms that it would fight again.

They had had enough, they thought. But they found themselves in the midst of amphibious training, while malaria cases were nursed back to health in rest camps. Replacements arrived. [Including Homer’s father!] The 32nd was rebuilt to fight.

Almost exactly a year after Buna, January 2, 1944, the 32nd was splashing ashore at Saidor in its first beach-head landing, MacArthur’s first by-pass. It was the start of a full year and one half of combat for the 32nd. Later, the Jap bastion at Wewak was bypassed, and the 32nd dug in on the Driniumor to prevent General Adachi from jeopardizing the Hollandia operation. Adachi almost broke the line once, but the 32nd finally sent him reeling toward Wewak after 125 days. The Jap 18th Army lost 9300 known killed – highest casualty total during one operation in the Southwest Pacific up to that time.

In mid-September, the 32nd’s 126 Regimental Combat Team went ashore at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies, an essential prelude to the Philippine show a month later.

The 32nd wasn’t in on the Leyte landing. MacArthur’s timetable called for it to come in a month later for the knockout. Landing on November sixteenth and moving immediately into the line above Pinamopoan Point, the Red Arrow doughfoots found themselves in the thick of the terrible struggle for the Ormoc Corridor. They slogged through knee-deep mud and interminable rain. They were never dry. They moved into heavy Nip artillery and found there was one more horrible side to war they hadn’t experienced. It’s six and a half miles from Pinamopoan to Lonoy, all mountains. The Japs held the commanding ground.

Lt. Gen Tomoyuke Yamashita, the “Tiger of Malaya,” had built his defenses well. The doughs ate chocolate bars in their foxholes for Thanksgiving dinner. The stench of death was everywhere. Not for one moment in all those forty-seven days were the men away from the sickly smell of decaying, maggot-ridden flesh. It was kill, kill, kill. On December nineteenth, the attack carried over the main ridge above Limon, and the back of the Nip resistance was broken. The doughs raced on to a meeting with the 1st Cavalry Division at Lonoy. The road to Ormoc was open. But the fight wasn’t over. On Christmas Day two regiments, the 127th and 128th, jumped off to push westward to the sea.

There was to be one final tragic moment in the Leyte operation. At 0855 on December 31, 1944, a tense group huddled about a radio in the muddy division CP on the ridge above Limon. The message came. “Bottcher dead. Recon troop withdrawing west to . . . outpost.” Maj. Dick Tucker – then Captain – of Indianapolis, Indiana, went to his typewriter and sent to the news wires the story that Capt. Herman Bottcher, veteran soldier in the fight against Fascism, hero of the battle of Buna and reconnaissance-troop commander, whose exploits had become legend among the men who were fighting the Pacific war, lay dead on a hill overlooking Silad Bay.

Sgt. Frank G. Price, of New York City, said, “We’ve lost the best man in this division.”

The 32nd, by January twenty-fourth, was bound for Luzon. By January thirtieth, the division was again committed to action. This was the Villa Verde. The trail, built more that a half century ago by a Spanish priest, Juan Villa Verde, climbs 5000 feet in twenty-four snakelike miles. Here was Yamashita’s chosen ground. He made every cave a pillbox, every commanding mountain a fortress.

“They were looking down our throats,” said Lt. Col. George Bond, of San Angelo, Texas, “and they kept looking down for the whole hundred and nineteen days.”

All three regiments were thrown into the Ville Verde. The engineers chewed the trail into a road on the heels of the doughs. The guys began to say, “This is worse than Leyte. It’s lasting longer too.”

Grenades, artillery, mortars and machine guns were not enough. Dynamite, TNT, flame throwers and bazookas were brought into play. A technique was developed of “pole-charging” Jap holes with explosives on the end of a long stick. Antiaircraft guns were fired point-blank at Japanese positions. A 60-mm. trigger-fired mortar was even mounted on a machine-gun tripod and fired point-blank at Nip positions fifty yards away. P-51’s and P-47’s came gunning in between the peaks to strafe and bomb. Stinson L-5’s dived daringly to within spitting distance of Jap positions to mark targets.

First the bulldozers would widen the trail, often sealing up Jap caves and pillboxes in the process. Then a Sherman tank would lumber forward, blast away with its 75 and spray the area with machine-gun slugs. Self-propelled 105’s pounded Jap ridges with direct fire. American artillery echoed through the mountains day and night.

And all this was just support for what the riflemen had to do. Regiments shrank to the size of battalions, companies to platoons. Some squads had two and three men left in them. The months dragged by, February, March, April. V-E Day came. No one got excited. The trucks were still coming down out of the mountains with bodies lashed to stretchers. High on the Villa Verde, Gill was marshaling his hollow-eyed foot sloggers for the final effort. The 32nd stood before the final barrier – Hill 508, the Kongo fortress, the pivot keystone of Yamashita’s defense. Of the nearly 9000 Japs who died on the Villa Verde, more than 1000 sold themselves in defense of Kongo fortress.

From the forward slope of Hill 508, the Japs commanded the winding miles of the Villa Verde it had taken the 32nd so long to win. From its rear, any flanking attempt could be spotted and covered with concentrations of fire. Across the trail, facing Hill 508, a lower ridge with tier on tier of individual foxhole and automatic-weapon postitions provided close flank and cross-fire support. Beyond, flanking the trail, was the mass of Yamashita Ridge, where heavy artillery and large-caliber mortars were emplaced, their fire controlled and directed from 508’s crest. Finally, Gill managed to cut the Villa Verde behind 508 and isolate it. Frontal pressure on the mountain fortress carried elements of the 128th Infantry to the top of neighboring Hill 507. The stage was set for the big push. Aircraft, self-propelled guns, mortars and heavy machine guns lacerated the slope. Not a square yard escaped pounding. The doughs jumped off. Sniper fire harassed them. Dug-in Japs had to be dug out. The summit came nearer – by inches. All the concentration of preparatory fire seemed to have been in vain. The doughs had to haul themselves along by roots and vines.

For ten days and horrible nights the struggle raged among the charred stumps and burnt underbrush of Hill 508. At the end of the tenth day, C Company of the 128th Infantry, had secured 508. It was a nauseating sepulcher of 1000 bodies.

Now the tide of the American advance surged forward with increasing speed. Now we were looking down their throats. The United States 25th Division. [Huh?]

General Gill radioed Maj. Gen. Innis P. Swift, Commander of the 1st Corps: “The Japanese so-called impregnable defensive lines at Salacsac Pass No. 1 and Hill Mass 527-528 have been broken completely and the defenders crushed. Small isolated remnants of his forces are now fleeing north to the Imugan Valley, pursued by elements of the 32nd Division. Thus the pincer movement is complete, and the Villa Verde Trail is open from Santa Maria to Imugan.”

The route to the Cagayan Valley was secure. Eight thousand nine hundred Japanese died in the battle of the Villa Verde Trail. There were boys from Detroit and Milwaukee and Los Angeles who died there too. There are 916 Red Arrow men under the white crosses of Santa Barbara Cemetery in Pangasinan.

The Red Arrow insigne of the 32nd symbolizes the fact that the division has pierced every line it has faced. The tradition still holds – from the Hindenburg Line of World War I to the Yamashita Line of World War II.

After the Villa Verde, according to the communiqué, the 32nd started mopping up. “Mopping up, hell,” said S/Sgt. A. L. Zeigler, of Newark, New Jersey. The Japs were being nasty about it. “This looks like a full-scale war to me,” said Zeigler. And that’s the way it went through June, July and the first weeks of August. During the mopping-up month of July, the division killed 1825 Japs and took 210 prisoners.

Then came the tense four days following the first wild uncertainty of Japan’s surrender offer. On the morning of August fifteenth it became official. The only trouble was that the Japanese cease-fire order hadn’t got through yet, and A Company, of the 128th, found itself with a war still on its hands. But now the killers have stopped killing. The kids from La Crosse and Battle Creek who three years ago knew the philosophy of “kill or be killed” only from the training films had killed 34,000 Japs.

In fact, it required special inducements to get prisoners – and even then there weren’t many prisoners. Toward the end of the New Guinea campaign they were offering a furlough to Australia. On Leyte there was a somewhat indefinite furlough offer. During the Villa Verde operation the offer took the very definite form of a case of beer and a three-day pass to Manila. Willie Brown nabbed three of these. But, despite the beer-pass offer, the 32nd took only fifty-six prisoners on Luzon from January to July.

Peace not withstanding, the 32nd was still to have some great moments. Into the lines near Kiangan on August twenty-sixth came a Jap officer under a white flag bearing a letter from an old foe, Lt. Gen. Tomoyuke Yamashita, variously hated as the “Tiger of Malaya” and the “Butcher of Bataan” and the “Gopher of Luzon” – take your choice. In sonorous Jap double-talk, the Tiger-Butcher-Gopher said he hadn’t had an order to surrender “from Imperial Headquarters,” but he thought “negotiations can be immediately entered into,” anyway. Yamashita, who had dictated the harshest possible surrender terms at Singapore three and a half years before, was eating humble pie all right, but chose to nibble at it.

The moment of triumph was to have its anticlimax of bitter tragedy. Col. Merle H. Howe, the forty-nine-year-old Grand Rapids schoolteacher who became the 32nd’s most decorated officer, was killed in a plane crash near Yamashita’s headquarters, while making daily flights there in connection with surrender negotiations. Colonel Howe at various times had commanded all the division’s regiments. He was a sort of living symbol of what the division had been through.

Yamashita, his 200-pound hulk shrunken to 160 pounds, finally surrendered to Lt. Russell Bauman, of Glenbeulah, Wisconsin, and two dozen riflemen of the 128th regiment’s I Company. The day his superiors were signing the Empire of the Rising Sun away aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in in Tokyo Bay, the Tiger-Butcher-Gopher was munching K rations and signing short-snorter dollar bills for Yanks in Kiangan’s bomb-battered schoolhouse. To the end he wore an arrogant smile, though members of his staff appeared about to burst out crying. The next day, at Camp John Hay, the Tiger-Butcher-Gopher signed as commanded, while Gen. Jonathan Wainwright sat grimly by.

But the road had not yet ended for the 32nd. By October, the division’s regiments were on their way to occupy the Japanese homeland. The 32nd was seeing it through from start to finish – and then some.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: usarmy; worldwarii

1 posted on 11/20/2004 7:37:44 PM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
"Homer" thanks for this post. We who were not there will never, and can never appreciate the experience these "doughs" had. We have the opportunit and obligation to live life to the fullest, because of such men!

Thanks to you and all of them.

2 posted on 11/20/2004 8:13:24 PM PST by RAY (They that do right are all heroes!)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Honoring your Dad this way shows that he passed his personal Honor on to you. That 'Greatest Generation' stuff is true, IMO. My Dad served in the 11th Airborne Div.

In case you haven't already done this, here's some stuff I found....the last link is 128th only.,11003,100651,00.html?home_page_id=100651

among the last surviving members of Company D, 128th Infantry, 32nd Division ... A0017_news%5Chtm%5C06_21_04_NYU.htm

Adam Scholl
... at the link below (next paragraph) listed as "128th Volunteer Infantry Regiment". ...
On Friday we have the "Reunion of Descendants" and Friendship ...

America's Greatest Generation: Army Heroes: US Army Leyte: Lacho ...
... Unit: F. Co., 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division. ... in the
same battle because they had put my company in with his Regiment to help ...

Welcome to Pier 90!
... Infantry Division (126th, 127th, and 128th Infantry Regiments); ... The troops came from
the 127th Infantry Regiment and the ... years later at a reunion in Pittsburgh ...

Bulletin Board for 32nd Infantry Division
... 20 Apr, anyone in 128th, 32d div ... ORIGINALLY WITH THE 32ND RED ARROW DIVISION, 126TH

2nd Battalion — 128th Infantry Regiment
2nd Battalion — 128th Infantry Regiment. Wisconsin National Guard. Units. ... Madison,
WI. Official Homepage. 2nd Battalion — 128th Infantry Regiment. Click Here. ...

World War II Stories Bulletin Board
John Hinton 128th Infantry Regiment Mon Sep 6, 2004 17:29 My name is
John Hinton, and I am assistant metro editor at the Winston-Salem Journal in ...; article=5;title=World%20War%20II%20Stories%20Bulletin%20Board

more here:

3 posted on 11/20/2004 8:34:20 PM PST by Vn_survivor_67-68
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To: Vn_survivor_67-68

Thanks for the links. I came across the name of Lacho Montez some months ago and tried to track him down. I haven't received a response so far.

4 posted on 11/20/2004 8:57:07 PM PST by Homer_J_Simpson (Mission Accomplished!)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson


5 posted on 11/20/2004 9:02:13 PM PST by Chesterbelloc
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Sunday morning BTTT

6 posted on 11/21/2004 6:42:10 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson (Mission Accomplished!)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Monday morning last-chance-until-I-see-a-Battle-of-the-Bulge-thread ping.

7 posted on 11/22/2004 5:38:36 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson (Mission Accomplished!)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

I vowed to ping this when Battle of the Bulge articles started appearing. I realize that the Ardennes operation was greater in scope and numbers involved than the Leyte operation, but the latter shouldn't be forgotten.

8 posted on 12/16/2004 9:22:10 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson (Mission Accomplished!)
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To: Vn_survivor_67-68

My Father also served in the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division, 128th Infantry Regiment, Cannon Company, earning his Bronze Star on the Villa Verde Trail. He is now 83 years old and in good health. A short interview and recent image of my Father and his various decorations may be viewed at the following link:

9 posted on 09/06/2008 12:41:10 PM PDT by huppmoile
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Thank you for your post.
God bless our troops and veterans.

10 posted on 09/06/2008 12:43:54 PM PDT by Velveeta
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To: huppmoile

Geez! What are the odds that I’d be sitting here with an FR window open as someone posts a reply to me for a post/thread 4 yrs old?

Please tell your Dad for me that when I was drafted in 1966 there were still some Brown-Shoe-Army Men on active duty who had served in WWII......the Army was to change pretty quick, but it was my privilege and Honor to learn from their example and leadership. Things that really matter are timeless, unless they are forgotten.

I wound up in the 1/26th Inf in the 1st Inf Div.....a straight-leg infantry battalion that descended from the 26th Infantry Regiment of earlier times......I salute your Dad!

11 posted on 09/06/2008 1:01:16 PM PDT by Vn_survivor_67-68 (CALL CONGRESSCRITTERS TOLL-FREE @ 1-800-965-4701)
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To: huppmoile; fredhead; r9etb; PzLdr; dfwgator; Paisan; From many - one.; rockinqsranch; GRRRRR; ...

Wow. How did you find this? I was thinking I should post this in a few years when the Buna campaign reaches the 70 year anniversary. I forgot I already posted it. Welcome to FR, hupp.

12 posted on 09/06/2008 2:16:52 PM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson (For events that occurred in 1938, real time is 1938, not 2008.)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Many thanks.

13 posted on 09/06/2008 2:36:02 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
January 3, 1945, when he was evacuated from Leyte Island and hospitalized

Small world, my Mom's ship, USHS Marigold, evacuated casualties (to Hollandia) from Leyte from Dec 25 to Dec 30, probably returning Jan 6 or 7. Just missed

14 posted on 09/06/2008 4:37:32 PM PDT by SJackson (as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station, Michelle O)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson


15 posted on 09/06/2008 5:00:01 PM PDT by sport
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To: SJackson
Small world, my Mom's ship, USHS Marigold, evacuated casualties (to Hollandia) from Leyte from Dec 25 to Dec 30, probably returning Jan 6 or 7. Just missed

Well, God bless your mom. I'll bet she was a glorious sight to the sick and wounded evacuees. If she missed my father there were others like her when his turn came.

16 posted on 09/06/2008 5:39:20 PM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson (For events that occurred in 1938, real time is 1938, not 2008.)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson

Great post Homer...

17 posted on 09/06/2008 5:58:47 PM PDT by JDoutrider (Pray for our side!)
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To: JDoutrider

Thanks. That was one of my early transcription posts. I was filled with youthful enthusiasm back in ‘04

18 posted on 09/06/2008 6:54:52 PM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson (For events that occurred in 1938, real time is 1938, not 2008.)
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Forgive me for not being computer savvy. I’m struggling getting information on this sight, but read the article about your father. I just recently found out that my father was in 32nd infantry division, 2nd battalion (thinking the 128th) Company F. The few that were sent to New Guinee from Wisconsin. I’m looking for information and have a few people helping me. I have no idea where to start. Thank you! Antoinette

19 posted on 03/30/2012 3:29:16 PM PDT by Antoinette
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