The 24th Division doesn’t forget.
It was on Oahu when the Japs threw their sneak punch at Pearl Harbor, and the men of the Victory Division have been paying back the Nips ever since.
Thus far the 24th has hit the Nips thirteen times—at Hollandia, Biak, Panaon, Leyte, Mindoro, Marinduque, Subic Bay, Fort McKinley, Lubang, Romblon, Simara, Verde, and Corregidor. Now it is in Japan itself.
The 24th started its slaughter of the Japs in April of 1944 when, in what has been called the most brilliantly conceived and executed tactical maneuver of the Pacific war, it landed in New Guinea for the Tanahmerah-Hollandia operation. In four days the Division had wrested the vital Hollandia airdrome from the enemy, and this was accomplished with only 52 battle casualties. By June 6, the Victory men had killed 1,777 Japs and taken 502 prisoners, and had lost a total of only 43 men killed and 70 wounded. Elements of the 24th then went to Biak and aided the 41st Division in capturing Sorido and Boroke airdromes.
But it was on Leyte, where the backbone of the Japanese defense of the Philippines was broken, that the 24th proved itself one of the great fighting outfits of the war. The men came in on Red Beach, and it was an inferno. Jap mountain guns flayed the landing boats. Zekes and Bettys sprayed the beach.
The dunes were raked by enemy mortar, machinegun and small-arms fire. But the 24th landed and kept moving. The 19th Infantry Regiment drove up vital Hill 522 before the Japs, who had abandoned this commanding bit of ground during the naval bombardment, could reoccupy their positions. The 34th Infantry Regiment pushed straight inland, repulsing counterattack after counterattack.
The 24th bore the brunt of the fighting on Leyte. It fought the Jap at the crossroads, in the villages, in the rice paddies, along the banks of dirty streams, stalked him through the hills, and rooted him out of his dugouts. For 78 consecutive days, a Pacific record at the time, the men of the 24th were in constant combat, and they killed a counted 7,179 Japs.
The 2nd Battalion of the 19th Infantry is known in the Pacific as the “Lost Battalion” of World War II. In a wide flanking movement designed to put a strangle hold on the Japanese “lifeline” road at Ormoc, the 2nd Battalion remained 13 days behind Japanese lines. Cut off from supplies and unable to evacuate its wounded, the battalion held, despite daily banzai attacks by the desperate Japanese.
But there was no rest for the weary after Leyte.
Elements of the 24th were pulled directly from the line and went to Mindoro as part of a task force, while other elements landed and secured Marinduque.
With only a short rest, the fighting 34th Infantry was attached to the 38th Division to spearhead the landing of that outfit above Subic Bay at the tip of Bataan Peninsula. The 34th led this assault all the way to Zig-Zag Pass, that treacherous divide where the Japanese had prepared a main line of defense. The 34th broke through the pass.
One battalion of the 34th was given the honor of making the amphibious assault on Corregidor. It hit the beach on February 16 while the 503d Parachute Infantry landed on Topside. For nine days the men stood up against—and beat back—fanatical Nip attacks.
Later the Victory men were given the job of mopping-up operations on Verde, Lubang, Romblon and Simara Islands. They didn’t miss a Jap. The 24th really remembered Pearl Harbor.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
There are 77 soldiers of the 24th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.
|Private First Class Thomas Adamsky 21st Infantry Regiment 03/12/1945|
|Private James F. Ahern 21st Infantry Regiment 11/09/1944|
|Private Alfonso B. Arias 24th Quartermaster Company 02/25/1943|
|Sergeant Joseph V. Babinetz 19th Infantry Regiment 05/21/1945|
|Private First Class Edward J. Basham 19th Infantry Regiment 10/21/1944|
|Private Lloyd A. Baumgardner 19th Infantry Regiment 11/08/1944|
|Staff Sergeant Eugene C. Belisle 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private First Class Archie L. Boyer 34th Infantry Regiment 04/21/1945|
|Captain John A. Brady Division Artillery 11/04/1945|
|Private James E. Bratcher 34th Infantry Regiment 04/21/1945|
|Corporal Vernie L. Brockman 21st Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Private Orville E. Bundy 34th Infantry Regiment 10/30/1944|
|Private First Class Henry V. Burns 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Sergeant Matthew J. Clarke 19th Infantry Regiment 03/12/1945|
|Private John W. Dayton 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion 05/28/1944|
|Private First Class Alphonse Demeglio 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private Paul J. Douglas 19th Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Private John F. Dowie 19th Infantry Regiment 10/21/1944|
|Private First Class Harrison J. Fetterman 19th Infantry Regiment 02/15/1945|
|Private John S. Fisher 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Staff Sergeant Donald Francis 21st Infantry Regiment 02/05/1945|
|Technician Fifth Grade Alfred J. Giguere 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion 02/21/1945|
|Private Irven J. Ginger 19th Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Private First Class Henry A. Grover 21st Infantry Regiment 07/13/1945|
|Technician Fifth Grade William E. Gulliford 19th Infantry Regiment 08/12/1943|
|Private Norman A. Hahn 21st Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Private First Class Donald L. Harper 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Staff Sergeant Neil Holland 34th Infantry Regiment 11/21/1944|
|Private Sherman F. Kerr 34th Infantry Regiment 10/31/1944|
|Private First Class Clarence J. Kiedrowicz 21st Infantry Regiment 11/12/1944|
|Private Melvin C. Kline 52nd Field Artillery Battalion 11/22/1944|
|Technician Fifth Grade Henry R. Kubecka 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private First Class William D. Kuhnle 19th Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Private First Class Alfred J. Kvist 34th Infantry Regiment 03/12/1945|
|Private First Class Nicholas J. Laubenthal 34th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private Shappard B. McLemore 19th Infantry Regiment 05/26/1945|
|Staff Sergeant Leonard L. Meinlschmidt 21st Infantry Regiment 11/06/1944|
|Sergeant Paul W. Mentzer 21st Infantry Regiment 11/05/1944|
|Staff Sergeant Jacob A. Meyer 21st Infantry Regiment 11/05/1944|
|Sergeant Leonard E. Mixon 19th Infantry Regiment 10/23/1944|
|Private James R. Monaco 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private First Class Harold E. Moyer 34th Infantry Regiment 02/21/1945|
|Private Benjamin F. Mulkey 21st Infantry Regiment 05/08/1945|
|Private First Class Edward J. Najecki 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion 03/12/1945|
|Private First Class Leo M. Needham 19th Infantry Regiment 10/30/1944|
|Private Jesse Pardo 19th Infantry Regiment 10/27/1944|
|Private Rosario S. Raniolo 13th Field Artillery Battalion 10/20/1944|
|First Lieutenant Claude A. Reese 21st Infantry Regiment 10/01/1944|
|Private Charlie R. Reeves 34th Infantry Regiment 11/21/1944|
|First Lieutenant Arthur R. Richardson 19th Infantry Regiment 05/21/1945|
|Private James Rickner 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private Donnal L. Ritter 24th Reconnaissance Troop 12/17/1944|
|Private First Class Emil C. Schroeder 21st Infantry Regiment 08/12/1944|
|Private First Class Hiram Sears 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion 06/12/1943|
|Private First Class Joseph H. Seix 21st Infantry Regiment 11/15/1944|
|Private Joseph E. Sintic 21st Infantry Regiment 03/12/1945|
|Staff Sergeant Elmer W. Smith 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private John H. Smith 21st Infantry Regiment 11/06/1944|
|Private Walton L. Smith 34th Infantry Regiment 07/04/1945|
|Private Cruz Soto 21st Infantry Regiment 01/24/1945|
|Staff Sergeant Elmer W. Stief 21st Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Private First Class Carl R. Stolt 21st Infantry Regiment 11/06/1944|
|Private Vincent J. Stumpo 19th Infantry Regiment 10/25/1944|
|Corporal James E. Thompson 34th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
|Private Jasper E. Thomure 19th Infantry Regiment 01/28/1942|
|Private First Class Elmer L. Thornhill 21st Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944|
|Corporal Paul J. Tierney 21st Infantry Regiment 11/20/1944|
|Private Ernest G. Von Gruenigen 34th Infantry Regiment 10/30/1944|
|Private Cecil R. Wehrli 19th Infantry Regiment 10/21/1944|
|Private Ray Whitehead 34th Infantry Regiment 11/06/1945|
|Staff Sergeant Rocco R. Williams 34th Infantry Regiment 11/21/1944|
|Staff Sergeant Roy M. Williams 724th Ordnance Company 03/27/1946|
|Private Vernon F. Wisser 13th Field Artillery Battalion 10/27/1944|
|Private First Class Francis W. Wood 19th Infantry Regiment 10/29/1944|
|Technician Fifth Grade James J. Wroble 21st Infantry Regiment 11/12/1944|
|Sergeant Oliver E. Young 34th Infantry Regiment 02/03/1945|
|Private First Class Walter G. Zweifel 19th Infantry Regiment 10/20/1944|
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