Something new has been added to the insignia of the 38th Infantry Division. Across the top of the shield-shaped red-white-and-blue patch, with its interlocking C and Y, the men who wear it now like to append a scroll with the words “Avengers of Bataan.”
It belongs there too, because the Doughboys of the 38th, the Cyclone Division, spearheaded the drive which annihilated the Japanese forces on Bataan in the battle that liberated Luzon.
During this drive, elements of the 38th swept through Balanga, Pilar, and across the neck of land to Bagac—the same route over which the Japanese had tortured and humiliated the heroic American defenders of Bataan in the infamous March of Death in 1942.
The Cyclone Division—it got its name in 1917, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, when the tent-city area in which it was bivouacked was levelled by tremendous winds—struck like a cyclone when it landed on Luzon in January of 1945. The Cyclones came ashore near Subic Bay on the famed peninsula, where they cut behind the Japs then fighting our Lingayen Gulf forces on the central plains of the island.
In a fierce, 16-day action, during which the Japs threw everything in the book at them, the Cyclones smashed through an intricate maze of fortifications to take Zig Zag Pass, key defense of the Bataan Peninsula. The Japs used all their resources in an effort to hold this pass. Mountain guns blasted die winding road to the pass. Mines made every step a dangerous one. Machine guns swept every twist and turn, and from caves and heavily fortified pillboxes the Nips poured continual ire. But the 38th was not to be denied.
One combat team made an amphibious assault at Mariveles, on the tip of the peninsula, and caught the Japs flat-footed. Another struck swiftly down the east coast to sweep along the Death March route. Other units landed, on D-plus-4, on Corregidor to assist in the defeat of that Jap-held rock fortress.
The Division was then divided up into three regimental combat teams.
One force mopped up remnants of enemy troops on the peninsula. Another, plus a provisional company organized from the division artillery, struck north and west of Zig Zag Pass against powerful enemy defenses in the rugged Zambales Mountain ranges, while the third was charged with the reduction of enemy defenses on the remaining three islands—Caballo, Fort Drum and Carabao—guarding the entrance to Manila Bay. This force, the 151st Infantry, had previously occupied Grande Island, in Subic Bay.
With these missions completed, the Cyclones moved as a unit to the Sierra Madre Mountains northeast of Manila to give battle to Jap forces drawn up behind the Shimbu Line, an area defended by almost impassable terrain in addition to a well developed and interlocking series of caves, pillboxes, tunnels, and artillery emplacements. To break this line, the Doughs of the 38th fought a series of savage battles. The Japs were burned from their caves with flamethrowers, blasted out with satchel charges, and rooted out with bayonet and hand grenades. The engagement came to an end 4vhen the 38th seized the Marikina River line and captured Wawa Dam, an important source of water supply to Manila.
When Wawa Dam was seized the Avengers of Bataan had killed 17,600 Japs, captured 466 prisoners, and established an exceedingly low ratio of KIAs to enemy dead—1 to 36.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
There are 35 soldiers of the 38th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.
|Private First Class Michael Augustine 113th Engineer Combat Battalion 04/12/1945|
|Private First Class Robert S. Ballentyne 151st Infantry Regiment 04/10/1945|
|Private Willard F. Bortz 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Staff Sergeant James A. Bowman 151st Infantry Regiment 10/25/1945|
|Private First Class Frank J. Brown 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class Ralph M. Carter 149th Infantry Regiment 02/13/1945|
|Private Harvey Crawford 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class Cecil W. Dunbar 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class Anthony E. Faughender 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class Charles E. Glover 151st Infantry Regiment 04/25/1945|
|Private First Class Morris J. Goldberg 151st Infantry Regiment 02/09/1945|
|Private First Class William E. Goodall 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class Walter J. Haines 151st Infantry Regiment 04/12/1945|
|Technician Fourth Grade John Herman 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class Harry W. Isham 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private John Knight 152nd Infantry Regiment 06/09/1945|
|Private First Class Anthony J. Kryzanauckas 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Sergeant James I. Lucas 151st Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945|
|Private First Class Bynum W. McClintock 151st Infantry Regiment 04/24/1945|
|Private First Class Howard A. McKinney 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Second Lieutenant Richard E. Meade 149th Infantry Regiment 12/07/1944|
|Staff Sergeant William W. Miller 151st Infantry Regiment 03/12/1945|
|Technician Fifth Grade Joseph Mulaski 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Staff Sergeant Billy J. Peace 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Corporal Albert E. Peowie 113th Engineer Combat Battalion 04/12/1945|
|First Lieutenant William L. Pilgrim 151st Infantry Regiment 10/01/1944|
|Private First Class Willis C. Powell 151st Infantry Regiment 02/01/1945|
|Private Roland J. Roberts 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private Earl H. Schlegel 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Technical Sergeant John Sircy 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private Walter J. Szczesny 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private U. W. Todd 149th Infantry Regiment 12/10/1944|
|Private First Class Bob Tooley 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private William T. Toon 149th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944|
|Private First Class John A. Weiss 151st Infantry Regiment 02/09/1946|
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