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45th Infantry Division

In May 1943, troops stationed at Camp Patrick Henry in Virginia witnessed one of the strangest spectacles in American military history—a campfire war dance put on by soldiers about to embark for overseas. They were some of the 1,500 American Indians—from 28 tribes—who belonged to the “Thunderbird” Division. Composed in 1940, when it was activated, of National Guardsmen from Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, the 45th was much changed after its first two years of foreign service. Few of the Indians were left in its ranks. Its total casualties had amounted to twice its original strength.

But the 45th was used to changes. For instance, for years its shoulder patch, four-sided for the states to which it owed allegiance, had displayed a respectable old Indian design—the swastika. When the Nazis rose to power, the Division hastily substituted for this unseemly symbol another traditional Indian figure—that of the thunderbird, the Red Men’s “sacred bearer of unlimited happiness.”

At Oran, the Division trained for the first invasion of Europe-Sicily. On D-day, the 45th stormed ashore at Scoglitti, and in three weeks had overrun 1,000 square miles of enemy-held territory, moving so relentlessly that one German prisoner complained peevishly, “Don’t you ever sleep?” The high spot of the 22-day campaign was the fierce fight for “Bloody Ridge,” just before the Thunderbirds took San Stefano.

When the Allies landed at Salerno in September, the 45th vent in, on D-plus-1, at Paestum, and fought for four bitter months through the Apennines until it was relieved on January r: 1944. During this stretch, the Division crossed the Volturno River, took Venafro, and battled the enemy on icy mountaintops here it was so cold the Doughboys couldn’t dig foxholes in the hard ground. Some of the Thunderbirds turned muleskinners, in order to get supplies to the front lines over trails impassable for vehicles. After a brief rest, the 45th went ashore again at Anzio, and remained there under ceaseless enemy fire for 76 days. It turned back the major German counterattack calculated to drive me Allies back into the sea, and three units of the Division received citations for heroism.

After the breakthrough out of the beachhead, the 45th inarched north to Rome, and was relieved again on June 6 D-day in northern France. By the time the Division sailed for-its fourth invasion—southern France—it had already completed 271 days in the line. With other units of the Seventh Army, it rolled up the Rhone Valley and into the Vosges Mountains, where it ran into tough enemy opposition. Then it fought its way into the heart of Germany. Under the command of Major General Robert T. Frederick, one of the youngest division commanders in the Army, who was wounded nine times in battle, the veteran Thunderbirds took city after city, including the supposedly bypassed Aschaifenburg, whose fanatical defenders, including young boys and girls, put up some of the bitterest resistance the 45th had ever encountered. The Nazi shrine at Xümberg and the Nazi hell at Dachau were next, and the 45th climaxed its long months of service by marching triumphantly into Munich. The soldiers who had had to stop wearing the swastika had evened things up after 511 days of frontline combat, by conquering the birthplace of the movement that shamed it.

From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.

45th Infantry Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 147 soldiers of the 45th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Private First Class Leonard E. Adams 157th Infantry Regiment 01/21/1945
Private Howard M. Anchors 180th Infantry Regiment 06/03/1944
Private Zeno P. Babarski 157th Infantry Regiment 06/04/1945
Sergeant Harold E. Baird 179th Infantry Regiment 05/03/1945
Staff Sergeant Casimer Bernat 180th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1944
Sergeant Elmer E. Blake 179th Infantry Regiment 01/31/1944
Private John V. Blake 158th Field Artillery Battalion 06/03/1944
Technical Sergeant Roy B. Blanchard 179th Infantry Regiment 02/18/1944
Private First Class Edward A. Blum 179th Infantry Regiment 09/15/1943
Private Silvio A. Bolino 157th Infantry Regiment 02/21/1944
Private Warren E. Bonner 179th Infantry Regiment 09/04/1944
Private First Class Sanford K. Bowen 157th Infantry Regiment 01/20/1945
Private First Class Thomas M. Briggs 157th Infantry Regiment 10/13/1945
Second Lieutenant Bernard F. Brown 157th Infantry Regiment 05/18/1945
Private First Class Clossie D. Brown 157th Infantry Regiment 01/22/1946
Private First Class Wendell D. Brown 157th Infantry Regiment 06/02/1944
Private Robert M. Browne 180th Infantry Regiment 05/27/1944
Private First Class Thorntlen F. Brummitt 180th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1944
Private Roy C. Buhrman 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Silvester Bundy 179th Infantry Regiment 09/11/1943
Private First Class Carlos S. Burciaga 157th Infantry Regiment 10/01/1945
Private Rubin A. Burns 179th Infantry Regiment 05/14/1945
Private Dom Cammarata 157th Infantry Regiment 03/28/1944
Private Paul R. Carlander 180th Infantry Regiment 07/12/1944
Private First Class Roger H. Caron 157th Infantry Regiment 01/18/1946
Technical Sergeant Lee A. Chandler 157th Infantry Regiment 02/19/1944
Second Lieutenant Alva A. Conley 171st Field Artillery Battalion 02/19/1944
Private Anthony J. Corcione 180th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1944
Private First Class Estle E. Corvin 157th Infantry Regiment 01/22/1946
Corporal Allen C. Crane 160th Field Artillery Battalion 01/05/1945
Private Nicholas Dalessandro 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Lawrence D'Asaro 179th Infantry Regiment 02/17/1944
Corporal Magno J. De Martino 180th Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Sergeant Albert F. Decunick 157th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Staff Sergeant Ernest Derrera 157th Infantry Regiment 05/24/1944
Private First Class Isidro S. Diaz 179th Infantry Regiment 05/25/1944
Staff Sergeant Paul A. Dodgion 180th Infantry Regiment 05/23/1944
Private Robert S. Dowds 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private James J. Driscoll 157th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Technician Fifth Grade Frank M. Ebeling 171st Field Artillery Battalion 04/26/1945
Private John C. Edwards 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Emilio Farino 179th Infantry Regiment 08/18/1945
Private First Class James L. Farmer 179th Infantry Regiment 02/18/1944
Private First Class Manuel M. Federico 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Dale W. Field 157th Infantry Regiment 07/11/1945
Private First Class Alcario V. Flores 157th Infantry Regiment 01/22/1946
Staff Sergeant William E. Fry 157th Infantry Regiment 02/01/1945
Private Gilbert C. Galan 179th Infantry Regiment 05/03/1945
First Lieutenant Joseph E. Georgi 179th Infantry Regiment 05/02/1945
Private Max Goldberg 157th Infantry Regiment 07/10/1943
Private First Class John W. Gordon 157th Infantry Regiment 01/17/1945
Private Leonard A. Gorecki 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Robert L. Groves 120th Engineer Combat Battalion 05/23/1944
Private Joseph J. Grundowski 157th Infantry Regiment 02/20/1944
Second Lieutenant Michael J. Guyda 157th Infantry Regiment 02/21/1944
Sergeant Eugene W. Hammond 180th Infantry Regiment 02/22/1944
Private First Class Cecil E. Harris 179th Infantry Regiment 01/02/1945
Private First Class Ashley Harrison 180th Infantry Regiment 07/14/1943
Private Julio Hernandez 179th Infantry Regiment 12/03/1943
Private First Class Donald Hofman 157th Infantry Regiment 01/21/1945
Private First Class William L. Hudnall 157th Infantry Regiment 06/04/1944
Corporal Hugo W. Jackson 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Albert Kisela 179th Infantry Regiment 05/03/1945
Sergeant Joseph Kish 179th Infantry Regiment 05/22/1945
Private First Class Lester J. Kline 179th Infantry Regiment 06/01/1945
Private First Class John Knapp 180th Infantry Regiment 04/26/1945
Private Leroy W. Learn 157th Infantry Regiment 07/11/1945
First Lieutenant John D. Lehman 157th Infantry Regiment 05/31/1944
Staff Sergeant Edward V. Leonard 179th Infantry Regiment 02/16/1944
Private Paul E. Lizotte 179th Infantry Regiment 07/10/1943
Sergeant Juan M. Lopez 180th Infantry Regiment 01/04/1944
Corporal Cecil C. Lynch 180th Infantry Regiment 07/14/1943
Private Jeremiah P. Mahoney 157th Infantry Regiment 01/18/1946
Private First Class Francis P. Martin 157th Infantry Regiment 01/17/1946
Private First Class Leopoldo U. Martinez 180th Infantry Regiment 07/12/1944
Private William S. McClung 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Loyd R. McCrary 120th Engineer Combat Battalion 04/26/1945
Private First Class James M. J. McDermott 157th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Private Earl W. Miller 180th Infantry Regiment 12/20/1944
Private First Class William Miller 157th Infantry Regiment 02/05/1945
Private First Class Jessie C. Minnis 157th Infantry Regiment 01/17/1945
Private John B. Moan 180th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Private Anthony J. Mobilio 157th Infantry Regiment 07/10/1943
Private First Class Nicholas V. Mogus 179th Infantry Regiment 06/03/1944
Private Lyle J. Mooney 157th Infantry Regiment 08/18/1945
Private Boyd L. Morefield 157th Infantry Regiment 12/23/1944
Technical Sergeant Howard J. Morois 179th Infantry Regiment 05/31/1944
Private Kenneth L. Mortimer 179th Infantry Regiment 08/18/1945
Private First Class John F. Mueller 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private First Class William H. Mulvey 180th Infantry Regiment 02/22/1944
Private Charles C. Murphy 180th Infantry Regiment 02/18/1944
Private Joseph Nunes 157th Infantry Regiment 01/30/1945
Private William J. O'Flaherty 180th Infantry Regiment 07/13/1943
Corporal John L. O'Malley 157th Infantry Regiment 01/16/1946
Private Frederick P. Omodio 157th Infantry Regiment 07/10/1943
Private First Class Walter E. Papick 157th Infantry Regiment 05/09/1944
Private Richard W. Park 157th Infantry Regiment 02/16/1944
Sergeant Ray A. Peck 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private John J. Petralia 180th Infantry Regiment 05/27/1944
Private Dominick J Phillipo 179th Infantry Regiment
Private John L. Powelson 180th Infantry Regiment 05/31/1945
Staff Sergeant Michael Prehoda 157th Infantry Regiment 03/08/1945
Private First Class Joseph M. Radzilowski 179th Infantry Regiment 05/03/1945
Corporal Paul Rains 157th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Private Jack C. Reisinger 180th Infantry Regiment 05/31/1945
Private First Class Clarence Riley 157th Infantry Regiment 08/16/1943
Private Arthur J. Rinn 180th Infantry Regiment 07/12/1944
Private John J. Ritz 179th Infantry Regiment 09/13/1943
Staff Sergeant Tilden H. Roark 180th Infantry Regiment 02/18/1944
Sergeant Francis A. Roeckl 179th Infantry Regiment 12/06/1943
Private First Class Kendrick F. Roney 157th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Private First Class Andrew Root 179th Infantry Regiment 02/18/1944
Private First Class Clarence E. Roseland 179th Infantry Regiment 10/06/1944
Staff Sergeant James Rotunno 157th Infantry Regiment 01/22/1946
Private First Class Jose L. Samora 180th Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Private William Schoolcraft 179th Infantry Regiment 12/13/1943
Private William J. Schuler 157th Infantry Regiment 04/02/1944
Sergeant Joseph K. Schwarz 157th Infantry Regiment 07/17/1945
Private First Class Ralph J. Scoggin 180th Infantry Regiment 05/26/1944
Private Harold Seckbach 180th Infantry Regiment 02/16/1945
First Lieutenant John E. Sharp 180th Infantry Regiment 07/11/1944
Sergeant Louia J. Sheeley 180th Infantry Regiment 07/16/1943
Private First Class Clayton L. Siple 179th Infantry Regiment 01/04/1946
Private First Class Clinton E. Smith 157th Infantry Regiment 01/14/1945
Private First Class Lowell D. Smith 157th Infantry Regiment 01/21/1945
Private John A. Snopek 179th Infantry Regiment 09/11/1943
Private First Class Stanley J. Sobotka 180th Infantry Regiment 07/15/1943
Sergeant Leo Spanier 157th Infantry Regiment 05/29/1944
Private Joseph S. Stankus 179th Infantry Regiment 09/11/1943
Private Lawrence R. Steiner 180th Infantry Regiment 07/13/1943
Private First Class Richard P. Summers 180th Infantry Regiment 01/06/1945
Private First Class Clyde Tallent 179th Infantry Regiment 06/02/1945
Corporal Domenick J. Tamburri 157th Infantry Regiment 05/09/1944
Private First Class Joseph A. Tellish 157th Infantry Regiment 05/24/1945
Private Frank A. Tito 180th Infantry Regiment 10/07/1945
Private Raymond J. Trost 179th Infantry Regiment 02/16/1944
Private Donald L. Valentine 157th Infantry Regiment 05/24/1945
Private First Class Mose E. Vance 180th Infantry Regiment 01/11/1945
Private First Class Cecil A. Verboort 180th Infantry Regiment 11/04/1943
Private First Class Edwin G. Wachtmann 157th Infantry Regiment 03/28/1944
Private Homer D. Wadlow 157th Infantry Regiment 01/17/1946
Private Rudolph Walsh 157th Infantry Regiment 01/22/1946
Private First Class Joe C. Warner 157th Infantry Regiment 06/03/1944
Private First Class Guy E. White 180th Infantry Regiment 02/16/1944
Private Raymond E. Witham 157th Infantry Regiment 05/09/1944
Private First Class Linden C. Woolhiser 157th Infantry Regiment 06/01/1945
Private First Class Jewell Worley 180th Infantry Regiment 05/27/1944

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