In World War I the 6th Division was in so many engagements and made so many long marches about France that it was nicknamed “The Sight-Seeing Sixth.” The 6th in World War II did a pretty good job of upholding that reputation. Its six-pointed star shoulder patch has been seen throughout the Pacific, from Hawaii to the far reaches of Japan.
No division had a tougher assignment in the recapture of the Philippines than the 6th. It landed at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, on D-day, January 9, 1945, and immediately took to the hills in pursuit of the Japs. While most of the other invading divisions were working on fairly flat terrain, the 6th was in the mountains, hacking away at the formidable Nip positions. Not until the Okinawa campaign did American troops get as much artillery as was poured on the 6th from the Japanese mountain guns.
But the 6th kept rolling the enemy from peak to peak. In the first month of the campaign the Sightseers killed 5,000 Japs, and during the fierce battle around Munoz they knocked out 57 Jap medium and light tanks and destroyed a formidable number of artillery pieces. General Walter Krueger, Commanding General of the Sixth Army, commended the Division for its magnificent performance in this engagement.
Shortly after this battle the 6th’s commander, Major General Edwin D. Patrick, was killed by mortar fire while up front with his troops.
The 6th’s first mission in this war was the defense of Oahu. The Division reached the Hawaiian Islands in 1943 and relieved the 27th Division of the defensive positions in the southern sector. Later, it took over the defense of the entire island.
In January of 1944 the 6th set sail for Milne Bay, New Guinea, and five months later moved on to the ToemWakde area in Dutch New Guinea. In July the Sightseers went into action west of Toem and met and defeated the Japanese in the bloody battle of Lone Tree Hill. This victory was a major one because it secured the Maffin Bay area for the Americans.
With little or no rest, the 6th went into action again. This time the men with the six-pointed star made a landing at Sansapor on the Vogelkop Peninsula in the Netherlands East Indies. Striking swiftly against a surprised Japanese garrison, the 6th rapidly secured the Sansapor coast from Cape Weimak to the Mega River. The Division, in its lightning stroke at Sansapor, captured many prisoners.
The 6th garrisoned this area until late in the year when it joined the vast armada that sailed against Luzon. During the Luzon campaign the men of the 6th established a Pacific record for continuous duty in the line, serving well over a hundred days before being relieved and given a rest at a back area.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
There are 34 soldiers of the 6th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.
|Private First Class Willie O. Canary 1st Infantry Regiment 06/24/1944|
|Private Earl G. Cavanaugh 1st Infantry Regiment 06/29/1944|
|Private John R. Chavez 1st Infantry Regiment 06/26/1944|
|Sergeant Clyde R. Cutting 20th Infantry Regiment 02/07/1946|
|Staff Sergeant Lewis C. Davis 20th Infantry Regiment 06/15/1944|
|Private Norman P. Diener 1st Infantry Regiment 04/09/1945|
|Private First Class Elden C. Edwards 63rd Infantry Regiment 07/09/1945|
|Private Milo Ferguson 1st Infantry Regiment 11/27/1943|
|Private Frank T. Gawlik 1st Infantry Regiment 06/24/1944|
|Sergeant Johnny S. Gibbs 1st Infantry Regiment 01/17/1945|
|Private First Class Archie E. Gorton 63rd Infantry Regiment 03/01/1945|
|First Lieutenant Sylvanus S. Grasser 63rd Infantry Regiment 04/24/1944|
|Private Jesse D. Groom 20th Infantry Regiment 06/15/1944|
|Technician Fifth Grade Elroy W. Hahn 1st Infantry Regiment 03/29/1945|
|Private Robert J. Harris 20th Infantry Regiment 06/22/1945|
|Private Stanley D. Hatfield 20th Infantry Regiment 12/23/1944|
|Private First Class Iva F. Holmes 1st Infantry Regiment 04/17/1945|
|Private First Class Earl C. Knutson 1st Infantry Regiment 02/28/1945|
|Private First Class Silas Lefthand 1st Infantry Regiment 02/27/1945|
|Private First Class Robert E. O'Brien 63rd Infantry Regiment 01/26/1945|
|Private First Class Floyd P. Palmer 20th Infantry Regiment 06/20/1944|
|Technical Sergeant Arlice B. Robinson 63rd Infantry Regiment 01/21/1945|
|Private Clifton O. Rust 6th Medical Battalion 02/08/1946|
|Private Victor P. Rutterbush 1st Infantry Regiment 01/07/1945|
|Private First Class Robert G. Sprague 63rd Infantry Regiment 01/18/1945|
|Captain Walter G. Still 63rd Infantry Regiment 04/24/1944|
|Second Lieutenant Henry J. Stock 1st Infantry Regiment 03/03/1945|
|First Lieutenant John W. Swan 1st Infantry Regiment 06/24/1944|
|Private Egon Waechter 20th Infantry Regiment 01/22/1946|
|Private Clifford B. Waskosky 63rd Infantry Regiment 05/09/1945|
|Private Carl J. Wiese 80th Field Artillery Battalion 06/24/1944|
|Private First Class Jasper W. Wilcox 1st Infantry Regiment 08/17/1945|
|Technician Fifth Grade Maurice J. Young 706th Ordnance Company 08/25/1944|
|Private First Class Joseph M. Yuhasz 1st Infantry Regiment 06/24/1944|
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