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77th Infantry Division

General Douglas MacArthur, an old football player himself, gave the job of pulling the Statue of Liberty play on the Japs at Leyte to the outfit best fitted to execute it—the 77th Infantry Division, whose men carry Miss Liberty on their shoulders.

In one of the most daring operations of the Pacific War- General Walter Krueger, Sixth Army commander, admitted that it might have turned into an “American Dunkirk”—the Statue of Liberty Division made a landing behind the main Japanese defense line on Ormoc Bay.

Striking shortly after dawn, three years to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Doughboys of the 77th caught the Japs completely by surprise, and, in the heavy battles which followed, broke the back of the enemy defense of Leyte.

Ground opposition was light in the initial stages of the landing, but heavy Japanese air attacks pounded the Doughboys the first few nights. Three days later Ormoc, hub of the Nip defense, was captured, and the 77th pushed on against heavy opposition to join other elements of the X Corps. This junction ended organized Jap resistance, and on Christmas Day, 1944, the island was declared secure.

With the Guam and Leyte campaigns under its belt, the 77th could have been excused for thinking it had seen Pacific fighting at its roughest. But the worst was yet to come. From Leyte, the 77th plunged into the savage, bloody battle for Okinawa, right in the Jap’s front yard. Here the Doughs of the 77th ran into the heaviest artillery fire of the Pacific war. They were plastered day and night by field pieces of all sizes. The enemy’s pillboxes were superior to any he had used at Tarawa and Saipan. And facing the Division’s front was Shuri, central fortress of the Jap defense line on southern Okinawa. Innumerable ridges, all of which bristled with Nip defenses, blocked the way to the high ground commanding Shuri. The Doughs, working with tanks, flamethrowers, and dynamite charges, finally dislodged the enemy, but not without heavy losses.

The 77th was also given the job of taking Ie Shima, tiny island of the Ryukyu group. It proved to be just as mean as Okinawa. The Japs managed to survive the terrific naval and air bombardment that preceded the landing of the Statue of Libertymen, and when the Doughs hit the beaches charged from their caves and tunnels.

It was on Ie Shima that Ernie Pyle, most beloved of correspondents, was killed. He went ashore with the 77th Division to record the agonies of the foot soldier, and was killed by machine-gun fire.

The 77th began its fight against the Japs in July 1944 when it landed on Orote Peninsula, Guam, and relieved the 4th Marines. Within 8 days, the Division had occupied the eastern beaches, and followed up by capturing Yona, San Antonio, and Barrigada. The Division was in action 21 days and advanced 18 miles against a trapped and desperate enemy.

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

77th Infantry Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 90 soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Private First Class Alvin D. Arneson 307th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1945
Private William H. Atwell 305th Infantry Regiment 08/07/1944
Private First Class James J. Baltz 307th Infantry Regiment 01/30/1945
Private First Class Joseph D. Belue 306th Infantry Regiment 05/11/1945
Private First Class Wilfred D. Berry 306th Infantry Regiment 05/14/1945
Sergeant James E. Birt 307th Infantry Regiment 04/19/1946
Private First Class Marlin M. Bowers 306th Infantry Regiment 12/09/1944
Private Benjamin F. Bradley 302nd Engineer Combat Battalion 05/04/1945
Private First Class Samuel J. Brandstein 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Second Lieutenant Harry W. Bush 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Private John L. Buttram 307th Infantry Regiment 05/20/1945
Private First Class Frank J. Cardoza 305th Infantry Regiment 04/17/1945
First Lieutenant Edgar R. Clark 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Technical Sergeant Joseph A. Coffey 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Sergeant George E. Cottrell 305th Infantry Regiment 08/07/1944
Staff Sergeant John Dally 307th Infantry Regiment 05/01/1945
Private First Class Willard A. Dean 307th Infantry Regiment 01/01/1900
Private First Class Leonard C. Dickhaut 307th Infantry Regiment 05/23/1945
Private First Class Jacob B. Diehl 305th Infantry Regiment 01/14/1945
Private First Class Marlo L. Dodd 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private First Class August Domingos 307th Infantry Regiment 05/18/1945
Private First Class Charles C. Dotson 307th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1945
Private First Class Robert K. Edwards 307th Infantry Regiment 05/23/1946
Private First Class James F. Elliott 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private Frank H. Fahrenkrug 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private First Class Massie F. Fazio 307th Infantry Regiment 01/30/1945
Sergeant Peter M. Feighan 305th Infantry Regiment 08/08/1944
Private Thomas F. Flinn 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private First Class Steven Fogaris 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Private First Class Alfred D. Foor 307th Infantry Regiment 05/18/1946
Private First Class Keith M. Frank 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private First Class Clayton L. Fulton 307th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Private Richard R. Funk 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Second Lieutenant Jack Ginsburg 307th Infantry Regiment 04/24/1945
Private First Class Roland J. Glade 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Staff Sergeant Grant L. Gleason 306th Infantry Regiment 05/20/1945
Sergeant John F. Haggerty 307th Infantry Regiment 05/18/1945
Sergeant Harry L. Hall 77th Reconnaissance Troop 08/07/1944
Private First Class Michael Hasso 902nd Field Artillery Battalion 05/17/1945
Private Woodrow W. Hensley 305th Infantry Regiment 03/30/1945
Captain Charles T. Hillman 305th Infantry Regiment 08/07/1944
Private First Class Lowell C. Hodges 307th Infantry Regiment 07/29/1944
Private First Class Henry Horton 306th Infantry Regiment 12/18/1945
Private Wilbur L. Ingram 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private Olen H. Isbell 306th Infantry Regiment 05/24/1945
Staff Sergeant Martin M. Kassey 306th Infantry Regiment 05/14/1946
Private First Class J. B. Kuykendall 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Technician Fourth Grade Arnold H. Lachmann 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Private Alvin G. Lambert 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Second Lieutenant Charles A. Mach 302nd Engineer Combat Battalion 05/03/1945
Private Loyd C. Maddux 307th Infantry Regiment 05/01/1945
Sergeant Romano G. Massoni 307th Infantry Regiment 01/30/1945
Private Otha Maxwell 307th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Private First Class Carson F. McCormick 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private First Class Francis B. McQuillan 307th Infantry Regiment 05/18/1945
Private First Class John G. Meyer 307th Infantry Regiment 05/22/1945
Private First Class Lenard P. Meyer 302nd Medical Battalion 03/14/1945
Private First Class Steve J. Mihalik 305th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Private Roy Miles 307th Infantry Regiment 05/18/1945
Private First Class Bernardo R. Mishy 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Private First Class Charlie H. Moon 307th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1945
Private First Class Jerry A. Mugnolo 306th Infantry Regiment 01/17/1946
Private First Class LaVon O. Olmstead 307th Infantry Regiment 12/11/1944
Private First Class Joseph Orr 307th Infantry Regiment 04/23/1945
Private Fred Palmer 307th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Private Creede M. Parker 306th Field Artillery Battalion 01/02/1946
Staff Sergeant Thomas G. Payne 307th Infantry Regiment 01/30/1945
Staff Sergeant Peter Plavchan 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Private John W. L. Poe 307th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Technician Fifth Grade Francis W. Poloney 305th Infantry Regiment 03/27/1945
Private First Class Jim Powell 307th Infantry Regiment 12/10/1944
Private Ernest E. Quisenberry 307th Infantry Regiment 05/16/1945
Private David M. Ramos 305th Infantry Regiment 04/03/1945
Private First Class Joseph E. Ray 307th Infantry Regiment 05/01/1945
Private First Class Steve Reichstetter 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Technician Fifth Grade Arthur C. Riley 302nd Engineer Combat Battalion 10/08/1944
Sergeant Frank C. Roebuck 307th Infantry Regiment 08/01/1944
Private First Class James Rosemary 307th Infantry Regiment 08/09/1944
Private First Class Richard L. Rutherford 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Staff Sergeant Nicholas A. Santillo 307th Infantry Regiment 05/15/1945
Private Roy C. Scales 307th Infantry Regiment 05/19/1945
Private First Class James B. Simons 307th Infantry Regiment 05/31/1945
Sergeant Stephen J. Spekhart 305th Infantry Regiment 04/17/1945
First Lieutenant Gene W. Tarpy 307th Infantry Regiment 04/30/1945
Private First Class Robert R. Thomas 307th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Private First Class Anthony Vitale Headquarters Company 07/16/1945
Sergeant Carl W. Walter 306th Infantry Regiment 05/13/1945
Private First Class George E. Willis 77th Signal Company 04/23/1945
Private Adrian C. Young 307th Infantry Regiment 05/17/1945
Private Henry C. Zierenberg 305th Infantry Regiment 08/07/1944

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