Battle of Bougainville: 37th Infantry Division's Battle for Hill 700 | HistoryNet

Battle of Bougainville: 37th Infantry Division’s Battle for Hill 700

6/12/2006 • World War II

The American strategic plan was clear: Move up the Solomon Island chains to open a direct route to the Philippines, take the Philippines and then move out from there on to Tokyo.

In 1942, the U.S. Marines drove the Japanese out of the first Solomon island, Guadalcanal; in 1943, painfully, bloodily, the 37th Infantry Division pushed through the equally impenetrable jungles of New Georgia, sweeping what was left of the 15,000 defending Japanese into the sea. The next and final Solomon island was Bougainville, and there the tactics were dramatically altered though the strategic concept remained the same.

In early November 1943, the 3rd Marine Division and the 37th Infantry Division invaded Bougainville with an offensive-defensive mission. There was no thought of pushing across this 250-square-mile island and eliminating the 25,000 Japanese in a brutal, costly, slow action. Instead, the plan was to take only a small piece of Bougainville, perhaps six square miles, including the deepest, best port at Empress Augusta Bay. Within those six square miles, a major airfield would be built, from which American planes could range over the South Pacific as far forward as the Philippines, assuring security from the air for the convoys and task forces that would invade the Philippines in October 1944.

By November 13, the Marine and Army units had reached their 2-mile-deep objective against relatively moderate enemy ground resistance and airstrikes. During the next four months, the position was consolidated, the airfield was built, and the springboard to the Philippines was set. Fighting had been limited; it was obvious that the Japanese had assumed–and hoped–that the American troops would go after them in the jungle terrain, where the Japanese could inflict heavy casualties on the Americans as they hacked their way, yard by yard, through those jungles. By March 1944, the Japanese realized that the Americans were going to sit this one out, manning defensive lines. If they wanted to kill their enemy and, most important, take out the vital airfield, the Japanese would have to attack head-on.

The American perimeter was dotted with a number of hills and valleys. The famed Hill 700 was right in the center of the perimeter, towering above the entire area with a clear view of the airfield. Hill 700 was the linchpin of the American defenses, the key to holding the perimeter positions to its right and left and eventually the airfield. The 3rd Marine and 37th Infantry divisions were spread thinly along this two-mile perimeter, with forces in reserve that could be sent forward wherever the Japanese might break through. Patrols were sent out to find and fix Japanese troop concentrations. A few prisoners were taken, and several quickly confessed that the Japanese command had finally understood the U.S. defensive concept and tactical plan with Hill 700 as its heart.

On March 8, the inevitable massive Japanese attack began, and it did not wane until March 13, when Hill 700, which had been partially overrun by the Japanese, was retaken by 37th Division forces, who annihilated thousands of Japanese in the recapture phase.

At 6 a.m. on the 8th, the first artillery shell from the attacking Japanese hit in the 145th Infantry Regiment’s sector. The enemy began to carry the fight to the Americans.

The American beachhead was on a coastal plain lying at the foot of the towering Crown Prince Range, volcanic mountains held by the Japanese. The enemy also occupied the rest of Bougainville–giving them a white elephant compared to the Americans’ potent mouse. The two American divisions could not spread their perimeter beyond the nearest foothills overlooking the beachhead. The best they could do was to hang on to the lesser heights that dominated the airfield and to deny those hills to enemy artillery.

Hostile fire was coming from Japanese positions on Blue Ridge, Hills 1001, 1111, 500 and 501 and the Saua River valley. Fire from only a few pieces could hit the airfield from those positions, but those meager rounds hinted at the Japanese destructive potential if they could place their cannon on the hills that the 37th Division defended, mainly Hill 700.

At 7 a.m., the 2nd Battalion, 145th Infantry, received a few stray small-arms rounds, just enough to alert all positions and encourage the men to clean their M-1 rifles. Short-range patrols discovered that the enemy was assembling in front of the 2nd Battalion, and it was thought that the major attack would be against Hill 700.

Shells continued to fall–not only on the airstrip but also on the 145th, the 6th Field Artillery Battalion, the 54th Coast Artillery Battalion, and the 77th and 36th Seabees. Casualties were light, but the Americans were tense. The inaccuracy of the Japanese fire made even the least strategic American installation subject to those wild haymakers. Helmeted repairmen kept the airstrip in operation, filling up holes and smoothing out shell craters. Planes landed and took off with casual disdain. A few planes were destroyed, however, and the possibility of declaring the bomber strip off-limits was seriously considered.

At noon the last patrol was reported in by the 145th, and the combined guns of the 135th Field Artillery, the 6th Field Artillery, the 140th Field Artillery, the 136th Field Artillery, and two battalions of the Americal Division artillery were readied for area fire on the Japanese as they moved from assembly areas behind Hills 1111 and 1000 toward the American lines. The Japanese 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, and the 13th Infantry (less one battalion) crowded toward Hill 700 to join the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, which had filtered in earlier. For two hours, thousands of rounds of American medium and heavy artillery blanketed the target zone. Later, a prisoner admitted that the Japanese 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, was practically annihilated during this bombardment; he said the rest of the troops escaped a similar fate by moving close enough to American lines to get within that umbrella of safety. Anticipating this ruse, U.S. artillery observers had called for fire closer and closer to the 37th’s front lines.

Still, the enemy was in an excellent position. Once the Japanese closed in on the Americans, it was difficult for the U.S. artillery to reach an enemy hiding literally under the front lines. Mortars pounded away in the dark with unobserved results. The 136th Field Artillery alone expended 1,239 rounds that day. Those manning the observation posts yelled back that the enemy was scrambling up the hill after the artillery had subsided. Several booby traps and warning devices were exploded near the positions of Companies E and G, 145th Infantry, and the men in the perimeter holes replied with small arms and mortars. The enemy retaliated with rifles and knee mortars. Fog and rain made the darkness impenetrable.

During that night attack, a device cooked up by Staff Sgt. Otis Hawkins proved invaluable. As soon as the first Japanese started jimmying the barbed wire on the perimeter, Hawkins ordered mortar flares fired and wires pulled, setting off gallon buckets of oil ignited by phosphorus grenades. With help from this artificial lighting, Hawkins directed 600 rounds of 60mm mortar fire, and the riflemen picked off many Japanese who had counted on darkness and confusion to help them achieve their goal.

At the boundary between Companies E and G, an alert sentry killed two Japanese who had squirmed through the wire, and the 2nd Battalion, 145th, reported possible penetration at Hill 700. Under cover of heavy rain and darkness, using Bangalore torpedoes and dynamite to blast holes in the wire, and pushing one full battalion directly at the forward U.S. emplacements, the Japanese had shoved their foot in the door.

Holding fast, the hopelessly overwhelmed soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 145th Infantry, lived or died where they stood. The Japanese assaulted an isolated mortar observation post from Company E, situated on a knoll on the outer perimeter and affectionately dubbed ‘Company E Nose.’ The enemy managed to cut three of the four double aprons of protecting wire before a sergeant, investigating the noise, crawled out of his pillbox and discovered them. Just as the Japanese placed a Bangalore torpedo under the fourth double apron, the sergeant opened up with his Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and caught eight Japanese in the wire. Holding off additional Japanese with his BAR, he called in a 60mm mortar concentration, adjusted it in and around the wire, ducked back to his pillbox and then had a steady concentration dropped around–and often behind–his pillbox during the night. The sergeant and his men survived.

Not so fortunate were Sergeant William I. Carroll, Jr., Pfc John W. Cobb, Pfc Armando W. Rodriguez and Pfc Howard E. Ashley from Company G. Fighting desperately from their large emplacement, they were engulfed by Japanese who attacked them from all sides. Disregarding a possible escape route because they recognized the strategic importance of their assignment, they decided to stick it out, hoping for reinforcements.

The four soldiers fired rifles and threw hand grenades, and Rodriguez knifed an enemy soldier who got in close. His knife was later found in another dead Japanese soldier 100 yards away. One fanatical Japanese shoved a Bangalore torpedo next to the pillbox, and the explosion dazed the occupants. The Japanese then rushed the emplacement. Semiconscious, the four men fired at and wrestled with the enemy. The next day, when the bodies of the gallant Americans were recovered, 12 dead Japanese were found inside the pillbox. Probably many more of the hundreds of lifeless Japanese found around that position were killed by those four soldiers.

At dawn, elements of the Japanese 23rd Infantry, 6th Division, had occupied a portion of the north slope and two strategic positions on the crest of Hill 700, penetrating the American lines 50 yards deep and 70 yards wide. At 7 a.m., a forward observer sensed a new attack in the offing and told his battalion, ‘Pour it on as close to me as you can get.’ The artillery response melted the new Japanese attack. The enemy salient was further boxed in when the 145th lines were extended around the south slope of Hill 700.

At noon, elements of the 1st and 2nd battalions, 145th, counterattacked to regain the lost pillboxes. Some progress was made to the east of the penetration and on the south slope of Hill 700, but the Japanese dagger still cut into the American perimeter. Japanese artillery and mortar shells dropped on the suffering troops, and Japanese snipers pecked away. Enemy field artillery positions were spotted on Blue Ridge, and the 135th Field Artillery plastered them. Chemical mortars whammed their shells into the rear of enemy avenues of approach.

By 10 p.m. a few more pillboxes were recovered, but the Japanese repulsed attempts to recover the remaining positions on the commanding ground of Hill 700. The reverse slope was pitted with Japanese foxholes, and reinforcements kept pushing forward over the dead bodies of their comrades, clashing head-on with the attacking Americans.

Darkness discouraged much aggressiveness, but during the night the Japanese chattered and whistled as they replenished American sandbags and enlarged American foxholes, strengthening their own precarious positions. The 135th Field Artillery alone had expended 2,305 rounds during the day. That afternoon, two light tanks from the 754th Tank Battalion had tried to wipe out pockets of resistance with little success. During the day, the Americans had lost one officer and 28 enlisted men killed and four officers and 135 men wounded. Japanese losses were 511 killed.

The night of March 9 was ominously quiet, and the next morning the Americans pounded the Japanese, who seemed to gain strength with each hour of digging time and infiltration. A provisional battalion from the 251st Anti-Aircraft Artillery occupied a sector of the 145th’s line and with terrifying accuracy laid its 90mm anti-aircraft guns on point-blank targets in the hills. At 11:15 a.m. on the 10th, 36 American bombers showered targets marked by artillery smoke shells. The 135th, 140th and 136th field artillery and the 145th Infantry’s cannon company kept pounding away. At noon, Japanese troops were reported moving south along the Laruma River; the American artillery made short work of this fresh target.

At 5 p.m. the 1st and 2nd battalions, 145th Infantry attacked again, assuming that the Japanese resistance had been sufficiently softened. Using Bangalore torpedoes, bazookas and pole charges, the infantrymen strove for the enemy pillboxes on the crest of Hill 700. The main line of resistance was tenuously re-established with the exception of a 30- or 40-yard gap in the lines. Four pillboxes remained in Japanese possession. Ammunition supply was a knotty problem, and the men ran out of hand grenades in the middle of the attack. Japanese artillery and mortar shells dropped sporadically.

At 6 p.m., the 37th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop was brought south and east of Hill 700; it then advanced into ticklish positions in the Company G area. During the night, increased Japanese gibbering and scurrying in front of Cannon Hill was detected, and Lt. Col. Russell A. Ramsey’s 3rd Battalion on Cannon Hill reported that the Japanese had resorted to firecrackers and other ruses to draw fire. American casualties for that day were seven enlisted men killed, and seven officers and 123 enlisted men wounded. Three hundred and sixty-three Japanese were erased. The 129th and 148th infantry sectors had been relatively quiet, although patrols invariably ran into enemy squads and platoons.

During the afternoon of March 10, Brig. Gen. Charles F. Craig, the assistant division commander, visited the regimental and battalion commanders of the 145th Infantry on the south slope of Hill 700 to observe the situation for the division commander. It was late at night before he could return in a halftrack over the bullet-swept road down which he had come.

During that night, Staff Sgt. William A. Orick of the regimental intelligence section, with two men who had joined him, had a brush with the enemy on top of Hill 700; his companions were bayoneted and evacuated to the battalion aid station. Returning alone to the site of the struggle, Orick slipped a noose of telephone wire over the foot of a Japanese officer killed in the struggle and then pulled him from the crest of the hill. On his body were found plans for the attack on the beachhead, with maps and directions. That information was rushed to the Division G-2 section.

During the early morning hours of March 11, the enemy maneuvered forward and occupied an empty pillbox on the forward slope of Hill 700. With their reverse-slope positions in front of Hill 700 as a stepping stone, the Japanese launched a new assault at dawn. The 23rd Infantry of the Japanese 6th Division attacked along the front from Hill 700 to Cannon Ridge. They came on in waves, one whole battalion attacking on a platoon front. Brandishing their prized sabers, screeching ‘Chusuto!’ (‘Damn them!’), the enemy officers climbed up the slope and rushed forward in an admirable display of blind courage. The men screamed in reply, ‘Yaruzo!’ (‘Let’s do it!’) and then ‘Harimosu!’ (‘We will do it!’). As they closed with the Americans, their leaders cried, ‘San nen kire!’ or ‘Cut a thousand men!’

These battle cries sounded like so much whistling in the dark to the GIs. Mowed down by heavy fire from the dug-in infantry, the Japanese kept tumbling over the bodies of their comrades, unwaveringly advancing toward the spitting guns. The battles on Hill 700 and Cannon Hill were at such short range that infantry weapons alone had to repulse the assault waves. The attack on Cannon Hill came to an end and by 8 a.m. the dazed remnants of a Japanese battalion had withdrawn, leaving hundreds of dead comrades stacked up in front of the 145th’s line.

In the midst of the Japanese assault, Lieutenant Clinton S. McLaughlin, Company G’s commander, dashed from pillbox to pillbox in the heat of the battle, encouraging and directing his men; he stopped only occasionally to return the fire of a few persistent Japanese whose bullets tore his clothes to shreds, punctured his canteen, and painfully wounded him twice. When the Japanese had gotten to within a few feet of the platoon’s most forward position, McLaughlin jumped into the lead emplacement, which had already been outflanked by the enemy. Then he and Staff Sgt. John H. Kunkel, firing point-blank at the invaders, killed enough of them to dissipate the threat. The pile of bodies in front of their position numbered more than 185. Both McLaughlin and Kunkel were later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

On Hill 700, the enemy soldiers had succeeded in holding on to a part of their salient, and fresh Japanese troops kept thrusting forward, trying to occupy new positions and reinforce old ones. By this time, the 145th infantrymen were near physical exhaustion from the continuous three-day fight. Lieutenant Colonel Herb Radcliffe’s 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry, having been alerted the night before, arrived in a rear area and prepared to assist the embattled 145th Infantry in its efforts to recapture the lost positions.

Retaking the enemy-held positions on Hill 700 was a daunting undertaking. The Americans had to assault the enemy-held pillboxes by crawling up a slope so steep that a foothold was difficult to secure and maintain. Add withering machine-gun fire, rifle fire and grenades, and the obstacles looked almost insurmountable. The Japanese guns swept all approaches. Their positions were only 25 yards from and overlooking the main supply road. Their guns on the crest of the hill covered the ridge itself with intense, accurate and deadly grazing fire. Approximately 100 yards to the rear of those ground-emplaced weapons, other machine guns in trees on the spur of the hill also swept the entire front. With the exception of a few scattered trees and a series of shallow trenches, little cover was available for troops moving up the slope.

Tanks and armored cars manned by the 37th Cavalry Reconnaissance drivers were the only safe means of moving casualties and supplies up and down the main supply road. Evacuation had been hazardous and backbreaking from the start. On the first day of the fight, litter-bearers hand-carried the wounded over a back mountain trail to the reserve area of the 1st Battalion, 145th. The route was long and painful, and the only alternative was the supply road.

On the 9th, ambulances had tried to run the gantlet and succeeded. Encouraged, a convoy of litter jeeps and ambulances from Collecting Companies A and B, 112th Medical Battalion, drove to the Company G motor pool, an area safe for motor vehicles. The route from there was dangerous, and Colonel Cecil B. Whitcomb, commander of the 145th Infantry, explained to the drivers that he would not order them to run this Japanese blockade.

Eight men went on their own anyway, and though they were under fire most of the trip, brought their casualties back safely. Drivers Bob Pittman and ‘Doc’ Davis were slightly nicked by mortar fragments. Private Joe Bernard of Company A had his ambulance ripped in the hood, the cab and finally the windshield by two Japanese snipers. The ambulance orderly was hit, and halftracks were called in. Seventeen halftracks thereafter made constant round-trips from the lines to the aid stations.

Against the obstacles of terrain, supply and determined Japanese resistance, the 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry, prepared to go into action. Lieutenant Colonel Radcliffe and his five company commanders made a reconnaissance of the sector, and Radcliffe then presented his recommendations for an attack to Brig. Gen. Charles Craig, who was representing the division commander at the 2nd Battalion, 145th, command post.

The plans called for an immediate envelopment of the remaining enemy positions on Hill 700 by Company E. The plans were approved, and at 1:20 p.m. on the 11th the first Company E scout moved cautiously over the line of departure.

The lead squad of Company E’s right platoon crawled awkwardly up the precipitous slope. Led by Lieutenant Broadus McGinnis, 11 men of the squad went over the crest together. Eight men were killed instantly, mowed down by machine-gun fire from their front and flanks. Lieutenant McGinnis and three other men dived safely into a connecting trench on the enemy’s side of the hill and captured a pillbox by killing the three Japanese occupants.

From his vantage spot in the pillbox, McGinnis shouted instructions back to the rest of his platoon throughout the afternoon. At 4 p.m., as he peered out of the pillbox to determine enemy intentions, he was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire. Further advances were deemed suicidal, and at 7 p.m. Company E was ordered to cease the attack, reorganize, hold the ground it was able to occupy and supplement its defenses with one platoon of heavy machine guns from Company H.

Wire teams from Company G strung concertina wire in the gap between platoons, which was covered by fire from positions on the reverse slope of the hill. The rest of the battalion, meanwhile, had settled down for the night in the forward assembly area. The operations for the day, though unsuccessful in restoring the main line of resistance, did prevent further penetration by the Japanese.

At 8 a.m. the next morning, Companies E and F attacked again in a coordinated double envelopment, with Company G in reserve and Company H in general support. The two attacking companies edged slowly around the hill to the right and left, remaining in defilade as much as possible in order to avoid the Japanese machine guns that dominated the ridge in both directions. Then they dispersed along the steep slope. Using every means at their disposal, from smoke and fragmentation grenades to flamethrowers, rocket launchers and dynamite, the Americans began to make their way to the top of Hill 700 against undiminished Japanese resistance.

On the Company F side of the hill, a flamethrower team–Pfc Robert L.E. Cope and Pfc Herbert Born of 2nd Battalion Headquarters Company–crawled up to destroy an enemy pillbox from which machine-gun fire held up the advance of the company. The two soldiers had joined the regiment after the New Georgia campaign and were now seeing their first action. They worked forward, dragging the bulky equipment over terrain dangerously exposed to Japanese automatic-weapons fire until they were 10 yards from the pillbox. At that point, they suddenly rose up in full view of the Japanese and doused the emplacement with liquid fire, destroying it and killing its occupants. The pair then came back through the same hazardous area, recharged their flamethrower and returned to destroy another pillbox. They repeated the action a third and fourth time. Altogether, they crossed the exposed sector five times and knocked out four enemy positions.

The rocket launcher, or bazooka, had not yet been fired in action by the 148th. Staff Sergeants Jim L. Spencer and Lattie L. Graves told Lieutenant Oliver Draine that they would volunteer to take a crack at it. Preceding the company until they reached a shallow trench 20 yards from the nearest Japanese pillbox, they selected their target, and with much anticipation they launched their first rocket. Although this round completely missed the target, the men were so pleased with their partial success that they immediately reloaded the weapon, aimed more carefully and launched a second rocket. This time they scored a direct hit and demolished the pillbox. Now greatly encouraged, they concentrated their rocket fire on other Japanese positions, with Spencer holding the bazooka and Graves reloading it, yelling, ‘Make way for the artillery!’

Spencer and Graves dodged from one covered position to another, blasting away, either killing the occupants of the pillboxes or frightening them into flight. During the intervals between loading and firing the launcher, Graves blasted away with his M-1 rifle, and on one occasion killed three fleeing Japanese. Spencer and Graves fired the bazooka periodically for three hours.

Private First Class Jennings W. Crouch and Pfc William R. Andrick, armed with BARs, advanced with their platoon in the initial movement across the fire-swept ridge. Then, under withering Japanese fire, they ran toward enemy-occupied pillboxes on the rest of the hill. From their final position 15 yards from the pillboxes, they began their assault, firing their rifles from the hip as they advanced. Crouch had an eye shot out, among other wounds, and one .25-caliber bullet went through Andrick’s left wrist. Upon reaching the pillbox, they poured a steady stream of fire into the entrance until all the occupants were killed.

Over in the Company E sector, Pfc John E. Bussard was out for vengeance. Thirty-six years old, married and the father of three children, Bussard was draft exempt, but he had enlisted immediately after learning that a younger brother had been killed in action on New Guinea. Eventually he arrived overseas with but one idea–to avenge his brother. By March 10, he had killed one Japanese soldier, but having the ledger read one-for-one far from satisfied him.

In the unsuccessful afternoon attack on March 11, Bussard volunteered to climb the high slope to observe the enemy installations, although four others of his company had been killed and eight wounded in earlier attempts. Snaking his way inch by inch, he reached a large tree from which he could watch the Japanese. The enemy, well aware of his presence, kept him pinned down to prevent his return, and he was unable to report back to his commanding officer with his observations until an hour after sundown.

The next morning, when the attack was in danger of bogging down, Bussard again volunteered, this time to knock out with anti-tank grenades the installations he had approached the day before. Passing through intense fire, he gained the shelter of the same tree. He fired eight rounds, but was unable to observe the effect because he had to fire between bursts from enemy guns, pulling in his head and shoulders to escape the answering hail of bullets.

Since the results could not be determined, Bussard was summoned to his platoon’s command post, a mere dent in the side of the hill partially sheltered by a 3-foot boulder. Now it was decided to use a rocket launcher against the pillboxes, and again the irrepressible Bussard volunteered for the assignment. ‘I know my way up there better than anyone else,’ he stated convincingly.

Setting out a third time, now carrying a bazooka as well as his rifle, he reached the tree that had sheltered him twice before. Ammunition supply was a problem, but this was overcome by passing each round by hand along a continuous line extending up the side of the hill until the top man could toss the shell over the last 15 yards to Bussard. Twice the rocket fell short of his reach, and each time he had to risk enemy fire to recover it.

After six rounds Bussard was told to cease firing, again because of inability to observe the effect. He threw the launcher over the cliff and rushed to a hole 15 feet away where three members of his platoon had remained, pinned down, the entire night before. With these three men he waited to take part in the assault that they knew would follow, and during the next few minutes they were fired upon by Japanese in the trees to their left. Bussard was wounded in the shoulder, but he managed to return the fire, killing one of the Japanese.

Shortly before Company E attacked, six Japanese riflemen, with bayonets fixed, charged out of a position 20 yards away. All six were killed, two by Bussard himself. But his luck had run out and he was killed by their fire.

Although the effects of Bussard’s grenades and rockets could not be observed while he was using the weapons, two of his pillbox targets were later found to be demolished and 250 dead Japanese, many of them doubtless his victims, were counted in the 50-yard area immediately in front of the tree behind which he had taken up his position. His brother’s death had been avenged many times over, at the cost of his own life.

Meanwhile, Pfc Vernon D. Wilks, a BAR man from Company E, had reached a 1-foot depression protecting him from a machine gun 30 yards away. During the next two hours Wilks remained in the depression, firing more than 25 magazines of ammunition and using four different BARs, although two members of his company were killed and 11 wounded within a few yards of him.

By rising to a kneeling position between enemy bursts and firing well and fast before a Japanese machine gun was again directed at him, Wilks inflicted heavy casualties on the gun crew that was holding up his company. He also distracted the attention of another enemy machine-gun crew so that their effect against Company F was materially weakened.

By noon, Captain Richard J. Keller of Company E and Lieutenant Sidney S. Goodkin of Company F reported by radio to the battalion commander: ‘We believe we have got them. We are going over the top together.’ They personally led the assault, shouting defiance at the Japanese and encouragement to their own men.

Fifteen minutes after the charge commenced, Captain Keller was struck down by Japanese fire and seriously wounded in the chest, but Lieutenant Sam Hendricks, a University of Tennessee football player, assumed command with no interruption in the advance. Lieutenant Goodkin himself was leading his men despite painful arm burns he had suffered earlier. A smoke grenade had exploded in the middle of several incendiary grenades and ignited them. The fires had menaced two wounded men in the same hole, so Goodkin had tossed out the burning grenades one by one to safeguard his men, severely scorching his arms and hands.

The American troops stormed up the hill and over the crest. Staff Sergeant Jack Foust of Company E spotted an abandoned light machine gun, disengaged the weapon from its mount and, firing as he held it in his arms, killed a Japanese machine-gunner shooting from a tree at the troops leading the charge. On both sides of the hill the remaining emplacements of the enemy were being systematically wiped out. By 4 p.m., the 2nd Battalion had regained Hill 700, and the American lines were restored.

The few Japanese who had survived the onslaught would not give up. Mopping-up operations were repeatedly interrupted by sporadic fire from two pillboxes, each occupied by a lone rifleman who had apparently tunneled into the steep hill and could not be dislodged. But there was one trick left, and it remained for Sergeant Harold W. Lintemoot and Pfc Gerald E. Shaner of the 2nd Battalion Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon to pull it out of their bag.

Bringing demolition equipment to a point behind the crest of the hill, the pair prepared explosive charges, fastening six half-pound blocks of TNT to a board about four feet long and attaching a slow-burning fuse. In turn, Lintemoot and then Shaner scurried up to the pillboxes. The hill provided them cover until they were within 10 yards of the emplacement. Then they rushed over the remaining distance, placing the charges on top of the pillboxes and withdrawing to nearby positions that offered them protection from the flying debris. In seconds, the pillboxes were liquidated. No Japanese now contested the occupation of the hill.

The battle for Hill 700 was the bloodiest in which the 37th Infantry Division had yet participated, exceeding in carnage any single action of the New Georgia campaign. A great clearing stood on the reverse slope of Hill 700 where the enemy had made its attack up the hill. Fifteen hundred Japanese were buried in graves and foxholes on that side of the hill. When the battle had ended they were piled on top of one another in all types of grotesque positions, some completely unmarked except for clean bullet wounds in their chests or heads, others without legs or arms. Captured prisoners claimed that the four days of fighting had resulted in the virtual annihilation of the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Japanese 23rd Infantry and the 13th Infantry, which had been pitted against this thin, narrow front of the 37th Infantry Division.

The battle at Hill 700 was the first defensive action of the 37th Division. Heretofore the division had been on the offensive. Its mission on Bougainville had been to set up a perimeter and defend the airfield. Japanese capture of the hill would have imperiled the whole installation at Empress Augusta Bay.

Japanese staff work during the battle had been good. They had correctly evaluated the importance of the hill and had cleverly approached it through the defiles in the mountains. They had performed magnificently in transporting supplies and ammunition over the mountains and through the jungles. They had hand-carried large guns and placed them on almost inaccessible mountains. They fought up a steep slope that would have been difficult to climb empty-handed. They attacked in force on a narrow front and took advantage of a dark, rainy night to penetrate a key section of the American lines. The Japanese took tremendous losses without wavering. They held their positions until exterminated. At no time in its campaigns in the Pacific did the 37th Division meet enemy soldiers equal to these in valor or ability. This was the real test of the fighting power of the division.

The defense of the hill was committed to the 145th Infantry. The point of the attack was within the sector of the 2nd Battalion, but the whole regiment was eventually engaged in the fight, with the entire division behind it in support. The artillery of the 37th Division and of the entire corps area had been placed so that it could be used in support of an action on any part of the perimeter. The Reconnaissance Troop took a place in the line. The 117th Engineers laid aside their picks and shovels and, taking up rifles, took the place of infantry. The 2nd Battalion of the 148th Infantry made the counterattack that cleaned off the ridge. Quartermaster troops, ordnance men and medics brought up supplies and ammunition and carried away the wounded. The MPs patrolled the roads and fought off the souvenir hunters. The straggler line was used not to keep the front troops from coming back but to keep the sightseers from going forward. The game was over.

This article was written by Stanley A. Frankel and originally appeared in the September 1997 issue of World War II. For more great articles be sure to pick up your copy of World War II.

255 Responses to Battle of Bougainville: 37th Infantry Division’s Battle for Hill 700

  1. Hans G Sporbeck says:

    Very good! I was there.

    • Jim perry says:

      I an fransis folks(shrimp) grandson son and I was wondering if you could tell me anything about him.I am also doing a paper about the 37 infentry divsion and I want to hear your story about it if that is ok with you ,it would help alot.Thank you for fighting.

      • jimmy vickers says:

        my dad( james d. vickers) told me that after they got to the jungle things changed in traning eveybody carryed things like your baonet and firstaid kit, canteen pack etc. in the same way so if it was dark night or wounded they all knew where your gear was. after combat started everbody took only what you needed. he said he would take two bandliers of m1 grand ammo plus what was in his pistol belt two canteens six granaids which he hung on his belt so they would not flop around his baonet his mess kit spoon and they took turns carrying a entrenging tool one man dug and the other whatched. he said at night you did not get out of your fox hole two per hole, one night he to take dump real bad so he took a towel and graped in it and throwed it as far as he could the next day he found that the towel had hung on a tree over a fox hole down the line and driped on his good buddys all night long.

    • Scott Wilks says:

      I used to listen to my grandfather talk about this battle, his name was Vernon Wilks, Does anyone have any information to share about him?

  2. George sweigert says:

    if anyone in the 145th knew George sweigert or jack shaffer from cleveland I would like to talk with them. I am George sweigert’s son. I remember my dad telling me about this battle. My email is Thanks

    • Tim Rhodes says:

      I would be interested in looking at the enlistment information as we (The Ohio Society of Military History, Inc 316 Lincoln Way East Massillon, Ohio 44646 Phone 330-832-5553 Open Wed. – Friday 10-5 and Saturday 10-3) have a small display devoted to Sgt Galloway that I would like to improve on. Many years ago I wrote for his military records with the approval of one of his sisters but received a response that they were \classified\. Maybe we can work together and locate more information.

      Tim Rhodes, Curator

  3. Veronica Steffen says:

    My mother lived in the Philippines and remembers fellows from this division. She is trying to get in touch with whomever was there like Lt Lloyd Wazscelesky (?)

  4. Joseph Lanier says:

    Just found out my grandfather was a marine involved in this fight. His name was Floyd Morgan, and he died before I was born. I’m trying to research his military involvement. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  5. William M. Jones says:

    My Dad,Pfc Robert Felix Jones 9th Marines,3rd Division was on Bougainville and Guam from Jan1943 to Sept1944,any information would be appreciated.

  6. Sean O Sullivan says:

    My Dad was in the 145th and was in this battle.I have photos of members of his company. Dad was a company scout and his name was Daniel Cole Sullivan. Dad told me he was in Hand to Hand Combat and when he walked off that hill he was covered in blood.The 145th was one of the first unit in Manila when they re-took the city. Any information about the 145th ,that any one can share would be deeply
    appreciated.Sean O Sullivan

    • dave chain says:

      you might contact the 37th division veterans association
      in columbus ohio has contact info
      my father was a former national president of the assoc for several years

    • dave chain says:

      sadly most of the men are now gone
      there are very few left living.

      • Bill Pettit says:

        Hi I was there too, Co E 145th 3d Platoon only name i remmember was Whitie Ablee from Astabula. My best buddy at the time was Ken —- from upper Mich. I remember a Steve —- from Chicago who on our 4 day patrol over Christmas 43 He ran out of water and asked me for a drink I gave it to him gladly and he told me that Frank Herrera from San Francisco refused him a drink as that was taughgt to him in basic.

        I read a few days ago rthat our Company won the Distingujshed Unit Award. That is the first I have heard of that and theire was nothing on my discharge that included a DUA. Thanks Bill Pettit Nashua, NH inducted from Los Angeles, CA

    • Bill Hoffmann says:

      My uncle, Lawrence Hilty, was in the 145th and was killed at the new police station on Feb. 19, 1945. Is there some way you could email or post some of the pictures so I could see if my uncle was in your Dad’s company. His sister, my mother, would be very appreciative. Thanks,
      Bill Hoffmann

  7. Bill Florig says:

    George, Sean, My cousin was part of H. Co. 145th IN the entire war. I just interviewed him in August and have his photo collection from Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and the Philippines. He won two Bronze stars during the war. His name is Bill Skelley. Does anyone know him? Anyone elses relatives in H. Co.?



    • Jim perry says:

      I will ask my grandfather about him.Does he know a fransis folk(Shrimp)I am doing a paper on the 37 infentry and i just was wondering if you had any information I could look at .Shrimp would love to talk to your dad if that is still posible .mybe we could switch numbers

    • Rick Kline says:


      I would love to hear the interview. Do you have it posted anywhere?

      My Grand Uncle Paul Glasgow fought with Otis Earl Hawkins from Wooster OH. Earl is in the article.

      I think they were in the 145th. I’ll find out what Batt. – Co.

    • Tom Seabolt says:

      I believe my dad, Gene Seabolt, was in Company H, 145th Inf, 37th Div. He was definitely at Bougainville during the Hill 700 Battle, and at Guadalcanel previously, and then later after the Solomon Islands, the Phillipines (Luzan). He’s 88 years old and his memory’s not too good. My brother’s and I have been kind of reviewing stories he’s told us over the years. I’m currently putting together a DVD of his photo collection and recollections. Probably won’t be done with this until Christmas 2011. Should have names of his buddies by then also.

      • Tom H. says:


        I would encourage you to share your father’s story at which is a World War 2 discussion forum. I joined the forum earlier this year to help me research the WW2 service of two relatives.

        Please pass on my thanks to your father for his service to our country.

        All the best,


    • Daniel Pecchio says:

      Hey Bill

      My father, Daniel E Pecchio from Youngstown, OH was in H Co 145 from Camp Shelby to Manila. He died in 1991 . I have part of an oral history interview up through Bougainville and many pictures from camp Shelby and overseas in Munda, Bougainville, and Manila.

      Love to hear from you.

      Daniel Pecchio

      • Ben Bentley says:

        My Great uncle was William Ike Carroll that was killed that day on March 8th, I have the letter of his death notice they Navy sent to my Grandfather. I have also have Ike’s class ring and the Purple Heart. My hat goes off to all W W II vets.

      • Terrance parrish says:

        Hi Daniel…..I would love to see your material…I have early photos of the Horse Calvary…from Ft Hoyle, Shelby and WWII….my dad was in the 6th Field artillery…and at hill 700 and continued with the 37th to Leyte Gulf and Manila….I have some photos posted to Facebook page “WWII Pictures”…..I would post elsewhere also!

        Thank you

        Terry Parrish

    • Ed Roach says:

      My father , Albert Roach was in the 145th at bouganville, I have some group photos with the names of skelly or skulley, O’sullivan (a big guy), Pinto , Kite, and many others… we need to share photos…i will try to scan them and post copies

      • Terrance parrish says:

        Hi Ed………..I would love to see your material…I have early photos of the Horse Calvary…from Ft Hoyle, Shelby and WWII….my dad was in the 6th Field artillery…and at hill 700 and continued with the 37th to Leyte Gulf and Manila….I have some photos posted to Facebook page “WWII Pictures”…..I would post elsewhere also!

        Thank you

        Terry Parrish

    • Terrance parrish says:

      Hi Bill………..I would love to see your material…I have early photos of the Horse Calvary…from Ft Hoyle, Shelby and WWII….my dad was in the 6th Field artillery…and at hill 700 and continued with the 37th to Leyte Gulf and Manila….I have some photos posted to Facebook page “WWII Pictures”…..I would post elsewhere also!

      Thank you

      Terry Parrish

  8. Cobbie says:

    I am looking for an old friend , Clayton Ham, who fought in the battle of Empress Augusta Bay, which is where i come from. Would very much like to contact him again. .

  9. Gary Nichols says:

    My father, Robert J. Nichols, H Co. 145th was a 81mm mortar squad leader on Hill 700. The name Skelley I remember him talking about. He went back to the Solomons, Fiji, New Zealand about 20 years ago. He was presented a Bronze Star for Hill 700 when he came home, at Crosley Field in a war bond show by General Patch. Dad is now 88, in a nursing home, with vascular dementia. Some memories are vivid, other times not very much. Anyone wishing to contact me personally, feel free to do so.

    Gary Nichols
    Batavia, Ohio

    • Jim perry says:

      I an the grandson of fransis folk(shrimp).shrimp is in a retirement home in daton so they are close to each other!does your father know him.I am doing a paper and was wondering if you ever found any information.shrimp just truned 95 and still rembers some stuff

  10. Kathleen M Smith says:

    My cousin Lewis H Vandergrift, was with the 1st Plt,5Bn
    37thCav/Reconnaissance Troop. He was awarded a Purple Heart
    at Bougainville, 3/11/1945 and was wounded again at Luzon,
    6/22/1945. He died of this wound in Manila, 7/3/1945.
    He is buried in his home town of Martins Creek, Pa.

  11. Dr. Steven M. Moutoux says:

    During that night attack, a device cooked up by Staff Sgt. Otis Hawkins proved invaluable. As soon as the first Japanese started jimmying the barbed
    wire on the perimeter, Hawkins ordered mortar flares fired and wires pulled, setting off gallon buckets of oil ignited by phosphorus grenades. With
    help from this artificial lighting, Hawkins directed 600 rounds of 60mm mortar fire, and the riflemen picked off many Japanese who had counted on
    darkness and confusion to help them achieve their goal.

    Otis “Earl” Hawkins is my uncle. He went on to fight with the 6th army in Luzon where he teamed up with my father, Merrill Lester Moutoux, although
    neither knew each other at the time, my dad would marry my uncle Hawkins’ sister, Pauline. Uncle Earl returned to Ohio to build a small chain of
    grocery stores and strip malls in the late 40’s and early 50’s and could have had the first major grocery franchise, but didn’t want his name on a
    store that he couldn’t manage. He is now 93 years old and still living in Wooster, OH.

    • Jim perry says:

      does he know a fransis folk(Shrimp)he is 95 and in dayton.i am his grandson and doing a paper about the 37 and was wandering if you had any information

    • Joseph Spurio says:

      I was stationed on Bougainville during the time that 37th and Americal Div.fought. I was in the finance office that made up the payroll for the troops. Money would come to our office when the soldiers would make deposits to their soldier deposit account. The money often would come in soiled covered with dirt. I would ask the officer why the soiled condtion of the money. He said the soldier found shooting CRAP was their only recreation. I live in Youngstown, Ohio.

    • Rick Kline says:

      Dr. Montoux,

      Hello, my cousin, Mike Stitzlein, works (Tricor Metals) and lives in Wooster and knows your Uncle. Apparently our Grand Uncle fought witih Mr. Hawkins, his name is Paul “Glassy” Glasgow. He owned a service station in Akron after the war.

      Small world. Anyway I would be interested to see any photos or interviews regarding these two brave men, their unit etc. From the article it sounds like they were in the 145th. Which battalion and company were they in?

      My Dad remembers meeting his folks at Hawkins Market and Cafeteria
      several times but he never had the pleasure of meeting your Uncle.
      If you could pass my best wishes and thanks on to him I would appreciate it. He sounds like the type of NCO who saw to it that his guys made it home. The burning oil on the wire trick is a good one.

      I plan on visiting Wooster this summer and will be sure to drop by the store. Hope to run into you.

      • Rick Kline says:

        Abject apologies, noticed the misspelling of your last name too late and no edit button.

      • david chain says:

        fyi hawkins is no longer in business and the cafeteria has been closed

  12. Daniel l. Mitchell says:

    My dad , Glen W. Mitchell fought in this battle. he was a corpl. in
    3rd division, He is 86 now in bad health. Crys when he recalls
    this battle. Has just now begun to talk about it. would like to here
    from others!

    • Jim perry says:

      I would to my grandfather fransis folk (shrimp )was there did you ever find out any information,i am doing a paper and it would help

    • Rick Kline says:

      Pass my thanks on to your father. We owe so much to all of these men! God Blee them all.

  13. David Poskey says:

    I am trying to trace my father’s path through the South Pacific. If anyone has any information on Hubert Joseph Poskey from Texas let me know.

    Also, I would like to know how a group from Texas was assigned to the Ohio National Guard.

    My dad won a Bronze Star in the South Pacific but I am not sure where. My email is


    David Poskey

    • Sanford S. Silverman says:

      An explanation of how Texans ended up in Ohio’s 37th Division:

      There is a good chance he was in the 129th Infantry Regiment. This unit was a deactivated Illinois National Guard unit that was reacivated in 1942 or 43. It was to be a replacement for a battalion from the 37th that was detached from the 37th and sent to Europe, before the Division was shipped to Fiji.

      Each company started out with a cadre of 15 men who were detached from various units of the 37th, cooks, a company clerk, and non-commissioned officers. I was a cook. The cadres went from Fiji to Espiritos Santos in the New Hebrides where, in a coconut grove
      we cleared coconuts and fronds, that had fallen for a couple of years, because ships were not available to take the coconuts to market. The New Hebrides Islands are now the independent country of Vanuatu.

      After clearing between rows of coconut palms we erected pyramidal tents
      which easily accommodated 4 men. In the spring of 1943, draftees who did not get a chance to go home on furlough before being sent overseas, joined us. Many of the draftees came from the South. We trained in jungle warfare.

      The 129 saw action in the fighting on Bougainville and I made rotation [return to the U.S.]in Nov. 1944. I think that most of the men in the 129 were on ships headed to the Philippines on New Years Day .

      Most of the fellows in the 37th weren’t as lucky as I was. They were involved in intense fighting in the Central Solomons, Bougainville and some of them in the Philippines.

      • ruth m rocco says:

        My husband, Frank J. Rpcco, jr. served in the 37th division, 145th infantry and Co I. He also rotated back to the U. S. in November 1944 and we were married 12/9/1944. We were married for 62 years and he died on May 8, 2007. He was from Pennsylvania.

        Best Wiishes,
        Ruth M. Rocco

      • Woody Bredehoeft says:

        My Father, Lambert Bredehoeft, was a cook with the 129th Cannon Co. He was out in California and missed getting shipped out with his unit because of a bad case of poison ivy. His unit was eventually alt-routed to the Alleutians with tropical gear. Dad instead was later shipped out with the 129th, so he was a straggler of sorts. I’m trying to find out more about what he experienced since he never talked about it ever. I do know he stayed with the group that eventually went on to the Phillipines, as indicated by some commendation paperwork I have. I would love to hear from anyone with more to add to the story!

        Woody Bredehoeft

      • George Tockstein says:

        My uncle Tony Skowronek was from Chicago and served with the 37th Division in Bougainville where he won a silver star and was wounded. I am looking for any info about him on the island.

      • Susan Thomas Baier says:

        I am just beginning to try to find out about my father’s time on Bougainville. He went into the service for the army in May 1943 and was a doctor from Houston, Texas. If you have any information, please let me know. I don’t know what division only that he came home after 2 years. Thanks. Susan

      • Susan Thomas Baier says:

        His name was Clifford Skiles Thomas

      • Lanny Chouinard says:

        My father, Raymond Chouinard was in the 129th on Figi, The New Hebrides, Bougainville, and Luzon. He was awarded the bronze star on Luzon While resupplying a rifle company along with a leutenant Montgomery. My father Passed away in 1977. He never really talked much about the war and never spoke about his bronze star. I would appreciate any information.

      • Tom H. says:


        I would be happy to help you find more info on your father’s service with the 129th. I am doing the same sort of research on a relative who served in WW2 with the 129th. I would recommend you go to a WW2 discussion forum of which I am a member. The web address is

        You can also just respond here, if you prefer.

        I hope that, on your father’s behalf, you will accept my thanks for his service to our country.


        Tom H.

  14. Richard Comeau says:

    Looking at my Dad’s discharge paper. Antitank Co. 145th INF. Arrived Pacific Theater 6/12/42, left 4/18/45. He told me about being on Fiji, Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Bougianville, and Philippines. He was a machine gunner (.30 cal water cooled) first half of the war, scout the second half). He had a bronze star for Northern Solomons +1 for Luzon Campaign, +1 for Philippine Liberation. He never talked about a specific battle. Being in the 145th, I guess he was on hill 700.

    I will start an email list with the email addresses here. I am Rich Comeau, .

  15. Gary Nichols says:

    An area of help is to contact the 37th Veterans Association in Columbus, Ohio. Talk to Mr. Cyril Sedlacko. There are meetings every few months as well in Cincinnati at a restaurant for lunch.
    My Dad passed away on November 28. I have a number of photos from Fiji through Bougainville that I can e-mail. I just found photos of Joe Trimmaco, John Paluso, Steve Josky, and John Push in 1988. The names may mean something to others, but he had not seen them since 1944, went to visit I think in Youngstown.

    Gary Nichols

    • dave chain says:

      i believe he was from the korean conflict

    • Daniel Pecchio says:

      Hi Gary

      All the names you listed where friends of my father Daniel E Pecchio.

      I think Paluso is the only one still alive in Youngstown I have many pictures of this group and would like to see your pictures.


      A Daniel Pecchio

    • Terrance parrish says:

      Hi Gary….………..I would love to see your material…I have early photos of the Horse Calvary…from Ft Hoyle, Shelby and WWII….my dad was in the 6th Field artillery…and at hill 700 and continued with the 37th to Leyte Gulf and Manila….I have some photos posted to Facebook page “WWII Pictures”…..I would post elsewhere also!

      Thank you

      Terry Parrish

  16. kevin thomas althouse says:

    Am planning to do some volunteer work in the south Pacific very soon, and would be grateful if anyone might recall a battalion surgeon in the 37th, Maj. (then Capt.) Darrell D. Althouse, my father. Although he served with the 37th, he was a physician in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY State. With the 37th, I know he spent a good deal of time in Bougainville, and was with the men as they re-took Manila. I’m trying to figure out on which islands in the Mariana chain Dad might have served, and the time-frame involved. If I’m given the opportunity, I’ll physically hike some of the areas Dad did in ’43, ’44 and ’45.
    Any information, or just a good chat from any 37th Division afficiado, would be gratefully accepted.

    • Aroha says:

      Looking for any information on the 145 regiment- 37th US army division who served in the south pacific theater in WW2 between 1942-1945, did they ever come to New Zealand and was there a Von or Vaughn Marshall Fox, I just need this confirmed as I was only told he was my grandfather

      • dave chain says:

        they did rest and training in new zealand not sure of the dates,
        they were encamped at a former horse? dog racing track.
        my mom and dad visited again in the early 70s after the war

  17. Eric Vandewater says:

    Does anyone who served with 37th Infantry Division during battle for hill 700 remember my father Willis Dale Vandewater. He served as an Army Medic.
    If anyone remembers him I would be interested in hearing via email or phone.
    Thank for your help and service to our country.
    Eric Vandewater

  18. Randall Hilgeman says:

    My father served with the 75th Seabees Construction Batallion. His name is Eldo Hilgeman. anyone that may have remembered him I would be very proud to talk to you.

    Randall Hilgeman

    • Debra Tinker says:

      My dad, Keith D. Tinker, was a Chief in the 75th. He died in 1973, then in 1981, much to my mother’s chagrin, I joined the navy, where I spent 12 years. I, too, am proud of my father, and wish he would have lived longer to tell me about his experience in the navy. He refused to talk about the war and its atrocities, but was proud to have served.

  19. Mark Boehle says:

    On March 13, 2009 we will be escorting the remains of Robert M Scudder PFC, Marine Corp who has a purple heart and appears to have fought on Bougainville. Our group consists of Missing In America Project, Patriot Guard Riders and Old Guard Riders. We have been requested by the family to provide escort to the cemetery and we will also provide a flag line as well as a protective flag line around the family. I am researching Bougainville to better understand the campaign in which Robert Scudder was involved.
    It is our mission to give honor and respect to all who have served our nation.


    Mark Boehle

  20. Cameron Ham says:

    I{ am trying to find out how to contact the author of an earlier post dated Oct. 7 2008 1:50 am and his name only says Cobbie he is looking for my father Clayton Ham any help would be greatful. I can be reached at thank you Cameron Ham

  21. Jerold Brown says:

    My father, Noah F. Brown(Fred or Brownie) was also in Bougainville and won a Bronze Star. If anyone has any info , Please contact me.

  22. JimMcMonagle says:

    My Uncle Walter (Babe) Collins from Philadelphia PA served with the 37th throughout the war, he told of being in a pillbox on Bounganville and surrounded by Japanese who would fire into the boxes , He stayed with the unit through the Phillipines and received 2 purple harts and a silver star. He passesd several years ago and we never found out why he received the silver star. We do know onew of the purple hearts were for wounds in the Phillipines, He was a Sargent and at times a scout. Sny info would be appreciated

    • Tom H. says:

      I have a book on the 129th Regiment and your uncle was listed as having served with the 2nd Battalion, Company F. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide details on decorations other than the DSC (Distinguished Service Cross). If you can track down your uncle’s DD214, it may provide the info you seek.

      Tom H.

  23. Bill Brann says:

    If anyone knew my dad who was in the 37th division, 2nd batallion, 145th infantry I’d apprciate hearing from you. His name was benjamn Pat Brann and I think he was some sort of seargent technician and maybe a cook . thanks you
    Bill Brann

  24. Robin Silverstein says:

    PFC John (Jack) Bussard served and was killed in action @ Bougainville. If anyone has pictures or information on the battle at Hill 700 please respond.

    Thank you

    • Sanford S. Silverman says:

      If you have not received information on the battle of hill 700, email me with your Post Office address and I will make copies and send them to you.

    • dave chain says:

      contact the library of congress
      my dad arranged a viewing of a dept of defense movie for one of his
      wayne/holmes chapter movies. back in the day.
      library of congress may still have copies

  25. larry harris says:

    Does anyone recall serving with Rulon (RA) Harris, my uncle, her served with the third marines in Bougainville, and also at Guam and Iwo Jima.

  26. Leo Kalinowski says:

    Amazing article… My Dad, Leo (K-mert) Kalinowski was awarded the Bronze Star during this battle. He is now 88 and showing his age. There is a long medal list in the “Field Artillery Journal” from that time period. I found his entry in the Dec 1944 edition.
    PDFs are available online…

  27. John McCurley Jr. says:

    My father served with the 37th Division/Co. G , Pvt. John McCurley. He was a rifleman and carried a BAR. He served with the 37th until he was wounded during the Battle for Manila. While serving, he was a Silver and Bronze star recipient. He never talked about the war until just before his death in 1985. He gave me a book titled “The 37th Infantry Division In WW II’ . He showed me the inside of the cover where there is a large photo, taking up both cover and 1st page. Its a photo of 4 infantry rifleman, during combat on Bouganville. He pointed to the 3rd man from the left and said “Thats me.” The photo is of 4 rifleman cautiously advancing thru the jungle, and my Dad is carrying his trusty BAR. I have many photos of the 37th from Bouganville thru the battle for Manila, and Co. G documents marked ‘SECRET’ at the top about a fight for a hill refered to as ‘THE TOP OF THE WORLD’, where he earned the Silver Star. I was never more proud of him than that day he finally bopened up to me about his combat experiences. He jioned the Army at 16 , lieing about his age, And was only 17 when he earned his Silver Star. he served proudly thru WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, for 30 years, I miss him dearly.

    • jason mcmillen says:

      My Grandfather Charles McMillen from West Virgina joined the 37th in
      Bouganville as a replacement and followed them untill the end of the War

      He is 86 years old

      He lives alone now and takes care of himself after over 50 years with

      Betty and 6 kids

      He was in Heavy weapons mortar

      I would love to see any pics of the unit to try and find him there thanks

    • Terrance Parrish says:

      My dad, Joseph J Parrish, 37th Inf, 6th light field Artillery participated in this battle which he never talked about. I would love to see the pictures you have as he too went thru the entire War in the Pacific.

      Thanks so very much

      • Curt Thornton says:

        Mr. Parrish,

        My Grandfather, Dale Thornton, was also in the 6th FA on Bougainville and was wounded on Munda Airfield during the Hill 700 battle. He died in 2007 and also spoke little of his experiences…ergo, I’m trying to find more info and discovered this site. Please contact me if you’d like to “compare notes.”


        C. Thornton

    • Charles Lodge says:

      My brother, Harry, was a platoon sergeant in Co. G, 145th Infantry, 37th Div.. Bill Lucas also had a platoon in Co. G so your dad may have fought under either of them. Like your dad, my brother never talked about the war until the last 2 years of his life. He never talked about Bougainville except to mention Hill 700. He spoke of a reconnaissance on Guadalcanal with an offficer who was killed by a Jap sniper. He also spoke of “playing catch” with Jap hand-grenades in taking Munda airfield. Nothing more. Your dad was
      one damn great soldier and earned those medals. He also may have served with Bill Lucas in the Phillipines campaign.

    • Daniel Pecchio says:

      John McCurley Jr

      My father, Daniel E Pecchio from Youngstown, OH was in H Co 145 from Camp Shelby to Manila. He died in 1991 . I have part of an oral history interview up through Bougainville and many pictures from camp Shelby and overseas in Munda, Bougainville, and Manila.

      Love to hear from you.

      Daniel Pecchio

    • Katie McCurley says:

      My father is also named John McCurley, Jr., with his father (John McCurley, Sr.) fighting in the infantry in WWII, serving in Normandy. I am interested in family history and am investigating what I can. Unfortunately, I don’t have all that much information on my grandfather and the war since he passed away in 2000. Perhaps we are distantly related.

  28. Bob says:

    SId Goodkin, a lieutenant mentioned in the article, is in good health and sharp as a tack. He might have info that some of you are looking for. According to a web page set up for a band he plays in, he can be reached by e-mail at .

  29. paul says:

    I am looking for friends of Joe Whelan.I believe he was in the 145th or 37th.I know he was in the Army and was at Bougainville and Guadalcanal.He just past away on October 25th and the memorial service was today at Ft.Rosecrans San Diego.I am his son Paul.

  30. M. Nelson says:

    I have real photos from Bougainville/WWII showing beach attack from the air and more. Would like to know more about them, who took them, etc.

    • PAM says:


  31. Chad MacDonald says:

    My grandfather Edgar E Zombro fought with the 37th DIV, Kco 148th Inf. I have a Japanese flag he captured and a field interogation report from the battle of Luzon.
    Does anyone know him or have any information about the 148th or Kco?

  32. Thomas R. Ford says:

    To those of the 37th Division, Company K, — you might be interested in knowing that Alert Nowjack, 93 years of age, Silver Star and Bronze Star recipient, is still among the living In Cadiz, Ohio. He might enjoy contacting his friends whom he served with. He resides at 451 North Street, Cadiz, Ohio. 43907. T.R. Ford, a friend of Alert. December 5, 2009

  33. David Blunt says:

    My father told me about the fat Red Cross guy struggling up the hill during a battle about the 27th of May, 1944, to tell him that he had a new baby boy–my older brother.

    It brings tears to my eyes thinking of why it was so important to deliver news like that that the brave Red Cross guy would risk his life–but it was important because he didn’t want any soldier to die without knowing he had a new son or daughter.

    My father did survive, and I was born 8 years later.

    If anyone has info on Vincent Blunt, Stan Good, Peter Louie, Vern White, or Rudolph Wagner, I’d like to hear. I have a photo of them together I can send you.

    You can e-mail me at

  34. Lowell Swalve says:

    Does anyone know my dad Otto ( Joe ) Swalve He was in 145 Headquarters Company, Pioneer Section, 37th Division. We went to Bougainville with the Ohio National Guard unit. He is 86 years old now and would like to find some of the friends he served with. He lives at Estherville Iowa. You can Email Me at

  35. Larry Chiccola says:

    Nichola “Chick” Chiccola was my father. I found a couple of original documents from shortly after the battle, including bronze star awards to;
    Joseph Rice
    Wilmer Stover
    William Vigor
    Paul Hamill
    Vann Smith
    Elmer Almquist
    Donald Polifka
    John Looney
    James King
    Frank Thomas
    Robert Brown
    James Murphy
    Marvin Benton
    William Bryson
    James Heffernan
    J.T.K. Lee
    Harold Denmark
    Ralph Hughes
    Francis Iampaglia
    Edward Lambregtse
    Joseph Bytner
    George Morris
    Floyd Hughes
    Nicholas Chiccola
    Dale Decker
    Emmett Cutler
    Charles Oliver
    Jack David
    Daniel Bukovsky
    Francis Johnson

    Can provide if desired. If you knew my father,

    • Anna Marie Holmes says:

      I wonder if your dad ever knew mine, Lt. Richard Holmes.. Ohh, how he talked about “The Battle of Bougainville in the Fiji Islands”, and “Hamburger Hill in Guadalcanal”.. I learned so much from him..especially the compassion he felt for the suffering innocents..children and such.. compassion he carried with him for any under privileged he saw up to his last days. ~Honoring our troops on Veterans Day 11/10/11.

  36. al sartor says:

    I was a Marine PFC on Bougainville in Marine Fighter Squadron 211…a friend, PFC Joe Wilkerson was killed by sniper fire.

    Joe was a golden glove boxing champion in Miss. and Tenn. ..a very mild mannered and great guy.

    Al Sartor

    • Richard Kline says:

      Hello Al,

      I sent you an e-mail a while back. I am sorry your friend was killed. Thank you for service to the nation and the free world, SIR! I salute you and all of your fellow soldiers and airmen.

      R Kline

  37. Thomas Ressler says:

    My father, Frank Ressler (Franklin Pierce Ressler), from the Pittsburgh area, was a Marine who fought at Bougainville; I never knew him and he’s long been deceased, but I’d love to hear from anyone who might have known him and/or served with him. God bless all our vets…

  38. Thomas Ressler says:

    My email address is Thank you.

  39. Chris Walter says:

    My father, Chester C. Walter, served with the 37th Infantry from January 1941 until August 1945. He was from Niles, Ohio. When demobbed, he was a SSgt. He returned to Niles and worked for Republic Steel as a millwright until his retirement in 1980. He died on his birthday in 1999 at the age of 81. He was awarded two Bronze Stars in a three day period, I believe during the battle for Hill 700.

    I am his first son and I retired from the Coast Guard after 22 years and as a LCDR and from teaching elementary school for 13 years.. His second son, James A. Walter, retired from the Army after 30 years as a COL. His daughter, Julie A. Walter, is a registered nurse. His third son and last child, Jeffrey A. Walter, served with the Air Force for about 10 years and now is a pilot with American Airlines. His wife, Gertrude Elizabeth Walter (nee John), also from Niles, is still living.

    If you have any information about my father’s service with the 37th, please share it with me.

    I am sorry that I have no information about those he served with.

    God bless and thank you.

    Chris Walter

  40. peter c cremo says:

    Hello out there. My brother, PFC Willam C. Cremo, was in the Army, battery A 246 Field Artillery serving in Bougainville at the time. He was reported missing (March 8, 1944) then reported KIA on March 10, 1944. The last letter we received was that he was in a tree outpost handllng the radio communications (I’m assumng it’s Hill 700 but I’m not sure) and reported that his Lieutenant was “hit” and fell to the ground. His radio then went dead. When the Americans “reacquired” the hill the letter my folks received was that his body and dog tags were not recovered. A few days later my parents received the letter declairing him KIA. At that time I was 10 years old and have very few letters, documents germane to that past situation. I would appreciate any info (or pics better yet) that might be available. I would greatly appreciate any info (if available) from any source. Thank you for listening and god bless this great country and all the brave men and women who serve(d) with honor.

    Peter C. Cremo

  41. joji vuli says:

    names of comrade that passed away in Bougainville 1943-1944

    • joe genovese says:

      my dad joseph genovese of cleveland ohio served with the 112th engineers,37th ohio buckeye division for 37 months of combat, in bouganville and the battle of hill 700. he discharged as a single man with 110 points. alot for his day…

      he passed in 1971 but was extremely proud of his unit and the men he served with.

      joe genovese

  42. Bill Skelley says:

    I have seen a couple of posts looking for my Dad, Bill Skelley from the 37th Division and the Battle of Bougainville.. He is ready to celebrate his 91st birthday and is still active in veteran affairs in Ohio. You can contact me by email for further information.

  43. jim hanesworth says:

    MY uncle, Harry Greiner, served with the #37 as a medic and after returning to civilian life became a foot doctor in Columbus, Ohio. He died about 15 years ago, however I would like to hear from someone that knew him and could tell me of his various stations during the war.

  44. Dan Kroeger says:

    If anyone knew my dad Richard Kroeger from Mount Healty, OH I would appreciate hearing from you. My dad died in 1988 of cancer. He was a soldier in the 37th Infantry.
    Dan Kroeger

  45. Dan Kroeger says:

    My Dad (Richard Kroeger) fought in the 37th Infantry Division and was from MT. Healty OH.
    Dan Kroeger

  46. Jeff Wolverton says:

    My father : SSGT Charles H Wolverton (Greenville ,Michigan) was in company c 129th Inf 37th Division and fought on hill 129 where he later received a bronze star ,soldiers medal, and purple heart. He never talked about his battle experiences. I would like to know more about his /or his company’s war assigments and locations. If anyone can help direct me to more info/ sites about father it would be appreciated.

    • Jon Hill says:

      Mr. Wolverton,
      My grandfather was a WWII veteran and recently passed away. Among his belongings is a copy of an Army newspaper that includes a photograph of your father throwing a grenade

  47. CFennell says:

    I am still trying to figure out some missing pieces – but my grandfather, Francis (aka Frank) J. Fennell served in the Pacific in “the buckeyes” 37th infantry, 148th division, headquarters co. This is what I have been told and beleive to be the case based on some photos and information that has been given to me. I am trying to determine exactly where he served, with whom and obvioulsy if anyone he served with was still alive, that would be amazing. He received a bronze star and purple heart. So far I have found a photo of him with Gen Beightler and Geunther at Hill 700. One in Upton August 1941 and one at Camp Wheeler, Georgia October 1941 standing with a George Adams. If anyyone has any relevent information based on this, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

  48. Carol Lowry says:

    Thank you for posting Sid Goodkin’s email. My father was Lt. Draine mentioned in this article, and was really good friends with Sid. I was able to email Mr. Goodkin and we have been corresponding. I began a summer project of scanning and transcribing the letters my father wrote home during WWII. I thought this would be a small summer project, but after contacting Mr. Goodkin, the project was expanded into more of a documentation of my father’s WWII experience. Sid sent photos of the guys in Fiji and I found a reunion photograph from about 1965-70 which he helped identify many of the men. I plan to create a photobook so future generations will remember. Thanks again, Bob, for posting.

  49. Bob Schweizer says:

    My brother-in-law served in Ohio’s 37th Division. I know he was at Fiji and Bougainville. If anyone knows of SSGT Harold V. Himes I would be very interested in hearing from you.
    Bob Schweizer 757-345-2070 or

  50. Robert L Clark says:

    My father, Charles B Clark, of Junction City, Ohio (Perry County) served with the 37th in WWI. He landed at Brest, France on St Patrick’s Day in 1918 (I think).

    He was gased twice and received Purple Hearts. His stories about his days in the 37th and about his fellow soldiers were great – wish I had taped them. Dad passed away at 86 several years ago.

    He was in business all his life, most people knew him as ‘Chick’

    The 37th Division Veterans Association is very active. Thier phone number is 614-228-3788.

  51. Philip C. Byers says:

    I began researching my grandfathers miliary involvement during WWII. I just found out that he was in the Soloman Islands during the battle of Bougainville. I believe he was in the Calvary, a SSGT, and his name is William Clyde Byers Jr. (Bill Byers). If anyone has any information, knew him or that might help me in my research, any help would be great.

  52. LeRoy Kneisel says:

    My uncle, Lt. William G. Kneisel, served with the 37th Div. on Bougainville. He flew a Piper Cub directing Artillery fire. Does any one remember serving with him?

  53. peter c cremo says:

    Good grief. on 3/22/10 I submitted some information about my brother William C. Cremo and forgot to submit my email.

    peter c cremo at

  54. Brenda Easterling says:

    Mr Father was in the 37th – his name is Alfred Cody Pate he is 92 and doing very well. I am trying to research how he became attached to the Ohio National Guard. because he is from Alabama. Would love pictures or any other info. If anyone remembers him please let me know. Thanks a million.

  55. Brenda Easterling says:

    My Father is Alfred Cody Pate he was in the Anti-Tank Division and was attached to the Ohio National Guard – I Forgot to put my E-Mail Address on the last posting – Please if any knows my Dad Please contact me. Thanks

  56. j p rose says:

    my uncle was a medic with the 37th inf. he joined in 1942 and was kia in may of 1944 at bouganville. he was pfc frank c rose from conneaut,ohio.

  57. Ron Morgan says:

    My grandfather- Edwin B. Waser, was in Fiji, not sure where else as he died before I was born (he died in 1963, I was born in 1967). He was from Bellaire, Ohio. If anyone knew him, or knew of him, I’d love to hear about him.
    Thank you-
    Ron Morgan

  58. Ed Calkins Jr says:

    On july 23 2010 @ 9:08 pm, Carol Lowry posted a report thanking a person for giving her Sidney S Goodkin’s e address. I guess by now she knows Lt Oliver Draine was out Exitive Offericer in Co F, 148 Inf Reg, 37th Division. What she might not know Capt Sid passed away several months ago, soon after his 90th brthday.
    Lt Oliver Draine was a great leader, a fighter right up until getting wonded and sent hame. I was assigned another job near Manila & never saw Capt Sid again.
    If anyone knows Carol Lowry, give her my e-mail address. I servered with both Oliver & Sidney

    EDWARD CALKINS JR. Pvt 1st class, ret 1945

  59. Bryan Woolman says:

    My father, Hally B. Woolman, PFC, served with the 37th Division, 129th Infantry Brigade, Company E, light machine gunner. He saw action in the defense of hill 129. He was with the unit from August 1942 until December 1945.

    • Tom H. says:

      Bryan, my interest was piqued when I saw your comment! My great-uncle, Glenn Halvorson, PFC was also with Co. E, 129th Inf. at Bougainville and was later KIA on Luzon. I have just started looking into his service during WW2, but have found only general info about the 129th Reg. and 37th Div. If you have any info specific to Co. E, I would be delighted to hear from you.


      tommy1dotcom(“at” symbol)

  60. Roger Beckman says:

    My father Corp. William H. Beckman(Bill) was in the 37th div.129th infantry went through Bouganville and was wounded at Clark airfield . He went on to Manilia. He recieved the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He carried a BAR. He was originally from Monaca Pa. He passed away in 1983. anyone who knew him I would appreciate any information. Thank you, and Thanks to all our Veterans.

    • Tom H. says:

      I found a book on the 129th Infantry Regiment during WWII. It has your father listed as being in the 3rd Battalion, Company L. The narrative is primarily at the battalion/company level and does not discuss actions by individual soldiers.

      I hope that extra little bit of info helps.

      Tom H.

  61. Dan Bialy says:

    My Dad, Andrew Bialy of Toledo,OH served in the 37th Division, 148th Infatry, Company M in Figi,Soloman Islands,New Guinea, Bouganville, Munda and Minila. He was a machinegunner using the 30cal water and air cooled guns. I have some info from what he told me but it was very little. I also have photos and news clippings from The Toledo Blade. I will share these memories if contacted. My Dad passed away in Nov. 1986 and i still miss him dearly. I just want to know all that i can of him and all the brave men who served. Thank You Dan Bialy

    • cathy zaleski says:

      I found a ripped up article from the Toledo Blade it had a picture of my father Herbert Irwin he was 1 of a group of soilders from the 37th infantry who were returning he was already in the service when they declared war. I had asked him years ago where he was when war was declared he replied sitting on my bunk in a barracks. I know he was in the battles of New Georgia and Bougainville he would only talk about the war after he had a few beers I remember the name Monk Kirkstetter and Johnny Patrell or something like that he was my Dad’s closest friend and was supposed to be returning right after my dad got back to the states but did not make it home. My father passed away going on 30 years ago he would be 9o some years soon.I really don’t know much else but wouldn’t be suprised if our fathers served together. It sounded like the areas they were in were really bad, i was always so proud of him.

    • cathy zaleski says:

      my father was in the 148th infantry 37th battalion my brothers says i dont know what co. sorry so late replying i thought you responded on email

    • Greg Stinson says:

      My father, John (Jack) Edward Stinson was in the 129th Infantry Division (later became the 37th I believe and was in Company M. He was a tech. Sergeant of a water cooled machine gun company. Probably the same company. Feel free to contact me at the above email address.

  62. megan says:

    my great grandfather, Lindsey Brown was in the 7th infantry division at bougainville. he had his foot blown off by a grenade as they attacked on March 8. He was awarded The Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with one bronze star, Good Conduct Medel and the Combat Infantry Badge. He passed away when I was in 4th grade, years ago, and never talked about the war. As a family, we are looking for any information or photos of him. if you have any information, please contact me at

  63. Joe Ellis says:

    my Uncle from Covington, Ohio was in the 37th regiment. His name was Benjamin (Ben) Ellis. Does any surviving soldiers remember him when he was with you.

    Joe Ellis

  64. Kevin Nightingale says:

    My Grandfather John Baldwin from Paducah, Kentucky fought with the 37th Division

    He was a SSgt. in the

    37th Division
    148th Infantry
    3rd Battalion
    Company L
    1st Platoon
    2nd Squad

    He was seriously wounded in Manila Philippines on Feb. 13th 1945

    He lost his left eye and part of his orbital bone around the left eye. The bullet went through his right cheek and up and out the corner of his eye.

    The story when I was young that he was hit by a Japanese sniper but when grandpa was getting older he would say it was possible he was hit by friendy fire when his platoon was crossing lines (Possibly K company lines)

    John Baldwin passed away on Feb. 14th 2009 in Westlake Ohio.

    If anyone has any information on my Grandfather I would love to hear from them.

    God Bless,

    Kevin Nightingale

    • Dan Bialy says:

      kevin, i have a book about the 37th div,i’ll look him up ok

      • Terry Parrish says:

        I have been looking for the book about the 37th…..My dad, Joseph J. Parrish was in the 6th field artillery attached to the 37th. Any info or pictures are very dearly appreciated.


      • Terrance parrish says:

        Hi Dan……..any info on where I can get the 37th book?….any info on Joseph James Parrish, 6th filed artillery?


        Terry Parrish

      • Tom H. says:

        Terrance, you can get a soft cover edition of the 37th Division history from the 37th Infantry Division Association. Their website is

        Go to the “Merchandise” link for an order form, or contact the Association.

        The original hard cover can be found occasionally on Ebay, but they are usually very expensive.

    • Terry Parrish says:

      Thank you Tom H…..:)

  65. Patricia Steelmon says:

    My father was pfc. Elba S. Walker, he served in the 3rd Marine Division 9th Regiment, 648th Platoon, Raider Squad, The Striking Ninth, There were eight marines in this squad, pfc. Jack Janorsky, pfc. Robert G. Martinez, pfc. Arthur R. Conway, cpl. Raymond G. Laszeuski, sgt. Joe Tabin Raider, pfc. Louie Costello, pfc Rubin, and my dad.
    He had three battle stars, Bouganville, Guam, and Iwo Jima. I would love to hear from anyone who might have served with him or anyone kin to someone who served. I have the platoon picture and would like to put some names to the faces in this picture. I know that many of these guys have left us, but I’m hoping there is still someone left out there.
    My e-mail address is thank you

  66. Dale Wiljanen says:

    My uncle Arvo Lampinen, also served in the 37th, and was a recipient of the silver, bronze, and purple heart. I just dont know where, or what the circumstances were. If anyone has info, it would be greatly appreciated.

    • Tom H. says:

      There was a T/Sgt. Arvo W. Lampinen from Michigamme, MI who I found in a book I have on the 129th Infantry Regiment. If that is your uncle, he was with the 3rd Battalion, Company I. Unfortunately, that’s as much info as I can give you. I hope it helps.

  67. ruth m rocco says:

    My husband, Frank J. Rocco, Jr. was in the 37th Infantry Division in I company in World War II. He died on May 8, 2007. He also received the bronze star for metorious service in action. We are from Pennsyolvania.

  68. ruth m rocco says:

    My husband, Frank J. Rocco, Jr. was in the 37th Infantry Division in I company in World War II. He died on May 8, 2007. He also received the bronze star for metorious service in action. We are from Pennsyolvania.

  69. ruth m rocco says:

    My husband Frank J. Rocco, Jr. from Pennsylvania was in the 37th Infantrt Division during world war II .. He was in I company. He received the bronze star for metorious service in action.

  70. Thomas Seabolt says:

    My dad, Gene Seabolt, served in the US Army, 37th Division, 145th Infantry from 1943 to the end of the war. He is 87 years old. Am not sure of which company he was in, but I’d appreciate hearing from anyone with information about him or his unit. -TS

  71. Oran Harris says:

    My deceased(2002) uncle was in the 37th from its early years in 1940-41 and spent 44 months in the South Pacific. He had so many points that he was one of the first to be shipped home. His name was Clarence M. Harris. I know he was a combat squad leader and earned a Bronze Star. He was always reluctant to talk about his experiences and had nightmares for years after returning home to Montgomery, Ohio. Would anyone happen to know which regiment, battalion, and company my uncle was in.
    Thank you, Oran Harris

  72. Craig Jones says:

    My father-in-law was James Darlington. He served with the US Army during WWII, and was wounded in Boganville. He has since passed, but I would like to know if anyone has any info. about him.

    As a Vietnam “brownwater navy vet”, I am curious to know more about his service.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  73. Scot Haywood says:


    My grandfather Henry Liwo served in the 37 Division 148th Infantry antitank company. He did not talk about the war until I got into my teens and then it was only bits and pieces. He passed away in 1989 but before he did he made sure I got his copy of the 37th division year book from Camp Shelby and he went to the VA and got his medals and dd214 sent to me. I appreciate that very much. I know he was in the Luzon battle but unsure of anything else. He received a bronze star and a purple heart. If anyone out there remembers him or knows what and were his unit fought I would appreciate it. I would just like to know what my Grandfather went through while he was fighting for our country.

    My Email is

  74. jason mcmillen says:

    Hello, Everyone please go to YouTube they have a very nice video of still photos from Bouganville. I want to personally thank not only the men who served there. But thankyou to the Sons and grandsons sharing they memories here . By taking time to write it down helps people understand that 65 years is not enough time to erase the pain of war. These men still carry a heavy burden as they grow old a start to stumble it is our duty now to hold the line for them and be there to support them on there last mission into the winter of there life.

    America is losing these men at rate of 1,000 so the time is short.

  75. Jeff says:

    That was a great reporting on the battles in Bugainvillea.
    My dad, Sgt JACK SHAFFER, went right out of highschool into the Pacific theater.
    He never talked much about battle action but served in the Americal as a Tech Sgt in Bugainvillea where I believe he manned a 30 cal machinegun that was jeep mounted.
    He must have gone on non-jeep patrols as well since he did mention one event where he called in coordinates on a nearby Japanese gun implacement dug into the mountains. That gun had apparently been knocking planes out of the air as they came in/out of the airstip.
    He also mentioned that once on patrol he was deep under with fever. He suddenly thought he was standing in a snow storm and remembered that somebody knocked him down hard. Later he was told that he had been standing in the sights of a nearby Japanese machine gun that was stripping leaves (snow) off the trees where he stood. Many thanks to the guys that knocked him down otherwise I would not be here to write this.
    He passed in 2005 and I am interested in any survivors who might have known him, served with him, or can offer information on his service. He would have identified himself from Muncie, Indiana although he might have spent a few of his youngster years in Cleveland, OH.
    Reply to this post and I will receive a notifying email.

  76. YNC Clifford McCardle, USN Retired says:

    My brother CPL Benjamen J. McCardle, USMC 3RD Marine Division, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal in November 1943, as a result of wounds received from an enemy hand grenade on the Island of Bourainville in the Soloman Islands. He lost his life in action against the enemies of his country on the Island of Iwo Jima on the 25th of February l945. If anyone out there has any information or knew him, I would be happy to hear from you. He was from Richton, Mississippi.

    • Patricia Steelmon says:

      Sir, my father Pfc. Elba S. Walker was in the Third Battalion, Ninth Marines, Headquarters Co. He had a book called The Ninth Marines, a History of the Ninth Marine Regiment in World War II. Sadly it is mime now, Your brothers name is listed in this book, under List of Officers and Men. It only tells what you have already stated other than where he was from, Richton, Mississippi. I just wanted to tell you how glad I was to hear about another Marine from the Ninth Marines. My father was from Coweta, Oklahoma, he didn’t talk about the War but he did talk about his fellow Marines. I also would like to hear from anyone who was a Marine in the Third Battalion or Family members.

  77. Diane Sawyer says:

    My dad was named Andrew Nicks and he served in the army, tanks, and spent time in Bougainville among other places. He spoke very little of his time spent in the service (5 years) and he is now gone. I am trying to learn anything I can of his service. I have some of his medals but don’t have any idea what they were awarded for. If anyone can help me uncover information about my dad’s war service I would be most grateful.

    • Tom H. says:


      If your father did not have a copy of his DD214, you can request a copy as his next of kin. This can be done online at:

      The DD214 should answer some of your questions, in particular regarding any medals or awards. It will not give you detailed information about battles, engagements, etc.

      If you know which division/regiment with which he served, you could try to find the unit history, but they are sometimes difficult and usually expensive unless you can find them published online (i.e. on a unit website).

  78. Jeff Wolverton says:

    My father was in the 37th Div 129th inf company C. from Dec 1942 to Oct 1945. Any information or knowledge of his service in the Pacific would be appreciated. He passed away 20 years ago and never talked about his war events.

    • Tom H. says:


      I have been researching my great-uncle who was in Company E of the 129th Regiment. It is difficult to find person-specific accounts, unless it involved an extraordinary circumstance. In general, the most detailed accounts I have found so far only discuss events at battalion or maybe company level. On a rare occasion, a specific platoon might be mentioned.

      For a couple of really good online accounts of the 37th Division and the 129th Regiment at Bougainville and also in the Philippine liberation, I highly recommend the following:

      These are online versions of books from a larger series published by the Dept. of Army to document the role of the Army during WWII. They are more commonly referred to as “the Green Books”.

      I hope that helps.

    • Jon Hill says:

      Jeff, Please send me your email address and I can send you a scanned copy of your father tossing a grenade in battle.

  79. Gary Bushaw says:

    Great article. My father, Edward Bushaw, fought with the 251st Anti-Aircraft Artillery, mentioned in the article. He told be some interesting stories before he passed away in 1995. He spent 39 months in the Pacific, starting in the Fiji Islands, Solomons, Lauzon, and finally at the liberation of the Phillipines.

  80. Jim perry says:

    I just want to say thank you to everyone who served.
    If anyone has any information about frances folk (shrimp)He comanded g company in the beginning of the the time he was sent home he was a major and later became a col. later.shrimp is 95 and still doing well!
    it you have any information please contact me at

  81. Tim Villars says:

    My grandfather, Harold E. Morris served in the 37th and fought in the battle for hill 700.He was from Sabina Ohio and he told me a story of trying to feed a horse that he found on one of the islands he was on, and when the horse bit him he hit the horse between the eyes and knocked him out. I would like to hear from anyone who might have been there that day or anyone who served with him, Tankyou, Tim.

  82. Tim says:

    Does anyone one here know an Elmer Louis Brannan? He is my great grandfather and was wounded during this battle. Please let me know.

  83. Chauna Pierce says:

    My father Marion J Talbot was a Marine Sgt , with the tank division.
    He fought in Bougainville, guadal canal and Okinawa.

    He is 94 now and can’t speak due to a stroke. I remember him always mentioning bougainville, but not the other battles. It must have really stayed with him ,what happened here.

    I found all of his enlistment and discharge info the other day and am just trying to learn what Marine Company he was with. Since he was a tank driver they served with alot of different battalions.

    Thanks for all your stories, and memories.

  84. jimmy vickers says:

    my dad was in the 37 div. in ww11. they called the div the buckeyes because of the div pach but the they were also called the flamen assholes because of the red round div. pach. he got wonded and they had to fly him out in a pipercub before they loaded the wounded there hands were tied to the streacher for the pilots safety (only two at a time), dad said after they took off the piolt ask dad if he was ok and he said yes if could untie him, so the pilot cut him lose. that was his first flight.

  85. Dan Bialy says:

    Has anyone ever heard of Camp Amazon near or in SanFracisco? My Dad was sent to Camp Amazon from Camp Shelby Mississippi to be shipped overseas to the Pacific. I cant find any info or photos online. If anyone has this information or can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. ThankYou.

    • Tom H. says:

      I did a couple of searches and found nothing about a Camp Amazon. However, I did discover that there was a Camp Mason in the SF area. During WWII, Camp Mason was the US Army’s San Francisco Port of Embarkation for personnel and supplies heading to the Pacific Theatre. Here are a couple of links I found:

      You may be able to find more information if you check the unit history of the unit with which he served.

      I hope that helps.


      • Dan Bialy says:

        Tom, thanks for the info on Camp Mason. I”m going to do some more studuing of this area. Thanks again for getting me on the right track. It was an honor to see where my Dad might have been shipped out from.

  86. Bill Hoffmann says:

    My uncle, Lawrence Hilty (PFC) was with the 37th Div, 145th Inf, and was killed on February 19, 1945, in the battle of Manila. My research tells me that he was killed in the fighting at the new police station. Looking for someone in his unit who may have known him and can tell me more about how and where he died.

  87. Richard Kline says:

    I am looking for information on Paul “Glassy” Glasgow, my Grand Uncle.
    He was in the Buckeye Division on Bougainville. I am not sure if he went on to Lingayen Gulf, Clark AFB and Manila.

    I have the greatest respect and admiration for all of our Veterans and by keeping their memory close to our hearts I feel we can continue to honor them long after they are gone. Indeed they are, “The Greatest Generation”.

    I would like to talk with anyone with information about Glassy.

    R. Kline

  88. john cella says:

    My father Richard Cella was in the 37th division in Bougainsville and is alive and well. Any information would be great since his memory for details is just ok. Can anyone provide a squad list to jog his memory?Thanks to all who served and gave it all so we can be free.

    • Tom H. says:

      It would really help to have his regiment & company. That information should be on his discharge papers. If he doesn’t have them, they can be requested. You can find more info on how to do that in my Comment #77.1 where I posted a link for the government website set up just for this type of request. Please thank your father for his service and for doing his part to keep us free.

      God bless,


    • Richard Kline says:

      Hello John,

      Please thank your father for me. They are great men, our WW II Vets!!
      I cannot thank him enough.

      I hope you find what you are looking for.

  89. Robert J.Hoelzl says:

    My father Charles J.Hoelzl was with the 37th division he carried a radio on his back and a BAR I know very little about his service except for his picture in the 37th division worl war two book given to me by my mom after his passing. I think he was a tecnical seargent.would like to know if anyone who served with him could tell me about the part he played in the service.Also thank you all that served and serve today to keep our country free and under God.

  90. Aroha says:

    Can any one tell me the name’s of the men who were in the 145 Regiment-37th us army division that served in WW 2 in the South Pacific theater in 1941-1945, can anyone Please help im trying to trace my genealogy.

  91. john cella says:

    Please forward that photo of my father throwing the grenade i would love to see it. my dad served with Sal Amendola squad leader was Sgt.John J. Ryan, Joe Medina , J.Pikuluski, Anthony Red Delucia, D’Agostino, Mike Del Niso, Hayward Sugg, Robert Basta,
    John Marino, Lester George,
    Anyone out there knows anything about these crazy guys my father Richard w.Cella is alive and well . Any info would be great…Thanks to all out vets out there…….John

  92. Richard Kline says:

    Hey John,

    Thank your father from me. I appreciate what all the veterans accomplished during that hellish time. The men and women of the services are all heroes as far as I’m concerned.

    I know of one vet in Wooster, OH. SSgt. Earl Hawkins, 37th ID, Buckeye Div., who is mentioned in this article he is still doing well.

    I would recommend that you have your Dad register an interview with the Library of Congress, Veterans History Project. All of the information is on line LOC VHP for setting up and submitting the interview. The more Vets that save their histories the richer all of us and our children will be.


  93. Bill Quinlan says:

    At a lawn sale, I bought a book – “Pictorial History, Thirty-Seventh Division, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, 1940-41.” Includes pictures of the entire division, company-by-company.

    I’d be happy to copy the pictures of individuals and send to anyone interested, though I would like to keep the book.

    • Richard Kline says:


      My G. Uncle Paul Glasgow fought at Bougainville with the 37th.
      If you would send scans of the pictures in the book to I would be very grateful.

      Richard Kline

    • George Frost says:

      If the book shows where units came from and there is a picture of the artillery units from Mansfield Ohio. I would really like a scan of the group that includes Fred Becker. He was fellow designer at Westinghouse design in Mansfield and a friend.

    • Bill Wilson says:

      To Bill Quinlan, my dad, Rhodan R. Wilson served with Company I, 145 th Division. I would love to see a picture from your book. Also would love to hear from anyone who knew my dad. He did not talk much about the war and has passed away. I was a captain in Vietnam and flew helicopters with C troop 7/17 Air Calvary. Thanks to all for your service. Bill Wilson

    • frank riojas says:

      my grand dad was in the 37th .inf. /145th infantry reg.if you had something on him i would app.morris riojas ,he just had his 90th birthday ,and im sure he would like to see that.thanks

    • Terrance parrish says:

      Hello Bill……I would love if you could find Joseph James Parrish, From Wilkes-Barre, PA……he was in the 6th light field artillery.

      Thank you very much!

  94. […] traz esta foto a descreve como uma sala de cirurgia subterrânea, localizada próxima ao front em Bougainville e tirada durante a II Guerra Mundial. “Um soldado do exército americano opera um soldado dos […]

  95. Terry Parrish says:

    Still looking for those photos someone had of the 37th….specificall looking for photos of the 6th Field Artillery which was attached to the 37th and stayed with them thru the entire war.

    his name was: Joseph J. Parrish from Wilkes-Barre, PA


    • Bill Quinlan says:

      Sorry but the book I have does not include the 6th FA. It only has the FA units assigned to the 37th at Camp Shelby. Doesn’t include attached units that may have served during the war. Sorry again. BQ

      • Terrance parrish says:

        Hi Bill…..sorry I forgot you replied some time ago….funny not finding the 6th light field artillery…I have pictures from Ft Hoyle, MD (Aberdeen proving grounds) and pictures when the unit went to camp Shelby and Louisiana maneuvers….Horse drawn field artillery…Battery B gun section 1………….thanks again


  96. john cella says:

    My father Richard Cella is alive and well and was interested in the possibility of John Hill scanning that photo of my father throwing a grenade also to Bill Quinlan who purchased the book at a yard sale if you can scan those photo’s and e-mail them that would be great…..
    Again thanks to all those vets who layed it all on the line so we can be free

    • Bill Q says:

      can you give me any unit identification e.g. infantry, artillery, or specific unit? It’s a big book! Will start searching tonight. BQ

    • Jon Hill says:

      I’m sorry, the photo I have is of Charles H. Wolverton throwing a grenade. I am happy to scan it in and email it to anyone that would like a copy. My email address is:

      The photo is from an issue of Army News, produced by the US Army. The caption reads “Mopping up on Bougainville: A Jap pillbox has been located and Sgt. Charles H. Wolverton of the 37th Division bites his tongue as he begins to heave a grenade.”

  97. Mike Willey says:

    I am looking for information on Lt. Joseph A. Pesesky, Company E, 148th Infantry;

    Sgt. Stanley C. Wallace Co. E, 129th Infantry (originally from Chicago area)

    and T/5 Paul E. Tunno….originally from PA but now lives in Texas, and unfortunately has some degree of dementia. I do not know what company or regiment he was in, but he was a replacement into the 37th and was the battle for Manila.

    Any help with any of these men would be appreciated. I am writing out my email address….if you say it to yourself that will give the correct way to type it.

    aaguthriehouse at sbc global dot net

  98. Aroha says:

    Hi Im from New Zealand and Im looking for any information on a Von or Vaughn Marshall Fox I have been told he was my Grandfather.
    I was told he was in the 145 regiment-37th US army division (Buckeye) Ohio National Guard that served in the south Pacific Theater in WW II and that they came to New Zealand.
    I was told he meet my Grandmother and that after the war he was to come back and marry her but that never happend and we don’t even Know if he knew he had a son.
    What I really need is to confirm that he did come to New Zealand.
    Can anybody please help? or know where i can look?

    • Bill Q says:

      In the 1940 yearbook from Camp Shelby, I found a PFC R.M. Fox in Company A, 145th Infantry. Also found a Sgt R.L. Fox in Company B. Finally I have a reference for a Billy R. Fox from Stanford, Kentucky. I can scan a picture of RM Fox or RL Fox for you if you wish. Sorry but I don’t have any other information. BQ

  99. Luann Johnson says:

    I don’t see Lamar Stones name anywhere here? Maybe he was with the USMC 3rd marine division. He died in 1943? He was my Uncle.

  100. Gary Bushaw says:

    I have pictures of my father, Eddie Bushaw, “251st anti-artillary”.at Nichol’s Field amid dead Japan soldiers. When he was in the islands, he mentioned paying the natives, one cigarette, for each Jap ear they brought back. He said they spent many nights on the beach, dug in, and sleeping in water. He was one of a about 30 in is unit that did not get wounded or killed. I also have a great picture of him holding a Japanese flag on the streets of Manila. He also said he was one of the first there and into the concentration camps where the people were starving and it made him call back for help and to get food for the people. As an anti-artillery gunner he was bombed, either at Guaducanal or Bougainville, and a dud landed near him and knocked him onto the harmack. Can anyone tell me why, being from Northern New York, but coming out of Albany, NY he was attached to the California National Guard? Thanks for any comments or help.

    • Tom H. says:


      During WW2, Nat’l Guard units were federalized so it was not unusual for someone from one part of the country to serve with a unit from a different part of the country. Also, it was common for regiments and battalions to be detached from one division and attached to another division. My great uncle, who was from Minnesota, was initially assigned to the 33rd Infantry Division which was an Illinois National Guard unit. Then his regiment, the 129th Infantry Regiment, was detached from the 33rd and attached to the 37th Infantry Division which was an Ohio National Guard unit. Granted, that’s not quite NY to California, but I think the principle is the same.

  101. Susan Thomas Baier says:

    ps His name was Clifford Skiles Thomas.

  102. David Robertson says:

    My father was a member of the 117th Engineer Combat Battalion with the 37th Ohio National Guard Division. He was in the District Of Columbia National Guard. He was a mine sweeper, wounded two times. According to his records he was on just about every island in the south pacific campagin. His name was Warren Andrew Robertson, I have his purple heart and other medals and ribbons. He died in Walter Reed Army Hospital and buried in Arlington National Cemetery in 1952 and I was six. I know finding someone alive who would remember him is remote. But maybe some relative might have heard his name or have a picture of them together.

    • Joe Layne says:

      My dad was in the 117th a co. engineers combat batalion. I have a picture of the whole batalion. A brave bounch of men. He was T5 Joe Layne. I would be glad to show the photos.

      • Joe Boyd says:

        Joe Layne,

        My dad (Felix R. Boyd) was in the 117th. I would love to see any photo that you might have. Can you send them? Thanks

        Joe Boyd

      • Joe Boyd says:


        Any chance of getting a copy of that 117th Engineer Combat Battalion photo? Please contact me. Thank you Joe

        Joe Boyd

  103. David Rader says:

    heroes every one! god bless our troops past and present.

  104. […] de cirurgia subterrânea, localizada próxima ao front em Bougainville e tirada durante a II Guerra Mundial. A legenda seguinte acompanha a imagem: “Um soldado do […]

  105. David Robertson says:

    To Joe Layne: I have seen a picture online and I think I can pick him
    out, but I would love to see yours as it might be different.
    Thanks for your input.

  106. George Frost says:

    I worked in the at Westinghouse appliance design with Fred Becker who was in the 37th division field artillery from Mansfield Ohio. He and his friends had enlisted in the guard to avoid the draft in1940. Dec. 7 changed that and he and the 37th spent the entire war in the Pacific, Figi, Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Bouganville, maybe New Guinea, and the Phillipines. The only parts he talked about were the funny ones or the ones he could make sound funny. After reading the division history I know there were many that were far from funny.

    I lost track of Fred when I left Westinghouse. Does anyone know what artillery unit was from Mansfield? Did anyone know Fred and if he is still with us? Fred was a great guy.

    I lost a brother who was a Thunderbolt pilot with the 9th Air Force in England.

  107. Colin W. Baird says:

    My uncle, Sgt. Vincent Ward “Ike” Baird was in F Company, 1st Battalion of the 148th Infantry Regiment. He served in the South Pacific and in the liberation of the Philippines. If any one has information about him, I would appreciate hearing from you. I was in C Company, 1st Battalion of the 148th Infantry Regiment of the Ohio National Guard after I served my active duty in the 1st Ordinance Battalion of the U.S. Army. (1956-1958) My email address is

  108. Will Galloway says:

    Does anyone know anything about Sgt. George K. Galloway? He was my great uncle. He served with the 37th during WWII. He carried a radio around and was commended for carrying his 50lb radio throughout the battle for Hill 700 from position to position. Any info on him would be great. We have no records of his military service from WWII other than his enlistment records.

    • james byerly says:

      hello my name is James I work at ohio military museum in Massillon ohio. we have a small display on George k. Galloway . if want information contact me at my e-mail . and I will put you in touch with Tim Rhodes our head curator .

  109. Melvin Hill says:

    I just went to the funeral (today 1100) for a friend in the Third Marine Division on Bougainville. He later was wounded on Guam and Iwo Jima. He was about 50 feet from the flag being raised on Surabachi. He was a good guy. i was a Company Commander at Heart break Ridge, Korea.

  110. R Kline says:


    Thanks for your service on “The Ridge”. That was a bad scene.

    May your friend rest in eternal peace, knowing that he fought the “good fight”!

  111. kenneth light says:

    earl hawkins is still living in wooster ohio don’t have his address but any city official can put you in touch with him as he is a very well respected and loved citizen of both wooster and my community as he has donated substantional contrubutions to ashland university in my community in ashland,ohio.

  112. Kevin A. Grimes says:

    My uncle Phillmer D. Grimes Was with Co. H 145th Inf. 37th Div. Hisoverseas duty was Fiji,Guadalcanal, Rendova,Munda,Sassavelle,New Georgia,Bougainville,Luzon. He awarded 1 Silver Star and 2 Bronze Stars. I,m pretty sure he must have been at Hill700. But I really can,t find anything on Sassavelle. He may have transfered to another outfit. Any info and help would be great.

  113. Jerri Desper says:

    My uncle Gus, August Jevnikar, was in the 117th engr combat battalion. He was a Tech5. Gus was from Cleveland, Ohio and was KIA at the Battle of Luzon in March or April, 1945. THe story I heard as child was he was difusing an unexploded bomb.
    The only thing I remember is the gold star flag hanging in my grandmother’s window and the formal picture of him in his uniform with the big red emblem.

  114. John R. says:

    My fathers Seabee Battalion, (Fiji, Guadalcanal, Vella Lavella, Bougainville, Leyte/Samar & Ulithi).

    Landed on Bougainville Nov.. 23, 1943.. Supplied The 3rd Marine Division, and the Army’s 37th Division. I have many photos of the beachhead, airfields & 164th Infantry’s show..I can pass them along … Send me an e-mail…I’d Like to see any Bougainville photos..


    • David Robertson says:

      Hi Jonathon,
      My father was in the 37th, 117th Engineer Combat Battalion, I would Love
      to see any pictures you have. The only pictures I had of him over seas
      were lost in a fire.

      • Joe Boyd says:

        Hello David,

        My dad (Felix R. Boyd) was in C Company and HQ’s Company of the 117th.

        I tried contacting Joe Layne back in January 2012 to get photos that he said he has but I have not heard from him.

        I have some information about the 117th that I would be more than glad to share with you.

        Joe Boyd

  115. David Robertson says:

    For Joe Boyd,
    I have read many things about the 117th online. But I would be happy
    to see anything you have. My father was Warren Andrew Robertson
    in A company and he was a
    mine detector operator. He died when I was six and is burried in
    Arlington. He arrived on the Fiji Islands June 13,1942 and returned
    Oct. of 45.

  116. John R. says:

    David – Send me your e-mail address.

    John R.

  117. joe layne says:

    I was going to send photos of 117th and found I had misplassed them. I am going to get on the search for them . You can find some photos of 117th on Joe Layne

  118. Patrick Murphy says:

    My father, William S. Murphy, from Hickory, NC (now deceased) penned a narrative of his time in service. He was in Headquarters Battery of the 6th Field Artillery and saw action in Bougainville and the Phllippines. I also have photographs of some of his comrades and of the areas at which he was stationed. One story he relates is the dead by natural causes of a soldier in his unit with whom he was friends: Thomas (Gunner) Dziedzic. He died in his sleep one night in his tent. He was buried at a little cemetery on Bougainville. If anyone knew him or is related to him, I would appreciate hearing from you. My father could never find out whether his body was brought back and I know it troubled him. Any help would be appreciated.
    I am in process of putting the narrative (done by hand) and the photos in a document. When I am finished I am happy to share it.

    Patrick Murphy

    • Tom H. says:

      Patrick, I encourage you to join a WWII forum where I am a member and Trustee. We hold our WWII veterans in high regard and would be happy to help you honor your father and his friend for their service and sacrifice. I also think that we can help you find answers regarding your father’s friend.

      The forum is:

      I hope to see you there.

      Tom H.

      • Rick Kline says:

        Tom, Happy New Year, my friend. I hope Patrick contacted you.
        Let me know.

    • Roger Robertson says:

      Patrick, I have been trying to find someone for years that might have known my father( Warren Andrew Robertson ) or have photo’s of him. He was a member of the 37th and in the 117th Combat Engineers. He landed in Fiji in June 1942 for training, and left the Phillippines in Oct. 1945. He was a mine detector tech. He was on Bouganville (hill 700) Luzon, Solomon Islands, and many more. I have contacted the 177th web site in Maryland, but never get a response. There were so many men, and divisions, and may have all passed away by now. My father is burried in Arlington. Good luck with your efforts, and GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    • Curt Thornton says:

      Mr. Murphy

      My Grandfather, Dale Thornton, was also in the 6th FA on Bougainville and Phillipines. I posted here last year about him but did not include email. Could you please email me sometime so we can perhaps compare notes? Sure would be interested in any photos you might have of the 6th.
      Also there was another contributor here, a Mr. Parrish, whose father was also in the 6th- his email is I plan to contact him soon, but as it appears he has limited info, as is my issue as well.

      • Terrance parrish says:

        Hello Patrick….My dad Joseph James Parrish was in the 6th and in headquarters battalion….I have photos from 1940 in Ft Hoyle MD, Camp Shelby and a few from the war zone….I would like to share photos!

        Curt….I will email you….thanks!

  119. John R. says:

    I have a bunch of “rare” photos of Bougainville from my fathers
    Seabee Battalion. (Airstrip,164th Infantry show, beachhead, etc) He
    landed there Nov. 23, 1944 and departed Sept. 44. Anyone want to
    see, send me an e-mail.


  120. john cella says:

    My father passed away in April Richard W.Cella 88 From Boston
    He was in Bougainville,Guadalcanal and Luzon April 42 – Oct 45
    I found photos with names and states of soldiers in his company
    Many names unfortunatly nicknames and not proper names but i want to scan them and post so maybe someone will recognize a family member or friend.
    God bless the brave men in the Phillipines
    Miss dad alot

  121. Jim Dye says:

    My dad was in Bougainville with the 125th Quartermaster Company, Americal Division. He lost hearing in one ear from Japanese shelling in March, 1944. He’s 88 years old now. He has sad stories of the aftermath of the battle for hill 700 such as when they bulldozed hundreds of the dead Japanese soldiers into a ditch for burial. He was part of the detail to recover and bag up the fallen American soldiers after the battle. Here are some photos he brought back from Bougainville such as the Chapel, the Ball Park, and photos of Bob Hope’s performance.

  122. John R. says:

    Here is a log kept by the Commanding Officer of my fathers “CB” Battalion.

    Log from 6th Special NCB on Bougainville “1944”


    1/20 – Alert at 0400

    1/21 – Alert

    1/22 – Bombed @0430

    1/23 – Alert @0430

    1/25 – Bombed @ 0430

    1/26 – Alerts @2200,2300,2400

    1/27 – Alert @ 2030

    1/28 – Bombed 0405 – Jap air raid Empress Augusta Bay. Our stevedores were working aboard the S.S. Bonneville, anchored near Puruata Island. At that time Puruata Island (Suicide Island) was used for our supply dump and had been bombed frequently by the Japs. 2400 – 0600 There were three crews working on the Bonneville, with Chief Dempsey in charge. Gamberg was in charge of one of the three working gangs aboard. The ack-ack flak was rather heavy from our own guns and three Jap bombs dropped quite close to the Bonneville. One bomb dropped close enough to wash her deck.

    1/30 – Japs try to advance on hill 16 and are repulsed

    2/4 – Bombed 2130 to 2300

    2/5 – Alert 2030 to 2130 & 2230 to 2300

    2/6 – Bombed 0015 to 0100

    2/10 – Bombed 0200 to 0430

    2/11 – Bombed 2030 to 2300 & 0200 to 0415

    2/13 – Bombed 2300 to 0130

    2/14 – Bombed 0600 to 0615 some flak fell in camp

    3/1 – Alert

    3/8 – Japs on major push on Hill 660 – heavy fighting, receiving artillery fire.

    3/12 – Shelled – Artillery

    3/13 – 0030 & 0430 Jap planes overhead but no bombing or ack-ack. Shelled Artillery

    3/15 – 6 second earthquake that was both static & rolling, Shelled Artillery

    3/16 – Shelled Artillery

    3/17 – Bombed 0300 to 0430, Shelled Artillery

    3/18 – Shelled Artillery

    3/19 – Shelled Artillery

    3/21 – Alert 0030 to 0130, Shelled Artillery

    3/23 – Shelled Artillery

    3/24 – Shelled Artillery

    4/10 – Shelled – Artillery

    4/11 – Shelled – Artillery

    4/12 – Shelled – Artillery

    4/16 – Shelled – Artillery

    4/28 – Alert 2300 to 2400

    6/26 – 15 second earthquake, rather sharp and continuously rolling no apparent damage.

    • R K 56 says:

      Thanks for posting this.
      My Grandfather’s brother was with CB’s on Okinawa. First wave, stevedoring and getting the trucks, equipment, etc. ashore.

  123. Ben Bentley says:

    My great uncle was William Ike Carroll, He was kill on the 8th of March, I have the original letter that was sent to my Grandfather.

  124. Joe Boyd says:

    I am searching for anyone who might be a relative of a soldier by the name of BEN TOMLIN who served in the 117th Combat Engineer BN. Ben Tomlin is listed as KIA.

    I have information about the circumstances of his death that was passed on to me by a fellow soldier who was with Ben Tomlin at the time of his death. I also have a picture of Ben Tomlin just before his death that i would like to pass on to his family.

  125. Roger Robertson says:

    For Ed Roach, my father was in the 117th combat engineers. He was on Luzon, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Hill 700. His name was Warren Andrew Robertson, his DD214 shows he was in 565 days of combat, he is burried in Arlington. All his pictures were lost in a fire. I would love to see anything you post. God Bless America.
    Roger Robertson

  126. Tom H. says:

    I came across a nice website on the 117th Combat Engineer Battalion. It has a nice photo section with some war time photos.

  127. Margaret Brooks says:

    Reading all of these I am curious….my father is Arnold Brown….nicknamed Brownie….but was with 152/153 VMR USMC at Bougainville….any info anyone?

  128. Matthew Travis says:

    Hi Gary, do you have scans of any of those photos, or additional info on the 251st? I’m looking into my wife’s grandfather, Robert Joseph Spelz (aka Dizzy Spelz) who was part of the 251st, Battery H. I’ll be in Sacramento for work next week and will visit the and will pass along any info I find on the 251st if you want. Thanks

  129. Garry Binkhorst says:

    \Mopping-up operations were repeatedly interrupted by sporadic fire from two pillboxes, each occupied by a lone rifleman who had apparently tunneled into the steep hill and could not be dislodged. But there was one trick left, and it remained for Sergeant Harold W. Lintemoot and Pfc Gerald E. Shaner of the 2nd Battalion Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon to pull it out of their bag.\

    I was stationed in Munda from January – May 2010 and there is a local guy who has set up a WW2 make-shift museum. He has a collection of 22 Marine dog tags and Harold W Lintemoot’s dog tag is in this collection. If anyone knows his family I’m sure this would be of interest to them.

    I live in Australia and hope to go back there in the near future.

    Garry Binkhorst

  130. […] LINK Share this:ShareFacebookPinterestTumblrGoogleTwitterStumbleUponRedditLinkedInDiggPrintEmailPocketGoogle+ Mitch WilliamsonLike this:Like Loading… This entry was posted in America, American Army, American Special Forces, ANZAC, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  131. Brandon Rowell says:

    Mr. McCurley, I would dearly love to check out the stuff you have. My Grandfather, Tech Sgt. Raymond F. Rowell was in Company G. From what I have read, he was one of a handful of men who survived from his Company. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 79. I was 8 when he died so I never got the chance to talk to him.

  132. Gary Hill says:

    I am trying to research information about my uncle Edward J. Nowak who was in Company F. 145th Infantry and was wounded in action on Hill 700, March 8, 1944. He died April 25th from his wounds and received a Silver Star Citation following his death. I am wondering if by chance any of the photos mentioned involve Company F?


    Gary Hill

  133. Doug Jones says:

    My father Harry D Jones was a Staff Sgt in 129th headquarters co.37th Received bronze star and purple heart for action on Bougainville March 1944. From Illinois National Guard.
    I found a photo of him on WWII Archives site taken the same day he
    and another soldier took out a Japanese gun placement and he was wounded. Another soldier in the photo is Emil Raths was killed later that day.
    He later was in the Luzon engagements, Clark field, Manilla and what he called a battle \top of the world\, where he was very nearly killed by Japanese artillery. I would be curious to know if any other info is known of Headquarters company or the two other soldiers in that photo. THX



  135. […] If you would like a better idea of what these boys endured on the American side and the what the Jap… Another website I found you can check out here. The actual years that my Grandfather served over there was 44’-46’. […]

  136. Jay Jordan says:

    My father Sergeant Jack Jordan from Cleveland was in the 37th recon. cav., tank radio operator and talked sometimes about hill 700 and Manila. Didn’t speak highly of Mcarthur because of so many of his buddies were killed when trying to save his penthouse hotel in the city. He received a purple heart, bronze stare along with malaria. He is still going strong at 91!

  137. Walter Kulik says:

    My father was Walter John Kulik from Bessemer Mich. He was a corp. in the 37 th drafted into service in 1943 served in the Pacific. He never talked about his expieriences during the war but I do know he recieved a bronze star I would like to know how to find out more about his time in the 37th if any one can help me I would apprciate it

    Walter F Kulik

  138. Mike Willey says:

    The bronze star is a unique medal….if it has a \V\ for valor device on it, you can be assured that it is for a specific action that somebody witnessed but did not warrant the next highest medal, the silver star.

    But….in WW2….airmen were racking up medals faster than combat infantrymen. They could get air medals and distinguished flying crosses, whereas the average infantryman was living in the dirt and getting shot at everyday and not eligible for much.

    So…they made bronze stars automatic awards if you had earned a combat infantry badge or combat medic badge….figuring that the chances are that you did something worthy of recognition in the process. Sometimes there are specific citations for these; sometimes they are more general in nature.

    For more information, J. Gawne’s book, Finding Your Father’s War….it’s a great reference.

    Hope this helps….

  139. Mike Willey says:

    The bronze star is a unique medal….if it has a “V” for valor device on it, you can be assured that it is for a specific action that somebody witnessed but did not warrant the next highest medal, the silver star.

    But….in WW2….airmen were racking up medals faster than combat infantrymen. They could get air medals and distinguished flying crosses, whereas the average infantryman was living in the dirt and getting shot at everyday and not eligible for much.

    So…they made bronze stars automatic awards if you had earned a combat infantry badge or combat medic badge….figuring that the chances are that you did something worthy of recognition in the process. Sometimes there are specific citations for these; sometimes they are more general in nature.

    For more information, J. Gawne’s book, Finding Your Father’s War….it’s a great reference.

    Hope this helps….

  140. linda fox says:

    looking for anyone who my have know my father
    Raymond L LeMasters 37th Division 1942-194
    was in bouganville fiji and philiphines

    • Matt says:

      Just for clarification, Raymond was with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 145th Infantry Regiment. If anyone who knew Raymond or has information or photos of Company F, we’d love to see them/hear about it! We know he was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and was wounded On March 10th at Hill 700 and February 4th in Manila. He was, as far as we know, a machine gun squad leader on New Georgia and Bougainville and a machine gun section leader on Luzon.

  141. Frankie riojas says:

    This is part of my grand dads story,hope it helps you.U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project
    Morris Riojas
    By Frank Trejo

    Morris Riojas lived through some of the most horrific and brutal fighting of the Pacific during World War II.

    In campaigns from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines, he witnessed countless deaths, both Japanese and allied soldiers, and was himself wounded three times.

    \I don’t know how I got through it,\ he said, sitting in the kitchen of the East Austin home he built after returning home from his service in World War II. \You just lived from day-to-day and just prayed a lot.\

    Riojas, now 78, can still recall in vivid detail much of what he experienced in the Pacific. He remembered the bombings, killing his first Japanese soldier, sleeping on the beach night after night and waking up in water to his chest. But, he adds, that most people today don’t really want hear about it. Even his own children don’t quite believe his stories of intense combat and the deprivation that Allied soldiers sometimes endured.

    Born in Manor, Texas, a small rural community near Austin, Riojas’ family, which included three sisters and four brothers, moved to Pflugerville. His father, Jim Riojas, was a blacksmith, and he had bought a shop in Pflugerville.

    But in 1932, when he was 10, Riojas’ mother died of pneumonia, just six days after giving birth to her last child. She was 32. The siblings were soon taken in by an aunt, back in Manor, who decided she could better care for the young children. Riojas said he received a very basic education, going to school through the sixth grade. And throughout his childhood, work was a necessary part of life, from chopping wood to picking cotton.

    He recalled picking cotton or chopping a half cord of wood, for 50 cents a day.

    By the time he was 16, Riojas moved to Austin and began working as a delivery boy and then in various restaurants as a busboy. At 19, he met and married Beatriz. But while she was pregnant with their first child, Morris, Jr., the United Stated entered World War II, and Riojas was drafted.

    \I guess like most people, I wanted to go,\ he said. \It was a way to make money. They paid you $21 a month.\

    After basic training in Brownwood and then Mineral Wells, Texas, Riojas was sent to Camp Roberts in California. He remembered that his pregnant wife once sent him $3 in a letter in case he needed money.

    \I put it back in the envelope and I said, ‘You keep that money for you, I don’t need it,’ \ he recalled.

    Before being shipped overseas, he got leave to visit his infant son, but most of his time off was taken up by train travel and he managed only two or three days with his wife and son. Then in summer of 1942, Riojas joined 6,000 other men crowded onto the USS Harris as they made their way into the Pacific. He served with the U.S. Army’s 37th Infantry Division.

    His first action was at Guadalcanal, where Japanese guns trained on the arriving boats, and rained tracers on the Allied troops.

    \Well, it was kind of scary,\ said the man who at the time was a 21-year-old who until he got drafted had never even been outside of Texas. \I thought, this must be the end.\

    But he survived and continued on with troops as they made their way up the Solomon Island archipelago to the Japanese stronghold at Bouganville. That, he said, was the first time he was injured, when a piece of shrapnel slammed into his forehead. The injury, however, was not severe enough for him to get to go home.

    He recalled one fight when 250 men went up a hill and only 14 came down unharmed. The rest were either injured or killed.

    \There were times when we didn’t have no water to drink,\ he said. \We used to get the grass and chew on it a little bit for the juice. There was nothing to eat.\

    After the Solomon Islands, Riojas went to the Philippines and Luzon, landing at Lingayen Gulf amid heavy fire from the Japanese. He described landing on the shore and running for his life onto the beach.

    After nearly a month at Luzon, he was sent on to Manila, where even more fighting awaited, especially around what he recalls as the \walled city,” or the old Spanish portion of Manila. He recalled tossing grenades into a building and finding 16 Japanese soldiers dead. He remembered taking a U.S.-made rifle off a dead Japanese soldier and tossing his own away because his was inferior.

    \They used to say that for every year you spent in World War II, that was 10 years out of your life,\ Riojas said. \So I stayed there three years, three months and three days. So I lost 30 years right there.\

    After his discharge, Riojas returned to Austin and his family. His first job was with the city, in the bridge and street department making 64 cents an hour. But he soon found better paying jobs, including one with a spring company where he worked for 21 years and later as a mechanic for other companies, including B.F. Goodrich and El Galindo, a tortilla factory.

    He and his wife had two more boys, but Riojas noted that it was many years between the birth of his first son and his son, and he believes medication he took during the war to prevent malaria affected his ability to have children for a time.

    His oldest son Morris Jr., died in 1976 of a brain tumor.

    Riojas agrees that he saw more than his share of carnage and killing during his years in the Army. But he does not think all that has had much of an impact on his life.

    \I know some guys don’t like to talk about it, but it never bothered me,\ he said. \I came back and just started to work. … I think maybe it was the way I was raised. Kids today have everything. But us when we were kids, we pretty much had to grow up on our own.\

    Mr. Riojas was interviewed in Austin, Texas, on May 11, 1999, by Kelli Lambert.

    Date of Birth:
    No Birthdate available for this record.
    Interviewed by:
    Kelli Lambert
    WWII Military Unit:

    No photos available for this record.

    U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project

  142. Richard KELLER says:

    My father is Richard Keller. He was the company commander of E company of the 148th Inf regiment. His unit and F company were the units that performed the double envelopment of Hill 700. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership and his unit was later awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. I am trying to find anyone around from E company who may remember my father, if there are any images of the battle of Hill 700, E company or my father

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

, , , ,

Sponsored Content: