Chapter XVIII

Ground, Air And The Asset Side
Decision on the means of getting more Negroes overseas and into action had barely been made when news reached the country that the first Negro infantrymen had met the enemy. With the dateline "Allied Headquarters, South Pacific, March 15," the wire services carried the story that American Negroes of the 24th Infantry were in frontline action for the first time, with Sgt. Alonzo Douglas of Chicago credited with being the first Negro infantryman to kill a Japanese in the Solomons.1
The 24th Infantry
The 24th Infantry, which had left the country in April 1942, had been on Efate in the New Hebrides and on Guadalcanal. From its arrival on 4 May 1942 as a part of Force 9156 ( later III Island Command) to October 1942 it was charged with a large part of the perimeter defense of Efate. From October to the summer of 1943 the regiment, after consolidating its battalions, became a part of the island's mobile striking force, organized under the 24th's commander, Col. Hamilton Thorn. With the American successes on Guadalcanal, the danger of immediate attack on the island had now passed. While the 24th continued its training and field duties, it performed base service functions, including loading and unloading ships, guarding air bases, building roads, spraying and draining as a part of mosquito control, sending daily labor details to perform quartermaster and ordnance services, and installing and maintaining wire communications for a large part of the base. These were, and continued to be, the 24th's main contribution to the Pacific war.2
The 24th's 2d Battalion, from about 1 March to 6 August 1943, was on detached duty on Guadalcanal, unloading ships, operating a provisional truck company, and furnishing labor details to quartermaster and ordnance dumps. The rest of the regiment moved to Guadalcanal in August, with the 1st Battalion receiving commendation from the commander of the USS Hunter Liggett for its speed and efficiency in unloading. The 3d Battalion was then detached in September for service at Munda for duty with the Provisional Service Command there. It operated ration dumps and a labor pool for the New Georgia Group Service Command. In the meantime, the regiment continued to return cadres

to the United States for new units, II officers and 182 enlisted men leaving in July and 5 officers and 76 enlisted men leaving in September 1943. While its units furnished men for local security in outlying areas of Guadalcanal, the regiment's chief daily duties involved supplying details for the Island Service Command, averaging 35 officers and 1,200 enlisted men.3
The 24th Infantry, the only Negro infantry unit continuing with all white officers, remained at these tasks until the end of January 1944, when the 1st Battalion, under Lt. Col. John L. Thomas, left Guadalcanal with naval Task Force 31 for Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville. It landed on 30 January as a supporting unit in XIV Corps reserve.4 While the other battalions and regimental units remained at their assigned duties at Munda and Guadalcanal, the 1st Battalion began to unload ships and work supply dumps at Bougainville, where marines and troops of the 37th Division had landed in November 1943 and where the 37th and Americal Divisions, plus two Fiji battalions, were still engaging the enemy.
On 29 February, two weeks after the Allied occupation of the Green Islands to the north of Bougainville had assured the cutting of Japanese communications and supply lines to Bougainville, and on the day that the Advisory Committee was meeting in Washington to frame a recommendation on the use of Negro troops in combat, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, still in corps reserve, was relieved of service command duties and
attached to the 37th Division to assist in the construction of regimental reserve line positions. The battalion was assigned to the west half of the 129th Infantry reserve line. This battalion was already in position for active use against the enemy when the War Department's message urging the prompt use of Negro ground combat troops went out to General Harmon.
On II March, the battalion passed from XIV Corps reserve to the operational control of the 37th Division, which attached it to the 148th Infantry. It occupied the regimental reserve area. One company moved forward to reinforce the main line of resistance between the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 148th. That night this position was attacked and two men were killed.5
Not until the next night, 12 March- for the 1st Battalion had been organizing its sector and training its men- did the first of its combat patrols go out. Led by 2d Lt. Henry J. McAllister, the patrol moved several thousand yards out and, on its way back, about a thousand yards from the battalion's lines, encountered eight Japanese, killing one and losing one of its own men.6 It was to this first Negro infantry patrol in a combat area that the published news release of 15 March referred.
The news release took the War Department by surprise. Would the 93d Division be as promptly used? The

next day an "Eyes Only" message went from General Marshall to General Harmon, advising that both the Chief of Staff and Secretary Stimson felt that initial use of the 93d Division or its elements should be permitted only after adequate preparation of the unit or units involved, for undoubtedly the first reports of the division's action would be headlined at home. News releases and theater reports would have to be kept factual; the War Department was under constant pressure for alleged failure to use Negro troops in combat. The units of the 93d should have a careful test to determine their capabilities. Anything warranting comment should be reported soon after their initial use and thereafter from time to time so that the Secretary might be kept fully informed.7 On 22 March another query went to the South Pacific, asking details of the extent and duration of the employment of the 24th Infantry on Bougainville, the use and location of the remainder of the regiment, future plans, personnel, casualties, and results attained so far.8
General Harmon assured Marshall that all reasonable measures to insure proper preparedness for the units of the 93d would be made, but the reinforced 25th Infantry Combat Team of the 93d Division was already loading for Empress Augusta Bay. No amphibious operations were planned for these troops or for the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry. They were to be used initially with Fiji battalions on combat patrols and to mop up Japanese, with employment on limited operations from a base within the defense perimeter. The War Department would be kept informed of events as they occurred.9
Thus, the first of the larger Negro ground combat units were committed to action, under direct suggestion from the War Department, acting under the pressure of unfavorable reactions to conversions and in the furtherance of a "national policy" which required that at least some Negro ground units be committed to combat. Promises of reports and evaluations went along with their commitment. In a klieg lighted atmosphere, of which units and their officers were happily not always aware, their employment began. Later, with the arrival of visiting observers, board members, staff representatives from higher headquarters, reporters, photographers, and interviewers, of high rank and low, troops could no longer ignore the interest focused upon them. Documentation, some objective and some not so objective, much of it out of proportion to the importance of the units or their missions, flowed into higher echelons, influencing the future use of the units concerned and the disposition of other units. Few units, outside of the services, were employed for vital military tasks unrelated to one or another aspect of the demonstration of their abilities. The careers of Negro combat units were, therefore, as atypical as were the circumstances of their commitment to overseas duty.

The 93d Division
The 93d Division received its final movement orders in December 19430n I I January 1944, its advance party, under the division's commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond G. Lehman, left San Francisco for the South Pacific at the same time that its artillery units were completing firing tests at Iron Mountain. The remainder of the 93d moved to the Solomons between then and the end of February. This was the last time until the end of the war that all elements of the division were gathered in the same location. While the entire division proceeded to Guadalcanal, only its special troops and the 25th Infantry tarried there. The 368th Regimental Combat Team, without debarking, proceeded to prepare defensive positions on Banika in the Russells, arriving on 7 February. The 369th Regimental Combat Team, after a few days on Guadalcanal, proceeded in increments to islands of the New Georgia group, relieving elements of the 43d Infantry Division there. These units of the 93d Division began their careers as occupation troops, establishing guard posts, patrolling, assisting in the operation of ports, and training in jungle warfare.
The 25th Regimental Combat Team 10 arrived on Guadalcanal on 17 February 1944 in the third group of 93d Infantry Division troops to reach the Solomons. It spent its first three weeks setting up camp on Guadalcanal while portions of its troops, averaging about a thousand a day, worked in the port area. When the bivouac area was in shape on 28 February, the regiment started jungle training with troops not detailed to the docks. Between then and 21 March, each battalion received about a week's training in jungle warfare, with emphasis on scouting, patrolling, perimeter defense, and rifle, grenade, and malarial training. On 22 March the combat team was ordered to move to Empress Augusta Bay, near the southern end of Bougainville,11 where the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, was already being employed by XIV Corps.
The last major effort of the Japanese to dislodge Allied forces from the Torokina beachhead on Bougainville was being made at this time, though neither the troops nor their commanders could be certain of the finality of this offensive. The Japanese, with an estimated force of 25,000 on Bougainville, were expected to make strong efforts to force Allied units into the sea. Late in February, XIV Corps intelligence learned that the Japanese were concentrating a force of about 12,000 in front of Allied positions. The predicted attack came on 8 March, with a "series of vigorous but poorly coordinated attacks of a more or less piecemeal nature," all of which were repulsed with heavy Japanese and light American losses. By the end of March the main Japanese effort was over. The Japanese

6th Division was, by then, practically destroyed.12
On 28 March, the 25th Regimental Combat Team, under the command of Col. Everett M. Yon, arrived on Bougainville, unloading by day under intermittent Japanese shelling. The next three days were spent in preparing a bivouac. On 30 March, the combat team went under the control of the Americal Division for training, administration, and operations.13
In his instructions to Maj. Gen. Oscar W. Griswold, commanding the XIV Corps, General Harmon, expanding the War Department's suggestions, emphasized the values inherent in limited offensive operations beyond the Torokina perimeter in southern Bougainville. "As a corollary," he added, "an opportunity will be afforded for the seasoning and employment of Negro combat forces." He suggested that the 25th Regimental Combat Team, supplemented if desired by the already available 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, be used in these operations. The 24th Infantry's battalion could be replaced later by a fresh one from the same regiment. The Negro units were to work with more seasoned units under experienced leaders before going on their own.14
Each battalion of the 25th Infantry was therefore attached to one of the Americal's infantry regiments. The
5934 Field Artillery Battalion and the 25th's cannon company were attached to the Americal's division artillery and other elements of the combat team to corresponding units of the Americal Division.15 The two battalions of the Fiji Infantry Regiment, native Fijians under New Zealand and Fijian officers, whose whole combat experience had been obtained on Bougainville, were also available for use with the Negro units.
Already on Bougainville upon the arrival of the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, and the 25th Regimental Combat Team was the 2d Battalion of the 54th Coast Artillery, a Negro unit operating as field artillery. Later re-designated the 49th Coast Artillery Battalion,16 this unit was among those that lost equipment and records when the President Coolidge sank after striking mines off Aspirate Santo on 26 October 1942. The 2d Battalion, 54th Coast Artillery, with the 172d Regimental Combat Team of the 43d Division, had been sent from Gnome to Aspirate Santo in anticipation of the possibility of enemy attacks upon that major base supporting operations then in progress on Guadalcanal. Aspirate Santo was otherwise only lightly defended at the time.17
On Aspirate Santo, as part of the Island Defense, the 2d Battalion of the 54th gained experience in the use of various types of equipment, including borrowed 155mm. and naval guns, pending arrival of replacements for its own weapons due in January 1943. Lacking

individual equipment, men learned to improvise. Occasional bombing raids, incurring no casualties and little damage, and intensive training in field artillery methods- every available man in the unit was trained as a cannoneer- contributed to the fitness of the unit. It remained on Aspirate Santo through 1943. On 4 February 1944 the unit debarked at Empress Augusta Bay where it was assigned to field artillery missions as corps artillery of the XIV Corps, thus becoming the first Negro combat support unit to engage the enemy actively in the South Pacific.18
The 24th Infantry on Bougainville
The 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, while under the tactical control of the 148th Infantry from 11 to 29 March 1944, was not used for offensive operations. At the time, "the combat efficiency of the battalion was considered too low," General Griswold said. It was given a sector of the perimeter and "did an excellent job in organizing and preparing its defensive positions.19 is When the major Japanese attack against the Torokina beachhead came in March, no serious attempt was made against the 24th's sector. "In general, the troops of the battalion were inclined to be a bit 'triggerhappy,' but perhaps no more so than those of any other organization which has never had its baptism of fire," General Griswold reported.20
The first month's patrol work of this battalion was judged "decidedly inferior." One officer and fifteen enlisted men on a patrol reported themselves pinned down by an estimated six Japanese; though they had encountered no opposition for three hours, the officer made no attempt to extricate his patrol. One platoon of Company B, 148th Infantry, went to the rescue. Finding no opposition at all, they escorted the patrol back to the perimeter. Another patrol of the same company remained lost for several hours because, "according to the officer's statement, he was afraid to cross the barbed wire on the battalion reserve line." Another platoon did not continue an attack after being fired on, allowing an estimated half-dozen Japanese to escape.21
Upon the arrival of the 25th Regimental Combat Team on 29 March, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, passed to the control of the Americal Division, relieving two companies on Hill 260, the scene of bitter fighting a few days before.22 Patrols went into enemy territory but no contacts were made. Sanitary measures taken by the battalion seemed adequate, but mosquitoes were dense in the area of this hill. Japanese who had occupied it were almost universally infected with malaria. Within a month of occupying Hill 260, nearly one third of the battalion had malaria.23 Leaving Hill 260, the battalion relieved troops of the 132d Infantry along a narrow beach running from the Torokina to the Mavavia Rivers. Patrolling, by

March 1944.
now much improved, continued; clashes with the Japanese occurred north and east of Mavavia Lagoon and both sides suffered casualties.
The confidence and ability of the battalion increased. On 19 April an officer and sixteen men patrolling across the Mavavia were trapped by a company of Japanese. The patrol leader ordered his men to fight their way back across the river; twelve were able to do so, but the patrol leader and three men were pinned down by machine gun fire. A rifle platoon, supported by a platoon of medium tanks from the 754th Tank
Battalion, landed from LCT's and attacked the enemy. The 24th's platoon rescued the trapped men and withdrew across the river mouth. After nearly five days of artillery and mortar fire on the area, a company of the 24th, supported by two platoons of tanks and a platoon of flame throwers, landed from LCT's and attacked along the narrow beach. Facing moderate to heavy resistance, the company cleared more than 1,000 yards of beach before nightfall while the remainder of the battalion occupied the cleared area and organized defensive positions. The advance con

tinued the next day until midafternoon, when swampy ground near the mouth of the Moy River halted further attempts to gain ground.24 These constituted the first Negro infantry attacks supported by white armored troops and involving LCT's in World War II.
The 2d Battalion, 132d Infantry, took over the 24th's positions between the mouth of the Torokina and the Mavavia Lagoon while the remainder of the 24th's battalion extended their positions toward the assault company. Through this action, more than 5,500 yards of the shore line came under the control of the Americal Division and its attached units.25 The XIV Corps commander considered the conduct of the battalion in this action to be "highly satisfactory." Subsequent patrols to the north and east as far as the Reini River he also judged "highly satisfactory." Discipline and morale in the battalion were considered good. "Although this battalion has in the past been employed largely on labor duties to the detriment of its training," General Griswold concluded, "its work in combat here has progressively and noticeably improved." As of 10 May its combat efficiency was considered "good." 26 The battalion had eleven men killed in action, two dead of wounds, and thirteen wounded during its operations in Bougainville. It accounted for an estimated forty-seven Japanese killed in action and one prisoner of war.27
The 25th. Regimental Combat Team
When the 25th Regimental Combat Team arrived on Bougainville the main ground offensive of the Japanese the only one since the occupation of the Torokina beachhead had about spent itself. After resistance on Hill 260 ended, the Americal Division planned to extend its outpost line of resistance along the general line of hills facing the beachhead. Enemy artillery in these hills was still able to reach the Torokina airstrip. The proposed hill line was divided into regimental sectors; when established by units of the Americal's regiments, it would be maintained by units of the 25th Infantry.
The 25th began its seasoning program under the control of the Americal within twenty-four hours of landing. On 30 March, officer observers moved out with combat patrols of the Americal and two ammunition and pioneer platoons accompanied elements of the 132d Infantry in an attack on Hills 500 and 501. In three days of action sixty-five Japanese were killed by this force; the 25th's platoons lost three men to sniper fire. On 31 March Pvt. James H. O'Banner, a member of this party, became the first enlisted man of the 93d Division to kill an enemy soldier.
Before other battalions attached to the regiments of the Americal began their active patrolling, the 2d Battalion was temporarily detached from the 182d Infantry and assigned to a special task force from the 37th Division which included the 3d Battalion, 148th Infantry, and the two battalions of the Fiji Infantry Regiment. The task force was directed to pursue and destroy the enemy detach

ments withdrawing east and north along the Laruma River. The force moved out on the morning of 2 April, heading north along the Numa Numa Trail, and halting at the Laruma River, where missions were assigned. The 2d Battalion was ordered to ford the Laruma and proceed eastward, protecting lines of communication and securing a trail junction near the mouth of Jaba Creek while the 3d Battalion, 148th Infantry, proceeded along the south bank of the river.
The 2d Battalion, 25th Infantry, crossed the river successfully, lowering men and equipment down a 60-foot river bluff by rope; Company E killed two Japanese while covering the crossing. Small skirmishes and light enemy fire occupied the battalion as it proceeded northeast. Enemy positions south of the river prohibited any advance on that side, and were bypassed by elements of the 3d Battalion, 148th Infantry. The 2d Battalion, 25th Infantry, placed considerable mortar and machine gun fire on these positions from its vantage point on the opposite shore.
On the next afternoon, 9 April, a small patrol under the regimental intelligence officer recrossed the Laruma and uncovered an enemy machine gun nest in a pocket of pillboxes. One Japanese was killed before hostile fire forced the patrol to withdraw. A platoon from Company F, after machine gun and mortar preparation, crossed the river and cleared out the machine gun position, losing five men wounded to approximately twenty Japanese dead. One man, Pvt. Wade Foggie, set up his rocket launcher under heavy fire and sent eight rounds into three enemy pillboxes, destroying them all and killing about ten Japanese. For this action he received the division's first Bronze Star.28 The next day Company E accompanied a party of Fiji Scouts on a patrol south of the river. On 5 April the task force completed its mission; the 2d Battalion was returned to the control of the 182d Infantry, Americal Division.
In this manner, most of the units of the 25th were introduced to combat. Patrols, consisting of members of the regiment, Fijians, and members of the Americal Division, engaged in both limited and extensive missions. In the meantime, the 593d Field Artillery Battalion was joining in the missions of the Americal's artillery. The 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry, attached to the 132d Infantry, got its first experience on 3 April. A party hand carrying supplies to a force of the 132d in the vicinity of Hill 500 was ambushed by an enemy patrol when a part of the platoon was on the way back to the perimeter with a 132d Infantry litter case. Four men were lost the first of the regiment to be killed in action. A member of the regimental medical detachment, Technician 3 Stephen H. Simpson, Jr., was with the 132d's patient at the time that the litter was fired on. Staying with the wounded man, he knocked out a Japanese machine gun with a hand grenade, helped the patient to the bottom of a hill, and there dressed a fresh bullet wound that the man had received during the skirmish. He and other members of the patrol improvised a litter and continued toward the rear. When darkness came, the patrol was lost in the jungle, but Simpson and the others remained with the wounded man until, guided by the sound of friendly artillery in the morn

ing, they reached an Americal outpost and delivered him safely to an aid station. Company B of the 1st Battalion, in the meantime, took over a sector of the main perimeter from a company of the 132d Infantry on 4 April. Two days later, on 6 April, Company C saw its first action in conjunction with Company L, 132d Infantry, on a patrol in the vicinity of Hill 500 where, after a brief exchange of fire with an enemy force, the patrol withdrew and called for artillery fire on the area.
So far, the seasoning process had proceeded as planned and, in some cases, with better results than expected. The 5934 Field Artillery Battalion was warmly welcomed by Brig. Gen. William C. Dunckel, commanding the Americal artillery, after his observers reported the accuracy of their fires and the efficiency of their construction and occupation of their positions.29 The 2d Battalion of the 25th, returning from its mission with the 37th Division task force, was commended by the regimental commander for its count of thirty enemy dead at a cost of four minor casualties. The 3d Battalion had not as yet participated in combat patrols with elements of the 164th Infantry to which it was attached. It had been directed to organize reserve positions for the regiment. Its companies had gone on reconnaissance patrols without contacting the enemy.
On the evening of 5 April, Company K of the 25th's 3d Battalion, under the command of Capt. James J. Curran, a white officer, and Negro platoon leaders, received the mission of forming a trail block approximately 3,000 yards from the base of Hill 250. A machine gun platoon from Company M was attached for the mission. Company K was to move out on the morning of 6 April and form the trail block during the following night. There was little time for briefing, supplying, instructing, and inspecting the company, for it was located in enemy territory and could carry on only limited activity in the dark. Capt. William A. Crutcher and three enlisted men of the 593d Field Artillery Battalion went along as artillery observers; an officer and an enlisted man of the 161st Signal Photographic Company had their cameras to make pictures for press release; Sgt. Ralph Brodin, intelligence sergeant from the Americal's 164th Infantry, was attached as combination guide and aide. All attached personnel except the 593d's enlisted men and the machine gun platoon were white.
Company K moved out about o645. Its equipment and armament were normal, except that nine additional Browning automatic rifles had been substituted for nine m1 rifles. The light machine gun section had four guns and there was but one instead of three 60mm. mortars. The unit carried two radios, SCR-300. The plan given to the platoon leaders was: The 1st Platoon would provide security to the front while breaking trail; a light machine gun section and company headquarters would follow. The 2d Platoon, coming next and in column, would provide security to the flanks, moving out from the trail with small finger patrols at all halts for reconnaissance and returning with reports of observations. Behind the 2d Platoon would come another machine gun section, with the 3d Platoon in the rear to provide

security to the rear and to the immediate right and left; it also, at all halts, was to send out finger patrols and establish small outposts to the rear.
The men of the company were elated as they moved out on their first mission; the presence of newspaper men and the cameramen gave added vim to the occasion. All went well until, about 2,600 yards out and nearing its objective, the patrol entered an old Japanese hospital area containing several bamboo shelters. The 1st Platoon sent out finger patrols as planned. Shortly after halting in the shelter area, m1 fire broke out on the left front of the 1st Platoon. One patrol leader reported that his patrol had seen three Japanese, killed two. The company commander and the reporting sergeant started out to investigate. Before they reached the dead Japanese, firing broke out all around them. The patrol leader and one of his men were wounded.
With one of the 1st Platoon's patrols still out, the company commander ordered the 2d and 3d Platoons forward to join flanks with the 1st Platoon to provide security for the right and rear. The rifle platoons had moved into approximately these positions when firing resumed and machine guns were set up. Because of the dense jungle the mortar squad's men were used as riflemen, placed to the rear right of the company facing up the trail toward the 1st Platoon.
After the first rifle fire, heavy M1, automatic rifle, and machine gun fire interspersed with some Japanese fire, broke out to the front and left of the 1st Platoon. Without orders, some members of the 2d and 3d Platoons took up the fire. The 1st Section of machine guns opened fire to the right and left of the 1st Platoon; the 2d Section fired to the right and left flanks of the 3d Platoon.
His finger patrols still out, the company commander tried to order a cease fire; the order was taken up by platoon leaders and some noncommissioned officers, but after a brief silence one Japanese machine gun fired eight or nine rounds. Company K's men opened fire again. Men began to cry out that they were wounded; firing, much of it at random, continued.
The 2d and 3d Platoons, ordered to swing one squad each toward the 1st Platoon lines to bring their flanks together to meet at the trail, began moving in toward the 1st Platoon, firing sporadically in the general direction of the original position of the 1st Platoon whose men, caught in a cross fire, were now trying to take cover. Captain Curran ordered the 1st Platoon commander to reorganize his platoon and form a line about 75 yards to the rear through which the company could be withdrawn. The first sergeant, James Graham, was ordered to form the walking wounded, get a litter squad, provide security of five men, and evacuate the wounded to an aid station. These were the orders that started the movement of the entire company to the rear. The platoon sergeant of the 1st Platoon had already pulled off his pack, dropped his rifle, and disappeared. The directed movement of the 1st Platoon, whose men, highly excited as a result of being fired on from front and rear firing which both they and the members of the other platoons insisted was Japanese fire increased the apprehension of the men of the rear platoons, most of whom knew nothing of the

orders governing the leading platoon's movements. When the company commander tried to move to the rear to help the 1st Platoon commander reform his platoon, men crowded around him. Hoping to prevent a coalescing of the three platoons, he decided not to move with the 1st Platoon. Instead, he ordered 1st Lt. Oscar Davenport, weapons platoon leader, to withdraw his forward machine guns. Davenport, who had gone to investigate the original firing, was pinned down. He called out to the company commander, who replied, too late to cement officer solidarity and too soon to conceal rank from a sharp-eared enemy, "Don't call me captain, call me Jim." Davenport remained until all of his platoon had been withdrawn. While crawling to give aid to a wounded soldier of a nearby platoon, he was wounded. He continued toward the wounded soldier, reached him, and was administering first aid when he was hit again and killed.30
In the meantime, enemy firing, apparently unaimed, continued at short intervals. Sporadic bursts from Company K followed, some of it directed at any movement in the brush. The company commander reported the situation to the 3d Battalion command post and was told to withdraw about three or four hundred yards and reorganize his company. After the 2d and 3d Platoons had formed a new line as ordered, men continued to fire sporadically, pushing back each time until some lay two and three deep behind each other, firing over the heads of men in front. One backed "right over" the company commander's head and shoulder. Attempts to withdraw the men a few at a time failed, for men withdrew in groups until only the company commander and two other officers remained on the line. The new 1st Platoon line through which the company was to withdraw was a scene of confusion because men were reluctant to move off the trail and face outward as ordered. The white intelligence sergeant from the 164th Infantry, Sergeant Brodin, the sole experienced infantryman present, was of considerable help. "He walked calmly up and down carrying his carbine, telling the men there was nothing to worry about, that there were a few Japs, and that if they held everything would turn out OK," 1st Lt. Charles Schuman, the Signal Corps photographer, reported. "Sgt. Brodin suggested that my sergeant and I withdraw to the rear where we ran into Captain Curran. He was running up and down the trail trying to calm the men by shouting `Hold your fire, hold your fire.'" At no time, Schuman continued, did he see any control exercised over the men by anyone. "I may have been in the wrong places, but I saw no leadership, no command, except Capt. Curran shouting hold your fire." Brodin commented that men fired at any moving bush. "They would listen to me because they thought I had more experience," he said. "They wanted to fight." Soon there was no patrol front; soldiers were lying about on the ground, facing and firing in all directions. Captain Curran reported again to the battalion command post, and he was ordered to bring his company back to Hill 250 to reorganize.
The first elements of Company K, with the first sergeant and the missing

platoon sergeant of the 1st Platoon, reached their front lines about 1730 in the afternoon. The battalion commander met them as they crossed the Torokina River. All seemed quite upset and excited. In their opinion, the patrol had met at least a regiment of Japanese, although no survivor had seen an enemy soldier. The platoon sergeant was lying down with two or three other men; the first sergeant, in charge of litters, had "two or three men carrying him across the Torokina River," the battalion commander reported, adding, "He is rather old and fat."
Lieutenant Davenport and nine enlisted men were killed in the fight and twenty enlisted men were wounded. The dead were left behind along with equipment, including a radio, a light machine gun, a 60mm. mortar, 30 rounds of 60mm. ammunition, 2 Browning automatic rifles, about 18 M1 rifles, 3 carbines, and web equipment.
The entire action consumed but thirty or forty minutes but its aftermath was considerably longer. The best estimates were that not more than a squad or so of Japanese were involved and that most casualties were caused by the unit's own men. Investigation of the incident by the Americal Division, involving testimony from almost every available member of the company present, lasted from 14 April to 2 May; 31 discussion, speculation, and rumor lasted longer.
The next day a patrol from Company L went out to recover Company K's dead. This patrol ran into a fire fight about 75 yards short of its destination, losing one man in the fight and another by drowning, and returned without completing its mission. On 8 April Lt. Abner E. Jackson, 1st Platoon leader of Company K, led a carrying party of forty Company L men to the scene of the fight; six bodies were found but the men refused to touch or wrap them. Despite the threat of disciplinary action if the mission were not completed, Jackson could get only two noncoms and two privates to help him wrap the bodies. At Jackson's request, twenty men from his own Company K under the unit's new first sergeant joined his party. Three bodies and three mattress covers full of equipment were brought back. On the third day, another carrying party under the battalion commander accompanied by Jackson brought back the remaining bodies and equipment.
The 3d Battalion's units continued their patrolling for the next two weeks without further disrupting incidents or casualties. Most of the subsequent patrols of the 3d were joint patrols with the 164th, as in the initial patrols of the 25th's other battalions. On II April a patrol from Company K killed two of the enemy. A prisoner was taken by a Company I patrol the same day and another on 13 April.
The 2d Battalion, after its return to Americal Division control, engaged in extensive patrolling in the Torokina valley. One of the patrols from its Company F was ambushed on 8 April. A member of the patrol, Pvt. Isaac Sermon, wounded by a shot in the neck, returned

15 April 1944.
fire with his Browning automatic rifle and killed at least three of the enemy. After using his one magazine of ammunition, Private Sermon started crawling back to the rest of his patrol; he was shot three more times but kept going. He kept his position in the rapidly moving patrol for more than 600 yards; then he dropped from exhaustion and loss of blood and had to be carried in. He was awarded the regiment's only Silver Star for his part in this action.32
On the same day, 8 April, the Americal Division ordered units of the 25th Infantry to occupy the new outpost line.33 A provisional battalion of the 25th, including the regimental headquarters and the antitank and cannon companies; moved onto Hill 260 as the 1st Battalion; 24th Infantry, which had been going through the same seasoning process with elements of the 37th and Americal Divisions, moved off. Regiments of the Americal continued to control the battalions of the 25th as they gradually moved into position along the line of

hills. Generally, the battalions of the 25th followed units of the Americal Division and the Fiji battalions into position as planned, remaining to organize and defend the outpost line. By 25 April, battalions of the 25th Infantry were all in outpost positions.
On 30 April control of the 25th Regimental Combat Team passed to a provisional brigade, organized under Brig. Gen. Leonard Boyd, assistant division commander, from all troops of the 93d Division then on Bougainville. The outpost line was now 12,000 yards from the Torokina bomber strip, leaving the remaining Japanese artillery out of range of the airstrips. Units of the regiment continued to patrol in cooperation with units of the Americal Division through May. In the meantime, troops of the 93d's 318th Engineer Battalion were constructing roads to the new positions while the 93d Reconnaissance Troop furnished security for the road builders.
Relations between men of the 25th and the veteran white troops with whom they were employed were excellent. Praise given them by officers and men of the Americal and by their own higher officers boosted morale. Men and officers reacted well to the knowledge that the unit was gaining experience and that some officers and men were gaining reputations as good patrol leaders. Most men and most officers considered that the unit was settling down well. Racial tensions had been pushed into the background both by enlisted men and by white officers although some Negro officers, while admitting that morale had improved, still smarted under the existing promotion policy and the lack of command positions among them. Enlisted men expressed themselves as fighting to maintain gains that Negroes had made in the past seventy years, to guarantee better jobs after the war, to "prove that we can do anything that anybody else can do," and because "If it were not for the Japs I wouldn't be here." The 25 percent or so who were not adjusting well divided roughly into two groups: those with little education, usually products of rural backgrounds, and those with urban backgrounds, who were better educated. The men of the first group viewed their missions with apathy, approaching their work halfheartedly, while the others resented being in the war at all, considering it little of their affair. Most of this minority of men lacked confidence in their leaders, white and Negro, and in their training. Some declared that their continental training in the desert had done little to fit them for jungle warfare.34
The Company K affair made a greater impression on the men of the regiment than most officers realized. Officers of the unit, knowing more of the problems of green troops, tended to view the episode as something that might have happened to any green troops freshly committed to action in the jungle. They realized that the men involved were

somewhat shaken by the affair but there was little knowledge of its effect on the combat team as a whole. The enlisted men of the 25th, however, those who were performing and adjusting well along with those who were disgruntled, tended to view it as the result of moving the company into action without adequate preparation. They blamed the company commander for the events on this patrol. The rumor spread and was believed that the white company commander deserted his men, running to the rear under fire; that the Negro officer casualty sacrificed his life in order that his men might get back to the outpost line; and that the whole affair was being whitewashed in order to save the faces of the white officers involved. Outside the combat team, the incident became a cause célébre of another kind. It formed the basis of a rumor spreading through the Pacific that the 93d Division, in the invasion of Bougainville, had broken and run.35
Despite excellent discipline and control in many other instances, this and lesser incidents of individual and command failure combined to dampen enthusiasm for further use of the 25th Infantry on the gradually quietening Bougainville perimeter. Adverse reports sent to the War Department included a case where three men in a foxhole were approached at night by a fourth man, who jumped into the hole. In the ensuing scuffle one man was knifed. There were no Japanese in the area at the time.36 In another foxhole at night one of two soldiers thought he heard the enemy approaching. He fired all his own ammunition, then borrowed his companion's rifle and ammunition and fired again. When he tried to leave the foxhole, his companion attempted to stop him. In the struggle one man was shot. He was found dead in the morning in front of the foxhole. On another night a Negro officer and an enlisted man were in a foxhole closely adjoining another containing two enlisted men. The officer, thinking he heard a noise in the brush, left his foxhole, went to the neighboring position, and ordered the two soldiers to leave and investigate. Later the officer, seeing two figures in the brush, shot and killed one and wounded the other. In the morning it was revealed that these were his own two men. A company of the 25th, adjacent to a Fiji battalion, fired three mortar shells into an area close to the Fijians although half an hour earlier it had received warning that Fijian patrols were beginning to move out. On another occasion enemy infiltrators precipitated a night battle between the same company and its Fijian neighbors; though quantities of ammunition were fired, by luck alone no casualties were sustained by either unit. After ten days on the outpost line one of the 25th's battalions had not cleared sufficient fields of fire, had failed to cover the gaps between strong points by fire, and was erecting

open topped pillboxes to house five men each, thereby subjecting too large a group of men in one place to enemy action.37 Easily noted incidents of this sort, failures in leadership ranging up to battalion level, as well as failures of battle discipline among individuals, Colonel Yon told his officers, "detracted from the excellent work others did and resulted in the 25th CT being rated only `Fair' by Division and Corps in combat efficiency." The combat team nevertheless accomplished its mission, Colonel Yon felt. Battalion and company `commanders of the Americal and 37th Divisions with which elements of the combat team operated stated that troops of the 25th settled down in the face of the enemy "as quickly, if not more so, than did their organizations on Guadalcanal and on New Georgia." 38
But these and other organizations were now seasoned. They were considered dependable. The area had too little in the way of defensive troops and service troops for the widely separated positions held and developed. The 93d, with only one regiment introduced to combat, could be used to advantage, as originally suggested by General Harmon, to replace more seasoned units so that they might proceed to forge their way up the ladder of the Pacific islands toward Japan while the 93d occupied and defended forward positions already secured.
Nevertheless, the performance of the 25th Regimental Combat Team on Bougainville, while not without merit, produced familiar "buts" in higher commanders' estimate of the unit, all echoing the training experience and all tending to support the desirability of the original view of the most profitable employment for the Negro division. The XIV Corps commander concluded after six weeks:
(1) It is apparent that the unit had had little "jungle training"; consequently, as individuals or as a unit, they were not prepared to handle adequately problems encountered in jungle operations. Most individuals showed willingness to learn from white troops; however, their ability to learn, and to retain what has been taught, is generally inferior to that of white troops.
(2) In general, morale of all soldiers was high. However, units as a whole seemed to be unduly affected by reports of difficulties encountered by other elements of the command. Morale of the officers, especially white, seems rather low. Much of this attitude can be traced to the lack of responsibility demonstrated by their junior colored officers and noncommissioned officers.
(3) In general, discipline seems satisfactory; however, there is a tendency on the part of junior colored officers to make the minimum effort to carry out instructions. This same tendency exists among the enlisted men when they receive instructions from these junior officers. As a rule colored officers do not have control of the enlisted men. On the other hand, those units having a large proportion of white officers appear to be better controlled, trained, and disciplined.
(q) Initiative is generally lacking, especially among platoon commanders and lower grades. The presence of higher ranking officers, especially whites, is necessary to assure the tackling and accomplishment of any task.
(5) Field sanitation is generally inadequate.
(6) To date, the 25th Inf., though supposedly better trained than the 1st Bn 24th

Inf, has not progressively improved to the extent of the latter unit.
The combat efficiency of the 25th Regimental Combat Team at the time was considered fair for infantry units, good for the artillery unit.39
On 20 May relief of the battalions of the 25th on the outpost line by battalions of the Americal Division's 182d Infantry began, continuing to 12 June. Patrolling was carried on by each unit until relieved but there were few additional enemy contacts. The 93d Provisional Brigade was dissolved on 8 June 1944, just as the last elements of the 25th Infantry left Bougainville for the Green Islands north of Bougainville. The 93d Division, still under XIV Corps, passed to the control of the Southwest Pacific Area on 15 June after most of its elements moved to the Treasury Islands.40
The 93d Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop remained on Bougainville until 25 October 1944, continuing to operate with Americal forces. The reconnaissance troop, engaging in mapping patrols and protecting the engineers as they built roads, met no enemy opposition until 16 May when, on a four-day patrol mission reconnoitering and mapping the area between the Saua and Reini Rivers, one of its patrols, moving along a newly discovered trail leading west to the Reini, encountered six Japanese. Three-quarters of an hour later, it ran into an ambush near a pillbox in the same area. The rear of the patrol was subsequently attacked, and the men withdrew to high ground from which artillery fire was directed on the area. The patrol continued its mapping mission in the morning, leaving its artillery observers and heavy equipment within the perimeter. About Iozo it was ambushed again; it engaged the enemy in fire fights that lasted most of the day. The patrol leader, Lt. Charles Collins was wounded in the leg during his fourth fire fight of the two days; he continued to command his patrol and during the fighting was wounded three more times and was then unable to continue with the rest of the patrol. Three members of the patrol stayed with him and another wounded soldier. Staff Sgt. Rothchild Webb helped his partly blinded patrol leader into a nearby swamp. After three days in Japanese held territory, Webb successfully led Collins to safety.41 The remaining wounded soldier and two companions, who succeeded in silencing enemy fire long enough to recover him, spent two days in the jungle before they were rescued by a friendly patrol. The troop lost three men killed in action and three wounded in these fire fights.
The 93d Reconnaissance Troop expected to join the remainder of the division in the movement from Bougainville From 20 May to 20 June it was in reserve, standing by for movement, but on 20 June it was attached to the Americal Division for continued use on Bougainville. From 1 July to 10 July, acting as reconnaissance unit for the 182d Infantry, it participated in the battle for Horseshoe Ridge on the East West Trail. It initiated attacks on the front and rear of the hill simultaneously; after several efforts, all elements were recalled for reorganization. Five men had been

wounded. The attack had forced the enemy to evacuate; a handful of men, under Lt. Glen A. Allen, went up the hill in the late evening and found the Japanese leaving. They established a position on the hill and held it until reinforcements came.42
The 93d Reconnaissance Troop continued patrolling, setting up roadblocks and ambushes through the summer, generally acting on reconnaissance and combat patrol missions for the 164th Infantry. It employed alternating patrols in the jungles every five days during August. All missions were accomplished, some members of patrols being cited for exceptional services. After seven months on Bougainville the troop sailed to rejoin the 25th Regimental Combat Team.
Also remaining on Bougainville during this period was one other Negro ground combat unit, the 49th Coast Artillery Battalion, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, having departed on 25 June for the Russell Islands. Between 4 February and 29 July, the 49th, acting as field artillery, fired 400 missions, expending 13,113 rounds. Missions were of all types: destruction, neutralization, harassment, and counterbattery. When the Japanese 6th Division launched its March counterattack on the Torokina beachhead, the unit functioned exceptionally well during counterbattery fire, receiving credit for the destruction of several 75mm. and 150mm. Japanese field pieces. One officer and one enlisted man were killed and three enlisted men were wounded during this action; the unit received six Bronze Stars, two Air Medals, and a commendation from the XIV Corps Artillery commander, Brig. Gen. Leo Kreber.
Beginning in May, part of the 49th relieved the 3d Marine Defense Battalion in seacoast defense positions, while Battery B remained as field artillery under the operational control of XIV Corps Artillery. This battery, attached to the 135th Field Artillery, moved to positions 1,000 yards outside the perimeter on the Numa Numa Trail, placing fires on enemy positions in the upper Laruma valley in support of regiments of the 37th and Americal Divisions.
The 49th continued with assignments on Bougainville, generally under the 68th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade, until 26 November 1944 when, after the island was taken over by Australian forces, it was relieved of tactical duties. Not until February and March 1945 did the unit leave Bougainville for Finschhafen; even then a rear party remained with the unit's heavy ordnance equipment.43
After Bougainville
The 25th Regimental Combat Team left Bougainville for the Green Islands in June, unaware that the remainder of its career, along with that of the 93d Division's other regimental combat teams, was to be primarily one of security and service missions. Just before orders for the relief of the 25th arrived, the report of the investigation of Company K's patrol arrived from XIV Corps, with the conclusion and recommendation:

The performance of Company "K," 25th Infantry as brought out in this report of investigation, is indicative of a lack of proper discipline, and small unit leadership. It is desired that training be instituted to correct these deficiencies, and be vigorously prosecuted in order to prevent like occurrences.44
Of the report the regimental commander commented that the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 25th had been trained, as planned, with veteran units while the 3d Battalion's units had not. Instead, Company K was sent out with but one enlisted man of the 164th Infantry. It had consistently been one of the three best companies of the regiment during the past two and a half years. It was the regimental commander's opinion that
. . . had this organization been given prior instruction and been accompanied by an experienced platoon of the 164th Infantry in its initial action, the results would have been far different. The force encountered was small but equipped with machine guns. The majority of our casualties were inflicted by other men of the company. This has resulted in many instances in jungle warfare when troops were committed without proper seasoning. Early in May a company of the 182d Infantry, a veteran of two years of jungle warfare, encountered an inferior force of the enemy east of the Saua river, became disorganized and returned to the perimeter of the 3d battalion, 25th Infantry on Hill 65 after darkness. The above facts are not offered in condonation of the failure of Company "K" to carry out its mission, but they were contributing causes...45
Neither this opinion nor the demurrer of the 93d Provisional Brigade's commander that the 25th Regimental Combat Team had not been adequately rated altered the course of events planned for the 93d Division. Arriving on the Green Islands, where it relieved the 3d New Zealand Division, the combat team took up its duties of security, labor, and training. Like other elements of the 93d, it was to spend the next year and a half moving from one Pacific island to another, relieving elements of other divisions going forward to engage the enemy, taking over positions which were now rear areas, loading and unloading ships, cleaning out ,Japanese stragglers hiding out on "secure" islands, and mounting invasions for other troops. These were the duties contemplated when the 93d Division was accepted by the theater. At first the ability of the enemy to attack the 93d's islands by air or by sea could not be discounted, but later this possibility became more and more remote. The subsequent duties performed by the 93d in the Pacific were essential, but they were not those an infantry division was normally expected to perform.
In Washington, reports on the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, and the 25th Regimental Combat Team were briefed and sent to General Marshall, Secretary McCloy, and Secretary Stimson. Secretary McCloy, forwarding one report to Stimson, observed:
. . . Although they show some important limitations, on the whole I feel that the report is not so bad as to discourage us.
The general tone of these reports reminds me of the first reports we got of the 99th Squadron. You remember that they were not very good, but that Squadron has now taken its place in the line and has

performed very well. It will take more time and effort to make good combat units out of them, but in the end I think they can be brought over to the asset side.46
To this Stimson observed: "Noted- but I do not believe they can be turned into really effective combat troops without all officers being white. This is indicated by many of the incidents herein." 47
For the 93d, unlike the fighter squadron, there was to be no means of demonstrating improved offensive combat performance; neither the 25th Infantry nor the remaining untried units of the division would be employed for any tactical missions other than minor ones. The fighter squadrons had a different employment story now that, as Secretary McCloy expressed it, they had taken their "place in the line."
The Fighter Units
The 99th Fighter Squadron was completing its first year in combat just as the 93d's units were leaving Bougainville. On 2 June 1944, with its commanding officer, Capt. Erwin B. Lawrence, leading, it flew its 500th combat mission for a cumulative total of 3,277 sorties.48 Public relations releases, appropriately, made much of the anniversary. Since acquiring new missions in the fall of 1943, the 99th Squadron had turned in consistently better performances, some of them with dramatic impact.
In January 1944 the 79th Fighter Group, with the 99th Squadron still operating as a fourth squadron, was assigned missions over the Anzio beachhead from Capodichino Aerodrome, near Naples. From D day, 22 January, on, the 79th met enemy air opposition. On two successive days the 99th scored heavily over the Anzio beach where recently landed American troops were feeling the weight of massing German forces. On the morning of the 27th, fifteen of the 99th's P40 Warhawks engaged sixteen or more Focke-Wulf 190's that were pulling out of a bomb run over the beach. They destroyed six and damaged four of the enemy planes. That afternoon, the 99th returned to the beach area, engaging twelve Focke-Wulf 190's and Messerschmitts. Three were destroyed and a fourth probable was recorded. On the next day, the 99th's share of twenty-one enemy aircraft knocked out of the air over Anzio was four destroyed.49 "It's a grand show. You're doing a magnificent job," General Cannon declared to the 79th Group and the 99th Squadron. "You are authorized to use the following as you may see fit," General Arnold cabled General Eaker from Washington: "The results of the 99th Fighter Squadron during the past two weeks, particu-

larly since the Nettuno landing, are very commendable. My best wishes for their continued success."50 Approbation at home and abroad was noted with pleasure by men of the squadron. The Atlanta Journal, after carrying a news article, "Black Eagles Down 8 Planes Over Nettuno," continued editorially:
The success of the 99th U.S. Fighter Squadron in the air battles over the Nettuno beachhead Thursday will be gratifying to all Americans whatever their race or position. It should be cause for special pride among our Negroes . . . . The fine performance of the 99th in its first desperate adventure will give its members a confidence in themselves that will make the 99th a unit to be feared by the enemy.51
All three afternoon London papers carried the story on their front pages.
The 332d Fighter Group, under the command of Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., arrived at Taranto, Italy, between 29 January and 3 February 1844, with its three full squadrons, the 100th, 301st, and 302d. On 5 February, the first of its squadrons, the 100th, became operational. The group was assigned to harbor and coastal patrol and to convoy escort missions with the Twelfth Air Force. A month later, General Faker informed Washington that the showing of the 392d Group made him "very anxious to have them reequipped with P47's I have gone over this matter thoroughly with Colonel Davis, Cannon, Twining, and Norstad and I am certain that this is the smart thing to do. You will find also that it will take a lot of political pressure off you." 52 The P47 Thunderbolts would improve the range of the group, then equipped with P39's, making them available for bomber escort duty. General Faker restated his desire to reequip the 332d at the same time that older groups were changed over to the newer fighters then in production. "Cannon, Twining and I believe this is a sound move," he said, adding that their reasons were countered by but one theoretical objection:
In the Anzio bridgehead battle, the colored combat pilots have demonstrated that they fight better against the German in the air than they do on ground support missions. The only point raised against this is the fact that bombardment accompanying missions are at high altitude and colored troops do not normally stand cold weather very well. The P47 is a warm airplane, however, and we believe it will work. Colonel Davis and his colored pilots are most enthusiastic to undertake the program and I am confident that they will do a good job.53
Washington had planned and preferred to reequip the 332d with P63's, the Kingcobra, the new and improved version of the P39,54 but delays in proving and delivering this plane plus General Eaker's urging, provided the group with new P47's, first used after its transfer to the Fifteenth Strategic Air Force at

before a combat mission, Italy
the end of May. When that happened General Eaker noted:
Yesterday we transferred the 332d, completely equipped with P47's, to the Strategic Air Force. These colored pilots have very high morale and are eager to get started on their new Strategic task accompanying long-range heavy bombers. I talked with General Strothers, their Wing Commander, today. He has watched them closely in their indoctrination phase and he feels, as I do, that they will give a good account of themselves.55
The 332d, now assigned to the 306th Fighter Wing, flew its first mission with the Fifteenth Air Force on 7 June. On its third mission, two days later, it downed five Messerschmitt 109's over Munich.
In July the 332d was again reequipped, this time with P51 Mustangs, useful for long-range escort fighting like the P47 and also for bombing, ground attacks, and reconnaissance.
Since February the 99th Squadron had been operating with the 79th Group, and then with the 324th Fighter Group, in bombing enemy positions, highways,

railroads, bridges, and industrial plants. The 99th had celebrated the first anniversary of its departure for North Africa on 2 April 1944 by moving from Capodichino to Cercola Field for attachment to the 324th Group. While still with the 79th Group, beginning 8 March, it had received several P47 Thunderbolts. This was taken by the squadron as a sign that it would remain attached to the 79th Group, which had already acquired P47's. But on I April, when the last of the 99th's P47's were transferred to the 85th Squadron, rumors broke out that the squadron was about to be detached from the 79th Group. Men and officers hoped that they would remain attached to the 79th with which they had established and maintained good relations. The news of attachment to the 324th Group, with which it had worked earlier while at Cape Bon, caused "considerable grumbling among the men . . . . Every man was proud of the attachment with the 79th Fighter Group and the policy of its commanding officer, Col. Earl Bates." During its second attachment to the 324th, the 99th operated practically independently, all reports going directly to XII Tactical Air Command (Rear). On 5 June, when the 324th left Pignatoria Airfield on which it and the 99th were stationed, attachment terminated. The squadron remained independent, operating directly under the XII Tactical Air Command while men debated the length of time that they would continue to so operate. From 11 to 29 June it was attached to the 86th Bomber Group and on the latter date was assigned to the 3324 Fighter Group as originally planned.56
On Independence Day, 1944, the 332d flew its first operational mission with its new P51 Mustangs. On 12 July, over southern France, the unit secured its first victories in the Mustang, one pilot, Capt. Joseph D. Elsberry, scoring three victories that day. On 15 July the group, with the 99th added, flew its first four squadron escort mission with bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force.57 On 18 July it shot down eleven enemy planes.
Though the youngest among them, the 332d now took its place with the 306th Wing's and, later, the Fifteenth Fighter Command's groups escorting the Strategic Air Force's bombers on their long-range missions to the Balkans and into southern France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Morale rose among the 332d Group's ground crews and pilots as more important missions were assigned it. Maj. Gen. Nathan Twining and Brig. Gen. Dean C. Strother visited the 332d and praised its efficiency. As more enemy aircraft were downed by the group, "everyone seemed to have had a high spirit. The Group, because of its unique setup, attracted international attention and the pilots wanted to prove that they could make the grade." 58
In August the 332d strafed radar installations on the coast of southern France in preparation for the invasion,; on invasion day it covered Fifteenth Air Force attacks on the landing beaches. The 332d furnished fighter escort for the Fifteenth's final attack on the Plo-

esti oil refineries, accounted for thirty-six of the seventy-six aircraft destroyed on a mission to Ilandza Airdrome in Yugoslavia, strafed airdromes in the Athens area before the invasion of Greece, strafed railroad traffic from Budapest to Bratislava, and attacked targets of opportunity whenever possible. In December in missions over Germany the fighter group met its first German jet planes, the ME-262's. The 332d's commander confirmed the hopes of his men when, in his year's end message, he told them:
I cannot fail to mention the all important fact that your achievements have been recognized. Unofficially you are known by an untold number of bomber crews as the Red Tails who can be depended upon and whose appearance means certain protection from enemy fighters. The bomber crews have told others about your accomplishments, and your good reputation has preceded you in many parts where you may think you are unknown. . . The Commanding General of our Fighter Command has stated that we are doing a good job and that be will so inform the Air Force Commander. Thus, the official report of our operations is a creditable one.59
The 332d's missions with the Fifteenth Air Force had their climax on 24 March 1945 when, with Colonel Davis leading, the group flew cover for B17's in a 1,600 mile round trip attack on Berlin, the longest mission of the Fifteenth Air Force's history. One P38 and three other Mustang groups were in this attack on the Daimler-Benz tank works, which turned out to be one of the more exciting missions of the Fifteenth Air Force's year. Before this time, only two victories over ME-262 jet planes had been confirmed by the Fifteenth Fighter Command. Over Berlin, 8 more jets were credited to Mustangs, 5 to the 31st Group and 3 to the 3324 Group. The 332d probably destroyed 2 more and damaged 3 other ME-262's. It probably destroyed an ME-163 rocket plane as well. On the way back from Berlin, aircraft of the group strafed enemy ground installations and transportation, damaging 2 locomotives and 3 railroad cars. For the day's action the 332d received the Distinguished Unit Citation.60
Two more big days awaited the 332d. On 31 March, while on a strafing mission in the Munich area, it destroyed 13, probably destroyed 3, and damaged 1 enemy aircraft; destroyed 7 and damaged 13 locomotives, destroyed 13 and damaged 57 railroad cars, destroyed 1 and damaged 1 vehicle on flat cars; and damaged a railroad station, a roundhouse, a factory, and a warehouse. The next day, 1 April, in the Wels area, Austria, the 332d Group destroyed 12 more planes, bringing the two-day total up to 25. On 26 April the 332d concluded its combat career with 4 enemy aircraft destroyed, the last to be downed by Mediterranean based aircraft before the end of the war.
Throughout its career, the 332d Group received its replacement pilot though morale was high enough for a number of its pilots to refuse relief when available. While the recognition that it was being used on important missions and was achieving success on those missions was a major factor in the high morale of the unit, the active

interest of higher headquarters, evidenced in the visits of Generals Faker, Twining, and Strother and of Col. Yantis H. Taylor, the group's wing commander, was no negligible factor. The relations of the 332d with other units and its sports achievements men of the group became basketball champions of the Fifteenth Fighter Command, placing three members on the command's all-star team contributed to the sense of mission which gripped ground men and pilots alike. Pilots of the 332d downed over enemy territory usually managed to rejoin the group with the aid of partisans in the German occupied countries of southeastern Europe and the Maquis in France. One pilot downed in August 1944 remained in northern Italy heading a partisan band until the end of the war.
After the war, when asked about Negroes in the Air Forces, General Ealzer ascribed much of the success of the units to their leadership: "They did a very good job. The reason, in my opinion, they did a good job is that they had an outstanding leader, Colonel Davis, a

West Point graduate, at the head of that group. He is a remarkable young leader." 61 However, the sense of mission, understood and furthered by Colonel Davis and by the groups's immediately higher headquarters-which assigned to the unit tasks of undeniable importance, paralleling the assignments of other units in the same command-probably had as much to do as leadership with the pride in unit and in achievement that marked the fighter group off from most other large Negro units in World War II.
The "Asset Side"
The 93d Division, in the meantime, continued its assigned missions in the Pacific. Now under control of the Southwest Pacific's Eighth Army, the 93d proceeded slowly up the island ladder of the Pacific toward the Philippines, generally relieving elements of other divisions, especially the 31st and the 41st, that were moving on to other missions. Upon its arrival in the Southwest Pacific Area, GHQ G3, with the concurrence of GHQ G4, gave oral instructions that the 93d Division was to have training, fatigue, and defensive missions in exactly the same proportions as those of the other divisions of the Eighth Army.62 Despite conflicting instructions and misunderstandings on the part of both the division and the senior commanders in many of the areas occupied by the 93d's troops, this remained the policy for its employment 63 The 93d was to De Kepi in readiness to enter combat on call, although when labor requirements at Hollandia and Finschhafen mounted sharply at the end of 1944, the priority of missions was altered to place defense of areas and labor details ahead of training.64 The 93d then had responsibility for the control and coordination of all labor and transportation furnished by all Eighth and Sixth Army units in the Hollandia area. For this purpose, the division assumed operational control of all Eighth Army units in the area not engaged in the operation of the army headquarters.65 Administrative and supply responsibilities for all Eighth Army Area Command units at Hollandia, Finschhafen, and the Admiralty Islands continued with the 93d even after movement to Morotai.66
On their islands elements of the 93d Division generally performed security, dock, warehouse, and patrol missions. Areas occupied by the division usually had air and service units, white and Negro; on them as well, and generally included airfields, warehouses, ports, radar, radio, and antiaircraft installations. The senior 93d Division commander present was often in command of the island. Occasionally elements of the division encountered remnants of Japanese troops. In some cases while other elements of the 93d moved ahead, units as

small as a company remained behind to complete the job of rounding up remaining enemy stragglers and closing out installations. Small expeditions sometimes went out in landing craft to clear neighboring areas and islands. Occasionally enough of the enemy remained to produce fire fights of considerable size.
Though the 93d Division struck no major blows against the enemy, its role as a holding division and as administrator of large areas of the Pacific command -it had at times as high as 28,000 troops attached for administration and for operational controls-67 was on the asset side, if not wholly in the sense meant by Secretary McCloy at least in the real sense of its value to operations in the vast and undermanned Pacific. During the entire period, the 93d continued training those of its troops not engaged in other duties, preparing against the day when the division might be called upon for more critical missions.
Two of the 93d's infantry regiments had only minor encounters with the enemy in 1944. The 2d Battalion, 368th Infantry, on Vella Lavella, made several contacts while charged with the security of that island from February through June. The 369th, at Munda and elsewhere on islands of the New Georgia group, encountered no hostile forces at all. In addition to furnishing labor details, the 368th engaged in intensive training. Members of its staff flew to Bougainville, observed the jungle operations there, and returned to Munda and established a jungle patrol leader school that continued until all company officers and noncommissioned officers completed the course. In addition, about fifty officers and petty officers of the 73d Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) and selected officers and noncommissioned officers of the 368th Infantry attended the course. Captured Japanese rifles and machine guns, fired over troops to familiarize them with the weapons and their characteristic sounds, were used in training exercises. Battalion exercises in jungle attacks with close artillery support the artillery barrages brought down within 200 yards of troops on the line of departure just prior to the jump off were staged even during packing for the move from New Georgia to Emirau, St. Matthias Group, in June 1944
Only at the end of the year did elements of the 369th Infantry come into contact with the enemy. At Wardo on Biak, a small detachment of the 369th consisting of 15 men and one officer (later supplemented by 27 more men and another officer), sent to protect radar installations, found the enemy active. Between 6 November and 16 December, the detachment killed 38 and captured one Japanese. At the end of the year, on 31 December, a similar detachment at Wari killed eight to ten Japanese in a fire fight. By the time the 369th left Biak on 31 March 1945 ,68 74 Japanese had been killed and 34 captured, with no casualties to the 368th.
This, in general, was typical of the activities of the elements of the 93d Division, whether at Munda, Biak, Emirau, Hollandia, or Finschhafen. Some men were placed on patrol, guard, and tactical duties; some continued training; the

remainder were on dock, warehouse, or other service details. The 25th Infantry, for example, arrived at Finschhafen from the Green Islands on 30 October 1944. It later became responsible for the defense of the Finschhafen base, but this duty was a minor one in the regiment's work there. Finschhafen at the time was one of the busiest ports in the Southwest Pacific. Every available man in the 25th went to work in its warehouses. Later the regiment took over the greater part of dock operations. Some ninety stevedore crews were formed. Riflemen and machine gunners were retrained as winch operators, signalmen, and checkers. For four months the regiment worked at loading and unloading ships at Finschhafen. Often the tonnage rates of the 25th's crews were better than those of the regularly organized port companies at the base.69
Occasionally a unit, like the 368th Infantry's landing team in late January and early February 1945, had a specific assignment calling for duties beyond these. This landing team established a perimeter guard at Toem, in the Maffin Bay area, providing security for troops evacuating supplies and disinterring bodies from the American cemetery there preparatory to closing out installations. Patrols were active continuously. The attached Battery C of the 584th Field Artillery harassed the enemy constantly, firing on area targets. On several occasions the enemy infiltrated camp areas and fire fights developed. No casualties were suffered by the landing team.
When all bodies were removed from the cemetery, and all bridges and all structures not portable destroyed, the landing team of the 368th moved on to Wakde four miles away. From Wakde patrols to the Toem mainland continued to operate for months. Company K, 368th, remained at Wakde until 2 October 1945, its patrols on occasion engaging in fire fights with enemy stragglers remaining in the Toem area.
Not until the bulk of the division elements still remained at Biak, Wakde, Noemfoor, Middleburg, and Sansapor arrived on Morotai, closing there on 12 April 1945, did the pattern of activity change.
An estimated five to six hundred Japanese remained on Morotai; on the nearby large island of Halmahera there were 40,000 more. The 93d Division relieved elements of the 31st Division on Morotai on 13 April, assuming responsibility for the defense and operation of all Eighth Army installations on the island. It had air support from the Both Wing, Royal Australian Air Force, and sea support from Naval Task Unit 701.2 (PT) . Combat troops of the division were instructed to kill or capture the remaining Japanese.70
Operations, especially on the west coast of Morotai, were intensive, with combat patrols covering ever widening areas. As a result, the remaining enemy troops, in groups of fifty or less, were unable to concentrate. The Japanese force, under the command of Col. Kisou Ouchi of the 211th Infantry Regiment, was composed chiefly of remnants of the 2d Diversionary Unit, 36th Division Sea Transport Unit, 220th Infantry Regi-

ment, 211th Infantry Regiment, one company of the 212th Infantry Regiment, 20th Expeditionary Force, and the 18th Shipping Engineers. Most of these troops, with instructions to carry out raids on Eighth Army installations, were located along the west coast of the island, especially in the Tilai, Wajaboeia, Tijoe, Libano, and Sopi areas. The Japanese kept close to the better native gardens in the area. Supply barges had formerly come to Morotai from Halmahera, landing near the mouth of the Tijoe River, but PT squadrons now prevented bulk resupply of the enemy troops remaining on Morotai. Only once during the period of the 93d's occupancy were barges successful in reaching land. On 13 May, PT boats sank two of four barges but two others escaped and landed north of the Tijoe. One, on the way back to Halmahera, was intercepted and sunk; the other, beached and camouflaged, was located by 25th Infantry patrols and destroyed. There was neither organized resistance nor offensive action on the part of the enemy; the job of 93d Division patrols was to prevent consolidation of the remaining Japanese forces, who might yet engage in' harassing action against the Allied base on Morotai, and to search out and capture or kill the remaining Japanese on the island.
On 15 April the first of the 93d's patrols, one from the 369th Infantry, killed four Japanese. On 21 April, the first prisoner was taken, also by the 369th. Beginning in May, landing parties went to the western and northern sectors of the island, eventually covering the entire coast line.
The disposition and number of the enemy arriving on the barge discovered in May was of the greatest interest to the 93d Division, for one of its missions was to prevent the resupply and reinforcement of the Japanese left on Morotai. On 24 May one group was located by a small patrol from Company F, 368th Infantry, led by Lt. Richard L. Crawford. The patrol trailed a pair of footprints up a stream bed from Hapo to a point two miles inland. There the trail left the stream bed and all but disappeared in the rough terrain on the north side. On a small outcropping overlooking their approach, the patrol sighted seven Japanese in clean uniforms, well equipped with pistols, but with only one rifle. One, who later proved to be a captain leading the party, stood gazing in a mirror, shaping his beard with what the patrol described as "obvious admiration." At very close range, the patrol opened fire, killing six of the seven Japanese. The seventh man, wounded, escaped. These seven, members of a Keinpoi party the dual-functioning, military police and intelligence personnel plus seven or eight well-equipped Japanese seen by the 3d Battalion, 25th Infantry, on the coast north of Libano on 13 May accounted for a total of fourteen or fifteen Japanese who had presumably arrived on the barge from Halmahera.71
Psychological warfare worked well for the 93d in smoking out the hungrier elements of the remaining enemy. Many of the captured prisoners carried propaganda leaflets, or said that they had heard the division's propaganda broadcasts. One prisoner, while listening to a broadcast amplified from a beach, started down to surrender. He related

later that he was "very disgusted" with the team for leaving the beach before he arrived. He then had to go hungry two more days before he was picked up by one of the division's patrols. 72
A main effort of the 93d Division's patrols during the period on Morotai was to capture Colonel Ouchi alive. Ouchi, described as an egotistic commander, disliked by his men because of a tendency to allocate to himself more than a fair share of available food and supplies, successfully eluded the division's patrols for weeks, though his command post was located several times. The division was so intent on seeking him out for capture that the 93d's motto on Morotai became "Gherchez Ouchi." 73
A 25th Infantry patrol on 11 July found traces of Ouchi in the Tijoe River area. On the last day of July, a twelve man patrol set out to capture him. After moving about 100 yards in from the coast in the Tijoe area, the patrol came upon two Japanese, one of whom they wounded and captured. The wounded prisoner informed the patrol that a camp of ten Japanese was not far away. After administering first aid to the wounded man, the patrol located a three but camp, spotted six Japanese, and killed one. The other five, including some who were wounded, escaped. The patrol bivouacked near the Japanese camp. The three huts were well supplied with rice, ammunition, blankets, and grenades. The patrol decided that it was close upon Colonel Ouchi. On 2 August it scouted the surrounding area without finding the enemy until, in the late afternoon, the sound of chopping led the patrol to a clearing with four huts in which several Japanese were sleeping. Five others, each carrying supplies, were approaching the camp. After dropping their supplies, they went to the river to bathe. The patrol surrounded them and ordered them to surrender, but they began to scatter in all directions.
Of the Japanese in the area, seven were killed, two escaped naked into the jungle, and one was taken prisoner. The prisoner turned out to be Colonel Ouchi. As the patrol started for the beach, one of the mortally wounded Japanese made a lunge for the sergeant holding Ouchi. The sergeant, "handling his carbine expertly with one hand and shooting from the hip," hit the Japanese in the temple. He fell dead at the sergeant's feet.74 Colonel Ouchi was one of the highest ranking Japanese officers captured before the surrender of Japan.75
Morotai, during the period of the 93d's occupation, was the scene of considerable activity pertinent to the extension of the war in the Pacific. During the earlier weeks on the island, troops of the division, especially the 25th Infantry, then in reserve, were supplying all available men for round-the-clock port duties. The port of Morotai was then handling most of the troops and supplies used in the Australian invasion of Borneo. Working alongside Australian dock

workers, the troops of the 93d played large part in getting these operations under way. From 10 April to 10 July the division discharged and out-loaded 311,552 tons of supplies and equipment, moved thousands of Allied troops from transports to staging areas and back to embarkation points, and improved harbor facilities, roads, and camp sites.76
In the last days of the war, the 93d had charge of more than 1,500 "patients" and crew from the Japanese 
hospital ship Tachibana Maru. This ship, intercepted by two destroyers, the USS Conner and USS Charette, was brought into Morotai as a prize on 6 August. The patients aboard this hospital ship had been removed from a Japanese general hospital in New Guinea. Most of them were very nearly and some completely recovered from beriberi, malaria, and other diseases. The American boarding party found mortar shells packed in boxes marked with red crosses and labeled medical supplies. Patients were sleeping in the holds the ship carried twice its normal seven hundred on rifles, machine guns, ammunition, and hand grenades hidden under bunks. At Morotai, the patients were removed for a thorough search of the ship, a procedure which would have been impossible, especially in the light of the later discovery of the extent of arms and ammunition available aboard the ship, had not Army troops been available to take charge of and guard the prisoners. Working parties unloading the ship found approximately thirty tons of assorted ammunition, including hand grenades, rifle, howitzer, and machine gun ammunition, four hundred rifles and carbines, fifteen light machine guns, forty-five knee mortars, and four 8cm. field howitzers.77
When hostilities ceased on 15 August 1945, the 93d Division was made responsible for the surrender of all Japanese troops in the Moluccas. Through the local Armed Forces radio station, WVTL, the Japanese on Halmahera were given instructions to meet with the division staff. After a preliminary meeting on a PT boat off the shores of Halmahera, the commander of the Japanese forces and his staff were brought over to Morotai to sign the instrument of surrender for the 40,000 Japanese troops on Halmahera. Approximately 660 stragglers were collected on Morotai itself.78 Formal surrender of the Japanese in the Moluccas was made to the Australians after 2 September, with the 93d Division assisting.
In October the 93d Division, with the exception of the 368th Regimental Combat Team, which had already moved, proceeded to the Agusan Del Monte Area on Mindanao where it relieved the 31st Division of its missions there. The 93d controlled supply points at Agusan and Davao, assumed command of all troops attached to the 31st Division effective 20 October, and reassumed command of the 368th and its attached troops at Zamboanga on Mindanao and on Jolo, Sanga Sanga, and Palawan. The 93d, under the discharge and transfer program effective after the close of the war, was responsible for the readjustment of

all troops in its area. It was responsible for the defense and security of Mindanao, the collecting, guarding, and evacuating of Japanese prisoners of war, and the supervision of the training and supply of all Philippine Army units within the command, including the 6th Philippine Infantry Division. On 15 November it acquired all of the Southern Islands Area Command's missions; the Mindanao-Sulu-Morotai area thereupon became the 93d Division Area Command.79 Thereafter the 93d supplied the 6th Philippine Infantry  Division, rounded up remaining stragglers, furnished leaflets to be dropped on areas suspected of harboring Japanese troops, furnished transportation for Philippine Army patrols to distant areas, and operated prisoner collecting points throughout Mindanao. As of 20 October 1945 the 93d Division had approximately 30,000 Japanese, including civilians, in its stockade. Processing and evacuating the Japanese, processing American troops for return home or transfer, classifying, storing, and evacuating surplus equipment, and operating supply points were the division's last missions.
The Asset Side?
Whether or not the 93d Division eventually moved to the asset side depended largely upon the viewer and his interpretation of the value of doing unglamorous but necessary jobs well. The diarist of the division's headquarters company prefaced one of his last installments with the apology that he realized that an account "filled with fictional adventures, hardships, and tragedies of war would make a more powerful story" but his unit had no such heroic deeds to its credit. He would confine himself to "only actualities nothing extraordinary, just the usual activities of a rear echelon unit" whose members were with it not by choice but by assignment. Since there was no occasion to "perform the noble, heroic and spectacular," he continued, "we have contented ourselves with doing the various tasks assigned us in the shortest period of time possible and better than anyone else." His companions had seen no dead Japanese, few live ones, had had no bombings, and "only a limited few had had actual combat experience."80 A staff officer, writing from the Moluccas, characterized the division's progress with, "And so this is just another rear area, now. Yep, 93d stuff-drag-ass along behind."81
At the end of the war, the 93d Division had certainly not moved to the asset side as a combat division. Walter White, while serving as a war correspondent in the Pacific,82 had urged the White House and the War Department at home and General MacArthur in the Pacific to prepare it for a combat role. He got new denials that any other was intended for it.
White, after ten weeks in the Pacific,

dispatched to the President, with copies to Under Secretary Patterson and Assistant Secretary McCloy, a detailed account of the career and state of morale in the gird. He later repeated the substance of his findings in an interview with General MacArthur. White reported that the 93d was the victim of rumor and malicious slander, all reinforced by its role as a rear echelon unit engaged primarily in labor duties. Its assignment, he observed, was viewed across the Pacific as punishment for a failure on Bougainville. To the contrary, White concluded after discussions with division and other officers, the 93d had performed its limited combat duties creditably and the rumors about it were false. Nevertheless, the division had been the victim of improper management, corrected in part by "the outstanding and most beneficial event in the history of the 93d Division," the appointment of Maj. Gen. Harry H. Johnson as commander in August 1944. General Johnson was building discipline and morale, but he occupied an uneviable position. He could not complete his job if the 93d followed his old division, the 2d Cavalry, into oblivion as "a service division." White recommended that the 93d be assembled, brought to strength, relieved of fatigue and service duties except those normal to a combat division, and trained for amphibious warfare; that it be relieved of officers who were incompetent or who disliked service with Negroes; and that it be used in combat as the only means of answering the reports about it and official policy current in the Pacific.83 
General MacArthur, queried by the War Department in anticipation of a White House request for comment, replied to the War Department's brief of the White report. As requested by the War Department, he quoted General Griswold of XIV Corps as authority that on Bougainville the artillery did good work, the engineers fair, the infantry poor; that in training, individuals were proficient in handling and maintaining their weapons; that vehicle maintenance was of a high order, that the general level of leadership was poor despite a number of officers of "high type and adequate qualifications," and that morale was poor. The Commanding General, XIV Corps, added that under its new commander the division had taken a "new lease of life" and that under him it would improve. General MacArthur's inspectors, who, at General Johnson's request, had investigated charges of discrimination within the 93d, had reported that these charges were "without foundation in fact." Other divisions in the Southwest Pacific were all superior to the 93d "except in the matter of motor maintenance. In this item our inspection teams have shown it to be without peer among the units inspected." 84
White, having discussed the 93d with General MacArthur at his headquarters at San Miguel on 1 March 1945, now forwarded a supplementary memorandum to the President on 8 March, stating that General MacArthur had denied that the division would be used exclusively for labor duties and that he had affirmed that it would be used in combat "providing circumstances warranted." The general had said further that the

rumors about the division on Bougainville were "false and ridiculous," that he knew "from experience with the 25th Infantry and the Filipino Army he commanded that race and color have nothing whatever to do with fighting ability," that lack of ships had prevented moving the 93d and other divisions to forward areas, that the 93d would be moved from New Guinea to Morotai, and that his inspectors' reports on the division had not been too favorable. When asked for details, General MacArthur told White that "it was chiefly that the men of the 93d wanted to go home. He said, laughing, that that is true and natural of all divisions overseas, regardless of race." 85
On his return to Hollandia, White found the 93d Division planning to move from New Guinea. Steps were being taken to improve it internally. White now wrote to General MacArthur: "You certainly acted promptly after our talk of March I . . . ," adding, "Your action in bringing the Division together in one island for the first time since the gird left the States will undoubtedly have immediate effect in improvement of efficiency and a sense of unity." He made new recommendations for the readying of the division, urging that its artillery be reequipped with its own or other guns and that its officer personnel be carefully sorted to provide better leadership both from among white and Negro officers. "It is my hope," he concluded, "that neither you nor the War Department will think these recommendations by a layman presumptuous. Be assured that they are made solely with the desire that the zeal of the overwhelming majority of the officers and enlisted personnel of the gird to contribute to the speediest winning of complete victory may be utilized to the fullest degree." 86
Aside from the movement of the 93d Division to Morotai, which White attributed to his interview with General MacArthur, the only positive action taken on his report was on his statement that "One practice which has been exceedingly destructive of morale, and which should be discontinued, is the insistent and frequent querying of officers of the gird Division, either by questionnaires or personal interviews, as to whether or not the 93d Division can or will fight if given an opportunity." 87 As a result, after a perusal of questions sent to the 93d shortly before by Army Ground Forces,88 all questioning of troop units "concerning or bearing upon morale of, or combat relations between, racial groups" was halted, except by special permission of the Secretary of War.89 This ruling seriously hampered Army researches into soldier attitudes for the remainder of the war.
Despite qualms about their future ca-

reers as combat units, elements of the 93d Division built a reputation for discipline, cooperation, esprit de corps, and excellence in their assigned duties matched by few other units in the Pacific and contrasting strongly with their training careers. To troops of the 93d one transport commander paid "his respects" after an inter-island voyage with these words:
During my two years experience as a Transport Commander, I have never witnessed a unit which functioned so smoothly and efficiently nor exhibited such loyalty and esprit de corps as your troops have demonstrated.
It was indeed a pleasure to have been associated with you, your officers and men aboard and I am sure the trip will long be remembered by myself and my complement of enlisted men.90
Their excellent and uncomplaining work in mud and rain at POL dumps; the courteous and cooperative efficiency of their noncommissioned officers; their willingness to accept responsibility and act upon it ("an outstanding characteristic" of an entire company, one commenting officer noted); and their cooperation with men of other units, both on official duties and on joint enterprises, were frequently cited.91 They were not only commended for leaving areas well policed but at times for leaving them "better policed than were areas of any other unit leaving this Base." 92 At Finschhafen and Hollandia they were responsible for clearing up and distributing promptly an unprecedented volume of more than 210,000 bags of Christmas mail arriving in November and December 1944 .93 Not only their esprit and discipline in carrying out unusual and unexpected tasks were favorably commented upon. Headquarters often added comments like: "Whereas some combat units under similar instructions in the past have been content to furnish work details without interest in the job or the working conditions of their own men, the units of the 93d Division have not only furnished effective supervision for each job assigned but the higher echelons of command have maintained their control and influence by frequent inspections." 94 The results obtained, the Commanding General, Intermediate Base Section, said, "are gratifying to the Base Commanders now seriously handicapped by scarcity of labor, equipment and adequate supervision." 95
Elements of the division given those tasks were both large and small; they were supervised by sergeants and junior and field grade officers alike. A team of five men from the 93d Signal Company, for example, under the sole direction of a sergeant, installed and operated for five weeks a communications system on Pie Beach, Hollandia, with a minimum of equipment under adverse con

ditions.96 Officers and men sent to a school at Oro Bay were adjudged "outstanding in several respects. They displayed keen interest in the various subjects and worked hard in absorbing the material and information that was given them. The grades received by them on examinations were exceptionally high. Their conduct and bearing, while at this school, was excellent and their cooperation during and after classes was instrumental in making this particular class an outstanding one."97 The GHQ coordinator for Morotai, noting the many unsolicited expressions from the Australian command regarding the services given them by American forces in mounting the invasion of Borneo, declared to the Chief of Staff, Eighth Army, that "Credit for that frame of mind is due almost entirely to the very fine work done by the 93d Division. This division has not failed in one single instance to meet requirements which often placed a very heavy strain on all facilities here. This has been done in a spirit of determination and pride in accomplishment which has left a very fine impression with all agencies involved in these operations."98 At least one unit, in addition to the field artillery for Bougainville, got official recognition of an unspectacular but essential job in cleaning out the enemy on Mindanao and Palawan.99
How much of this praise was due to the etiquette of command at the close of a successful campaign, the men of the 93d Division could not know. But they did know that no similar words speeded their way from Bougainville and they did know that they had gained a reputation for work, discipline, and maintenance in the Pacific. They had the satisfaction of knowing that in this way, if in no other, they had been an "asset" to the Pacific war.
The 24th Infantry, on the other hand, had greater satisfaction in an unusual acknowledgment of the value of garrison forces that came its way in the spring of 1945. The 24th, after its 1st Battalion's brief encounter with the enemy on Bougainville, returned to routine labor and guard duties for the South Pacific Base Command and for the Guadalcanal Island Command. In December 1944 it moved to Saipan and Tinian for garrison duty. These islands had been declared secure, but their jungles and caves were still infested with Japanese. The 24th had the task of clearing the islands of all Japanese who had not surrendered. A survey group from The Inspector General's Office, under Maj. Gen. Philip E. Brown and Brig. Gen. Elliot D. Cooke, arrived in April 1945, found the 24th still cleaning out the enemy, and reported their conduct and accomplishments to be of "such a meritorious nature" that The Inspector General brought the unit's performance to the attention of the Deputy Chief of Staff, despite the fact that "occasion rarely arises where it is appropriate for inspectors general to single out and comment upon any one unit during an overall inspection or survey."100

The 24th Infantry, the survey group reported, had killed or captured an impressive number of the enemy, "and even today are engaged in continuous patrolling and jungle fighting against those Japanese still hiding on the island." Though the regiment as a whole had not engaged in actual combat before coming to Saipan:
It, nevertheless, conducted itself in a superior manner. Even at this late date, scarcely a day passes that members of this Regiment do not capture or kill some of the enemy and, in so doing, suffer occasional casualties themselves, yet, despite all that has been accomplished by the 24th Infantry Regiment, members of this Regiment considered that they were not eligible for the Combat Infantryman's Badge, nor that provision had been made for them to be awarded a battle clasp on the theater ribbon for the combat in which they have been engaged since assuming their task of eliminating the remaining Japanese resistance on Saipan. Nevertheless, even after three years service overseas the morale of this Regiment is high and its discipline is well worthy of emulation and praise, as is the exemplary manner of performance in all duties to which it has been assigned.101

Much of its record was attributed by the inspectors to the regimental commander, Col. Julian G. Hearne, Jr., who had been with the regiment for four years, advancing from battalion to regimental commander, and to "a dozen or more noncommissioned officers who have been with the Regiment since before the war and who, by example and strict adherence to traditions and customs of the Regiment and the service, have demonstrated what proper leadership can accomplish under the most trying conditions in the field." 102
When the survey group informed the Commanding General, Pacific Ocean Areas, of the performance of the 24th, he undertook to inform the 24th that its members were eligible for both the Combat Infantryman's Badge and a battle star for their theater service ribbon. The Inspector General asked that the group's report be forwarded to the Operations Division for consideration in the future employment of Negro troops in the Pacific.103 When informed of the matter, Under Secretary Patterson, citing the report, gave it to the press at his 31 May press conference.
The 24th left Saipan and Tinian in July 1945 and proceeded to the Kerama Islands, west of Okinawa in the Ryukyus, to continue mopping up remnants of Japanese forces there. Shortly after their arrival in early August, the Japanese capitulated. On 22 August, Colonel Hearne, with representative officers and enlisted men, accepted on Aka Island the first formal surrender of a Japanese Army garrison.


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