This Week in WWII: 9 May to 10 July, 1945

Home from the Wars—men of the Division wave as the Hermitage troop transport pulls into New York Harbor on July 10, 1945.

Home from the Wars—men of the Division wave as the Hermitage troop transport pulls into New York Harbor on July 10, 1945.

After what has been a long and sentimental journey through 4ID’s fight across Europe 70 years ago, this wraps up our year long journey back into 4ID’s history. I hope you have enjoyed reading these blogs as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

I will summarize the final exploits of the 4ID before their return to the States, include some pictures and stories from my War Stories book that you will enjoy, and then ride off into the sunset.

And since we have come full circle, I encourage you to go back to and read our first blog as we once again come up on the anniversary of The Longest Day – D-Day, June 6, 1944 – 71 years later. It is my plan to leave all of these blog posts online forever so anyone who wants to read about the 4ID in WWII, it is simply a click away. I encourage you to share this link with anyone you think might be interested.

For those of you who like to read War Stories about the 4ID in WWII – I encourage you to click on the books shown to the right of this blog and order one or both of them. They are available in paperback and in e-book. And with Father’s Day just around the corner – maybe the favorite man in your life would enjoy books for Father’s Day instead of something else.

Now, let’s wrap the year up…

In May and June 1945, 4ID and all other Allied units went from offensive operations to becoming an occupying force. This was a new mission, one that they quickly adapted to. Much needed rest was had by all, some troops were sent home early, and others prepared for the long haul of occupation duty.

But that was not to be the mission of the 4ID for long. MG Blakely received orders that he and his division were needed elsewhere. They had been selected to participate in the invasion of Japan. I’m sure that he and all in the division dreaded what was ahead of them… preliminary estimates were that there would be at least one million casualties in an assault on Japan. But, the old military adage took control, “It’s not for me to reason why, it’s but for me to do or die,” and the 4ID headed for Le Harve, France and a troop ship back to the United States where they would take a leave before beginning preparation for the invasion of Japan.

Landing in the US at the Port of New York on 10 July 1945, the 4ID soon spread to the four winds as they took much deserved 30 day leaves before reporting back to Camp Butner, NC. Thankfully, while they were in leave, the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, forcing the Japanese to surrender, thus ending WWII.

Read on for some stories of this time period from my War Stories book, and some pictures you will enjoy.

"Glad to be back," we reply as we sail past "Welcome Home" ship in New York Harbor (July, 1945).

“Glad to be back,” we reply as we sail past “Welcome Home” ship in New York Harbor (July, 1945).

Cal Grose (Deceased), Chapel Hill, NC, Medical Detachment, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment

My Buddy

The war had ended and we were put up in a tent city around Nurem­berg for a little R&R before going back to Paris to turn in our vehi­cles. The enlisted men had their section in tent city, and the officers had theirs. One day a captain came into my tent and ordered me to give up my cot. Being just a buck sergeant, I did so, but I did ask him why. He said they were looking for someone to be “Officer of the Day,” and he wanted to hide so they could not choose him.

You notice I did not mention the officer’s name, but I hope after this we will still be good buddies, because he is the brother I never had, and we have remained friends to this day—sorry, Sam Barrett (Regimental Dentist). (Editor’s Note: Doctor Sam Barrett, who I became friends with, died earlier this year.)

Discharge papers and a big smile

Discharge papers and a big smile

Albert Schantz, Reading, PA, Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment

Coming Home

We continued to force the Krauts back toward the east: First, to Rothenburg, then south and southeast through Crailsheim, Heidenheim, across the Danube River on April 25, 1945, then on to Wolfratshausen and Bad Tolz near the Bavarian Alps. We were six miles from the Austrian border when we received word that the Germans sur­rendered on May 8, 1945.

Morale increased when we learned about the surrender. There was a party mood, but we were glad the war was finished. We were looking for­ward to going home. Plus, there were no party “fixins” available anyway.

May 8, 1945, was declared “VE Day” (Victory in Europe Day). I remember that day very well. It snowed about eight inches, and we were occupying farmhouses. When we took over a house we forced the Ger­man occupants to sleep in the barn, and we slept in their beds. I slept in a bed with a straw mattress covered with a feather-filled quilt. The houses were attached to the barn so that the heat from the animals and the ma­nure heated the house in winter.

A few days after VE Day, we boarded army trucks and rode north through Munich, across the Danube River, to Amberg, then west to Ansbach, Germany, where we took control of a German fort. Here we processed German prisoners of war and discharged them so they could return to their homes. I was able to act as an interpreter for Germans who spoke no English, since I knew “Pennsylvania” German.

The worst war damage that I saw was in Munich, Germany. Munich must have been a beautiful city with statues in the middle of each inter­section in the center of town. Many buildings and statues were bombed to rubble. It was sad….War is hell. There were very few people on the streets and sidewalks for a city of that size. One of my desires is to visit Munich now that it is rebuilt.

On June 23, 1945, we left Germany for Le Havre, France, in railroad boxcars. This mode of transportation was known as “40 and 8” in WWI. (Forty men or eight horses in a boxcar).

On our way west to Le Havre, our train stopped in a siding in a large railroad yard. I happened to look across several train tracks at another boxcar into a train that was also stopped. There in the open boxcar door was Bobby Walbert from Macungie, Pennsylvania. I knew Bobby from high school. I walked over to him, and we talked for a short time. He was in the 5th Infantry Division and was also headed for Le Havre as well.

Seeing someone familiar from back home was a happy occasion. It eased some of the homesickness.

We arrived in Le Havre on June 30, 1945, and boarded the General James Parker, a liberty ship, for our ride back to the good old USA. The entire 4th Infantry Division sailed on July 3, 1945. We experienced one rough day on the Atlantic Ocean. I didn’t miss any meals, but I couldn’t keep my breakfast down that rough morning. I wasn’t alone at the rail. I was able to eat lunch and dinner without any problems. The ship was crowded, and many of us had to sleep on the open deck under blankets. The night air made us very wet, and we were glad it was summertime.

We arrived in New York Harbor on July 11, 1945. I can still see the Statue of Liberty as she came into view. How wonderful she looked. Af­ter we disembarked, the 4th Infantry Division was transported to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, where a thick delicious steak dinner awaited us. We were then fitted with new uniforms and attended lectures telling us what to expect back in the States.

The army’s plans were to retrain us and ship the 4th Infantry Division to the South Pacific to finish the war with Japan. Thanks to President Truman, who authorized dropping the Atomic Bombs on Japan, ending the War in the South Pacific.

Clarence Brown, Buchanan, NY, 4th Signal Company

Tent City

At the end of the war I was sent back to somewhere near Nuremberg where we had Italian prisoners digging up cable and German cable men repairing the cable that had been blown apart.

It was from there (with Selective Service points—married, a daughter, Bronze Star, etc.) that they told me that I was on my way home. They flew us from Nuremberg to Metz, France, to Tent City. (It wasn’t really organized.) I then found out what they meant by “40 & 8.” That was a freight car that would hold forty men or eight horses. We rode them for three days until we got to Le Havre…tent city again.

Then on a ship back to the States. Took four days. On board ship I was with a lot of American former POWs. The biggest thrill of my life came as we entered New York harbor. With the fireboat hoses spraying, tugboats blowing their whistles—we all shed a few tears of joy. We had made it back. It was then to Shanks, Dix, and deactivation. I was honor­ably discharged on my birthday (June 23, 1945) and went home to my wife and family in Buchanan, New York, where we still reside today.

Jim Roan, Fenton, MI, Company H, 12th Infantry Regiment

Fabulous Reunion

The motor trip to the coast of France was enjoyable. There were des­ignated stops where camps were set up to handle the troops who were on their way home. Most of the time we were served a hot meal and provided a place to sleep. The meals were served and occasionally cooked by German prisoners of war. In a few locations there were tablecloths, napkins, china dishes, and freshly baked white bread. The Germans were very polite and offered us a variety of food that we had not seen for a long time. Breakfast was usually a treat with bacon and eggs and fresh orange juice. We came to the conclusion that the army, in its way, actually want­ed us to re-enlist. They were showing us what we had to look forward to.

Picture this: A long convoy of various army vehicles traveling through a city. Regardless of its size, the lead vehicle would spot a pretty girl walking down the sidewalk. The driver would drive right up onto the sidewalk, and the occupants would all stick their arms out trying to pat the young lady on the derriere and each vehicle following would do the same. I think the young ladies liked it, for no one ran; they would just wave and smile. The GIs would throw them chocolate bars or cigarettes, which we had plenty of.

The ride home on the Sea Bass was uneventful. The ship was an army transport, staffed by U.S. sailors and served American food. It was a long trip, or it just seemed long, for we were all excited about returning home. Some of the troops and officers did not have enough points to immedi­ately be discharged, which made me a very popular guy. We were des­tined to be one of the outfits that were scheduled to invade Japan. They would pigeonhole you on deck or wherever they could find you and insist that they had a wound, that they saw a medic but it was not re­corded, and that the wound was worth five points. We were nice to them and convinced each soldier that we would do all we could to straighten things out, which we did.

As we approached the coast of New York, we passed a number of garbage scows dumping in the ocean, which is normal. Those on deck would exchange words; each vessel would blow their horns as a salute. We reached the harbor to whistle blows, large banners stretched along buildings on the waterfront, and line after line of American gals waving and blowing kisses—a sight to behold.

The New York Fire Department had all their boats out spraying streams of water. Fire engines on the dock all had their sirens blowing and lights flashing. As we exited the boat, Red Cross and Salvation Army gals distributed doughnuts and coffee. They made sure that we felt wel­comed.

We were transported via army busses to Camp Shanks and were bil­leted in barracks…those awful army cots felt mighty good. We were fed things that we only dreamed about, even fresh milk. We spent a lot of time at the Post Exchange, most of the time filling up with hotdogs, hamburgers, gallons of milk, and ice cream. The telephone company had installed zillions of phones, and we waited in line to call home. The lines were long, so we only told the folks we were back home and they could expect to see us soon.

We were granted leave with orders to report to camp on August 30. The entire clan met me at the train station, and it was a fabulous re­union. When I arrived home it was hard to get used to hearing a woman’s voice—they all sounded so high pitched. Dad took me aside and suggest­ed that I button my pants before I ventured outside. I was leaving the house putting in my shirttail, and then I planned on buttoning my fly. During the first thunderstorm I encountered, my reaction was to hit the floor when that clap of thunder sounded.

Double Deucer Newsletter—Aboard USAT James Parker

The Late Major General John Ruggles sent an original copy of the newsletter produced aboard the transport ship James Parker, the day before the 22nd Infantry Regiment got back to New York City, after the end of the War in Europe. Following are some excerpts.—Bob Babcock

ATTENTION ALL TROOPS! Upon arrival in harbor, all troops MUST remain in assigned areas prior to debarkation. This ship is carrying no ballast and uncontrolled movement would develop a list, which would delay docking. Strict compliance is required if troops are to remain above decks.

22nd TO MAKE COLORFUL ENTRY TO US. When the USAT James Parker sails into the harbor tomorrow with the Famous 22nd In­fantry aboard, it will be bedecked in its gayest, which will include mam­moth banners and campaign ribbons worn by the men on board. These decorations have all been painted during the voyage by a staff of artists headed by Technical Sergeant Jim Bradley of Company K. Others who assisted in this tedious job were: T/5 Joe Krynski, Corporal Vernon Mc­Carty, Private Chester Janusz; all of K Company, and Private First Class Phillip Koff and Private First Class John F. Hammill of the I&R platoon of HQ Company. These decorations will be put in place this afternoon, but will not be unfurled until the entry into the harbor. Included in the decorations will be two large Ivy Leaves, two Boll Weevil banners, two mammoth ETO campaign ribbons, two Fourth Division banners, one famous Double Deucer banner and one bearing only the name “22nd Infantry.” Yes, due to the untiring efforts of Sergeant Bradley and others, the entry will be colorful as well as exciting.

A GUIDE TO THE UNITED STATES. The United States is made up of 47 states, the District of Columbia, Texas, and Brooklyn. To avoid the embarrassment of breaches of etiquette while visiting in this country, the following points should be studied and remembered:

(1) Places known as “hotels” provide accommodations for a night’s lodg­ing when one is not staying with friends. The present practice of entering a house, evicting the occupants bodily, and taking over the premises is frowned upon as being too presumptuous.

(2) Natural urges are apt to occur, even at inopportune moments. Do not grab the nearest shovel in one hand and a roll of paper in the other and head for the garden. At least 90 percent of all American homes have one room called a “bathroom,” which contains a device designed to meet your needs. All you have to do is look worried—these Americans catch on fast and will tell you where to go.

(3) The current medium of exchange in the U.S. is “money,” which con­sists of “dollars” and “cents.” Silver coins and green paper notes are used and you will find that you can’t get a week’s laundry done for two Tropi­cal Bars and a piece of soap. Cigarettes, however, are reported to be useful in bartering.

(4) In the event the “helmet, steel M1,” is retained by the individual, it should not be used as a chair, washbowl, footbath, bathtub, or kettle for cooking. Every home is equipped with these items. Nor is it in good taste to squat in the corner if all chairs are occupied—the host will provide suitable seats.

(5) American meals consist of several dishes, each in its own container or bowl. The common practice of putting gravy on peaches or mixing choc­olate pudding with corned beef to improve the flavor is not considered in good taste. In time, the “separate dish” plan of eating will lose its newness and become enjoyable.

(6) Americans have a strange taste in stimulants, one of the favorites being a mild concoction known as a “Zombie.” Drinks common on the continent, such as green wine, alcohol and grapefruit juice, and gasoline bitters with steel filings (better known as “Calvados”), are not suitable for civilian circles.

(7) Whiskey, a fairly common American drink, may be offered on spe­cial occasions. It is considered uncouth and ill-mannered to drain the bottle, cork and all. Exercise control and try to make the bottle last three rounds. If you see it won’t make it back to you, then snatch the bottle and empty it.

(8) In motion picture theaters, seats are provided and helmets are not worn. If vision is impaired by the person in front, there are usually plenty of other seats. Do not hit him across the back of the neck and say, “Move your head, jerk, I can’t see a damn thing.”

(9) Upon retiring, if confronted by a pair of pajamas (a two-piece gar­ment worn in bed) assume an air of familiarity and say, “Goodness, what a lovely shade of blue.” Don’t ever say, “How in the hell do you expect me to sleep in a getup like that?”

(10) There are no air raids or enemy patrols in America, so it is unneces­sary to wear a steel helmet. Nor is it necessary to carry a rifle loaded and cocked when talking to civilians.

(11) On leaving a friend’s home after a visit, you may not be able to find your cap. Frequently it has been placed in a small room known as a “clos­et.” Don’t say, “Don’t anybody move; some #@*?$& eight ball has swiped my cap, could you help me find it?”

(12) Tip your hat before striking a lady.

(13) A guest in a private home is usually awakened in the morning by a light tap on the door. It is proper to say, “I’ll be there shortly.” Don’t say, “Blow it out your B-bag!”


Questions about what to do on furlough had been asked many times aboard the USAT James Parker since the 22nd Infantry Regiment left Le Havre, France. It has been answered many ways, but generally speaking, the average man is looking forward to a period of relaxation with his loved ones and of doing things that could not be done in the ETO.

Following are a few of the varied answers, which have been overheard by The Double Deucer:

Corporal Habichit of Company E is looking forward to the meeting of his four-month-old daughter he has never seen. Other than spending a lot of time with his family, he added that his only plans were to do some horseback riding. Before coming into the army, Habichit was a polo enthusiast.

“I wonder how much Canadian Club it will take to last thirty days?” That was a question being asked by Private First Class Clarence Kothman of Company A, whose home is in Dayton, Ohio. Kothman, a D-Day man, added that he was spending time with his wife and might possibly visit friends in Detroit.

“I’m just going to take it easy,” was the answer given by Private First Class George R. Scott of Headquarters Company, who hails from At­lanta, Georgia. He added very tactfully that his wife might have already made some plans for his time at home.

“I’m planning to spend my furlough with my folks and friends at St. Vincent, Minnesota,” remarked Private First Class Robert Barker of Company G, when asked about his plans. He said he had no set plans for his entertainment.

“I still have time to make plans as I have a long way to travel after reaching the States,” was the answer given by PFC George Whaler of Company A, who will have a trip to Balvoa, Canal Zone, to make before reaching home. Like most others, he added that his furlough time would be spent with his wife. Whaler came to the States and volunteered for army service.

“Boy, it’s wedding bells for me when I get home to Buffalo, New York,” said Sergeant Bob Kawolski, a squad leader in Company A. Then he added that his furlough would be spent honeymooning.

“First I’m going to Louisiana where my wife is living, and then we are going to Kansas City,” remarked Sergeant Good of Company I, who was doing some guard duty on the Sun Deck Sunday.

“With the help of my wife, I’m going home and set up housekeeping, preparatory to an expected discharge,” was Sergeant John Gahl’s opinion. Sergeant Gahl is a member of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion and comes from Cincinnati. He has 91 points.

Sergeant Havercroft of Company C will travel to Eugene, Oregon, for his furlough and he says it will be spent with his folks and “just having fun.”

One could notice that Private First Class Joe Smith of Company A, who is planning a furlough with his family in San Antonio, Texas, was already getting nervous. The reason is that the Smiths are “infanticipat­ing” and the event is scheduled during the furlough. His only comment is, “I hope it is a girl.”

“I’m just looking forward to a good time with my wife,” was the plans set forth by a 94-pointer, Sergeant Bagley of Headquarters, 1st Battalion, who comes from Alabama.

“It will be just a nice, quiet furlough,” said Sergeant Seabright of Company E, who is headed for a furlough at his home in Windchester, Maryland.

“With four children, including an eight-month old daughter I have never seen, I imagine I won’t have a hard time finding something to do,” remarked Private First Class Woodrow Stark of Company A, who lives in South Bend, Indiana. He added he still couldn’t understand why that fourth child wasn’t worth twelve points.

Last, this letter to the troops from the Regimental Commander:

TO OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE 22nd INFANTRY: The “Dou­ble Deucers” return this mid-July after approximately eighteen months overseas— more than half that time spent in combat. The Regiment has established an enviable record. Listed in its fighting history are such names and accomplishments as: D-Day assault, Utah Beach, Monte­bourg, Cherbourg, the Hedgerows, St. Lô Breakthrough, Paris, Landre­cies, Brandscheid, Hürtgen, Luxembourg, Prüm, the Kyll River, Lauda, Bad Mergentheim, Crailsheim and Tegern See.

The face of the Regiment has changed. It sailed forth in January 1944 fresh and untried. It returns, battle-tested and proud; with a great mis­sion accomplished—a task well done.

You, as individuals, are returning to a grateful country too bent on the furthering of the war with Japan to take time out to welcome you in the true American fashion.

Return to your families and your homes. Spend your furloughs well. Remember that your families “sweated it out,” too, and that it is their furlough as well as yours.

For those of you who are to return to civil life, I wish you Good Luck and God Speed. For those of you who are to return to carry on the traditions and the name of the 22nd Infantry, I need only say, “Carry On.”—And may the seas be smooth.

– John F. Ruggles Colonel, 22nd Infantry

Frank Douglas, Janesville, WI, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment

Who’s That?

Ivan Schwartz and I caught a train out of the Northwestern Station heading for Wisconsin. He to Reedsburg, and I to Janesville. It was a “milk” train that got me to Janesville at 0400 hours. I never saw Ivan again. Like everybody else in the service, you simply knew people for a while and then moved on in your own direction.

There I was at 0400 hours, on the platform of the Northwestern Rail­road Depot with my duffel bag. It was only four blocks from home and I, being an old infantryman, simply planned to walk up Academy Street to Ravine for two blocks, then to Terrace Street and finally, three houses down to 326. Mr. Yahn, a local meat market owner insisted on giving me a ride home. “You’re Fenner Douglas’ boy, aren’t you?” he said. “Yes, sir,” I told him, and I got a ride to the front door.

Nobody can ever forget those moments of our homecoming. I had been gone over two years. When I landed on the front porch and rang the doorbell, I heard someone yell, “He’s here!”

The hall light came on and everybody came down the steps. My…the hugs and kisses. Tears… all the excitement. All over America for the next year, millions of people experienced the sheer joy of homecoming. After all the hell and horror, we were once again home. These scenes occasion­ally had a unique side. Barbara, my little sister, was six years old. I’ll never forget her standing by Yvonne and Bob and asking, “Who’s that?”

Frank was somebody you got a letter from once in a while, not some­body in a strange outfit or uniform standing in your dining room. Thou­sands of children had never even seen their fathers. Of course, all too many never would. What a mixed bag of emotions surged through all of us. My father, normally a very reserved man, hugged me and stood there with tears in his eyes.

Never again would I or any GI, ever experience a real homecoming that great. As often as I’ve gone on trips, there was never such a high level of joy at coming home as there was that time. How could there ever be, after all that we had been through?

Stan Tarkenton (Deceased), Virginia Beach, VA, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment

Expert Rifleman

At a church social, some old biddy approached me and pointed to my Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB) and shouted out loud, “Look, girls—here is one who has got an expert rifle shooting award!”

That teed me off. At the time, I thought that since the War was just over, she should have known better. I answered her, “Yes’m…Ah allus hits dat Bull’s eye smack dab in dat Bull’s ass in target practis’n… Yes’m, I sure does dat.”

She said, “I see,” and quickly disappeared.

Bill Boice, Phoenix, AZ, Chaplain, 22nd Infantry Regiment

Passing in Review

From his book, History of the 22nd Infantry Regiment in World War II

At the last formal review on the parade ground at Camp Butner, North Carolina, all sensed this was an historic occasion and certainly the last of its kind for the Famous Fourth in World War II. General Courtney H. Hodges, Commanding General of the First Army, the Belgium Ambassador to the United States, a representa­tive of the French Embassy, Major General Raymond O. Barton, Major General Harold W. Blakeley, and Major General Melborn were guests of honor and present in the stands for the review. The Regiments formed and moved on to the parade ground, in order, the 22nd, the 12th, and the 8th, followed by the Field Artillery, Engi­neers, and the special troop units. The day was gloomy and there was a slight drizzle as if Nature herself were weeping to watch such an organization die. There was grumbling in the ranks among the new men who had no loyalty to the Division, but there was a stillness that mirrored an ache in the hearts of the old Fourth Infantry Division men.

Colonel John Ruggles, senior Regimental Commander in the Di­vision, was commander of troops.

Combat streamers were awarded to the Colors of the Regiments, and there was a thrill of pride within the heart of each man as the Regimental Colors dipped to receive the ribbons. And then the Bel­gium Ambassador was introduced. He was a tall, stately man who carried the dignity and the honor of brave Belgium upon his own shoulders. Scarcely had he started to speak when death-like stillness fell over the entire assembled Division. It seemed as if each soldier sensed that here was something he wanted to hear. The Ambassador spoke:

“Belgium learned to love and honor the Fourth Infantry Division in the First World War, when on the banks of the Marne the blood of your men mingled with the blood of our own, and the fierce Huns were stopped. Again, in this war, it was fitting that the Fourth Infan­try Division should play so large a part in the liberation of Belgium, who had suffered so much at the hands of the cruel and ruthless en­emy. We knew that you would come, and, in that knowledge, liberty still lived within our hearts.

“Belgium salutes the brave men of the Fourth Infantry Division. She salutes Lieutenant Colonel Mabry, Lieutenant Ray, General Roosevelt, and Sergeant Marcario Garcia (Our Medal of Honor recipients). My country has conferred upon the men of this Division the highest honor it is in her power to bestow, and in honoring you, she honors herself. The red of the Fourragere is the blood of your men shed for the liberty and for the freedom of Belgium. The green is for the constant memory of these men and what they did, and so the Fourth United States Infantry Division will always live in the heart of Belgium. Vive la America!”

No one stirred. Somehow, it was fitting. Somehow, it was appropri­ate that such an honor should come to the battle-weary, exhausted, broken-hearted, proud Division and to her proud Regiments. Then came the order, “Pass in Review.” The men marched stiffly and well even in the mud and drizzle, and as the colors passed by, every per­son snapped to attention. As each one realized that this was the last time he would march as a member of the famous 4th Infantry Di­vision, there was a stillness and heartache, which can be occasioned only by the death of a beloved friend. “Eyes right.” Heads snapped. The generals looked at the soldiers. The soldiers looked at the gener­als. Neither saw the other but rather the foxholes and hedgerows of Normandy, the crosses at St. Mére Eglise and Henri Chappelle, the matchsticks and mud of Hürtgen. They saw marching in ranks, in file after file with perfect cadence and deathless spirit, all of the men who were not there. Not there? Certainly they were in the hearts and minds of those who remember, never to forget, in the love of those who would never cease missing them, in the freedom of every Amer­ican. And so the men marched off of the parade ground and into the cities and villages and farms, office or other army posts. And with them went the 4th Infantry Division. A dead Division? Certainly not. Not so long as a single man still lives and remembers. Sleeping, perhaps, but not dead….

In 1947, the 4th Infantry Division was again called into active service, and has served our nation continuously since then, including Cold War service in Germany in the 1950’s, service in Vietnam in 1966-1970, and service in Iraq and Afghanistan starting in 2003 and ongoing as of this date. Today a brigade of the 4th Infantry Division is the ready reaction force for the Mid-East, serving in Kuwait.

This concludes this year-long trip down memory lane. As I finish this last segment, I sit with tears in my eyes, proud of our great division, and feeling for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while wearing the Ivy Division patch. I also think of the great WWII 4ID veterans I have been privileged to get to know over the past twenty plus years. Far too many have gone to their eternal reward, but they will always be remembered as Steadfast and Loyal.

I remain, Steadfast and Loyal,

 Bob Babcock, President/Historian, National 4ID Association


This Week in WWII: 1 to 8 May, 1945
D+330 to D+337

A 4ID soldier enjoys the news of Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945.

A 4ID soldier enjoys the news of Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945.

1 May 1945—D+330

No enemy front line existed and no organized resistance was encountered, only scattered groups with small arms.

During the period of 30 April, the 4th Infantry Division with its attached units had secured positions along the Isar river and Isarwk canal and captured intact the bridges across the river and the canal at Wolfratshausen. At 0800, the Division continued the attack with the 12th Infantry Regiment from the bridgehead secured across the Loisach river and the Isarwk canal against a disorganized enemy. During the day, the Division advanced approximately ten kilometers and secured another bridgehead across the Isar river and Isarwk canal.

The 8th Infantry shuttled forward with the 1st and 3rd Battalions while the 2nd Battalion remained in Augsburg to maintain order. The 1st Battalion closed in the vicinity of Starnberg early in the day while the 3rd Battalion closed in the vicinity of Gauting. Many enemy stragglers were captured as they attempted retreat from Munich to the southwest.

The 12th Infantry continued the attack at 0800 across the bridges seized intact over the Loisach river and the Isarwk canal. Initially the regiment followed Combat Command R of the 12th Armored Division which had crossed over the 12th Infantry bridges and had passed through the regiment at 0730. The 1st and 3rd Battalions advanced approximately ten kilometers against scattered to heavy resistance, the 1st Battalion reaching Thankirchen, the 3rd Battalion reaching Hachenberg. Both battalions reported heavy resistance late in the day consisting of small arms, mortar, artillery and antiaircraft gunfire. At 2030 the 2nd Battalion moved by motor to the vicinity of Aschelding.

The 22nd Infantry crossed the Isar river and Isarwk canal with two companies of the 2nd Battalion starting at 0700. The 1st Battalion remained in the vicinity of Buchendorf as reserve. The 3rd Battalion maintained its positions in the vicinity of Baierbrun. The advance of the regiment was delayed throughout the day by blown bridges. Throughout the day, Corps Engineers worked feverishly to construct a bridge but due to the soft approaches to the bridge site and the swift current of the Isar river, the bridge was not completed at the close of the day. The bridges at Wolfratshausen were in constant use by CC R of the 12th Armored Division, the 101st Cavalry Squadron and the 12th Infantry, making it impossible for the 22nd Infantry to cross.

2 May 1945—D+331

Enemy troops were encountered in large numbers but surrendered without offering resistance.

Prisoners of war for this period totaled over 5,000.

The 4th Infantry Division continued the attack with two regimental combat teams abreast. The fighting spirit of the enemy was broken. So many prisoners of war were taken that the progress of all units was slowed in endeavoring to handle them.

The 8th Infantry maintained peace and order in towns, cities and on roads.

The 12th Infantry continued the advance to the southeast on the right of the Division. The CT advanced approximately 13 kilometers on the left and 6 kilometers on the right. Enemy resistance was scattered. The 2nd Battalion moved to an assembly area in the vicinity of Sachsenkam.

The 22nd Infantry began crossing the Isar river and Isarwk canal over a treadway bridge at 1000. The progress was slow due to the soft, muddy approaches to the bridge site. No organized resistance was encountered by advancing troops until 1700 at which time the 4th Reconnaissance Troop was engaged by a group of dug-in enemy. The enemy was quickly overrun. At the end of the day, the 1st Battalion had advanced to the vicinity of Gusteig, the 3rd Battalion to the vicinity of Musbach and the 2nd Battalion to Holzkirchem.

3 May 1945—D+332

A quota of 4 officers and 30 enlisted men to return to the United States as guards on prisoner of war ships was received from the Seventh Army. Upon arrival in the US, the personnel were to be granted 45 days leaves or furloughs.

No contact was made with the enemy.

The 4th Infantry Division continued mopping up operations. Preparations were made to turn over the responsibility of the Division sector to the 101st Airborne Division. This one began movement into the 4th Division zone of action at 1000. Although no forward advances were made by any of the Division units during the day, many prisoners of war were taken. The enemy was surrendering in mass without a fight except in a few cases of small groups of fanatical SS troops.

The 8th Infantry continued to maintain peace and order in Division rear areas and to prevent looting. The 1st Battalion in Stamburg, the 2nd Battalion in Augsburg and the 3rd Battalion in Gauting.

The 12th Infantry remained in the same areas as occupied during the previous day and continued mopping up operation throughout the day.

The 22nd Infantry continued mopping up operations until relieved by elements of the 101st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron at 1615. Upon being relieved, the entire regiment moved into an assembly area in the vicinity of Holzkirchen where preparations were made to move to new regimental areas in the vicinity of Nurnberg.

4 May 1945—D+333

The 4th Infantry Division was relieved from assignment to the Sixth Army Group, Seventh Army and XXI Corps and was assigned to the Third Army.

The 4th Infantry Division was relieved of responsibility by the 101st Airborne Division at 1200 and at 1000 had initiated the movement to its area of responsibility in the vicinity of Neumarkt which was in the Third Army zone.

The 8th Infantry continued its security mission and at 1200 was attached to the 101st Airborne Division.

The 12th Infantry was relieved by elements of the 101st Airborne Division by 1200 but remained in the areas and made preparations for movement to new regimental areas in the vicinity of Sulzbach. An advance party initiated movement at 1300.

The 22nd Infantry began moving to the new assembly area in the vicinity of Schwabach at 1000 and closed therein at 2130.

"Pile in, and we'll go for a spin in this German car!"

“Pile in, and we’ll go for a spin in this German car!”

5 May 1945—D+334

The 4th Infantry Division with the 70th Tank Battalion, 610th Tank Destroyer and the 377th AA Artillery continued movement into the new assigned division area: Hurnberg – Weisenburg – Ingalstadt – Regenburg – Sulzbach.

The 8th Infantry continued to maintain peace and order in the Gauting-Starnburg area. Preparations were made to receive relieving units of XXI Corps and to move in the vicinity of Burglingenfeld.

The 12th Infantry began movement from the area east of Bad Tolz to a new area in the vicinity of Sulzbach at 0850. It closed therein at 2130.

The 22nd Infantry initiated reconnaissance of the Nurnberg area and began relief of elements of the 16th Armored Division and other Third Army units guarding important installations in the Army railhead city of Nurnberg. The relieving of the different units was a slow undertaking due to the fact that reconnaissance parties had to find all the guarded installations before the relief could be accomplished.

6 May 1945—D+335

The Division command post opened at Amberg at 0700.

A teletype message signed by General Eisenhower was received during the day stating that the German military forces had signed the unconditional surrender to all Allied Forces, effective 090001 May 1945.

The 8th Infantry was relieved and all battalions assembled preparatory to moving to new assigned area. The 1st and 3rd Battalions continued to patrol the roads within the area.

The 12th Infantry initiated reconnaissance within the new area of occupation to contact other units guarding installations and patrolling the sector.

The 22nd Infantry continued to relieve all other units in the Nunrberg area and assume responsibility for the traffic control within the important Army supply center of Nurnberg.

The 4th Division Artillery with the 377 AA Bn, 610th Tank Destroyer Bn and 70th Tank Bn, initiated movement from Bad Tolz at an early hour to move to the new assigned area in the vicinity of Boilingries.

The Distinguished Unit Citation earned by the 70th Tank Battalion for its action in the D-Day landing is added to its standard by General Blakeley. Rothenburg, June, 1945

The Distinguished Unit Citation earned by the 70th Tank Battalion for its action in the D-Day landing is added to its standard by General Blakeley. Rothenburg, June, 1945

7 May 1945—D+336

The 8th Infantry remained under control of the 101st Airborne Division in assembly areas in the vicinity of Gauting in preparation to moving to new division area early 8 May.

The 12th Infantry took over the guarding and security of displaced person camps, captured enemy supply dumps, bridges, radio and telephone stations, and other installations within their sector in the vicinity of Sulzbach.

The 22nd Infantry continued to relieve other elements guarding enemy supply dumps and other installations in the vicinity of Nurnberg-Schwabach.

The 4th Division Artillery initiated the relief of other units in the vicinity of Boilingries. The 70th Tank Battalion and the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion moved from assembly areas to the new Division area of occupation, closing therein at 1445.

8 May 1945—D+337 VE Day (Victory in Europe)

The 4th Infantry Division continued to maintain law and order and to guard installations and also made preparation to assume responsibility for additional security missions.

The 8th Infantry moved to Burglengenfeld, closing therein at 1800. The regiment made plans for assuming responsibility for security of displaced persons’ camps, captured enemy supply dumps, main supply route and bridges within their area early 09 May.

The 12th made plans for assuming responsibility for additional security missions in the vicinity of Neustadt and Eschenbach.

No change in the operations of the 22nd Infantry.

The Division bids farewell to the first group of men to be sent home—Ansbach, Germany, May, 1945

The Division bids farewell to the first group of men to be sent home—Ansbach, Germany, May, 1945

Casualties—6 June 1944 to 9 May 1945

KIA: 3858 (263 officers, 3595 enlisted)
Died of wounds: 731 (39 officers, 692)
MIA: 283 (16 officers, 267 enlisted)
SWA (seriously wounded in action): 6897 (408 officers, 6489 enlisted)
LWA (lightly wounded in action): 9414 (484 officers, 8930 enlisted)
Captured: 14 (0 officers, 14 enlisted)

Total: 21,197 (1210 officers, 19,987 enlisted)

Casualties equaled 149% of the authorized June 1944 strength of 14,253.
32% of the original June 1944 strength were killed in action or died of wounds.

After the war was over, we honored a 22nd Infantryman who was killed in action. A street in Seckenheim, Germany was named after him.

After the war was over, we honored a 22nd Infantryman who was killed in action. A street in Seckenheim, Germany was named after him.


Jim Roan, Fenton, MI, Company H, 12th Infantry Regiment

The Beginning of the End

As we went further into Germany, the destruction of cities was aw­ful. We had to feel sorry for the civilians, especially the children. There was a lapse between the time that a city was taken and the time the army-trained civil administrators took over. The people needed food, shelter, and medical help. We always set up shop in the best structures available, and we had plenty of rations for our own needs and some left over. The roads were full of GI flatbed trucks crammed with what was left of the German army. Prisoners of war were crowded into these vehicles with little room to sit down. Some were wounded, and they spent a day or two traveling to their destinations. When they exited these vehicles, they had a hard time walking, and some died during transport.

We noted that there was always a crowd around. The civilians would cheer as they were transported by our troops. The U.S. Army did supply them with boxed rations, usually C or K rations, which we were be­ing fed most of the time. We occasionally were treated with a hot meal when the kitchens caught up with us, and I can still picture the civilians patiently waiting in line with their buckets to dip into the slop that we dumped from our mess kits. We always took more food than we could consume just so they would have something to dip into.


Tom Reid, (Deceased) Marietta, GA, Cannon Company, 22nd Infantry Regiment and Company I, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment

Last KIA in WWII, PFC Carl Baker


No meaningful mention of Item Company, 22nd Infantry Regiment can be made without a reference to the contributions and outstanding leadership of two previous commanders of the company, Lieutenant General (Retired) Glenn Walker and Major Joe Samuels, who as a cap­tain brought the company ashore in the first wave of D-Day, June 6, 1944 on Utah Beach, Normandy. Joe Samuels commanded the company longer than any of the other Item Company commanders in combat. Glenn Walker commanded the company in its training days at Camp Gordon, Georgia, and then went on to successful command positions in the 22nd Infantry in WWII, fought in Korea, was commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam, and now resides in Mississippi (until his death several years ago).

Their magnetic leadership left an indelible imprint on I Company. I was walking in their footsteps and trying to fill a large shoe size.

All through April 1945, we could see the end of the war in Europe coming. Our advances were swifter, more prisoners were being taken, and some days troops riding on tanks were making five to ten miles per day.

Everyone had talked about not wanting to be the last man killed in the war, but no one knew when that fateful day would arrive. On May 3, 1945, Item Company was given the mission to seize the small village of Agatharied. We were now in southern Bavar­ia, about sixty miles south of Munich. Snow was still on the ground in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Resistance was slight, the company had moved through the town, and I was ordered by the battalion commander to hold where I was. Suddenly a shot rang out and Private First Class Carl W. Baker, my company run­ner, fell. He was only a few feet away from me and was still alive. I took my radio and maps out of my jeep and told the driver to get him back to the aid station as fast as possible. He died on the way.

In a few minutes, I received an order to dig in where we were. The War was over, the Germans had surrendered, and PFC Carl W. Baker had become the last KIA in the 22nd Infantry Regiment.

Carl Baker was from Portland, Oregon, and wanted to be a forest ranger when the war was over. He was an outstanding soldier and could always be depended on to carry out any task he was given with dedica­tion and dispatch. We often shared a cup of coffee or a K-ration. His death came hard to me.

Through the years since, I have often thought of Carl Baker, the gal­lant soldier of World War II who wanted to be a forest ranger and instead became the last KIA of the 22nd Infantry Regiment in WWII. He truly exemplified “Deeds not Words!”


Bill Boice, Phoenix, AZ, Chaplain, 22nd Infantry Regiment

Letter Home as Hostilities End

From his book, History of the 22nd Infantry Regiment in World War II.

When the announcement of cessation of hostilities was heard, Chaplain Boice sent down a letter to the men of the Regiment to be addressed to their families and mailed home. The letter read:

This evening Admiral Doenitz has announced to the German people the unconditional surrender of all German fighting forces. Had this surren­der occurred the 1st of September on our wave of optimism when we hit the Siegfried Line, or immediately after the defeat of Von Rundstedt and the successful crossing of the Rhine, we would have been wild with joy. The news of Germany’s surrender was received by all of us with a calm­ness very nearly approaching indifference about the feeling deep within our hearts. There was no revelry last night, no drunkenness, no shouting, no flag waving, no horns blowing; there was a sober realization that it was all over, at least so far as Europe was concerned, and that we, by the strength of our arms and by our own courage, had, with the help of God, com­pletely and finally defeated everything that the warped and twisted soul of a perverted nation could hurl at us.

We take no undue pride in what we have done, for we are sobered by the blood of our comrades, which cries up to us from every foot of ground from Normandy to Berlin and from Holland to Italy. We have done what we have had to do for you, as well as for our own peace of mind.

I am proud of my officers and fellow soldiers in the 22nd Infantry Regiment.

There is not one single fighting day of which we must be ashamed, or for which we must make excuses. No regiment in the ETO has more right to hold its head high and to march with shoulders back, colors streaming, than this one. Its record, its casualties, its achievements, and the respect it instilled, and the terror it struck in the heart of the German Army speak for themselves.

Bill Boice, Phoenix, AZ, Chaplain, 22nd Infantry Regiment

The Men Who Were Not There

From his book, History of the 22nd Infantry Regiment in World War II.


And so, the war was over. It was a fact far too deep for us to grasp fully, and we realized somehow that we should be more grateful than we were, that probably we should do all of the little things which we were expected to do, like blowing horns and tooting whistles and per­haps getting drunk. But we didn’t. We simply thought of the hundreds and hundreds of our friends who had given everything they had in order that we might see V-E Day. The men who were not there—the memory of them, the years we had trained with them, knowing their families, or perhaps the brief moments we had known some of them who came to us as replacements, the insight we had had into their very souls which can come only to a man who sees his soul laid bare and lives a thousand lives or dies a thousand deaths in a single day of combat. Stretching back to the Turgen Sea to Bensheim and from Bensheim to Hamn, from Hamn to Henri Chappelle, and from Henri Chappelle to Marigny and from Marigny to St. Mére Eglise were rows of even white crosses dotted with occasional Stars of David, where school children on their way home left flowers on the graves. And always flying proudly, but somberly, were the Stars and Stripes, symbol of the devotion of the men who rest beneath.

The men were not there. Never completely gone from our minds were the little things we remembered—funny, crazy things they did, premoni­tions they had, ways they fought or talked, or maybe even things about them we hadn’t liked; we supposed that we should feel our responsibility and we guessed, too, we were living on borrowed time, time loaned to us from these men who were not there. No more slopping through foxholes half-filled with water, clothes damp, and with such a constant hunger for something that we could never quite place or satisfy. No more of this. No more of it for them either. We had seen the gaping wounds that had sapped their lives.

We had seen the cemeteries; we knew how they were buried. We had seen these rows of lifeless objects, shattered mockeries of that which had been breathing, pulsating men, friends of ours, buried in the soil of France and Belgium and Germany.

Strange that the soil of Germany was no different from the soil of France or America, nor were men any different. Men did what they had to do and hoped they could endure it. If they were lucky, they got back, or sometimes in the hellishness of combat they looked on the body of a soldier and said meaningfully, “Won’t nothing bother him anymore.”

There were some other men who were not there, men in hospitals in Michigan and Washington, Atlanta and Vancouver, men whose every footstep would bear testimony to war and everything it was and every­thing it did to men.

And so, the war was over. Perhaps we should have celebrated. Perhaps our celebration was the quiet realization that we were here and they were not, for it was only by the grace of God, by hard fighting, and perhaps sometimes poor shooting that we had lived to see Victory in Europe.




Editor’s note from Bob: I had the great privilege of getting to know and become friends with Chaplain Bill Boice and former 22nd Infantry Regimental commander John Ruggles and many other WWII vets of 4ID from all our units. Over the years I sat in silence and listened and soaked in their stories. Most of them are deceased now, but the memories of my time getting to know them is still crisp. I am confident they are sitting in heaven today with all their former comrades remembering how they and other members of the Greatest Generation saved our world, 70 years ago this week.

These blogs that I have shared with you over the past eleven months will be left up indefinitely on our web site at Feel free to go back and reread the accounts at any time. You can bet that I will be on the site on June 6 of each year, reliving the anniversary of the D-Day landing. And always refer others to the blog at any time. Plus, my two WWII War Stories books, with 325 stories from those 4ID men who fought across Europe can be purchased there as well.

Finally, you will hear from me one more time before I sign off from this almost year long journey with the 4ID through WWII. I plan to wrap it up in a week or so with stories that were shared with me about the 4ID’s time in Europe as an occupation force and their return to the States in early July 1945. Those are stories we need to read to round out this series. Until then, I remain… Steadfast and Loyal.



This Week in WWII: April 15 – April 30, 1945
D+314 to D+329

Fighting through Crailsheim, April 1945

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and that’s what has been happening to me the past couple of months. Again I am late with this posting, but the history is still good. We are closing in on the last week of the war in Europe, yet the … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: April 1 – April 14, 1945
D+300 to D+313

Raising the flag over the fortress Ehrenbreitstein, Coblenz, April 4, 1945. This same flag was lowered by troops of the 8th Infantry Regiment in this same fortress in 1923, when the 8th Infantry left Germany, the first unit of the Army of Occupation to withdraw. Troops of the 8th Infantry, 4th Division, were honor guard during the World War II ceremony.

1 April 1945—D+300 The Division Provost Marshal reported that he had located five Allied Prisoner of War Inclosures in the Division Command Post area, a total of 384 prisoners of war. All the camps were reported short of rations, so arrangements … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: March 3 – March 31, 1945
D+271 to D+299

Near Luneville, France, March 18, 1945, the troop takes time out for some instruction tactics. The troop commander is using a miniature battlefield. This is called "sandlot warfare."

Once again I apologize for not consistently getting our weekly updates posted. Jan and I moved from Marietta to Athens, GA on 6 March and it has been a very hectic month as we settle into a new place after 25 years living in our previous … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: February 24 – March 2, 1945
D+264 to D+270

TOP LEFT: Ready to take all comers—and to go out for them if they don't come.
RIGHT: An attack just finished, they await the signal to jump off again in a barn near Prum, Germany.
BOTTOM LEFT: The weather and the war give this runner a chance to dig up some literature near Prum.

24 February 1945 - D+264 No aggressive activity on the part of the enemy was reported, except light artillery and rocket fire. The 4th Division Artillery with the 610th Tank Destroyer Bn and the 377th AA Artillery Bn fired interdiction and … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: February 10 – February 23, 1945
D+250 to D+263

Captured pillboxes provided welcome and effective protection against enemy fire and miserable weather.

This Two Weeks in WWII – 10-23 February 1945 – D+250 to D+263 10 February 1945 - D+250 The enemy opposed CT 12 from the east bank of the Prum river with some enemy troops still holding out in Niederprum. At 0900 the enemy launched a … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: January 16 – February 2, 1945
D+225 to D+242

After effectively disappearing during the month of January (I was on the road traveling virtually all month), I am back with my weekly updates that will continue through V-E Day on 8 May 1945. The 4th Infantry Division had a busy January, and … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: December 30, 1944 – January 14, 1945
D+208 to D+223

One of many places where 4ID Soldiers made their stand in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge—they defended in towns and in the countryside, and did not allow the Germans to break through their lines.

As 2014 comes to an end tonight, let us not forget that 70 years ago today, thousands of American Soldiers and Airmen were locked in combat during the sixteenth day of the biggest battle American forces have ever fought in. On the southern shoulder, … [Continue reading]

This Week in WWII: December 23 – December 29, 1944
D+201 to D+207The Battle of the Bulge Continues


The second week of the Battle of the Bulge continues. All across the Belgium and Luxembourg eastern borders the Germans continued their major attempt to stop the Allied drive across Europe, causing a bulge in the lines on battle maps that gave the … [Continue reading]