|Red Arrow Division|
Contributed by Cate Reiter, Altoona, WI
[Click on any picture or image to enlarge it]
|Battery C Receives Order for Induction October 19, 1940|
|Battery C Roster
Captain Leo J. Blanchard
First Lieutenant Malvin P. Wang
Second Lieutenant Emmett G. Quirk
First Sergeant Grade II Martin A. Gannon
Staff Sergeant Grade III Lawrence L. Price
Sergeants, Grade IV
Corporals, Grade V
Privates, First Class, Grade VI
Privates, Grade VII
Inactive National Guard
Above subject to change pending results of physical examination.
|Members of Battery C got together for a picture during training at Fort McCoy. The division trained there before heading to Louisiana.|
Members of Battery C, 120th Field Artillery
Members of Battery C, 120th Field Artillery
|Wilson Michaud and Bob Loiselle leave their tent at Camp Beauregard, LA for a road march on December 2, 1940.|
|3 Chippewa Boys in New Guinea October 23, 1942|
|Bob Dannenberg, Don Lawrence, and Elmer Peterson on
Staff Sergeant Robert Dannenberg, who left Chippewa Falls with Battery C two years ago, is now stationed somewhere in New Guinea. In a letter written under date of October 2 to some of his former associates on the Herald-Telegram, he says in part:
"So far as we know, Elmer Peterson, Don Lawrence, and myself are the only Chippewa boys in action on this front. Old Battery C is still back in Australia, but they are doing a tough job now that will develop into something big later on. Better keep your eyes on this spot, something big should happen real soon.
"As I'm writing this, I'm lying on Pete's bunk (I should say blanket; I've forgotten what a bunk looks like), while he is digging his fox hole. These fox holes are mighty handy places to dive into when the Japs come over on their little social calls. And we never lack company. I found four friendly lizards tangled up in my mosquito netting when I turned in last night. Taking everything into consideration, it isn't so bad if it wasn't for the heat, and the natives say the hot spell is just coming on.
"The favorite topic of conversation with us is what we would be doing if we were back in Chippewa.
"I'll never sprinkle the lawn again with Chippewa water. You can never appreciate it until you get down here. Just think--all the water you can drink back home. Boy, that's a luxury to us.
"We're in good health and are thankful that we are down here where it's safe, instead of back home where we'd probably get run over by a car or sprain an ankle sliding or slipping down Spring Street Hill in the winter.
"We would like to get the local paper, so we could see how high Joe Dressel's corn is this year."
Dannenberg's address is Staff Sergeant R. Dannenberg (20651957) Cannon Company, 126th Infantry, APO 32, Care Postmaster, San Francisco, CA.
|Chippewa Boys Rest After Battling Japs|
|Battery C of Chippewa Falls (left to
Front Row: J. Bell, P. Greening, B. Halblieb, O. Girard, R. Dorr, Captain Quirk, W. Harper. Second Row: A. Kaiser, E. Hedrington, R. Loiselle, D. O'Connell, W. Barrows, R. Whitcome, L. Price, G. Bateman. Standing: C. Rahn, D. Whitwam, H. Reiter, O. Zech, C. Abel, J. Buchanan, F. Turany, C. Dorr.
|Here are 23 Chippewa Falls
members of Battery C now seeing active duty against the Japanese on
one of the New Guinea fronts. These are all of the local men left with
the unit, others having been transferred to other units, with some of
them still in this country.
The Battery left Chippewa Falls in August of 1940.
This picture was received from Bob Halblieb, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Halblieb. In his letter, he says the photo was taken after the Battery had been relieved from combat duty and was "resting and training for better things."
He said everything is "swell," but that he is hungry for home cooking and announced that Captain Emmett Quirk, the Commanding Officer of the unit, had been awarded the Silver Star.
|Aitape, New Guinea 1944|
|Howie Reiter, Buck Flech, Edmund (Dutch)
Nowak, Mike Ramsey, Des O'Connell; Don Whitwam.
"Buck Flech is a Navy man from Chippewa. That is his ship in the background; it is a LST (Landing Ship Tank). The guys from Battery C heard the ship had arrived and went down to see what was happening and ran into a fellow Chippewan. This is one of my favorite pictures of Dad" (Cate Reiter 03-03-04).
"Mike Ramsey served with Battery C, but he was a 'draftee' from LaCrosse" (Howard and Cate Reiter 03-03-04).
|Thirty-Second Division Is Fighting on Leyte November 18, 1944|
|General MacArthur's Headquarters, Philippines (AP)
General MacArthur today permitted mention for the first time of a
fifth division now on Leyte island--the 32nd, veteran of some of the
toughest of all the tough battles in the Southwest Pacific jungles.
The "Red Arrow Division," composed mostly of Wisconsin and Michigan men, was announced as being in action on the Ormoc Road, where it had already made some advances.
Throwing in of the Red Arrow Division added to the American Forces a unit which won its first battle flags of World War II in the fantastic Papuan Campaign when the entire division was flown over the Owen Stanley mountains to wipe out a large Japanese force at Buna in some of the heaviest fighting of the war up to that time.
Later, the division moved against the Japanese at Saidor but found the going there comparatively easy. At Aitape, however, it again met the Japanese head-on as the enemy attempted to break out of the now-famous Wewak trap.
Even on the way to the Philippines, the division met trouble. Japanese planes attacked some of the transport ships, but there were no losses.
The division has been overseas nearly three years, although much of its personnel has been changed during that period. Formerly led by Major General Edwin F. Harding, it is now commanded by Major General William H. Gill of Denver, Colorado.
|Battery "C" on Morotai December 19, 1944|
above are members of Battery "C," 120th Field Artillery,
as they appeared around Thanksgiving time on the island of Morotai,
300 miles south of the Philippines. They were resting there before
taking the big hop into the new battlefront in the Philippines.
They hadn't been on shore long when one of the island's long inhabitants showed up in the person of Bill Shick of Chippewa Falls, who had been there some weeks ahead with a bunch of Seabees, getting the place ready as a base for operations against Leyte and points north.
Bill was as astonished to see white people pouring ashore as were the Battery men, but he was more than astonished when he recognized some of them to be from his old hometown. Shick was formerly employed by the Weigand Sales Company and, in writing to his wife here, he said it was a "grand reunion."
The Battery has a new address now but, before they left, Shick showed them everything the island could offer in the way of entertainment. They had turkey and all the fixings for at least one big dinner, and a good time was had by all. He said all appeared to be in good health, too. Carl Lehrer, operator of the Log Cabin Tavern north of this city, was on the island, too, but is not shown in the above group.
In the picture above, the men have been identified. Top Row, left to right: Jim Frenette, Thorp; Ray Door, Jim Buchanan, Bill Shick, and Leslie Michaud. Bottom Row: Jack Bell, Eugene DeLisles, Carl Krecji, and Bill Reiter.
Note: "Carl Lehrer and Bill Shick were both from Chippewa. They were Seabees (Navy Construction Battalion). They were on Morotai, building a base, when Battery C pulled up on shore" (Howard and Cate Reiter 03-03-04).
|Captain Quirk with General MacArthur|
|The above picture, taken just before a major battle
in the New Guinea Campaign, shows General Douglas MacArthur giving
final instructions to Captain Emmett Quirk, Chippewa Falls, on what
enemy opposition to expect and objectives to be attained in the
The rendezvous with General MacArthur was held in one of the few open spaces on New Guinea, where Captain Quirk was ranking field artillery officer in charge of field artillery observers. The historic battle that followed resulted in an overwhelming victory for the "first team."
Battery C of Chippewa Falls was a unit of the 120th. General Krueger, not shown above, Commander of the Sixth Army, was present during General MacArthur's visit to the front that day and also commended Captain Quirk for achievements of his battery and the battalion in general.
Captain Quirk has been in the United States since December 18, coming here to receive treatment for "jungle rot," a skin disease affecting his lower legs. He came to Chippewa Falls in December and has been here since. He will report back to Winter General Hospital, Topeka, KS for further treatment before reassignment.
A promotion in rank is awaiting him, Captain Quirk was advised by his superior officers, if and when he returns to the same unit for duty somewhere in the Pacific.
|Greetings From Battery C|
of Battery C, 120th Field Artillery, Chippewa's Own, paused briefly
from their grim tasks in the South Pacific this Christmas season to
turn a hopeful face toward home. The Herald-Telegram
acknowledges receipt of the above Christmas greeting, signed by
soldiers who call Chippewa Falls their home.
These typical American boys, daily exposed to the murderous design of a cruel enemy, and a cunning one, forgot their own dread problems momentarily and took time out to wish us well. This single act inspired us as no deed of valor could do.
Mere words are but shabby symbols in expressing gratitude for this gesture, but we have gained renewed faith that there will always be a Christmas...the nation cannot falter nor fear any foe with such men defending it.
Signature on the above V-mail card are Donald R. Whitwam, Albert L. Kaiser, James W. Buchanan, Clifford Behn, Carl J. Krejci, William Reiter, Jr., Orris F. Zech, Howard L. Reiter, Lloyd Naiser, William Wellner, Frank J. Turany, Clifford E. Dorr, Spurgeon Svihovek, Philip J. Pugnier, Vernon Matthews, Elmer Carl Shilts, John D. Bell, Neil J. Kemp, Earl Hedrington, Eugene D. DeLisle; Leslie E. Michaud.
In other parts of the world are Chippewa County boys, some of them spending their first Christmas away from home. They, too, look through the man-made hell called war and dream of Home and Christmas as it used to be. May this be their last Yule on enemy soil and may God speed them home again, strong in the faith of their fathers and happy in the peacetime pursuits they love so well.
|Sgt. Wm. J. Reiter Has Narrow Escape With Jap|
|With the 32nd Infantry Division in Northern Luzon,
When a Jap sticks a rifle in your stomach, pulls the trigger, and you're still here to tell about it, it comes under the heading of news.
Sergeant William J. Reiter, 25, one of the many Chippewa Falls, WI men now fighting overseas with the 32nd "Red Arrow Division," claims he owes his life to the sloppy habits of one Japanese soldier.
Sergeant Reiter, an Artillery Forward Observer for the 120th Field Artillery Battalion, received an assignment to accompany an Infantry combat patrol. The patrol, with Reiter carrying his radio, left the front lines, penetrated enemy territory high in the Caraballo Mountains without incident, and started to return. Reiter, backtracking over the path he had taken earlier, felt secure as he walked along. He was thinking more of "rotation" and "points" than he was of Japs lurking in the enveloping fog along the mountain trail.
His thoughts were interrupted.
A Jap stepped out on the lonely path, jabbed his rifle into Reiter's midsection. The hammer clicked. Nothing happened. Not stopping to reason why, Reiter dropped his radio, grabbed the Nip's rifle in an attempt to take it away from him. The Jap had similar ideas. He grabbed Reiter's carbine and a few anxious moments of tug-of-war followed.
As neither was gaining ground, Reiter released his holds on the two weapons and used a more practical attack. He came up with a handful of fists. A quick right to a slant eye, a left jab to the stomach. A right and left. One. Two. One. Two. The Nip dropped to his knees. Reiter retrieved his carbine, stepped back a pace, and finished the battle and the Jap with a single round.
Other than a few scratches and teeth marks on his fists, Reiter was unharmed.
When asked if he was "scared a little bit," Reiter answered, "There wasn't enough time for that...but I did feel pretty shaky after it was all over. That Jap ammunition was a mess. That's what caused the miss-fire." He added, after a pause, "You know, a guy who lets his ammo get in that condition ought to get killed."
Sergeant Reiter's parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Reiter, reside at the City Pumping Station.
|AWARDED BRONZE STAR
Staff Sergeant William H. Reiter, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. William Reiter of this city, has been awarded the Bronze Star. He is Instrument Sergeant in Battery C, 120th Field Artillery Battalion, a part of the veteran 32nd Red Arrow Division in northern Luzon, Philippines. The award was given in connection with military operations against the Japs in New Guinea and the Philippines between July 1944 and April 1945. His unit currently is in action in the Caraballo Mountains of northern Luzon. He has served more than three years overseas with the 32nd. Two brothers are also in the service. First Lieutenant Warren Reiter is in Battery B of the 120th. Private Kenneth Reiter fought in Italy. A cousin, Howard Reiter, also of this city, is in Sergeant Reiter's battery.
|15 Chippewa Men Start 4th Year of Overseas Service
With 32nd Division
May 15, 1945
|With the 32nd Infantry Division in Pangasinan
Province, Luzon, Philippines
Fifteen Chippewa Falls area men, all members of Chippewa County's own C Battery of the 120th Field Artillery Battalion, are beginning their fourth year of service overseas with the famed 32nd "Red Arrow Division."
"All can claim the distinction of being real veterans of World War II for the 32nd has more combat time than any other division. It has been in combat almost half the time since the United States has been at war."
The fifteen veterans are First Sergeant Donald H. Whitwam, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Whitwam, 722 West Willow Street; Staff Sergeant Frank Turany, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Turany, Route 1; Sergeant Spurgeon N. Svihovek, Route 3; Sergeant Clifford J. Rahn, son of Mrs. Leonard Schwartz, 112 West Spring Street; Sergeant Technician John D. Bell, 132 West Birch Street; Sergeant Technician Eugene D. DeLisle, son of Peter E. DeLisle, 1 North High Street; Corporal Carl J. Krejci, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Krejci, 509 Mansfield Street; Corporal Philip J. Pugnier, son of Mrs. Joseph Pugnier, Route 2, Cadott; Corporal Technician William Wellner, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wellner, 513 Dwight Street; Corporal Technician Elmer C. Shilts, son of Chester Shilts, Route 2, Stanley; Corporal Technician Earl H. Hedrington, son of John J. Hedrington, 914 Water Street; Staff Sergeant Albert Kaiser, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kaiser, Cadott; Staff Sergeant William Reiter, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Reiter, City Pumping Station; Corporal Clifford Dorr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Dorr, 20 East Columbia Street; Private First Class Howard Reiter, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Reiter, 33 1/2 Spring Street.
C Battery, a part of the old First Battalion of the 120th Field Artillery Regiment of the National Guard, was made up almost entirely of Chippewa men when the Guards became part of the Army on October 15, 1940. The regiment left for training at Camp Livingston, LA, a few days after that.
When the 32nd Division was triangulized in February of 1942, old C Battery became a part of the 120th Field Artillery Battalion. Units in the Second Battalion of the old regiment were reorganized into the 129th Field Artillery Battalion. The division landed at Adelaide, Australia in May 1942.
Fourteen of the remaining Chippewa men in the battery were members when it became a part of the Army. One, Corporal Krejci, joined later in Louisiana.
Two other original members are now in other batteries of the battalion. First Lieutenant Warren J. Reiter, brother of Sergeant William Reiter, is in B Battery; Master Sergeant Edmund J. Nowak is Battalion Motor Sergeant in Service Battery. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Nowak, 326 Macumber Street.
The Battery has seen action at Saidor and Aitape in New Guinea, Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies, Leyte, and now Luzon in the Philippines. It fights today with the rest of the division in the rugged Caraballo Mountains of northern Luzon.
All of the Chippewa men are entitled to wear the Philippines Liberation, Asiatic-Pacific, and American Defense Ribbons; the Bronze Arrowhead for their part in the initial landing on Saidor, and two Battle Stars.
|Four Returning From New Guinea
June 22, 1945 Chippewa Herald
|Four Chippewa Falls Artillerymen who fought through
the tropic jungles, rain, and mud of New Guinea, the Netherlands
East Indies, and the Philippines are returning home under the Army's
new point demobilization program.
They are Staff Sergeant Frank Turany, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Turany, Route 1; Sergeant Spurgeon R. Svihovec, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Svihovec, city; Corporal Technician William Wellner, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wellner, 513 Dwight Street; and Corporal Technician Howard Reiter, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Reiter, Spring Street.
All members of Battery C of the 120th Field Artillery Battalion, a part of the 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division, they are veterans of more than three years overseas. They went over in April 1942, landing in Adelaide, Australia in May. They fought at Saidor and Aitape in New Guinea, Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies, Leyte, and Luzon in the Philippines. They hold the American Defense Ribbon, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, Philippines Liberation Medal, the Bronze Arrowhead for the 32nd's initial landing at Saidor and three Battle Stars. All four are former National Guardsmen.
They are among the first to leave for their battalion under the new demobilization plan.
|Chippewa County Men Awarded Good Conduct Ribbon
Three men from the Chippewa Falls area, members of the 120th Field Artillery, 32nd Division, have been awarded the Army's Good Conduct Ribbon, it was disclosed by division headquarters in Pangasinan Province, Luzon, Philippines.
They are Technician Fifth Grade Elmer Carl Shilts, son of Chester Shilts, Route 2A, Stanley; Technician Fifth Grade Vernon J. Mathews, son of Thomas Mathews, Chippewa Falls, and Howard L. Reiter, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Reiter, Spring Street, Chippewa Falls.
All three have started their fourth year of service overseas, coming over with the division in April 1942. Each holds the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon, the Philippines Liberation Ribbon, one Bronze Star for initial landings on Saidor, and five battle stars for their part in the Saidor, Morotai, Aitape, Leyte, and Luzon Operations. In addition, Mathews and Shilts hold the Expert Driver's Badge. Reiter, a cook, was formerly employed at the Krause Cafe and is a graduate of McDonell High School.
|Red Arrow Division Sets Combat Record
August 6, 1945
With the 32nd Infantry Division in Northern Luzon, Philippines
July 20th was the 32nd (Red Arrow) Infantry Division's 600th day of combat in World War II. The Division claims, on the basis of official records, that this represents the highest total of combat time amassed by any United States division in any United States war.
On July 20th, Major General William H. Gill's battle-tough veterans had 14,494 hours of Pacific combat to their credit.
Now in its fourth year overseas, the 32nd has fought the Jap from Buna in New Guinea to Aparri on the northern tip of Luzon. The story of the 32nd's role in the Pacific war has been the story of the whole "road back" from Australia to the Philippines.
Still engaged in mopping up isolated pockets of Jap resistance in the mountains of northern Luzon, grizzled 32nd doughboys bear proudly the reputation of being among the toughest jungle and mountain fighters in the Pacific.
Unbeaten in two wars, the 32nd, a Wisconsin-Michigan National Guard outfit, won its World War II record for toughness at Buna, Saidor, and Aitape in New Guinea, at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies, and on Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines.
The Division has killed more than 32,000 Japs in its three years of bloody fighting.
Wise in the ways of jungle and mountain fighting, the 32nd flew north from Australia to help stem that tide--thus becoming the first United States troops to be airborne into combat.
Bloody Buna followed. The Jap jungle fighters were handed a decisive defeat when the tide began to turn. The "road back" had begun.
Saidor, first of General MacArthur's now-famous by-passing moves, was next in January 1944. Then, it was another jump up the New Guinea coast to Aitape in April where Lieutenant General Adachi's Japanese 18th Imperial Army was defeated in the battle of the Driniumor River.
The 126th Regimental combat team represented the 32nd at Morotai in September of 1944. By November, the Division was together again on Leyte, where it took over the northern end of the Omoc Corridor and slugged south through the muddy mountains to annihilate the mighty Japanese Imperial First Division in the closing days of the year 1944.
By the end of January 1945, the veteran Red Arrowmen were in action again on Luzon. Once again, their assignment was a tough one. Their job was to drive 24 miles from Lingayen Plain up into the mile-high peaks of the Caraballo Mountains along the historic Villa Verde Trail, and thus, secure one of the only two southern approaches to the Cagayan Valley.
It took 119 consecutive days of uphill fighting to do the job. The Japs, cleverly entrenched on commanding ground, fought to the death in their mountain fortress.
Converting the Villa Verde Trail into a road as they went, the Red Arrowmen used tanks, artillery, flame-throwers, machine guns, grenades, TNT, dynamite, bazookas, and even anti-aircraft guns, firing at point-blank range, to kill the Japs in their caves.
More than 900 Red Arrow doughboys died in the battle for those knife-like Caraballo ridges, but they took more than ten times that number of Japs with them. More than 9000 Japs died on the Villa Verde.
General Joseph (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell called the Villa Verde "a toss up" with Burma for toughness of terrain.
Now, with the name Villa Verde firm among its battle honors, the 32nd is awaiting action pending before a grateful Philippine legislature to change the name of the Villa Verde Trail to the Red Arrow Trail.
Today, nearing their 600th combat day, the men of the 32nd are hunting down relentlessly the remnants of Japan's once-proud Luzon garrison.
In the mind of each doughboy, there is the question of the moment, "Where do we do next?"
|Outlines Benefits Due Relatives of Service Men
Madison, Wisconsin (AP) Lieutenant Colonel Bryon Beveridge of the Adjutant General's Office called attention today to benefits which dependents of a man who dies in the service are entitled to receive.
Colonel Beveridge said that many apparently were unaware of the extent of benefits and claims from communities having no county service officer or Red Cross headquarters and would be handled by the Adjutant General without charge.
He cited the six-month gratuity pay at the monthly rate the soldier was receiving at the time of death and payable to a wife, child, or previously designated relative. The War Department also allows $50 for burial when the body is sent home.
The Insurance Department of the Veterans Administration at Washington will supply forms for claims on government life insurance and, if there is doubt whether the soldier carried insurance, the information may be obtained from the Federal Rehabilitation Department or the Adjutant General's Office, Colonel Beveridge said.
He advised that the full name, rank, organization, and serial number, if possible, be given. Serial numbers are important because, in the last war, there were 3,096 John Smiths; 4,687 William Smiths; and 3,010 William Johnsons, he said.