Due to a critical understrength in the Engineer, Medical battalions, and the Division Artillery as well as the infantry regiments, it was necessary to screen out a certain percentage of replacements from 2300 for assignment to these supporting divisional units. The selection was made by inspection of AGO Forms 20 with the determining factors being civilian and/or military experience, AGCT score, the various aptitude test scores, and physical condition. Fortunately, this group as a whole possessed considerable civilian employment background as compared to the initial shipment which possessed none. In almost every case the civilian MOS was of greater aid than the military MOS in this selection for specialized duty assignments. In all, about 150 men apiece were assigned to the 24th Medical Battalion and the 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion while approximately 500 were converted to Field Artillery and assigned to the four organic artillery units. The 24th Cav Recon Troop was assigned the best of the horse cavalrymen and permitted to retain a 10 percent over strength. The remaining cavalrymen and the 1400 remaining doughboys were then assigned equitably to the three infantry regiments. The same assignment procedures were followed as outlined for the initial replacement group. Reception plans and sorting of personnel on the beach were also identical. However, it was not possible to forward the personnel records of the replacements to unit personnel officers prior to the delivery of the men due to insufficient time. The records followed 24 hours later after the Adjutant General had published the necessary assignment orders. During the above assignment process, the G-1 actively supervised the selection of personnel for transfer to units other than the Infantry. This was necessary due to the lack of a qualified classification officer in the Adjutant General’s section. Enlisted clerks initially screened out the cards of personnel reasonably qualified for transfer to other branches of service based on a brief evaluation of qualifications. Final selections were made by the G-1. Whenever possible the S-1 of the unit to which the assignment was contemplated was consulted in the matter of the tentative assignments before final action was completed.

Consolidated personnel requisitions were submitted by the division to higher headquarters on a monthly basis. Special requisitions were authorized by higher headquarters at any time when deemed necessary. However, in spite of regular and emergency requisitions, the necessary specialists as well as personnel by a branch of service other than the Infantry were not received. It is appropriate to note at this point one situation experienced which is indirectly related to the replacement situation. Shortly after each of these two large replacement groups had been processed, large amounts of administrative paperwork from the Zone of the Interior pertaining to the replacements were received by the Division. Typical items were uncompleted requests for dependency discharge, correspondence pertaining to insurance and allotments of pay, Congressional inquiries, charges against the soldier’s pay for laundry, clothing and equipment, and transportation, and other miscellaneous matters. Most of this correspondence had already been delayed 90 to 120 days due to the movement of the individuals involved. Although engaged in combat at the time, this correspondence was forwarded to subordinate units for action. Unfortunately, due to the long delays involved some of this paperwork required expediting.

Filipino guerilla fighters pose with weapons supplied by the Allies to help fight the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Davao Region, Mindanao, Philippines. November 1944

Discipline, Law and Order

No particular problems in the field of Discipline, Law, and Order were experienced during this operation other than the relatively small T&O strength authorized for the Military Police Platoon of an Infantry Division. This platoon strength was not augmented with an overstrength at any time. Prior to embarkation at Mindoro, all garrison prisoners in the Division Stockade were released to their respective units to participate in the operation. Upon completion of the operation, the records of all garrison prisoners were reviewed and appropriate actions are taken to reduce or remit sentences accordingly if justified. A Division Stockade was established at Talomo as soon as the situation stabilized for confining individuals awaiting trial by General Courts Martial or final review of previous General Court sentences. A separate record of the number of Court Martial during the Mindanao Operation is not available. However, statistics for the period of January 1 to July 30, 1945, indicate the following total trials for the division and attached units, General Court – 10; Special Court – 69 and Summary Court, 114 for a total of 195. The number of cases is not believed to be excessive for a reinforced division for a seven-month period. The relatively high number of Summary Court cases was due to the Division Commander’s strict policy of fining all traffic violators by Summary Court action. Other contributing factors to the low Court Martial rate were the lack of intoxicants and the fact that the division operated in extremely isolated areas far removed from any centers of population.

In regard to delinquency reports, the Division SOP provided that the Provost Marshal render all such reports to the Commanding General through the G-1 and Chief of Staff for review and notation before forwarding them to subordinate units. This was feasible only because of the relatively few disciplinary violations occurring at this time. All barrios and towns including Davao were placed Off Limits to troops as soon as they were free of enemy. This was believed necessary due to the high incident rate of disease including venereal disease among the natives. Host barrios and towns consisted only of a group of nipa or palm shanties and a few frame buildings in extremely filthy and unsanitary conditions. During the Pacific War straggler, lines were not utilized by the division under normal circumstances. This was due to the nature of the terrain and the methods of the enemy’s operation. Straggler lines, straggler collecting points, and straggler posts were not used in the Mindanao Campaign.

Baguio - Philippines 1945

Prisoners of War

POWs in the Pacific Theater posed no particular problem as few were taken during any combat operation. This was due to the reluctance of the Jap to surrender and the reluctance of the Americans to take prisoners in the jungle type of warfare. A total of only 500 POWs were taken in the entire Corps during the Mindanao Operation. No figures are available for the 24-ID’s share of this total. During the operation, prisoners were received in small increments of two or three at one time. After interrogation, the Provost Marshal safeguarded the Japs until transportation to the PW processing center was available. This collecting point was operated by X Corps for the 8-A at Parang. During the cross-island march, prisoners were evacuated to the rear by motor. After the situation stabilized in the Davao Gulf, the prisoners were evacuated to Parang or Leyte depending on the number of prisoners and transportation available at the time. Normally, the evacuation was accomplished by the regular Navy resupply craft (LSTs, LSMs, LCTs) which called regularly at Talomo weekly or oftener. Armed guards were furnished by the Provost Marshal for necessary escort and security for these water movements. By early July when capitulation of the Jap appeared to be a likely possibility, the G-1, Provost Marshal, and the Division Engineer jointly reconnoitered the Davao Area for a possible PW campsite. A suitable location was found in several large cleared fields near Daliao, five miles south of the division headquarters. Engineer troops assisted by some reserve infantry units erected heavy fencing of twelve-foot coconut logs and barbed wire. Housing consisted of tentage which was to be erected by PW labor if and when they appeared. The capacity of the camp for planning purposes was established at 10.000. However, following V-J Day, PWs interned Japanese civilians in the area with approximately 25.000 individuals. The original camp was therefore expanded with PW labor.

Burials and Graves Registration

As noted previously in the planning phase, one QM Graves Registration Section of a QM Graves Registration Platoon was attached to the Division for this operation. The attachment was not made until immediately prior to departure from Mindoro. Hence, there was little time for coordination between the attached unit and the Division QM. This was particularly unfavorable as the section had not previously supported the division. Fortunately, no large number of deaths from combat occurred until the Division reached the Davao Gulf Area. At that time the 34-RCT received casualties in the Digos-Guma Area. Prior to this initial heavy engagement, all dead were buried in isolated graves along the route of advance or if within a motor distance of Parang, were evacuated to that town for burial in the Corps cemetery. To provide facilities for the Digos-Guma dead a Division Cemetery was established at Santa Cruz where a temporary supply base and dump area had been located by the Division. After securing G-1 concurrence, the QM and his Graves Registration Officer established USAF Cemetery Santa Cruz #1 in the town of Santa Cruz adjacent to the civilian cemetery. This installation served the 34-RCT until approximately May 12 when it was closed at the termination of the Digos-Guma Action. Al further burials until the end of the Mindanao Operation were then made at the division cemetery at Talomo (USAF Cemetery Talomo #1) near the division CP.

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Talomo #1 was established on May 5 to handle burials for the 19-RCT and the 21-RCT which were operating north of Santa Cruz. By V-J Day, Talomo #1 had more than 550 burials including approximately 25 native guerrillas buried in a sub-section reserved for that purpose. No enemy dead were interred in this installation. The location of cemeteries throughout the Pacific was difficult due to a high water table normally found on most islands in the service areas near the beaches. G-1 and the QM maintained close staff liaisons at all times regarding locating and maintaining division cemeteries. Isolated burials were avoided whenever possible. Whenever this did occur, the Division SOP required a map overlay of the burial location with written details. This overlay was forwarded to higher headquarters as an enclosure to the Weekly G-1 Periodic Report as required by higher headquarters. After arrival in the Davao Area, there was no need for isolated burials as cemeteries were well within supporting distance of all divisional units. The Assistant Division Commander took a personal interest in the matter of locating all Missing in Action personnel. Due to his constant attention to this detail, all units took interest and pride in recovering all bodies of their comrades and ensured proper burial in an appropriate cemetery. As a result of this attention to duty, the Division had no Missing in Action personnel at the termination of the Mindanao Campaign. This was a major accomplishment when compared to the records of other similar units of the same strength. The Division Chaplain and his Assistant alternated on duty at the Division Cemetery for the religious rites at the time of interment. On occasions, the regimental chaplains assisted with these duties.

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Labor incident to burial and maintenance of the cemetery was furnished by the local military Civil Affairs detachment from native sources. At times mortuary supplies were difficult to obtain. Also, the QM was unable to produce white paint for the cemetery markers through Engineer channels for some time. Eventually, paint was procured informally from a Navy vessel. No serious problems of a G-1 nature relative to Graves Registration were encountered during the operation. However, the QM experienced some delay in properly closing out the personal effects of the deceased due to slow reports of Summary Courts appointed by the lower units for this purpose. This was corrected to some degree by telephone calls to S-1s on an informal basis by G-1.

Morale (Supporting Activities) Considered herewith in separate sub-paragraphs are brief resumes of the morale-supporting activities normally coordinated and supervised by G-1 during the operation.

American Red Cross Male American Red Cross welfare directors were attached to the division throughout combat. The normal attachment was one director per regiment, Division Artillery, separate division battalions and units, and one supervising Field Director attached to the division headquarters. These men rendered outstanding service to all personnel of the division by warfare work of all types and descriptions.

This was done to a great extent by the use of the official Red Cross radiogram service to the Zone of Interior. No other source of radiogram service was available to military personnel. In addition to welfare service, Red Cross personnel operated canteens and small recreation huts in each of the regimental train bivouacs of their respective units. This service was extremely popular and was enthusiastically received by the soldiers.

G-1 coordination and supervision were effected jointly through the Division Special Service Officer and the supervising Field Director. The Special Service Officer handled recreational matters with the Red Cross while problems related to military welfare were handled directly between G-1 and the ARC Field Director. At no time were female ARC workers attached to the division.

Post Exchange Activities Small quantities of Post Exchange supplies were received as limited water shipping became available by the latter part of May 1945. At this time the division was still heavily engaged in combat. Initially, the merchandise was not balanced and inadequate for the strength of the command. Again, beer stocks reflected the same conditions as previously discussed during the Kindoro staging period. Issues were entirely inadequate permitting a ration of only six cans per man per month. This condition did not improve. However, at the time the division received short supplies of beer, service troops on nearby Leyte were receiving full issues of beer based on the Army authority of one case per man per month. Higher headquarters furnished a post exchange officer to the division for the operation of this activity. However, it was necessary for the division to furnish approximately thirty enlisted men to serve as warehousemen, clerks, checkers, and cashiers. These individuals were secured by G-1 from subordinate units of the division and functioned on a special duty basis. After the initial supply of post-exchange items had been consumed, resupply was erratic and unpredictable. This was due to the critical shortage of inter-island shipping required at the time to support the many amphibious operations then in progress. All resupply of this type was shipped by water from Leyte bases. Post exchange supplies possessed a low shipping priority. This shipping situation did not materially improve until V-J Day at which time the flow of exchange supplies increased to a satisfactory level.

Mail Mail was one of the most important morale sustaining factors of the war. After embarkation at Mindoro, no incoming mail was received until the division stabilized itself on the Davao Gulf. This covered a period of approximately four weeks without mail service. The delay could not be avoided due to the fast-moving tactical situation. Out-going mail, however, was collected from units at all times by the assault echelon postal clerks located at the division CP for that purpose until such time as the division rear echelon arrived with the APO unit. These two postal clerks utilized any available means of dispatching outbound mail during the march across the island. Initially, it was possible to dispatch mail with outbound Naval vessels in the objective area. However, as the division moved inland this was not feasible due to the distances involved. Frequently mail was made up into small packets and flown cut with the wounded who were then being evacuated by air in L-5 aircraft. Liaison officers and couriers from higher headquarters were also persuaded to carry out mail pouches when returning to their respective headquarter from time to time.

When the Davao-Talomo area was secured about May 2 the division gained the Libby Airstrip located in that general area. While being a dirt strip it was able to accommodate aircraft up to and including a B-17. Libby Strip became the aerial resupply field for the division for the balance of the campaign. As soon as the strip was operative, higher headquarters was advised by radiogram. Immediately a daily courier plane service was established from Eighth Army headquarters on Leyte.

In addition to other necessary air transported supplies, this C-47 service was utilized for mail. The first-class airmail was received from the Zone of Interior at the Postal Regulation Station on Leyte end then was flown to Mindanao direct. Extremely fast mail service was provided by this system. It was not unusual to receive airmail letters on Mindanao at this time that had been posted only eight to ten days earlier in the United States. Parcel post arrived from the States by ship and was transshipped from Leyte to Mindanao by coastal vessels. This proved to be slow and irregular.

The division APO was established at Talomo in the division headquarters area as soon as it had arrived in that area with the division’s rear echelon. Normal postal services were provided immediately and maintained for the balance of the campaign. The division commander continued to require a daily mail report from the G-1. Close supervision and coordination of the postal activities were therefore exercised by the G-1 through the division Adjutant General.

Special Services Due to the rapid advance across Mindanao, the division special services officer did not function until the situation stabilized on the Davao Gulf. At that time due to the slow-moving situation, the location of the rear echelons of the major divisional units was relatively stable as to location. These rear echelons provided the only rest camps to which combat fatigued infantrymen could be evacuated for a short rest period, food, and baths. The Talomo-Davao perimeter was firmly established by the end of May with relatively little danger from the infiltrating enemy. In this perimeter was located the division service troops and the various unit rear echelons. At this time with command approval, the Special Service Officer was able to circulate 16 mm. entertainment films from library stocks to all units. Stocks were sufficient to permit three showings a week on outdoor screens improvised in each of the areas.

Distribution of magazines and a few paper-backed books in addition to other special service items were made periodically as supply permitted. Special service supplies proved difficult to obtain due to the distance from the Leyte bases and the shortage of transportation. In the early part of June, two platoons of an Army Special Service Company were attached to the division. This unit arrived by water from the New Guinea area without prior notice. Upon arrival in the Talomo area, it was discovered that the unit was understrength in personnel and did not possess the full assortment of qualified specialists as authorized by the appropriate Table of Organization. All equipment of the unit was in extremely poor condition and lacked proper maintenance for some time.

Replacement parts were impossible to obtain due to the isolated situation of the division. Due to the deplorable state of equipment this unit was of questionable value to the division at a time when morale-sustaining activities were urgently needed. The two platoons were established in the Talomo area and attached to Division Headquarters Company for rations and administration. The division Special Service Officer utilized some of the personnel to operate a small library in the rear area and the balance to supplement his small T/0 staff section of enlisted men. Replacement parts for the unit’s equipment never did arrive which unfortunately prevented this unit from making any appreciable contribution to the morale activities of the command. The division band was released from all unnecessary fatigue duty and labor details to be available for band concerts in the various train bivouac areas. Usually, a meal hour was utilized for this entertainment coordinated by the Special Service Officer. This idea personally advocated by the Division Commander was enthusiastically received by all personnel as no other source of music was available at the time. The band concert idea during combat represented a radical departure from the traditional mission of the band being utilized for guard duty, QM ration details, or other menial tasks in combat. No USO talent appeared until V-J Day in this area due to the extremely isolated location of the division.

Religious Activities The normal religious activities were conducted whenever possible by the unit chaplains during combat without any unusual circumstances arising. The faiths of the various chaplains were balanced to accommodate most of the religious denominations represented in the division. Jewish services were conducted at frequent intervals by a Jewish chaplain assigned to X Corps who was available for stated services.

QM Activities Relating to Morale As previously discussed in the pre-planning phase of the operation, the monotonous dehydrated and tinned ration continued to be a real morale factor within the command. This increased in importance the longer men remained overseas. At this time a high percentage of the troops had 56 or more months of overseas duty to their credit. The ration problem was particularly aggravated by the fact that the division was closely associated with the Navy during amphibious operations. Due to their own particular situation, the Navy was able to enjoy high standards of living and subsistence which were unheard of by the combat elements of the Army. The ration on the cross-island march was the C and the K types exclusively due to the inability of kitchen trucks to get forward over poor roads. Resupply of rations during this phase was frequently done by airdrops without parachutes which were in limited supply. However, after reaching the Davao Gulf, unit kitchens were able to properly serve their units with regularity. When the division airstrip was operative considerable fresh meat was flown in from Leyte to supplement the monotonous diet.

Also, a refrigerator ship from San Francisco arrived with several thousand cases of fresh eggs which were a welcome change from a long diet of the powdered variety. No other perishables were received. However, some bananas and papaya were available in limited quantities from the natives if individuals were prone to bartering.

No QM bath units were attached to the division during this operation. Each unit was required to exercise ingenuity in providing some type of bathing facilities for their men. Some arrangements were crude but effective. Only one QM laundry platoon was attached but due to its limited capacity, it was able to support only the attached hospital and medical units in the division zone. The lack of QM support was partially explained by a shortage of QM personnel for the operation. Only 2.45% of the troop strength was allocated to QM units for the operation whereas 5% was deemed essential for normal operations.

Unit Publications – Finance Service The Division Information and Education Officer provided a daily one-page mimeographed newspaper which was distributed with the rations at the Class I Supply Point. Spot news was reproduced from the daily GHQ news radiogram plus small news items of the division. No report on the effectiveness of this publication is available. It was the only source of world news to the soldier at this time, however. No problems were presented in the payment of troops. This was done regularly as the situation permitted. The Finance officer periodically publicized the various methods available of remitting cash to the Zone of Interior available to the soldier to ease the burden on the APO money order section.

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