96-ID 1945

96-ID MemorabiliaIt was on Easter morning, April 1, 1945, that veteran Deadeyes of the 96-ID entered into their second action against the enemy after an unopposed landing on the western shores of Okinawa. The unopposed advances came to a quick end, however, and for the balance of the 91-day operation, the doughboys met some of the strongest enemy opposition and engaged in the heaviest and most prolonged fighting yet encountered in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The Division’s first action against the Japanese came on October 20, 1944, when it stormed ashore across the sandy beaches of Leyte, near Dulac, as a part of the first attack force to land in the Philippine Islands. Considerable experience, fortitude, morale, and fighting spirit, such as commonly come from actual combat, were instilled in the soldiers of the 96-ID during the 115 days of combat on Leyte. They had met the Jap soldier, they had seen how he fought and what he had to fight with, and they had overcome him quite easily in every engagement. While still engaged in cleaning out and mopping up pockets of the enemy on Leyte, orders were received and planning began for the Ryukyus Campaign. Again the 96-ID was assigned a mission involving an assault landing on Japanese-held beaches, and almost before the infantrymen had cleared the Leyte’s mud from his rifle, he was rushed aboard a ship bound for Okinawa.


US XXIV CorpsHQs XXIV Corps, AAR, 96-ID, Ryukyus Campaign, Col W. H. Biggerstaff


7-IDAll preparations for the Ryukyus Campaign began in earnest on February 8, 1945, when the 96-ID, as a part of the XXIV Corps and the 10-A, was assigned the mission to (a) land at 0830, April 1, 1945, on Beach White and Beach Brown near Sunabe, Okinawa, defeat and destroy all enemy forces encountered in its zone of action; (b) advance rapidly inland, capture the commanding hills along the line Sunabe, Sukugawa, Hill 102 (TA 8486-A F) and seize the western and northern crests of the hill mass south of the line Sunabe, Puenzan, Koza (TA 8786-T) in its zone of action; (c) secure the objective line marked L-10 in its zone of action at the earliest practicable time, and be prepared to continue the attack to the south on Corps order; (d) promptly seize the river crossings immediately north and south Chatan (TA 8383-R X) and (TA 8381-G) respectively); (e) protect the Corps right (south) flank; (f) establish and maintain contact with 7-ID on its left (north) flank, coordinating with 7-ID along progress lines. (Field Order 45, HQ XXIV Corps, February 8, 1945)

Plans were completed and the loading of supplies and equipment began on March 3. By March 14, all troops were embarked and assault units, in conjunction with the Navy, conducted two landing rehearsals near Vincay, Leyte, on March 17 and March 19. Last-minute loading was completed on March 24 and on March 25, LSTs sailed for the target. The balance of the task force sailed from Leyte on March 27.

96th Infantry Division, Ryukyus Campaign (Commanding General’s Comments)

In general, the comments and recommendations of the Division CO are considered sound. The following comments are made in clarification or expansion:

– (a) Officer reclassification procedure throughout the entire current emergency has left much to be desired. There is no question but that in combat the word of the commander must be final and procedure should be designed to get the officer out of the command immediately.
– (b) The degree of success attained by War Dogs in units of this Corps through two campaigns has been extremely disappointing; insofar as their use for scouting is concerned. It is unknown whether or not this is inherent in the dog or in the training of the dog and his handler in those units attached to the Corps.
– (c) The candy assault ration used by units of this command in two campaigns has proved of almost no value. It is recommended that it be discontinued. Current rations throughout any active campaign should be supplemented by the additional allowance of lard, and flowers. salt, baking powder, milk, and yeast. Where they are available in ample quantity experience shows that the soldiers are well satisfied with what they get to eat.
– (d) The matter of ordnance maintenance within the division has become critical. The light ordnance maintenance company is not capable of meeting even a moderate percentage of needs in the modern division. The lack of backing up ordnance support is a factor in this need. It is urgently recommended that the division ordnance company be increased to the approximate capacity of a medium maintenance company. This headquarters has previously recommended the adaptation of the Cavalry Division Ordnance Maintenance Company for the Infantry Division.
– (e) The matter of the superiority of Japanese smokeless powders over that supplied to our own units is believed to be a fallacy although the belief of the soldier in that superiority is extensive. This is a moral factor to the extent that definite educational measures are being taken in this command to counteract the alleged deficiency of our own powders.

LVT Buffalo, 96-ID, Chatan, Okinawa, 1945

Purpose: The following report is a story of the events leading to the landings on Okinawa, and of the drive inland and south to the end of the island when the enemy was finally defeated and completely wiped out on June 30, 1945. The human elements of the battle and stories of the numerous heroic and courageous actions by small units can only be told in a much larger volume than this. It is left to other publications to give these word pictures. The facts from the official records are presented hero not only as an official report but also as a basis for such works.

Overall Command – Ryukyus Capaign

Commander in Chief Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA) – Fleet Adm Chester W. Nimitz
Expeditionary Forces – Task Force 50 – Adm Raymond A. Spruance (CO Fifth Fleet)
Joint Expeditionary Forces – CTF-51 – Vice Adm Richmond K. Turner
Officer Commanding Expeditionary Force – CTF-56 – Lt Gen Simon B. Buckner
Southern Attack Force – Task Force 55 – Rear Adm John L. Hall
CG XXIV Corps – CTG-56.3 – Maj Gen John R. Hodge

Regimental Combat Team 381 – (RCT-381) – Col M. E. Halloran

381st Infantry Regiment (96-ID)
1/381 Apr 1, Lt Col J. C. Cassidy, Jun 2, Maj V. N. Thompson
2/381 Apr 1, Lt Col R. Graybill, May 8, Maj L. C. Addy, Jun 20, Maj H. H. Hewett
3/381 Apr 1, Lt Col D. A. Nolan Jr, Jun 16, Maj H. R. Miles
Able Co, 321st Medical Battalion
2d Plat, Dog Co, 321st Medical Battalion
51st Portable Surgical Hospital attached, Apr 1, Maj G. S. Ortman, May 18, Maj M. W. Hillman
Able Co, 321st Engineer Battalion (Water Section attached)
Detachment 96th Signal Company
Detachment 96th Counter-Intelligence Team
361st Field Artillery Battalion, Lt Col A. W. Masters
1st Plat, 827th Amphibious Trucks Company attached
Charlie Co, 519th Military Police Battalion, Lt J. W Stetzer
Battery B, 435th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion
Detachment Battery C, 294th Searchlights Battalion (attached)
2 Searchlights Sections 14 EM, including 1 detector
Battery A, 435th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion (Assigned RCT 381 – transportation only)
728th Amphibious Tractors Battalion, Lt Col F. B. Mann
Detachment 593d Joint Assault Company
170th Engineer Battalion, Lt Col R. K. Barton
Charlie Co, 83th Chemical Weapons Battalion
1/3 Am Section, 88th Chemical Weapons Battalion (attached)
780th Amphibious Trucks Battalion (less C & D Cos), Lt Col T. R. Turner
Baker & Dog Companies, 763d Tank Battalion
293d Port Company, for Ships Plat, Capt F. F. Green (reverted to 1122d Gp Hq on landing)
Provisional GR Section (3 EM – 3008th GR Plat; 12 EM, 3240th QM Serv Co)
Photo Assignment Team, 3235th Signal Service Detachment
2d Sound Locator Team

Regimental Combat Team 382 – (RCT-382) Col M. L. Dill

382nd Infantry Regiment Reinforced (96-ID)
1/382 Apr 1, Lt Col C. W. Johnson
2/382 Apr 1, Lt Col C. D. Sterner
3/382 Apr 1, Lt Col J. R. Lewis, Apr 18, Lt Col F. H. Hartline, Apr 30, Maj J. H. Stell
Baker Co, 321st Medical Battalion
Detachment 96th Signal Company
Detachment 593d Joint Assault Company
Provisional GR Sec (3 EM, 3003rd GR Plat; 12 EM, 3240th QM Serv Co)
Photo Assignment Team, 3235th Signal Service Detachment

Regimental Combat Team 383 – (RCT-383) Col E. T. May

383d Infantry Regiment Apr 1, Col E. T. May, Jun 5, Lt Col D. Ballard, Jun 14, Lt Col J. M. Williams
1/383 Apr 1, Lt Col B. F. King, Apr 9, Maj K. W. Erickson, Apr 16, Capt H. D. Young, May 18, Lt Col G. A. Nelson, Jun 13, Lt Col P. E. Clark
2/383 Apr 1, Lt Col P. E. Clark, Apr 18, Maj A. T. Thorsen, Apr 26, Maj G. E. Bucklin, May 9, Capt J. A. McCaffrey, May 10, Maj L. Morris, May 18, Maj G. E. Bucklin
3/383 Apr 1, Lt Col E. W. Stare
Charlie Co, 321st Medical Battalion
1st Plat, Dog Co, 321st Medical Battalion
67th Portable Surgical Hospital (attached) Apr 1, Mah W. N. Block, May 18, Capt W. E. Wescott, May 21, Maj L. B. Goldstein
Charlie Co, 321st Engineer Battalion (Water Section attached)
Detachment 96th Signal Company
Detachment 96th Counter Intelligence Team
921st Field Artillery Battalion, Lt Col R. R. Glenn
2 Plat, 827th Trucks Company (attached)
96th Div Military Police Platoon, Capt J. A. Kinsler
Battery D, 485th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion
Det Btry C, 294th Searchlights Battalion (attached) (2 S/L Sec 14 EM)
788th Amphibious Tractors Battalion, Lt Col F. G. Hufford
Detachment 593d Joint Assault Company
174th Engineer Battalion, Lt Col A. L. Sweetland
Baker Co, 88th Chemical Battalion
1/3 Am Sec 88th Chemical Battalion (attached)
C & D Cos, 780th Amphibious Trucks Battalion
Provisional Battalion HQ (attached)
C Co, 763d Tank Battalion
204th Port Company (attached Ships Plat) (reverted to 1122d Engr upon landing)
Provisional GR Section (3 EM – 3008th GR Plat; 12 EM – 3240th QM Serv Co)
Photo Assignment Team, 3235th Signal Company
Service detachment
HQ 96-ID, Maj Gen J. L. Bradley
HQ & HQ Btry, 96-ID Artillery, Brig Gen R. G. Gard
362d Field Artillery Battalion (attached) Lt Col F. W. Jenkins
827th Amphibious Trucks Company, (less 1st & 3d Plats), Lt M. Z. Brown
363d Field Artillery Battalion, Lt Col J. G. Hlavac
HQ Special Troops, Lt Co H. R. Damisch
HQ Co, 96-ID, Capt J. P. Hecimovich
96th Quartermaster Company (attached), Capt E. F. Mitchell
3240th QM Service Company (less GR Secs), Capt J. M. Klaus
41st QM War Dog Platoon, Lt H. H. Bucklin Jr
Div GR Sec (less RCT Dets), Lt W. B. Kline
3d Plat, 3008th QM GR Co (less RCT Dets), Lt C. S. Kaeling
2d Sec, 2d Plat, 4342d QM Supply Company
796th Ordnance Company (attached), Apr 1, Capt W. A. Carlson, May 7, Capt B. C. Boesser
632d Ordnance AM Co, Capt Allan & Lt Heidt
Detachment 196th Ordnance Depot Company, Lt A. A. Meril
206th Bomb Disposal Squad, Lt O. B. Greenman
96th Signal Company (attached), Capt W. A. Carpenter
Detachment 101st Signal Battalion (Radio Team)
3235th Signal Serv Det (less RCT Dets), Lt F. K. Tones (attachments)
96th Div Band, CWO O. W. Shetney
96th Recon Tr, Capt R. B. O’Neill
321st Engr Bn (less Able, Charlie Cos) (attached), Lt Col S. R. Kolloy, 17 April, Maj E. J. Martell
– 2d Plat, 1088th Engr Depot Co, Lt Slack
321st Med Bn (less Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Cos (attached), Lt Col G. B. Salter
– 31st Fld Hosp, Lt Col H. A. Rogan
1122d Engr Gp Hq & Hq Co, (Shore Party) (attached), Col C. J. Douglas
– 170th Engr Bn (C) (attached 381-RCT until landing), Lt Col R. K. Barton Jr
– 174th Engr Bn (C) (attached 383-RCT until landing), Lt Col A. L. Sweetland
– 173d Engr Bn (C), Lt Col O. P. Gokay
– 474th Amph Trk Co, Capt D. P. Hill
– 204th Fort Co, (attached RCT-383 until landing)
– 293d Port Co, (attached RCT-381 until landing), Capt F. F. Green
504th AAA (Gun) Bn (+ Team 3, MAWS #8 attached), Lt Col J. B. McCumber
485th AAA-AW Bn (less Btrys B, D), Lt Col A. Garvey
– Btry C, 294th S/L Bn (-1 Plat) (attached), Capt H. S. Harley
– 4 Secs & RCT attachments)
– 33rd Cml Wpns Bn (Mtz) (less Able, Baker, Charlie Cos and 3 AM Secs) (attached), Maj G. A. Cain
593d JASCO (less RCT attachments), Maj F. L. Duggan
763d Tk Bn (less Baker, Charlie, Dog Cos), Lt Col H. L. Edmonson, 11 May, Maj A. E. Lancaster
96th CIC (less RCT attachments), Capt F. L. Fernandez
222d Censorship Det, Lt J. P. Stevens
38th Order of Battle Team, Lt A. Marcus
140th PI Team, Capt J. Krueger
314th Hq Intel Det, Lt (jg) D. L. Keene, 30 May, Lt A. F. Beach
– 344th Interrogator Team (attached)
– 372d Interpreter Team (attached)
– 389th Translator Team (attached)
News Team B, 1st Info & Hist Unit, Capt L. K. Soth
Civilian Correspondents Gp
2212th POA TQM Team, Lt Col R. H. Billingsley
3d Plat, 3754th QM Trk Co, Lt R. Wadlund
(transported by the 7th infantry Division then reverted to the 96-ID)
2d Plat, 244th QM Depot Sup Co, Lt R. M. Heximor
(transported by the 7th infantry Division then reverted to the 96-ID)
2d Plat, 191st QH Gas Sup Co, Lt R. H. Arnold
(transported by the 7th infantry Division then reverted to the 96-ID)
Mi1 Govt B-5, Lt Col W. E. Anderson
– 8th G-10 Disp
Mil Govt A-6, Lt Comdr E. R. Mossman
– 9th G-1O Disp

96-ID Okinawa

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