96th Infantry Division

Nickname; Deadeye Division. . Shoulder Patch: Overlapping white (purity) and blue (courage) squares on khaki background. . History: The Armistice headed off organization of the 96th, scheduled for September, 1918. In 1923, it was organized “on paper” as a Pacific NW reserve division. Training: Activated: Aug. 15, 1942, Camp Adair, Oregon, assigned to IX and then IV Corps. Other stations: Ft. Lewis, Camp White and Camp San Luis Obispo. Maneuvers. Oregon with IV Corps. Overseas: July 1944 (POA). . Commanding General: Maj. Gen. James (Smiling Jim) L, Bradley, from activation to present. . Component Units: (As of July, 1944) 38lst, 382d and 383d Infantry Regiments; 363d (M), 361st, 362d and 921st FA Battalions. Higher Commands: Tenth Army. . Combat Highlights: First combat action for the Deadeyes came during the invasion of Leyte, Philippine Islands, where the 96th went ashore with the great armada of units assembled by General MacArthur off that shell-torn island shore. It was the first Allied smash at the Philippines and the action began October 20, 1944, when elements of the 382d and 383d Infantry Regiments plunged through the surf in their first charge. Spearheaded by the 382d, the Division quickly moved against spasmodic enemy resistance. Within a period of approximately two months, the Division, along with the 7th and 77th divisions, had liberated the island. Remaining, on the conquered island, the 96th drew new equipment and supplies and prepared for further drives along the road to Tokyo. It was a period of intensive training. The Division hit the beaches again April 1, 1945, this time at Okinawa as part of the Tenth Army, newly, formed under Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner. Against the fanatical resistance offered by the Nipponese defenders, the Deadeyes carried on like veterans. Highlight of their action on Okinawa came on May 14, 1945, when the division took two of the toughest defense positions on the island, Yonabaru airfield and Conical Hill. By taking Conical Hill, situated 2500 yards east of Shuri, the 96th eliminated the chief remaining observation point on Okinawa held by the Japs and its capture was essential to capture of Yonabaru airfield. A month later, the 96th (June 14) cracked the center of the previously outflanked Japanese defense line on southern Okinawa by capturing 500-foot high Yaeju Hill and pushed on south. Five days later, Brig. Gen. Claudius M. Easley, assistant commander of the 96th Division, was killed in action, his death following by a few days that of Lt. Gen. Simon B, Buckner, killed by a Jap shell burst. The Okinawa campaign ended June 20. The 96th continued combat activities by taking part in the mopping up of isolated Japanese units.

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