1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Prelude to War
The 22nd Infantry 1922-1944
The following is taken from the
HISTORY OF THE TWENTY-SECOND UNITED STATES INFANTRY IN WORLD WAR II
Compiled and edited by Dr. William S. Boice, Chaplain, Twenty-Second Infantry
THE YEARS BETWEEN
Guarding the docks at Hoboken is not glamorous.
Since this was the lot of the Regiment during World War I, its
men could only be proud
of its past record, its age and its tradition, and gaze with jealous eyes at the ships and men who sailed for the shores of France,
In 1922, following its period of Hoboken guard duty, it was ordered to Ft. McPherson, Georgia. In 1927 the first battalion was inactivated
and the third was ordered to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. The third battalion, Headquarters Company and Service Company were ordered to Ft. McClelland,
Alabama, as their permanent station in 1935. For the next two years, the regiment shuttled among three stations, doing CMTC and CCC duty
along with American Red Cross work until 1936.
Until 1940, the regiment was a part of the old
Eighth Brigade commanded by Brigadier General R. O. Van Horn.
This was said to be
the last infantry brigade in the United States Army, and it was not inactivated until General Van Horn's retirement in 1940.
In June of that year the entire regiment was assembled at Ft. McClelland with the exception of Company "F" which was left at Ft. McPherson.
Colonel A. S. Peake commanded the regiment. He succeeded Simon Bolivar Buckner who commanded the regiment from 1939 to June 1940.
Colonel Buckner had in turn succeeded Colonel John W. Lang.
Colonel Peake worked industriously to bring the
regiment to a proper organization and high state of effeciency.
Paul Turner commanded Company "F"
during its status as a separate command, and in September 1940 the entire regiment assembled at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The men were moved into new buildings before there was heat, light or water. The regiment suffered its worst growing pains at this time.
Recruits were assigned to the regiment for training and Major Raymond was put in command of the training unit. Machine gun companies
had just been unhorsed and were becoming motorized in the army's attempt to come abreast of modern warfare.
With Colonel Peake commanding, Captain Paul Turner was adjutant, Major Raff was S-2, Major J. H. Halverson S-3 and Lt. Colonel Almont Holly
was S-4. Lt. Colonel Herbert Schmid commanded the first battalion and 1st. Lt. Earl (Lum) S. Edwards was his adjutant. Major Harvey J. Golightly
commanded the second battalion with Captain Williams Stubbs as adjutant. Arthur S. Teague, a lieutenant in Company G, learned much about the army
from Major Golightly. The third battalion command fell between Lt. Colonel Stewart Cutler and Lt. Colonel Holly.
In June 1940, Lt. Colonel George H. Weems took
command. It was about this time the regiment was completely
motorized. The end of June
brought the famed Louisiana maneuvers from which the regiment returned to Ft. Benning in August, only to leave again for the Carolina maneuvers in October.
The attack on Pearl Harbor found the regiment
ill equipped but ready for duty. Immediately following a
proclamation of war, they were dispersed
throughout the state of Georgia guarding vital installations.. Training was continued at Camp Gordon, where the regiment had moved 20 December 1941,
with the intensity born of war and the certain knowledge of eventual enemy contact. Gloom was further deepened by the fact that all personnel
were restricted to the camp on Christinas Day. Highlight in the training of Gordon, long remembered, was the infamous twenty-five mile road march
in the summer of 1942. Specialized combat training was continued and men were constantly cadred from the regiment throughout 1942
and the early months of 1943.
In February, Colonel Weems had left the command
and was succeeded by Colonel Hervey A. Tribolet.
In April, the Fourth Motorized Division, of which the regiment had become a part in 1940, was ordered to Ft. Dix, New Jersey,
and another period of training was begun. In July, following extensive army experimentation, the division was de-motorized becoming again
the Fourth Infantry Division. This tour of duty was pleasant to the men of the Fourth because of its proximity to New York, Philadelphia and Trenton.
After such cosmopolitan surroundings, the wilds of Carabelle Beach, Camp Gordon Johnson, Florida, looked desolate indeed, but the regiment
settled to specific amphibious training which was later to prove of such worth. Practice beachhead landings, swimming lessons, attacks on Dog Island
and the rigors of chill November nights were all taken in stride.
While on a landing maneuver off Carabelle
Beach, Captain Clarence C. Hawkins, Regimental Motor Officer, was
swept out to sea in a rubber life raft.
No man to be thwarted by a mere ocean, "Hawk" sat tight knowing he would be missed. He very practically wrapped all his personal belongings,
including his wrist watch, in a water proof bag to prevent damage by the sea spray. Having been spotted by aerial observation, an LST reached Hawk
and hove to to take him aboard. Still looking after his possessions, Hawk decided to put them aboard first - and with a might heave,
threw them completely over the ship - and into the ocean beyond!
Probably no phase of the training of the
regiment was more useful or more thoroughly detested than the
time spent at Camp Gordon Johnson, Florida.
Schools were held for officers and non-commissioned officers. Boat loading tables were carefully studied and boat assignments made.
Personnel became familiar with such terms as LCI (Landing Craft Infantry), LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicular Personnel),
and LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized). On 1 December 1943, the Division proceeded by rail and motor convoy to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina,
for staging. Families lived in nearby Columbia in a sense of false gaiety over the Christmas holidays with the impending separation omnipresent.
Days passed swiftly. Security measures were carefully observed; last minute checks were made on men and equipment.
COL Hervey A. Tribolet
On 6 January 1944, men took leave
of their families and movement was begun
Just before dawn on the morning of 17 January,
the Capetown Castle slipped her moorings and put quietly to sea
to keep her rendezvous with her convoy.
A North Atlantic crossing in January is never a good crossing, and January 1944 was no exception. It was cold, frequently rainy and generally unpleasant.
The convoy moved majestically into the broad expanse of the gray Atlantic. Since the ship was British, administration was typically so.
Officers had comfortable staterooms and were served excellent meals in the dining salon. Quarters and rations for the enlisted men were inadequate.
Chaplains held nightly services in the mess halls, and in the face of the Unknown, attendance was exceptionally good. Movies were operated
by Special Services, and the ship's library was available for reading. There was time for sleeping, time for orientation of troops,
and much time for wondering what was ahead.
Major John Dowdy was an officer who commanded
the respect of the Double Deucers, but whose military bearing was
no match for the rough Atlantic.
Suffering from mal-de-mer, Major Dowdy took to his bunk, making the crossing for the most part horizontally.
A day or so out of Liverpool, he managed to make it to breakfast, one of the two meals served aboard ship daily. Looking peaked and pale,
he kept control of the situation until the steward served another officer at the table his breakfast. When John saw the head and tail
of a very British Kippered herring protruding from a bowl of warm milk, he turned green and left the presence of his fellow officers hurriedly,
not to return that day. The crossing took thirteen days, and on the afternoon of 29 January, the Capetown Castle docked at Liverpool.
Because of rail transportation difficulties, troops did not debark until the thirtieth, a gray, ugly day.
This was a new world to the Twenty-Second Infantry. This was something to write home about. This was England.
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