Chapter 6: Seventy-Six Days of Combat

The 162d Infantry, commanded by Colonel A. R. MacKechnie, ended its long period of waiting and got its baptism of fire in the fight which resulted in the fall of Salamaua and Lae, seventy-six days after the initial landing. In brief the story of the campaign was a landing at Nassau Bay, a junction with the Australians on Bitoi Ridge in the Mubo sector, then a slow process of driving the Japs off the ridges around Tambu Bay, with Roosevelt Ridge and Scout Ridge offering the greatest resistance.

An extensive and extremely hazardous air and ground reconnaissance into Salamaua had been made by Lieutenant Rod Orange with the aid of a couple of native trackers. The place was seething with Japs and even though he was far beyond his own forces, Lieutenant Orange stayed out nearly a month and brought back such detailed and accurate information that he gained a personal commendation from General Fuller.  A short time later he was reported missing in action during another reconnaissance mission farther north.  Following the landings at Lae and Salamaua in 1942 the enemy had moved via the Francisco River and Bitoi River to Wau. The small Australian force opposing these landings was able to delay the Jap progress only slightly. By the time the Japs had reached the outskirts of Wau. reinforcements had again been flown in, and by January the Jap advance had been halted and the drive back along the route of their advance had begun.  The Nips then set up strong defensive positions in the vicinity of Mubo and the Aussies, who had spent months pecking their way up the Markham Valley, were unable to dislodge them from these positions.  The 1st Battalion of the l62d Infantry had entered New Guinea early in 1943, and upon arrival had relieved elements of the I63d Infantry in the defense of the beach in the Sanananda-Killerton-Gona area and at the outpost on the mouth of the Kumusi River. By 28 February this battalion had departed from Killerton by water and leap-frogged, company by company, up the coast. It occupied the various objectives and patrolled before each successive move. The first stop was at the mouth of the Kumusi River where a supply base was established. Then, in turn, the objectives at Katuna, Opi, Douglas Harbor, and finally the evacuated Jap area at the mouth of the Mambare River were occupied on 15 March.

During the latter days of March, MacKechnie Force was activated and initiated a movement to secure the mouth of the Waria River and Morobe Harbor. This movement was made largely with trawlers and surf boats. By 4 April the 1st Battalion had set up defenses in the Morobe area.

All of this movement north was for the purpose of flushing out and killing stray Japs from the Buna fight.  These marauders were roaming the countryside stealing what food they could get. Very few ever were captured alive. The move to Morobe put the American forces more than halfway between Salamaua and Buna. The forthcoming operations were to include the movement of troops by landing craft at night. Movement inland was to be on foot, and provisions were to be hand-carried by troops and natives. Movement was limited to single files along narrow trails while the combat, in general, was to occur along the tops of steep ridges heavily wooded and covered with dense jungle. As the situation finally developed, 1st Battalion was supplied from the air for more than five weeks.

Throughout this operation the regiment was attached to and under the operational control of the Australian 3d and 5th Divisions, which operated under the command of GOC New Guinea Forces. Differences in operational methods, expressions and customs sometimes caused misunderstanding between the Yanks and Aussies. Several changes in command occurred and questions of command authority arose during the operations, which, added to the natural difficulties of communication, terrain, climate and tactical situation, caused no little confusion at times.

The l62d Infantry had been in New Guinea for four months. Malaria, typhus and other diseases, and the enervating climate had reduced the troops to poor physical shape. Units started the campaign with about two-thirds of their normal strength and in its latter days several companies were reduced to thirty-five and fifty-five men because of the hardships of the campaign, disease and battle casualties.

Artillery and mortars played a major role in this campaign. Frontal attacks were avoided and the nature of the terrain precluded attacks by units larger than a platoon. Throughout the operation several principles of attack were maintained. They were: Maintain constant pressure in front of the enemy position; pound the enemy with mortars and artillery; patrol constantly where the enemy lines are weak; seize a position in the enemy’s weak spot with a sufficient force to repel the inevitable counterattacks; follow up vigorously the resultant weakening or withdrawal.

The success of these principles is clearly shown by the figure of 1,272 Japs killed against a loss of 89 men by the l62d Infantry. The Japs paid at a rate of better than 14 to 1 in this fight.

In June plans were laid for the capture of Nassau Bay. Troops assembled at Morobe and patrolled the area as far north as Cape Dinga. The 1st Battalion, which had established defenses at the mouth of the Waria River, was relieved by the 3d Battalion and

moved south toward the Waria River where it embarked on an intense offensive training program.

The Allies enjoyed air superiority and were continually hammering Salamaua, Lae, Madang and Wewak.  The situation at Mubo had reached a stalemate with the Japs clinging to the Mubo Airstrip, Green Hill, the Pimple and Observation Hill. Lae and Salamaua were well established as Jap supply bases.

The mission of the MacKechnie Force was to land at Nassau Bay on the night of 29-30 June, establish a beachhead and supply base and move inland to positions on Bitoi Ridge where it would participate in a coordinated attack with troops of the Australian 17th Brigade against the Japs in the Mubo area.

By 26 June MacKechnie Force had assembled at Morobe and established supply dumps. Two days later all troops had been moved to Mageri Point, the staging area, except those which were to embark on PT boats at Morobe. All movement was made under cover of darkness and all troops and boats remained concealed during daylight hours.

Allied patrols reported about seventy-five enemy troops near the mouth of the south arm of the Bitoi River, an outpost or two along the beach and about three hundred Japs in bivouac on Cape Dinga, south of Nassau Beach, with an outpost and OP on the ridge near the east end of the peninsula. One of the PIB (Papuan Infantry Battalion) scouts had spent the night in a Jap camp during these patrolling missions.

One company of Australian troops was to be sent east from Lababia Ridge down to the Bitoi River to attract the attention of the Japs at the mouth of the river and draw them inland. On the morning after the landing this company was to continue down to the Duali area. D-day was set for 30 June with landings scheduled during the night of 29-30 June. During the night of 28 June detachments from the 162d I&R platoon were posted on Batteru, Lasanga and Fleigan, three islands off shore between Mageri and Nassau.  One platoon of Australians went to the landing beach, cleared it and installed two lead lights shortly before midnight, 29 June, to guide the landing craft to the beach.

At the same time the PIB moved north from Buso and took up positions along the southern slopes of Cape Dinga. Early the following morning they captured the outposts on Dinga, attacked the Japs on the north coast of the peninsula and blocked the escape route inland.

Strafing attacks were carried out during the afternoon of the day before the landing and at dusk three PT boats loaded seventy men each at Morobe and moved north to the rendezvous point off Mageri. The loading at the staging area had begun at dusk and waves were leaving Mageri at twenty-minute intervals.  The night was extremely dark, rain was coming down in torrents and a heavy sea was running outside the harbor. The first two waves made contact with the PT boats but the third wave failed and continued without guides. The night was so dark and stormy it was difficult to see the wake of the preceding boat.

Everything went wrong during the landing at Nassau Bay, approximately ten miles south of Salamaua. The leading PT boat overshot the beach; in turning back, several of the boats carrying the first wave were lost and much time passed before they could be located.  By this time the second wave was moving ashore and crossed in front of the first wave, almost causing a collision.  As the boats approached shore they found a ten to twelve-foot surf pounding the beach. Utter confusion reigned throughout the landing. Boats of the first and second waves attempted to land at the same time in an interval between two lead lights which covered only half of the landing beach. There was a great deal of congestion and, due to the high surf, many of the craft were rammed onto the beach and were unable to get back to sea. Later boats ran into these beached craft or over the open ramps. Of eighteen boats which landed only one made it off the beach and back to sea. All others broached and filled with water as the high surf pounded against them. Despite the rough sea, beaching of the landing craft, confusion and congestion, no men were lost or injured and the only equipment lost were some Aussie radios, which made communications somewhat limited thereafter.

Some of the boats which had been lost took shelter at Buso and attempted to land at Nassau the next night. However, the troops ashore were undergoing heavy attack by the Japs and the boats could get no answer to their recognition signals. They returned to Mageri and did not land at Nassau until the afternoon of 1 July.

The leading elements discovered, after they landed, that the Australian platoon had been lost and had arrived at the beach only in time to establish two lead lights, instead of the three that had been planned. This platoon knew nothing of the enemy situation and was unable to furnish guides who knew anything about the beach area. Company A of the l62d moved inland immediately to a point three hundred yards north of the landing beach and established a perimeter, while Company C did likewise three hundred yards to the south. Company B was being transported in PT boats and could not land because the landing craft had been broached. This unit returned to Morobe. No contact was made with the enemy that night, although several emplacements and a bivouac area were found abandoned.  A prisoner, captured later, said that the landing was a complete surprise and that they knew nothing of it until the boats beached, troops were ashore and the tractors and bulldozers were at work. Due to the noise and confusion the Japs thought they were being attacked by an overwhelming force, including tanks, and they moved inland and hid in the swamps.

By daylight of 30 June, 740 men of the 1st Battalion and 218th Field Artillery Battalion had been put ashore and the beach had been cleared of equipment and supplies. The artillerymen were equipped with 75mm mountain howitzers. Radio communication was practically gone and a heavy burden was thrown on the communications personnel. There was no communication with the PIB on Dinga for three days.

Company C proceeded south to the mouth of the Tabali River without opposition. Company A moved out from the north flank to clear the area to the south arm of the Bitoi River. After a short distance, it encountered enemy mortar and machine-gun fire. The Japs allowed forward elements to advance into their positions and then opened fire on the rear. After attention had been attracted to the rear, they opened fire on the company headquarters group from carefully camouflaged positions. They seemed particularly anxious to eliminate communications personnel. Resistance here was greater than had been anticipated. Company A was reinforced by an Australian platoon and attempted an enveloping attack, but was forced to withdraw so that mortar fire could be placed on the Japs. During this withdrawal the Japs attacked but were held at bay.  The Aussies depleted their ammunition supply and a detachment of combat and amphibian engineers had to replace them in the lines. Enemy mortars and machine guns were silenced but the sniping continued.

Company C, less one platoon, was sent to reinforce Company A. The remaining platoon set up a defense north of Tabali Creek and patrolled the area. The reinforced Company A continued northward against light opposition and reached the south arm of the Bitoi by late afternoon. Here it was to establish strong defensive positions for the night. As Company A approached its objective the platoon of Company C, defending the left flank, reported enemy troops crossing the Tabali near its mouth and approaching the rear of the platoon. A withdrawal was ordered and a defensive line from the beach to the swamp on the south flank of the beach area was to be established. Before this could be accomplished the Japs struck from the rear and flanks and the platoon had to fight its way out to the defensive line. Five men were killed. Engineer troops, mortarmen from Company D and headquarters personnel were organized into a defensive position and aided in delaying the enemy during this withdrawal.

The attack continued all night. Japs, calling out names and using their usual pet English phrases, infiltrated Allied positions but could not locate any of our men due to the extreme darkness. The darkness was advantageous to the enemy too, since it was almost necessary to gain physical contact before the outline of a body could be detected.

At dawn on 1 July the Japs opened fire from all positions and continued firing for fifteen minutes. They then withdrew, leaving snipers to cover the withdrawal.  The Allies had 4 officers and 17 men killed and 27 men wounded; 50 Japs were killed.

The remainder of Company C joined the platoon and the advance continued south for about a thousand yards north of the Tabali River. Here the men dug in and patrolled in an endeavor to contact the PIB on Cape Dinga. During the afternoon the enemy made his first bombing attack and these continued almost daily thereafter.  Company B, which had to return to Morobe because of the number of landing craft which had been wrecked during the initial landing, came ashore early on 2 July.  The PT boats carrying these troops moved into Nassau Bay and poured cannon and machine-gun fire into Japheld villages on Dinga Point. Company C continued along the Tabali River but still had not made contact with the PIB on Dinga Point. Company A moved to the south bank of the south fork of the Bitoi River and dug in.

After the Nassau Bay area had been secured, Companies A, B, D and Headquarters troops moved up the south arm of the Bitoi River until they reached Napier, seven and a half miles inland. They were to join the Australians in the Mubo-Wau area. However, considerable resistance was encountered along Bitoi Ridge. Company D hand-carried its mortars and lugged rations and ammunition over this trail which led through the swamps and crossed the swift Bitoi three times. Meanwhile, Company C had pulled back to the Bitoi River and patrolled the Duali area, clearing all resistance north to Duali.

Problems of supply became very difficult and air supply was used. There was a shortage of native carriers and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the forward units furnished with rations. Food ran short and water was hard to get, men averaging a canteenful a day for all purposes. Jungle rations had to be mixed with water, but many times there was no water. Faithful native Boongs packed the precious water up the precipitous trails, but even when they got to the troops it was a difficult task to dole out water to thirsty doughboys who were under fire. To make matters worse, the rations given to these men contained salted peanuts.  Reserves of ammunition and rations always were dangerously low during this phase of the campaign.

The artillery had similar problems. It could not get into position since the road ran only a half mile inland from the beach. The bulldozer was disabled and the tractor was buried in mud. Engineers and artillerymen worked side by side on the road and after four days Battery C, 218th FA Battalion, had moved inland five miles and was prepared to support the attack on Bitoi Ridge.

The ammunition and food brought in on C-47 transport planes had to be dropped some distance from the troops and the natives carried this equipment, sometimes taking two and a half days to get from the dropping points to the troops.

Evacuation of wounded men was difficult and dangerous.  A landing strip for the tiny Cub planes was cleared at Mubo but due to the treacherous winds they could use it only an average of two hours a day. Native litter bearers won admiration and the undying gratitude of the men of the 4lst. Over trails hardly wide enough for a man to walk, skirting cliffs often five hundred feet high, they carried the wounded safely and gently.  Always there was the soothing comment, “Sorry, Boss” at the slightest jolt of the litter.

The attack on Bitoi Ridge and the ridges west of Bitoi between Buikumbul Creek and Bitoi Ridge got under way at 0800 on 7 July when the 1st Battalion, l62d Infantry, moved out of Napier. This route was two narrow, rough and winding trails up the Bitoi River to the base of the ridge. The men forded the swift, swollen river twice. Even with hand ropes strung from bank to bank some men were washed under and downstream. However, all were rescued without any fatalities. The trails went over precipitous rises that taxed the strength and endurance of the men under the heavy loads they carried. Mud was heavy and when a man slipped on the trail, down he would go until he was stopped by a tree or until he could grab onto some shrubs or roots. The battalion established a bivouac at the base of the ridge that night while one platoon pushed forward and established an outpost.  By 6 July the entire force had been landed at Nassau.  Supplies were coming in regularly, dumps were established and work was progressing on the jeep road along the Bitoi River despite the extreme difficulties of swamps, heavy jungle and incessant rains. The PIB Company had moved from Cape Dinga to the entrance of Lake Salus and by 7 July all of MacKechnie Force had reached Napier.

Two days later Company A captured the ridges adjacent to Bitoi Ridge and made contact with the Australians while Company B moved out to the western tip of Bitoi Ridge to secure the left flank. From this position mortars could be used to support any unit of the battalion. One platoon from Company A moved north and west to Buikumbul Creek while one platoon from Company B patrolled toward Green Hill, finding the terrain rough and treacherous. In order to find routes of approach to the junction of Bitoi River and Buigap Creek, patrols were active throughout 10 July in the area which was covered with dense undergrowth.

Early on 11 July some casualties returned with the account of the reinforced platoon of Company A, which had moved to the northwest between the Buikumbul and Bui Alang Creeks. On the morning of the 10th a fighting patrol moved down to Komiatum Track and then moved southwest along the track. At dawn the patrol came upon a Jap outpost with ten sleeping Japs in a hutment, killed these and continued the advance.  However, after a short while the patrol ran into an enemy ambush which was covering the track. In a stiff battle over half of the platoon became casualties.  The remainder returned to the main body of troops.  The remainder of the platoon, in the meantime, had cleared the junction of Bui Savella and Buikumbul Creeks and continued the trek north of Bui Savella Creek. At 1800 the main Jap defenses were contacted and a full-scale attack, supported by mortars and machine guns, was launched, but this was repelled with severe casualties. The platoon was heavily outnumbered and had no support so it withdrew back along the Komiatum Track to its bivouac area of the previous night. The following morning the Company A platoon moved to a position on the high ground occupied by a Company C platoon near the head of Buikumbul Creek where there was a reorganization and the men drew rations and ammunition, and were given five hours for sleep and rest.

At 0930 a mortar barrage was laid down on the enemy in the Buigap Creek area. A patrol from Company A crossed the footbridges over the creek to make contact with the Aussies on the west side, but before contact was made it encountered a large force of Japs moving northeast. The patrol called for mortar fire and additional men but was forced to withdraw about mid-afternoon.  One platoon from Company C moved north, cut the Komiatum Track north of Bui Alang Creek, set up ambushes and reconnoitered for a trail leading to Mount Tambu.

On 12 July a Company B platoon contacted the Aussies in the vicinity of the junction of Bitoi River and Buigap Creek. Company A attacked the strong Jap position in the Bui Savella Creek area, following an artillery barrage, and cleared the position without the loss of a man. By noon of 14 July the 1st Battalion had cleared the enemy from Bitoi River to the Bui Alang Creek. This ended the first phase of the fight and for the next two weeks positions were consolidated and defenses strengthened.

By 27 July Company B had moved to Mount Tambu and plans were formulated for the attack on that Jap stronghold. In the early morning hours of 30 July the 1st Battalion started the attack with Company C moving out just as the last mortar rounds were fired. The attack moved slowly and within a half hour the enemy had halted it with machine-gun fire. The assault platoon was pinned down, but the second platoon moved to a position just below the crest of the h i l l . Some of the men had worked in close enough to clear the first pillboxes, but the Japs regained these positions.  Late in the morning one platoon from Company A moved into the fight, but by noon both Company C platoons were pinned down. Then a platoon of Company A swung around to the extreme left to outflank the enemy. The Nips continued to pour in troops and weapons and shortly after noon all units were pinned down by automatic and small-arms fire and were being severely pounded by mortars and grenades. Several minutes later a withdrawal was ordered, this being covered by machine-gun fire and smoke grenades, and completed by late afternoon. Our casualties were heavy, one-third of the attacking force having been either killed or wounded. By 1800 silence reigned over bloody, enemy-held Mount Tambu.

Harassing fire was delivered on Mount Tambu throughout the next week as the troops organized an active defense. Reconnaissance patrols were constantly searching for enemy fortifications, weak points, trails, water points and troop movements. Contact was made with the 3d Battalion of the l62d Infantry which had landed and was moving north. Patrols also found that the enemy held the ridgeline running northeast toward Scout Track. One patrol moved around the Jap positions and located an unoccupied ridge paralleling the Komiatum Track, which served as the main Jap supply trail. The Aussies moved into positions on this ridge and these later became the key to a movement which forced the enemy to evacuate from Tambu to Goodview Junction.  Starting 6 August, combat patrols harassed Jap supply and working parties and established ambushes at all known forward watering points. Mortars pounded the Japs from Mount Tambu to Goodview Junction and this type of action continued for a week.

An Australian sergeant in charge of native workers reported on the morning of 12 August, that one of his workers had noticed a freshly made track crossing the Mount Tambu-Boisi Track on the lower eastern slope of the ridge. A patrol was dispatched south and southeast and made contact with the Japs, estimated to be about forty in number. A platoon of Company B set out to overtake the enemy. The Japs, either by intent or through unfamiliarity with the terrain, had swung to the southwest, then to the top of Bitoi Ridge and on toward Lake Salus. Another group joined the Company B platoon and the two forces moved to the west shore of the lake. For five days nothing more was heard from this group but on 18 August fifteen men reported back to Boisi and told about the fight against an estimated two hundred Japs on the northwest shore of the lake. The Company B party ambushed the track, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. On the night of 16-17 August the positions were organized by Company B under Lieutenant Messec.  These positions came under heavy counterattacks and were completely encircled by the Japs, but the Company B party fought its way out in two directions with only one man being wounded. The party reported into Nassau Beach, completely exhausted, having been without food for two days and being very footsore from the long arduous march. Its action, however, had broken up a suicide attempt to knock out artillery positions from Lake Salus to the north.

Harassing fire continued on Mount Tambu. Late in the afternoon of 18 August a patrol on the east slope worked its way to the crest and found that a partial evacuation had been made. The next morning Companies A and B moved into position to exploit this avenue of approach, and one platoon reached the crest by midmorning without opposition. A few remaining enemy stragglers were wiped out. After four long weeks of artillery and mortar pounding and three direct assaults Mount Tambu was at last in Allied hands.

Jap positions were found, in many instances, to be ten feet underground with a complete system of tunnels and connecting trenches. At least a full battalion, with virtually perfect organization underground, had occupied the position. Artillery and mortar fire had done little damage to the position but apparently had broken the morale of the garrison. With the capture of Mount Tambu, the 1st Battalion was ordered to rejoin the l62d Regiment. Despite the fact this meant movement over extremely rough terrain it was welcomed by all because it meant a return to normal command and supply and the possibility of a change in diet. After seven weeks of fighting side by side with the Australians the two parted company with equal admiration for one another’s ability as fighting men.  On the evening of 20 August some men of Company D tripped a Jap booby trap near their bivouac area and eight men were wounded. This was the first booby trap encountered and was to be the only one found during the campaign.

 

Chapter 7: A Nickname Well Earned

After the 1st Battalion of the l62d Infantry had secured the Nassau Bay area and had moved inland for the fight on Bitoi Ridge and Mount Tambu, the 3d Battalion, under the command of colorful, intrepid Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Archie Roosevelt, son of the late President Theodore Roosevelt, came ashore on 6 July. This unit set up defenses on the Nassau beachhead and patrolled north of Salus Inlet. Patrolling activities continued for about two weeks but only light contacts were made with the enemy. Part of Company I hand-carried supplies to the 1st Battalion on Bitoi Ridge when the supply problem was critical there.

Around 14 June the 3d Battalion was designated as part of the Coane Force, along with the 2d Battalion and elements of the 205th and 218th Field Artillery Battalions, under the command of the 4lst Division Artillery commander, General Coane. Plans were made for the move north towards Salamaua. These called for Company I , with one section of heavy machine guns, to move to the high ground overlooking Tambu Bay from the west. Company L, with a section of machine guns and 81mm mortars, was to occupy an open spot on the high ground southwest of Tambu Bay. It was to be joined later by Company K.

Companies I and L moved out on the morning of 18 July. Information regarding a secret trail which was supposed to allow Company I to reach its objective by late afternoon was erroneous, and due to the rugged terrain encountered two days were required for the march. At the end of the first day, rations were almost gone, many men’s shoes were unserviceable and the company was a day’s march from its objective.  Company K set out via a back trail on 20 July and knocked out some light opposition, reaching Boisi Village late in the afternoon. The advance elements had passed through the village when the Japs opened fire with heavy mortars and artillery from Roosevelt Ridge, a peak named for the commander of the 3d Battalion. Despite the heavy fire, quick action on the part of the company commander, who was himself wounded, prevented excessive casualties. American artillery was brought into play and silenced the enemy guns.  Company K then reorganized and dug in south of the village. At 1500, Companies I and L moved into Tambu Bay. Although they were worn out from two days of forced marching, they reached the swamp south of Boisi by 2100.

The battalion caught hell getting into Tambu Bay.  The Japs, strongly entrenched on Roosevelt Ridge, threw everything at the advancing Sunsetters while other Jap forces on towering Scout Track Ridge, to the left of the battalion, raked them with withering enfilade fire. Despite this heavy enemy resistance, and with the aid of their own artillery, the men of the 3d Battalion edged slowly ahead and established a command post at the base of Roosevelt Ridge, while a part of the force tried to drive the Nips off Scout Track Ridge, thus ending the menacing enfilade fire.  The initial attack on Roosevelt Ridge got under way early on 22 July when Companies K and L assaulted, with Company I in reserve. The sides of the ridge proved to be too steep for climbing, forcing the men to ascend hand over hand. As they neared the top the Japs rolled down grenades and, in some cases, mortar shells on them, supplementing these with heavy rifle and automatic-weapons fire from well dug, cleverly concealed positions.

The following day Company I moved atop Scout Track Ridge and reconnoitered the area. For purposes of clarification it can be stated here that later developments proved that there was no junction between Scout Track Ridge and Roosevelt Ridge, although this was not established until after the capture of the latter.  It also was discovered that Scout Hill and Mount Tambu had no connecting ridge but were separated south of Roosevelt Ridge by deep canyons, despite photo and map interpretations which indicated connections.  During the next few days Company L established a perimeter due east of Boisi on Scout Track Ridge while one platoon moved south toward Mount Tambu. This platoon routed a Jap combat patrol but soon was halted by a superior force, well deployed across the trail.  Forward elements of Company I , in the meantime, moved north along Scout Track Ridge and after a 200-yard advance drew strong resistance from a well dug-in Jap position, which contained, among other weapons, a 70mm howitzer that proved to be quite effective against Allied artillery.

While the 1st Battalion was reducing Bitoi Ridge and moving into Mount Tambu for the showdown fight, the 3d Battalion was butting against the stubborn Roosevelt Ridge emplacement. From 30 July to 13 August several assaults had been made against this stronghold but each was repelled. Help was needed and the 2d Battalion of the l62d Infantry, which was at Morobe, far down the coast, was committed to the fight. When the 3d Battalion left Morobe for Nassau Bay, it was the 2d Battalion which had taken over the former’s installations.

At dawn on 16 July, Company G had landed on Lababia Island, a half mile off shore from the mouth of the Bitoi River. While this landing was taking place the remainder of the battalion moved into Nassau Bay, and Company F moved north along the beach as Coane Force reserve. It arrived at Tambu Bay on 21 July. When it moved into the Tambu Bay area, the 3d Battalion met such stiff resistance, and rugged terrain over so extensive an area that General Fuller gave orders to commit the remainder of the 2d Battalion, commanded by Major Arthur Lowe, later by Major Armin Berger. The 2d Battalion moved into the Tambu Bay sector aboard landing craft at night and completed the move by 29 July. An Australian unit took over the defenses of the Nassau Bay area.  Now the infantry had two battalions—at least in name if not in number—ready to assault Roosevelt Ridge, the extremely rugged feature with very steep, heavily wooded slopes. This ridge protected the northern section of Tambu Bay, where it rose from the sea and extended westward some eighteen hundred yards.  Here it appeared to make a junction with Scout Track Ridge, although this was later disproved.

Two artillery battalions were in position, and frequent heavy artillery and mortar shellings were placed on the ridge but the Japs merely pulled back into their holes. When the fire lifted and our troops began to move up the steep slopes, a signal, usually a bugle call, sounded, and the enemy poured out to man his guns and emplacements. Attack after attack by the 3d Battalion had been staved off in this manner. So heavy was this fire that some spots on the ridge were blasted virtually bare of vegetation.

On 28 July Company E gained a firm hold on a small side ridge slightly below the crest of Roosevelt Ridge, this being gained only after severe fighting highlighted by excellent artillery support and aggressive leadership. This unit beat off several counterattacks and was subjected to sniping and mortar fire but clung desperately to the ground which it had gained. Several attacks were pressed against the crest but again the outcome was utter failure.

After some hard fighting. Company G, which had rejoined the 2d Battalion, established a combat outpost on Roosevelt Ridge on 12 August and now was in position to support the 2d Battalion attack the following day. Company F made the main assault on the left, attacking the known enemy positions, while Company E pulled a diversionary movement toward the next high ground to the east. Artillery fire protected the flanks. Shortly after the battle started the men manning the Company G outpost attacked the enemy in front of Company F and assisted the latter in gaining its objective.

The fight continued throughout the afternoon and night of the 13th, and as darkness fell over the shattered battlefront on the night of the l 4 t h the enemy lines had been breached in two places. The l62d Infantry had gained the top of the ridge and cleaned it off to the shoulder of its junction with Lokanu Ridge. This firmly entrenched the Sunsetters on the seaward end of the ridge.

The day for the attack on Roosevelt Ridge was a brilliantly clear one. Task Force Headquarters was crowded with officers, men and war correspondents.  Though the imminent show was classified top secret, word was passing down through the ranks that something out of the ordinary was stewing. Any observant person walking along the beach that morning could see that the antiaircraft guns were being turned inland towards the ridge, leveled for ground firing, checked and oiled. Ammunition was being piled and covered in preparation for H-hour. Men were lining up the sights of the Bofors guns on that dark, mysterious ridge, where for weeks the infantry had gallantly tried to rout the deeply entrenched enemy along the commanding crests. A l l of the guns at the disposal of the commander of Royal Artillery were ordered to turn their far distant barrels toward Roosevelt Ridge. There was a thrilling, ominous feeling in that order. Gunners were quickly laying their pieces on a target which was miles away, in some cases beyond their sight and immediate knowledge.  All morning long the preparations continued.  Fire-direction centers checked and rechecked figures and computations. All morning switchboards buzzed with traffic, radios monitored and sent and relayed and received. By noon the newsmen were downing hasty lunches and leaving for the beach, Tambu Bay, Boisi Village, all of which served as grandstand seats for the whole tragic business. At about 1315 the jungles north, south and west of Roosevelt Ridge shook and shivered to the sustained blast. The mountains and ridges threw the echo back and forth, down and out, and the quiet white-capped sea to the east, ringing the outer third of Roosevelt Ridge, grew dark as it received the eruption of earth and steel on that stricken shoulder of land. Scores of guns—75mm howitzers, Aussie 25-pounders, 20mms, Bofors, light and heavy machine guns, even small arms—had opened up simultaneously on the enemy-held ridge. A score of more Allied fighters and bombers had swooped low to strafe its dome and tons of bombs released from the B-24s and B-25s fell straight and true, to detonate, shatter, rip and tear and to deliver certain death at that moment on an August afternoon. Those who watched from the beach saw the top fourth of the ridge lift perceptibly into the air and then fall into the waiting sea. In a scant twenty minutes all that remained of the objective was a denuded, redly scarred hill over which infantrymen already were clambering, destroying what remained of a battered and stunned enemy.  Following the fall of Roosevelt Ridge the l62d Infantry was faced with a series of ridges on Dot Inlet, just north of Tambu Bay. This bay was surrounded on three sides by ridges—Roosevelt to the south and southwest. Scout Track Ridge on the west, and Lokanu on the north. Extending toward the sea from Scout Track Ridge, and running generally parallel to Roosevelt Ridge, were five ridges designated as A, B, C, D and Lokanu or E Ridge.

By this time the 1st Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Harold Taylor, had been released from Australian operational control and reverted to regimental control. This marked the first time that the l62d Infantry had fought as a unit. The 1st and 3d Battalions began the job of cleaning up Scout Track Ridge. Companies A and B swung to the west in an envelopment. Almost immediately Company B ran into well organized positions on the northwest ridge of Bald Hill , so named because of its complete devastation from artillery and mortar fire. Reconnaissance showed that this position, which extended in front of Companies I and L, was a deep coverage of supply lines to the main ridge position. Company A made a wide envelopment to the north, cut further supply lines and succeeded in gaining a position astride the main Jap supply trail for the entire south Scout Track Ridge sector. This pinch put the Japs in dire distress, a fact which became even more evident on the night of 30 August. Company A patrols had maintained ambushes for three days but on this date a large force of Japs completely surrounded the Company A position, cut telephone wires and assaulted in nine waves.

The fire was terrific but the 84-man garrison stalled off one wave after another; the Nips lost 159 men and suffered heavy casualties while Company A had four men killed and a similar number wounded. The supply of hand grenades and tommy-gun ammunition had been depleted and efforts to supply this position failed for two days because the steep ascent was raked with deadly machine-gun fire. To make the supply of hand grenades stretch as far as possible the men heaved mud balls when they heard a noise in the jungle. If the noise continued, the conclusion was that it was being made by an animal. However, if the noise stopped when the mud ball fell then it was pretty certain to be a Jap and then a real grenade was used.  A runner from the encircled company wormed his way back to the other units with the story of his unit’s plight. A withdrawal through organized enemy positions was made without a casualty and was so successful that even the wounded got out. Mortars, machine guns and 37mm guns fired on the position just evacuated by Company A.

Meanwhile, Company B had hacked away at enemy positions on the west of Bald Hill and finally occupied the area, making contact with Company L on top of the ridge on the morning of 29 August. Company B then covered the supply trail to Company A and Company C fell in the rear of Company B, deploying the battalion in a column. A ridge-by-ridge campaign was waged until Scout Track Hill was taken on 9 September.  In patrolling Dot Inlet the 2d Battalion found that all ridges except C were thickly infested with Japs and that these enemy troops kept coming up from Lokanu (or E) Ridge.

Manpower, always a major problem, by now had reached the critical stage. No replacements had been received by the regiment since its arrival in New Guinea. Normal attrition, casualties, disease, and neurosis brought on by the very nature of the terrain over which the men fought accounted for tremendous losses and greatly reduced the force. With this situation existing a provisional battalion composed of the Antitank Company, Cannon Company and the Regimental Band was formed and took up positions on Roosevelt Ridge to furnish flank and beach security. Antitank Company had found no Jap tanks to stop and the Cannon Company, whose normal weapon was the self-propelled 105mm gun, lacked these weapons and during this campaign fired 81mm mortars.

When Company G was relieved on Lababia Island it moved to Dot Inlet and set up a perimeter at the base of Ridges C and D, near Bulambun. Five days later the remainder of the 2d Battalion moved into the sector. The battalion plan was to cut the enemy’s line of communication on Scout Ridge at the point where Scout Track Ridge and Ridge C formed a junction.

Patrolling activities uncovered the fact that there was no junction. Ridge C came to a dead end, and where there was supposed to be a junction there was nothing but heavy woods and jungle. Company F and Company E, which had followed to give support and cover the supply trail, set up a perimeter which extended down Ridge C. About two hundred yards across a deep draw to the right front was Berger Hill, while on the left was high ground which first appeared to be the northwest end of Ridge B, but was later found to be a separate hill.  Directly in front of these two companies was a deep gorge which contained a Jap watering point.

An investigation of Berger Hill got underway early on 26 August by a Company F patrol. This patrol moved to the enemy water hole and had just left this spot when it heard noises to the left rear in the direction of Scout Track Ridge and Ridge B. The patrol took cover and waited. In a little while three Japs, en route to the watering point, appeared. The patrol killed two and wounded the third. However, it was believed that the wounded man still was capable of spreading the alarm, thereby tipping off the main body of Japs that the patrol was approaching. The patrol made a hasty reconnaissance and returned to the main body before its presence was detected and the return route cut off. Enemy emplacements had been spotted on top of Berger Hill.

Later that day another patrol from Company F encountered a party of Japs in the vicinity of the water hole and got into a skirmish. Many casualties were inflicted on the enemy but he retaliated with extensive grenade fire and the patrol had to withdraw. Patrolling activities continued through 29 August with much effective sniping being done by the Americans.  By 29 August, Company L was able to move north from a position which had been static since 24 July.  This was made possible by the envelopment of Ridge C on the north and east by the 2d Battalion. Company L moved northeast and made contact with Company I the following day. This move forced another enemy withdrawal, again somewhat influenced by 2d Battalion pressure on Ridge C and an attack on Ridge D by a company of the Australian 15th Infantry Battalion.  The enemy now occupied positions immediately in front of the 2d Battalion and still held Berger Hill. The 2d and 3d Battalions now began the reduction of the enemy concentrated in a pocket between them on Scout Track Ridge. Company A tried to circle in order to contact the 2d Battalion but failed when it was attacked. Plans now called for the 3d Battalion to secure the ground to its front, this being to the left front of the 2d Battalion. When this was accomplished the 2d Battalion was to pivot to the right, take Berger Hill then advance on Scout Track Ridge and secure Scout Hill.

Company E, after being in contact with the enemy for forty-four days, was driven from Berger Hill late in the afternoon of 8 September. This marked the last contact with the enemy until the conclusion of the campaign in mid-September. The following day Company F occupied Berger Hill without opposition and made contact with the Aussies on Scout Track Ridge.  The enemy withdrew from Lokanu (Ridge E), and it was occupied by the Allies on 8-9 September. The following day the 3d Battalion drove up the coast toward the Francisco River, which bordered the Salamaua airport. The 2d Battalion went down Scout Track Ridge while the 1st Battalion fell back into regimental reserve.

The Japs were falling back but they were getting no respite. The artillery and air force were giving Salamaua itself a terrific pasting. During the progress of the campaign on 4 September, the Australian 7th and 9th Divisions had moved in, landed north of Lae and pressed the fight into that important port. From the ridges to the south the l62d Infantry troops could observe the great sea movements. At about this time the first United States paratroopers committed to action in the Southwest Pacific area, landed in the Markham Valley and began to push toward the seacoast. The enemy was hemmed in from three sides and had his back to the open sea. Troops of the l62d Regiment plus some Aussies were pushing up from the south, the Aussies were moving in at Lae on the north and the paratroopers were striking from the west.

To the battle-hardened veterans of the 3d Battalion was to fall the task of winding up the Salamaua campaign.  This unit, now under the command of Major Jack E. Morris, moved all day of the 10th and got to Logui Point on Bayern Bay the following day. The movement was made so fast that the men carried everything on their backs, across swamps, and through the ocean when they were forced to wade around the jutting points. They drove through one perimeter after another, finding some unoccupied. Resistance was negligible but much Jap equipment, including artillery, was captured. Later it was learned the Japs had left between eight hundred and one thousand Imperial Marines to make a rear-guard action to cover the escape of the main force.

The 3d Battalion pushed unrelentingly toward Salamaua.  Vehicles could not follow the tortuous route and it was decided to get to Salamaua first and depend upon picking up supplies later. Guns, food and necessary ammunition went forward on the backs of the men. The command post at this time consisted of a map in the battalion commander’s hip pocket.

On 11 September, orders were given to cross the Francisco River and storm Salamaua. No one knew what lay ahead but all expected to catch hell and a fight to the finish since the fall of Salamaua would signify the end of the eastern New Guinea campaign.  However, the vaunted Japanese determination to make a death stand apparently weakened under the threat of the three-pronged attack. A small group of officers and men, deciding to test what the Japs would offer at Salamaua, walked into the Francisco River on 12 September and deliberately, although apprehensively, forded the stream. Not a shot greeted this group as it waded through the water and climbed out on the opposite bank. Just the previous day the Japs had been throwing out some heavy artillery fire but now the guns were silent. The Japs had fled. The 3d Battalion immediately crossed the river and Salamaua was in American hands. This had been a dream of conquest on the 28th day of June 1943 and was the objective gained on Sunday, 12 September -- exactly seventy-six days after the initial landing.  This became the longest siege of sustained combat in the Pacific area.  Only one Jap was taken prisoner in this final push and only six throughout the campaign. The Aussies from the north poured into Salamaua on the heels of the Yanks and the 2d Battalion followed the 3d across the river.

When the Japs had overrun Salamaua in their southward march in 1942 it had been a lovely place on a beautiful, land-locked harbor. When they gave it up, it was a filthy, rat-ridden, pestilential hole. Rotting corpses sent up a vile stench and rats as big as small dogs roamed all over the place.

The Salamaua campaign from Nassau Bay through Tambu Bay, Roosevelt Ridge and Scout Track Ridge had taken seventy-six days of fighting over as difficult military terrain as the United States Army has ever encountered. From start to finish there had been no let-up, day or night, in the heavy fighting, small skirmishes and patrolling. The l62d Infantry had received its baptism of battle and moved nearly two hundred miles from Sanananda Point to Salamaua. It had recaptured more ground for the Allies than had any other force since Pearl Harbor. The campaign from beginning to end was a paradox of contradiction, countermanding command responsibility, inadequate supplies and insufficient personnel. When Company G arrived at Tambu with its 135 men (normal company strength was 196 officers and men) it was the strongest company in the 2d and 3d Battalions. About a week before the final assault on Roosevelt Ridge the 3d Battalion was down to 426 officers and men, just about half of its normal strength. Companies I and K at this time had only 65 officers and men and Company K’s strength dropped to 39 rnen by 30 August. The only replacements the regiment received were its own wounded and sick who were restored to duty. One time 52 newly commissioned second lieutenants, ex-enlisted men from the 4lst and 32d Divisions, who had won bars at the officer candidate school in Australia, were brought in as replacements.

Officers were choice targets for the Japs and the casualties among commissioned personnel were high.  The Japs would let a hundred enlisted men pass in order to get a shot at an officer. To get the utmost protection, officers wore no insignia of rank and they tried not to reveal their identity by pointing, or using other sure fire means of distinguishing themselves as leaders or key personnel. However, just the opposite was done by the enemy. The Jap officer bore himself importantly, strutted and usually carried a saber.  The versatility of the artillery had been a big factor throughout the entire New Guinea campaign. It trained and fought well with all types of artillery pieces. The men became so proficient in laying down fire that sometimes the bursting shells were falling only seventy-five yards in front of the advancing infantrymen.

Throughout the fight the artillery played havoc with the Japs. The enemy even went so far as to attempt a suicide raid on the Allied artillery positions.  Just after the fall of Roosevelt Ridge a group of approximately 150 Japs made a futile attempt to knock out the artillery with demolition bombs. They worked themselves behind the Allied lines and caused some casualties among the artillerymen, but the latter deployed as infantrymen and drove off the raiders. Damage to the guns was slight.

The 218th and 205th Field Artillery Battalions were concentrated at Tambu Bay, some six miles from the Salamaua Peninsula. One day an artillery observer saw a Japanese transport plane coming in for a landing on the Salamaua airstrip. He called for fire on the airfield and a lucky shot hit the plane squarely, blasting it and the occupants into eternity.

Colonel William D. Jackson, 4lst Division Artillery executive officer, had gone into the Salamaua campaign as artillery commander for the MacKechnie Force and was later made commander of the Royal Artillery, putting him in charge of all Australian and American artillery in the area. For his fine job the Prime Minister of Australia awarded him the British Distinguished Service Order.

Mortars played an outstanding role all during the campaign. As the long battle wore on the mortarmen could lay 60mm mortar fire within twenty-five yards of their own forces and 81mm fire within thirty-five yards. The Japs were proficient with mortars too and caused many Allied casualties with this weapon.  The Australians and Americans fought entirely different campaigns. When the Aussie infantrymen lacked immediate artillery support they would storm the enemy and take the objective by sheer perseverance and bravery. In one instance, twenty Japs in a pillbox took the lives of two hundred and fifty Australians before the Aussies reduced the emplacement. The Yank style of fighting was to wait for the artillery to come up and let the big guns blast the enemy positions as barren of all life as possible. It saved many American lives and got better results, although it took longer.  In speaking of this American style of fighting.

Colonel Jackson said, “Power kills more Japs faster.” When men reminisce over the days of this campaign three places will stand out in their memories. Artillerymen will remember Hines Beach, the starting point for the cannoneers, which was nothing more than a stretch of grassy, malarial swamp edging the white beach over which supplies were dragged at night from LCTs. Hines Beach served as Force Headquarters and was the focal point of artillery support. It was a strip of mud which seemed to sink farther into the slime of the lowlands with each pounding rain.

The second place of battle which will be indelibly imprinted in the minds of the men is Tambu Bay, the inland jungle home at the base of the tortuous ridges that lay between the Allied troops and their objective—Salamaua. Tambu was another malarial stretch of land, but it was land at least, and not swamp. It was the second and most permanent bivouac and it nestled, ripe for the picking of enemy guns and planes, in a valley around which the mountains shouldered.  And, lastly, the place which will stand out foremost in the minds of these men who made history in the bowels of New Guinea is Roosevelt Ridge, an objective which once had been forested and nearly impassable but now was denuded and made impotent by a powerful combined attack of infantrymen, antiaircraft fire, artillery fire and air bombardment. It was here that the 4lst Division troops had pounded against the Jap defenses for more than a month, and finally drove the enemy up and over and down the other side, a broken and bewildered foe.

Hines Beach, Tambu Bay and Roosevelt Ridge, three ponderables, three steps along the road to Salamaua and the end of a bloody, tiresome fight, three places which the men who fought there hope never to see again but whose names always will have a place in their minds and hearts. They will be talked about whenever and wherever veterans of the fight meet. The conversation, like all such retrospective conversations, will start with one word — remember?

Remember the small-boats section that ran the tiny outboards between Hines Beach and Nassau Bay, carrying messages, supplies, mail and men—men with stars on their collars and men with one stripe or no stripes at all on their sleeves, but equally important men; men who were equally anxious to see the battle ground and equally willing to return to the relative complacency of Nassau and other points farther south ?  Remember the day when the men crowded beneath the trees along the shore all the way from Tambu to Hines to Nassau to watch the B-24s and B-25s and the P-38s bomb and strafe the already lengendary Roosevelt Ridge and beyond the ridge the eventual prize, Salamaua?

Remember that early morning when Battery B of the 205th FA Battalion exhausted its ammunition and how a human train was formed from the dumps at Salus Lake, two miles south, up to the mouths of the hungry guns?

Remember the C rations, bully beef, the Fleetwood cigarettes, pup-tent living conditions, the rain, the brave, tireless, worthy, black native boys who carried supplies and wounded ? Remember Mount Tambu, Mubo, Boisi Village, the Komiatum Track, Dot Inlet, the Francisco River and Salamaua, that long, slim, cigar-shaped peninsula that stretched out into the blue ocean, the peninsula for whose domination men fought, sweat, bled, cursed and died?

Yes, these and many others will be remembered now that the veterans are back in the quiet and security of their own homes, which are secure only because of fights such as those at Salamaua.

Until this time men of the 41st always had been tagged with the nickname of the Sunset Division. But in the press releases coming from the very heart of New Guinea came more and more frequent dispatches referring to this Northwest aggregation as the “Jungleers” or “MacArthur's Jungleers.” This nickname stuck and always is a reminder of those early days when each bit of offensive action in those heretofore little-known, stinking hell holes brought much encouragement to a victory-hungry American people.

General MacArthur was generous in his praise of the gallant I62d Infantry, and in special orders of the day, directed to both American and Australian troops.  Lieutenant General Sir Edmund Herring, in command of the New Guinea Force which directed the campaign, said: “The capture of Salamaua marks the end of a campaign of seven months duration. It has been a campaign of very great importance to the Allied cause in the Southwest Pacific. You have all done a magnificent job, have out-fought the Japs and have triumphed in spite of the difficult terrain and trying conditions.” During this period the men of the 41st Division had learned many things about themselves and the enemy.  And people throughout the world began realizing too that American soldiers could outshoot and outfight the Jap and beat him at his own game. A Jap, coming face to face with an American, hesitated for a brief fatal second, standing with his mouth open. But instinctively the Yank pressed his trigger. It was difficult to catch the Jap off guard, however. He was a master of camouflage and sometimes the American would be within ten feet of his wary enemy before he saw him.  The Japs either were completely offensive-minded, or completely defensive-minded, seldom both. Kicked out of a place, he sometimes would attack the American perimeter as many as five times in a night. Jap machine gunners rarely traversed or searched a target with their guns but froze to them, shooting straight ahead, oblivious to everything else. American soldiers sometimes stole up on a Jap machine gunner who had his eyes closed and finger clenched on the trigger of his chattering weapon.

American troops displayed a sense of humor which the Japs lacked. Jumping off on an attack the Jungleers called the no-man’s land between their own perimeter and that of the enemy, “the last mile.” At Salamaua the Nips constantly harassed the l62d with a 6-inch naval gun whose projectile sounded like a wagon when it went over. The men promptly tagged this gun, “Gurgling Gertie.” Another one was “Whizbang Joe.” A sergeant, supervising the loading of ammunition while the dump was being bombed by the enemy, somewhat relieved the tension at the moment when he yelled to the men: “Come on, you lugs, get that ammunition moved and in fifteen days we’ll be in the calaboose for being drunk on Broadway.”

When Company L came down out of the hills the men found a small creek, the first water for bathing they had seen in forty-five days of combat. They literally plunked down in it and reveled in their luxury for several hours. Wounded men seldom, if ever, complained or felt sorry for themselves during the campaign. Sometimes as many as twenty men were required to get a litter down from the hills. For that reason a man had to be pretty badly hurt to be classed as a casualty. Officers told of seeing men walk for a mile, with wounds in both legs, in order to get to an aid station.

After Salamaua had fallen into Allied hands the 162d Infantry went into reserve with the Australian 5th Division and took up patrolling and mopping-up activities. Meanwhile the enemy was doing his utmost to break up the Aussie assault on Lae, and Nip planes were over the Salamaua area daily, making the troops seek the shelter of their foxholes.

On 19 September each battalion held memorial services for its dead. The bodies had been brought out of the hills and laid to rest in an American cemetery established under the palm trees close by the beach at Salamaua. On this occasion Major Morris made an address to his 3d Battalion which was typical of the thoughts and attitudes of the American soldier. He said:

There is no place for sentimentality in the Army—especially an army at war. World-shaking events are daily occurring and on this stage we are playing our small part. The role we have recently completed has been filled with many unpleasantnesses and privations that are better left undiscussed. A soldier’s life, especially in time of war, is a hard one. Ours is a dangerous profession. Those dangers are accepted without question by the soldier and he follows through on his job with little thought for his personal sacrifices, which must necessarily be taken for granted. Men fall on the field of battle never to rise again—and upon their passing we dare not pause to dwell—there is still a war to be won and a job to be done.

A soldier can neither afford nor has the time to dwell in retrospect upon the saddening events that, unfortunate as they may be, necessarily are incident to combat. We are not gathered here to mourn our dead. Crepe-hanging amongst fighting men is as dangerous as enemy bullets. Rather, let us think of being assembled here for the purpose of paying tribute to a group of gallant comrades, who, when the blue chips were down, gave their last full measure of devotion.  In life, as well as in death, these men were truly great. In memory their stature will continue to grow. Such deeds and such men are never forgotten. No one can foretell what lies ahead of us. But some day this will all be over and we will be able to relax. Even then I know that the memory of these men to whom we pay homage today will not have dimmed—and somewhere in a corner of our hearts and minds they will be beside us and take their places in line when the topkick steps out in the company street and yells ‘Fall in !”