Another Father’s Day without Daddy…
should be the norm now since he died in November of 1979. The one thing most lacking after losing my father is that my children will never know the meaning of what a ‘Gran’ or a “PaPaw” can be. For as my first cousins can attest; it is the gatherings of family on special occasions that jolts our memories of good times and family, especially extended family. Sadly, my children really have never known much extended family. So, I must tell them my firsthand accounts and stories that will give them a sense of what ‘family’ could be and should be. So, dedicated to my children, my grandson, and my great-grandchildren, I proffer this about my soldier father:
James A Murray — a member of THE GREATEST GENERATION
“The Victory Division”
24th Infantry Division, US Army 1941 to 1996*
There are some histories of the battles of the 24th Inf. Div. and its men and women over its 55 years of service to country, especially for the Victory Division who fought so valiantly in the Pacific in WWII. They were truly the greatest generation. And we are free because of them.
Nick named the “victory division” and the ” pineapple army” because it was formed in Hawaii in early 1941. It also carried other nick names and mottos; “First to Fight” and ” Taro Leaf “, which is now the name of its association’s news letter.
World War II: Campaign Participation Credit
1. Central Pacific;
2. New Guinea (with arrowhead);
3. Leyte (with arrowhead);
5. Southern Philippines (with arrowhead)
The Victory website welcomes us to the official Web site of the 24th Infantry Division Association, the Pride of the Pacific Theater. Our motto is, “First to Fight.” An Act of Congress confirms this. We were first to take arms against Imperial Japanese forces, and we were first to engage the North Korean aggressor in 1950. We are the division Japanese Army General Yamashita said broke the back of the Japanese Army at Breakneck Ridge on Leyte, and we are the division the liberated people of the Philippines called, “Victory”. Taromen have always stood ready to defend freedom and the democratic way of life, anytime, anywhere, against all aggressors . . . in the jungles, through the snow, or on the sands in far off lands. We are fiercely Proud of our heritage, and when our nation calls upon us once again . . . we will be, First to Fight!!! The 24th Infantry Division (Mech) inactivated on August 1, 2006 at Fort Riley. Its most recent operations included preparing Fort Riley for the return of the 1st Infantry Division, previously stationed in Germany.
World War II
The 24th Infantry Division was among the first to see combat in World War II and among the last to stop fighting. The Division was on Oahu, with Headquarters at Schofield Barracks, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, and suffered minor casualties. Charged with the defense of northern Oahu, it built an elaborate system of coastal defenses. Pvt. James Murray arrived in Hawaii on May 17,1942. In May 1943 it was alerted for movement to Australia and by 19 September 1943 had completed the move to Camp Caves, near Rockhampton, on the eastern coast of Australia. After a period of intensive training, the Division moved to Goodenough Island, 31 January 1944, to stage for the Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura)–Tanahmerah campaign. The 24th landed on Dutch New Guinea, 22 April 1944, and smashed its way to and seized the important Hollandia Airdrome despite torrential rains and marshy terrain. Shortly after the Hollandia landing, the 34th Infantry Regiment moved to Biak, 18 June, to reinforce the 41st Infantry Division, and captured Sorido and Borokoe airdromes before returning to the Division on Hollandia in July. After occupation duty in the Hollandia area, the 24th Division landed on Red Beach on Leyte, 20 October 1944, as part of the X Corps, Sixth Army, and driving up Leyte Valley advanced to Jaro and took Breakneck Ridge, 12 November 1944, in heavy fighting. While mopping up continued on Leyte, the 19th RCT moved to Mindoro Island as part of the Western Visayan Task Force, landing in the San Jose area, 15 December 1944. Airfields and a PT base were secured for operations on Luzon. Divisional elements effected a landing on Marinduque Island. Other elements supported the 11th Airborne Division drive from Nasugbu to Manila. The 34th RCT, landing at San Antonio, Luzon, 29 January 1945, ran into a furious battle on Zig Zag Pass and suffered heavy casualties. On 16 February 1945 the 3d Bn. of the 34th Infantry took part in the amphibious landing on Corregidor and fought Japanese under a hot sun on the well-defended Rock. After numerous mopping up actions in March, the Division landed on Mindanao, 17 April 1945, cut across the island to Digos, 27 April, stormed into Davao, 3 May, and cleared Libby airdrome, 13 May. Although the campaign closed officially on 30 June, the Division continued to mop up Japanese resistance during July and August 1945. Patrolling continued after the official surrender of Japan. On 15 October 1945, the Division left Mindanao for Japan.
United States Army
U. S. 6th Army
24th Infantry Division
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
General Douglas MacArthur
Gen Walter Krueger
Major General Roscoe B. Woodruff, Commander of the
24th Infantry Division and
503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team
All the little ones, at least those not experienced enough to escape, would get the perfunctory pinch and twist of the jaws by this man, my Daddy. I am here to tell you, it would be something that you would not soon forget. Daddy had a sense of humor. That humor is attested to in the following postcard that he sent home while in the service during World War II: