96th Infantry Division Deadeyes Asssociation

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After the End of World War II
(By Don Dencker.  Oiginally in the Spring 2008 Issue of The Deadeye Dispatch)
 

    From Mindoro Island, Philippines during the first half of December 1945, the 96th Infantry Division shipped home to the United States for discharge from the Army a total of 6,600 high-point men.

 

   These men, together with the 2,300 high-point men shipped to the homebound 31st Infantry Division in early October, made each unit in the Division greatly under strength. Next, on the 18th and 19th  

of December came the consolidation of the men into one Battalion in each Infantry Regiment and the four Battalions of Artillery  consolidated into one Battalion. Then on December 22 started the shipping of low-point men from the Division, with most being sent to the 86th Infantry Division on Luzon, Philippines.

 

   On December 31, 1945 the 96th Infantry Division was relieved of its area command. This began the men’s wait for their ship to come in. Finally, on the morning of January 17, 1946 the U. S. Army Transport ship, the General Langfitt, arrived to take the Deadeyes to San ancisco. Virtually all Leyte and Okinawa Battle veterans, 14 men with 48 to 54 points and 104 officers boarded the ship and at 2 p.m. the Langfitt left Mindoro Island. 

 

   The voyage home was uneventful except for some rough weather at the beginning of the voyage and the change in destination to Los Angeles.

 

   uring the morning of February 2, 1946 the Langfitt sailed into Los Angeles Harbor to the most tumultuous welcome given to returning troops at this location. True to her word, on board the Army greeting boat, the Snafu Maru, was the rough, tough "Sweetheart" of the 96th Division, Marjorie Main. Marjorie was decked out in a 10 gallon hat with two holstered pistols on her hips. Miss Main boarded the ship and was carried around on the shoulders of enthusiastic Deadeyes. She proved herself a trooper by declining lunch with the ship’s Captain so she could have lunch with her "boys".

 

    As soon as the Deadeyes left the ship they were taken to Camp Anza, located 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Division Commander General Bradley was on hand to say his last words to his men. "For you this is one of the happiest days of your lives. For me it is about the saddest. I won’t say goodbye, because someday, somewhere,

Marjorie Main and her "boys" on board the Lamgfitt

 

 we’ll meet again. I salute you, the finest men I have ever known – and wish each of you the best of luck."*

 

  That evening, Marjorie Main returned to help serve a steak dinner to the Deadeyes. She did a beautiful job of serving two steaks to every man, until she was caught and relieved of this job.

 

   The next morning, February 3rd , the Camp Anza Separation

Center was a hectic place clearing Deadeyes to leave for a place to be discharged close tohome. By early evening most men were gone; except for two men in each Company or Battery, an officer and an enlisted man. That night at 12Midnight, Sunday, February 3, 1946 the World War II 96th Infantry Division ceased to exist.

 

   "Thus, without fanfare or ceremony, was ended the career of a great fighting unit of World War II. It left behind a proud legacy, in which glory and victory were the lessor ingredients; honor and courage the greater. It was a legacy which would forever do honor to the men who were the 96th Division - citizens of a free

republic who left their farms, schools and jobs to fight its battles."*

 

*Quotes from the 96th Infantry Division history: The Deadeyes: The Story of the 96th

Division Infantry.