Sunday, September 28, 2008

WW II - 389th Infantry Regiment

My dad's platoon in Hawaii, 1944.
He is standing shirtless, center row, right end.

[Click to enlarge]

Signatures on back of photo

Men listed alphabetically (home state in parenthesis)
    John W. Belmonte (CN-?)
    Fletcher H. Campbell (OH)
    Eddie Ciesielski (IL)
    Eugene M. "Spud" Dayley (ID)
    Arnold Deutsch (NY)
    Louis C. George (NY)
    Joseph A. Isgro (NY)
    Warren H. Lathe (VT)
    Austin L. Lincoln (ME)
    Albert Montes (NM)
    Charles Richard Pitts (?)
    Ernest Reich (NY)
    George W. Retherford (FL)
    Russell W. Smith (NY)
    Alphonse Thomas Trask (MA)
    Manuel "Primo" Vierra (RI)
    Elmer Weaver (OK)

Open "Comments" for additional notes.


  1. Hi Jim,
    My father served in Company D of the 389th Infantry Regiment in Hawaii. I just posted a couple of pictures to my blog Know any of these guys.

  2. Additional notes from George W. Retherford, May 31, 2006, with quotes from the book, History of the 389th Infantry Regiment in World War II, John G. Irvin, 1946:

    In mid-1944, mortar men from Company L, including Retherford and Campbell, among others, were detached with the Navy to the Philippines:

    "In March (1945), just before the regiment was relieved from the defense mission (Oahu), the first of the group of ninety-nine enlisted men and four officers who had gone on Detached Service with the Navy to the Philippines returned (joining the 389th at Camp Pali, 8 miles from Honolulu). These men, all mortar men, had been on DS since mid-1944. As members of a specially picked and trained group of infantrymen who fired chemical mortars from landing craft in support of assault troops in the landings on Leyte in October 1944, and in other landings in the islands, these men represented the largest contingent of 389th personnel ever in combat at the same time while still offocially members of the regiment. The mortar men, all of whom returned safely to their respective companies, were in the first group that fired the new 4.2 chemical mortar in a landing operation. The landing craft carrying the men had the job of moving up near the invasion beaches following the pre-landing naval bombardment and blasting the area still further before the infantrymen assaulted the beaches.

    "The 389th's 103 men who returned from this operations received a commendation from Major General Henry T. Burgin, Central Pacific Base Command CG. They received also the Combat Infantryman's Badge and from two to three battle stars, depending upon the number of invasions they had taken part in." (Page 44)

    Photo, first row, 2nd and 3rd men from left:

    Both men died in accidents - one from an unspent shell in Hawaii, the other from electrocution resulting from an accidental fire during the Osaka occupation:

    "Havoc reigned at Kanaoka Barracks on the night of November 26, 1945, when fire destroyed a large barracks housing 454 men of the regiment.... Approximately half the 3rd Battalion men lost everything they owned except what they were wearing. One man was electrocuted in the fire, five others were injured." (Page 73)

  3. My Grandfather, William V Roney, was assigned to H company 389th in April 1944 but was awarded a CIB with 2 stars, Silver Star, and Bronze Star -- so he definitely left Hawaii -- and is listed as being at Saipan and the Phillipines (Leyte, Luzon, Mindoro)

    I'm curious if he was one of the 103 men mentioned in Jim's post. He was a 2LT/1LT in that timeframe, and was a munitions officer, which would seem to correlate with that TDY for the mortar ops. I've ordered the book, would anybody know if the names of the 103 (or just the 4 officers) is around in anybody's notes (as I anxiously await the book to show up...Fed Ex should deliver on Memorial Day!) :)

  4. Bill, thanks for the information on your grandfather. He is listed as 1st Lt., 2nd Bn., Cambridge, Ohio.
    Although the author, who was not part of the Navy detachment, does not give details of the Philippines operations, I believe you will enjoy the book for insights into that period of your grandfather's life and military service.
    My dad is still living so we may be able to ask him questions if you email me:
    Have a great Memorial Day!

  5. I was looking for information about my father. I knew he was in the 389th and spent some time in Scofield in Hawaii. I just happended to link to your information and to my total amazement i saw my father Arnold Deutsch!!! he is kneeling down,second from the right side!!! i am totally speechless!!! My father died in March 2001. he was 88 yrs old. My mom is still well, she is 88. this is more than I could have hoped for...seeing my father in such a photo.
    Thank you so much for posting this. My father always spoke about a buddy of his the last name is Trask. i think he was a sergent. Does that sound familiar at all? feel free to e-mail me with any other information about this group.

    God bless you.
    Mike Deutsch (son of Arnold Deutsch)

    1. My father was in 389th company H...Phillipines and spend time in occupied Japan after war as he was single. He went to Hawaii first, then other places in Pacific. Cindy

  6. After closer examination of the names, i found two name that my father used to speak about..Trask and Lincoln. He would mention them from time to time in a conversation about his Army service. He spoke very highly of these two guys, but that is all I know.
    Thanks so much, again.
    Mike Deutsch

  7. Mike, thanks for a wonderful Thanksgiving gift -- the notes about your dad. First, I am sorry that you and your family lost him in 2001. I would like very much to reply by personal email if you will send your email address to me.

    Thanks so much,

  8. My Grandfather, Roger Fortin, who passed away last week was stationed at Diamond Head in the Medical Detachment 389th Infantry Regiment.

    I'm currently looking for the patch so that I can get a tattoo of it on my back. All 4 of my Grandfathers served in WWII and my father was in Vietnam. I plan to have all of their patches tattooed on the back of my shoulders in respect to The Greatest Generation.

  9. Hi, Paul. My sympathies to you and your family. My own dad died last September. Those guys were made of steel.

    Cool idea to honor all your grandfathers. I'd love to see a picture of the finished product when you get it done.


    Some links with pics:

  10. Jim,

    I'm in Colorado this week and happen to be in the same hotel as the 96th ID reunion. This is the unit the mortarmen mentioned above (and presumably my grandfather) were attached to in mid-1944 for the Philippines. Later this afternoon I am hoping to speak with the surviving historians among them to see if they have any more specific records or rememberances of the 103 men of the 389th. Perhaps I can fill in some gaps for the families of those 103! It appears that members of L company 382nd of the 96th were also detached, all mortarmen. It appears the 88th Chem Mortar Bn was established by pulling mortarmen from various units together in support of the 6th Army operations. Those appear to be consistent themes in the 389ths history from Irvin's book and the history of the 96th ID.

  11. Bill, that's amazing! I'll keep fingers crossed you gain new info, and will eagerly wait to hear from you. Thanks so much.