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This website is dedicated to my Dad, Robert Christensen, and all who served in

US Army Company B
108th Combat Engineer Battalion
33rd "Golden Cross" Division in World War II

108 Engineers Motto: Magna est Veritas "great is truth"

 

"Poor is the nation that has no heroes...
Shameful is the one that, having them, forgets."
- Unknown -

Send a message to our troops here!
 


A History of the Illinois National Guard, from

http://www.grunts.net/army/33rdid.html

In 1923, the 33rd Division was reorganized as a National Guard Division for the State of Illinois. The units that made up the Division shared a long, distinguished history. Units from Illinois served with honor in the Civil War at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Gettysburg. Later in the Spanish American War, elements of the Illinois Guard were activated and trained for service but were not sent overseas. In the early 1900's, the Illinois Guard was sent to Texas during the border disputes with Mexico. In the 20s and 30s, the 33rd Division served the State of Illinois and assisted in helping Illinois residents during the Great Depression.

On March 5, 1941 the 33rd Infantry Division was mobilized in response to the state of emergency declared by President Roosevelt. The Division was transferred to Camp Forrest Tennessee for training and to accept new recruits and in early 1942, the Division was transferred to California for desert training until their mission was changed and the Division set sail for Hawaii to prepare for operations in the Pacific.

The first action for the 33rd Division was on the island of Morotai between New Guinea and Mindanao in the Philippines in September of 1944. 2 Regiments of the 33rd were attached to the 31st Infantry Division for the assault on Morotai. The island was secured after several days of hard fighting and the Allied forces un the command of General Douglas MacAurthur had several new airfields from which they could send bombers and fighters to cover the eventual invasion of the Philippines. The next mission for the 33rd Division was the invasion of Luzon, Philippines.

On January 9, 1945, 5 Army Divisions, including the 33rd, stormed ashore at Luzon against light resistance. For the next three days, the invading Americans drove south through the plains of Luzon towards Manila. The going was relatively easy as the Japanese commander had decided not to mount a major defense of the central plains south of Luzon, opting instead to small raids and sniper attacks designed to slow the American Army. By June of 1945, most Japanese resistance had been eliminated on the island and Luzon was declared secure. The 33rd Division was then ordered to prepare for OPERATION OLYMPIC, the invasion of the Japanese home islands. The 33rd was scheduled to be in the first wave of the invasion forces and planners estimated that the 33rd Division would suffer 80 to 90% casualties. Fortunately, the Japanese surrendered after the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed with atomic weapons.

Post-World War Two
The 33rd Division did invade the Japanese home islands, as an occupation force where they remained until April of 1946 when they were deactivated and returned home to Illinois and National Guard status.

After World War Two, the 33rd Division remained in National Guard status. The Division did assist in training some units for service in Korea but was not activated for service there or in Vietnam. In the 1970's the Division was reorganized into the 33rd Separate Infantry Brigade. In the early 90's the Brigade was reorganized as the 33rd Area Support Group, Illinois National Guard. The 33rd ASG supports all of the Guard units in Illinois and surrounding States. The men and women of the 33rd ASG carry on the proud traditions of the Men of the Golden Cross.
 


 Click HERE to see a roster of those who served in this company!

Search for other vets HERE in HistoryChannel.com's database.


This page was updated 02/27/2012