World War II
Activated: 15 August 1942.
Overseas: 23 July 1944.
Campaigns: Ryukyus, Southern Philippines.
Distinguished Unit Citations: 1.
Awards: MH-5 ; DSC-12 ; DSM-1 ;
SS-232 ; LM-4; SM-73 ; BSM-4,588 ; AM-84.
Maj. Gen. James L. Bradley commanded the division throughout its entire life in World War II.
Returned to U. S.: 2 February 1946.
Inactivated: 3 February 1946.
The 96th Infantry Division trained in Hawaiian Islands, July to September 1944, before entering combat in an assault landing in Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands, between Tanauan and Dulag, 20 October 1944. Enemy resistance in the beachhead area was quickly broken and the Division had advanced to and secured the Tanauan-Dagami-Tabontabon sector by 9 November after heavy fighting. The Division continued to wipe out resistance on the island, engaging in small unit actions, patrolling, probing, and wiping out pockets of Japanese. Chalk Ridge was taken, 12 December 1944, and major organized resistance was at an end by Christmas Day. The next 3 months were spent in mopping up, security duty, training, and loading for the coming invasion of Okinawa. The Division left the Philippines, 27 March 1945, for Okinawa, making an assault landing on the island, 1 April 1945. The landing was unopposed and a beachhead was established near Sunabe, 1-3 April. Resistance stiffened considerably as the Division advanced to gakazu Ridge, where fighting was fierce, 7-16 April. The 96th assaulted and cracked the fanatically defended enemy defense line, Tanabaru Nishibaru, 17-23 April, and after advancing slightly against extremely determined resistance, was relieved, 30 April, by the 77th Infantry Division. The Division trained and rested, 1-9 May, while elements mopped up bypassed enemy pockets and then returned to the offensive, 10 May, attacking and capturing Conical-Sugar Hill Ridge, 21 May, thus breaking the right flank of the Shuri defenses. Heavy rains the following week slowed down the advance. The offensive was resumed, 30 May, against weakening enemy resistance; Japanese north of Yonabaru-Shuri-Naha Road area were cleared out. Resistance stiffened again, 3 June, and Laura Hill was taken, 14 June 1945, only after a bloody fight; the last important Japanese defense position, the Yuza-Dake, Yaeju-Dake Hill mass, was secured by 17 June, and on 22 June all resistance was declared at an end. The Division patrolled an area from Chan to Ogusuku until 30 June. After resting in July, the Division left Okinawa for Mindoro, in the Philippines, and engaged in a training program. The Division left the Philippines, 17 January 1946, for the United States.
Nickname: Deadeye Division. Shoulder patch: A white diamond and a blue diamond which overlap, both superimposed on a hexagonial patch with khaki background. Publication: Deadeyes, The Story of the 96th Infantry Division; by Capt. John C. Willems, Capt. Orlando R. Davidson, and Tee. 4 Joseph A. Kahl, unit historians; The Infantry Journal, Washington 6, D. C.; 1947.
[Nota Bene: These combat chronicles, current as of October 1948, are reproduced from The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 510-592.]