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Historical Snippets of the

32D ‘Red Arrow’ Infantry Division

Between WWI and WWII

The history of the 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Infantry Division during the interwar period is not nearly as well documented as it was during the wars.  On occasion, interesting historical vignettes are discovered while researching the history of the Division.  Below is the start of a collection of information to shed some light on how the Division operated as well as typical experiences of Wisconsin and Michigan National Guard Soldiers at the time.

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Summer of 1934 – The City of Merrill, WI, purchased a garage in the city for use as an armory for the local National Guard unit, Battery F, 120TH Field Artillery Regiment. The city council authorized expenditure to pay for repairs and remodeling to the building to make it more suitable for the unit. They promised to have the work done before the unit returned from its two week annual encampment at Camp McCoy. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – The 127TH Infantry Regiment awarded the following prizes during its annual encampment: the LTC Fred C. Best Trophy for Best Company Street was awarded to the Medical Detachment; the Outagamie R. O. A. Trophy for Best Company Kitchen was awarded to Company D; the Field and Staff Trophy for Military Courtesy and Discipline was awarded to Service Company and Company K; the CPT W. A. Draheim Trophy for Best Armory Drill Attendance was awarded to the Medical Detachment; the 401ST Infantry Trophy for Excellence in Combat Firing was awarded to Company I. Company C was awarded a banner for being Kitten Ball Champions. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – The 119TH Field Artillery Regiment learned the importance of guarding its motor pool during its annual encampment. One night some practical joker let the air out of all the tires of one battery’s vehicles. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – Soldiers from the National Guard unit in Marinette, WI, Company A, 127TH Infantry Regiment, entered a shooting competition with two local sportsman’s groups,  the Menominee Outdoor Sportsmen and the Menominee Independents. Company A outscored both competitors and several Soldiers earned high individual scores as well. The commander, CPT Harvey Borman, took 1st place; Lieut. Lennace Prudhomme took 2nd place; and SGT Walter Bourgeois shared 3rd place with a competitor from the Independents. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – Some significant infrastructure modernizations were completed at Camp Grayling, MI, in 1934. Many of the improvements would make accommodations more comfortable for the Soldiers during their annual encampments: an incinerator, two chlorinating basins, a field hospital, an operations building and machine shop for the air strip, 21 new mess halls (all with concrete floors), floors for all tents, plus some road improvements. All of this at a cost of $54,000.00. Also, the maneuver space of the camp was more than doubled in size when about 45 square miles of land controlled by the Conservation Department were opened to military use when the National Guard was in camp. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – Ten Soldiers were awarded the WNG Long Service Medal circa the summer of 1934 to signify fifteen years of service. They were: MAJ Leo B. Levenick, 32D Division staff; CPT Edwin W. Swedberg, Co. B, 127TH Inf.; CPT Walter J. Szulakiewicz, Co. K, 127TH Inf.; CPT William M. Ruggaber, 183D Ambulance Company; Lieut. Frank Whzesinske, Co. E, 128TH Inf.; SGT Maurice Kauffman, 183D Ambulance Company; 1SG Edwin A. Zibolski, HQ Co., 127TH Inf.; CPT Edwin H. Kaercher, Trp. K, 105TH Cav.; CPT Robert C. McCoy, 128TH Inf.; MAJ Clarence J. Kenney, MC, retired. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – The Wisconsin National Guard Review criticized the decision to change how the Post Exchange was run. For the first time, the Post Exchange was run by an outside entity instead of by the National Guard itself. Obviously there was concern about what would happen to any profits generated. There were complaints about the new Post Exchange charging higher prices than businesses in town. The complaints regarding the beer were especially interesting: We do not hesitate to say we found beer too warm in the Cavalry camp this year. We do not hesitate to say we heard officers comment in the Infantry camp that too small glasses of beer were served for 10 cents, with a result that the men went down town. In the Michigan camp there is no draught beer, but bottle beer sells for 10 cents, although possibly it is not of as high a quality as that sold at Camp Williams.” (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – 1LT Burton F. Burns was the OIC of the 2D Bn., 128TH Inf. recruit school. SGT L. S. Olson acted as the first sergeant and NCO instructors from Co. G were CPLs L. H. Imhoff and E. Bender. Recruits from Co. G who attended the school were: Arthur R. Beckett, Anthony F. Brausen, Robert C. Borchardt, Gene Donahue, Carl K. Kriel, Marvin J. Meyers, Alvin L. Schwenn, Alfred H. Greiber, Harold D. Seeman, Howard Turner, Joseph Vaughan, and Harold R. Zerbel.

Summer of 1934 – Company G, 128TH Infantry, from Madison, WI, participated in several parades. On 29 June they marched in the state convention parade for Spanish American War Veterans. On 2 July they marched in the parade for the Wisconsin Outdoor Exhibit. They participated in the 4th of July celebration at Beaver Dam, first they marched in the parade, then they put on a guard mount exhibition along with the Beaver Dam American Legion band. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

Summer of 1934 – BG Paul B. Clemens was commander of the 64TH Inf. Bde.

Regimental commanders included COL John C. P. Hanley, 105TH Cav.; COL A. A. Kuechenmeister, 120TH FA; COL George W. Rickeman, 121ST FA; COL Forrest H. Himes, 127TH Inf.; COL James P. Dean, 135TH Med. Regt.; COL W. A. Holden, 128TH Inf. Bde.

LTC D. L. Remington, LTC A. E. Garey, LTC T. B. Beveridge, MAJ Bruce McCoy, MAJ A. B. Ellis, MAJ Douglas, CPT Don Ferris, CPT George C. Sherman, and CPT Kenneth White, were officers in the 32D Division (unit & duty position unknown).

MAJ Waldo G. Hansen was the commander of 2D Bn., 128TH Infantry; MAJ Sterling A. Wood, Captain Frank Graham, 1LT Loren E. Spraetz (Reedsburg), and 2LT William L. Hiller (Baraboo, Co. H) were officers in that battalion.

Major Leo B. Levenick was assistant G-3 for the Division.

CPT Ferdinand Hirzy commanded the 120TH FA Band.

CPT Peter L. Johnson was chaplain for the 135TH Medical Regiment.

CPL Roderic Rusch, PVT Harold Zachow, PFC Charles Munsche, PFC Tennis Kresse, PFC Raymond Neumeyer, PFC Harold Solomon, PVT John Oskar, Jr., and PVT Walter Lawler were Soldiers in Co. I, 127TH Inf., at Neenah, WI. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

July of 1934 –The following were the boxing, wrestling and kitten ball champions at the artillery camp:

Boxing Champions – Bantam weight: PVT H. M. Thibert, Btry. E, 120TH FA; Light weight: PVT E. W. Lalonde, Btry., 120TH FA; Welter weight: PVT W. J. Mitchell, Btry. C, 120TH FA; Middle weight: SGT G. E. Harmon, HQ Btry., 120TH FA; Light heavy weight: SGT V. E. Woodward, HQ Btry., 2D Bn., 121ST FA; Heavy weight: PVT F. A. Vogel, Band, 121ST FA.

Wrestling Champions - Light weight: PVT Schoonover, HQ Btry., 1ST Bn., 120TH FA; Welter weight: PVT J. J. Stoelting, Btry. F, 120TH FA; Middle weight: PVT E. R. Klug, Btry. F, 120TH FA; Light heavy weight: PVT C. H. Sparhawk, Btry. D, 120TH FA; Bantam weight: PVT Snyder, Btry. E, 120TH FA.

Service Battery, 120TH FA, won the kitten ball championship for the second consecutive year. Battery D, 121ST FA, was the runner-up for the second consecutive year. This gave the Service Battery two legs on the Col. Stanley Gordon Trophy.

July of 1934 – Battery C, 121ST Field Artillery Regiment was selected to fire an artillery demonstration for Wisconsin’s Governor Schmedeman during his visit during the annual encampment in the summer of 1934. CPT E. R. Schuelke was designated the firing officer for the demonstration, although not stated, he was likely the commander of the battery. Lieut. Julius Alperovitz summarized the event in an article he submitted to the Sheboygan Press from Camp McCoy, WI, during the encampment. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

July of 1934 –MAJ George Simpson, XO of 120TH FA, wrote of some officer assignments during the artillery encampment at Camp McCoy. COL Rickeman assumed command of the 121ST FA, vice COL Smith who retired. MAJ Breidster succeeded COL Rickeman in command of 1ST Bn., 121ST FA. Major Hill, who had once commanded the River Falls battery, succeeded Major Oberst as a battalion commander in the 120TH FA. CPT Wood earned a promotion and moved from S-3 to XO at HQs, 57TH FA Bde. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

July of 1934 – CPT Warren D. Leary, from Rice Lake, WI, suffered serious, nearly fatal injuries when he was thrown from his horse during the encampment at Camp Williams, WI. He was the Assistant Plans and Training Officer for the 128TH Infantry Regiment. He was taken to the hospital at La Crosse and was in critical condition for some time. His injuries included a fractured back, probable skull fracture, fractured jaw, loss of several teeth, a broken plate, and five fractured ribs. The doctors were confident that, after a long recovery, he would probably return to pretty close to normal condition. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

22 July 1934 – The City of Oconto gave the local National Guard unit, Company C, 127TH Infantry Regiment, an enthusiastic sendoff as they departed for their annual encampment at Camp Williams. Several hundred Oconto citizens, led by Mayor Donald MacQueen, Brigadier General (Retired) Wilbur M. Lee, and the Oconto City band, escorted the unit to the Northwestern Railroad depot that morning. Company C’s train stopped in Green Bay on the way to Camp Williams that day. The unit was selected to act as a special escort for a group of governors who attended the Tercentennial ceremonies at Green Bay that day. After they completed their special duty, they re-boarded their train and proceeded to Camp Williams for the two week encampment. CPT Arthur Peterson was the commander of Company C; Lieut. Edmund Schroeder was his second in command. As he boarded the train, CPT Peterson expressed his appreciation for the sendoff and invited the citizens to visit the unit at Camp Williams on Governor’s day, 26 July 1934, or the following Sunday. Other units assisting with escort duties for the governors included Company A, 127TH Infantry (Marinette), Headquarters Troop and Troops A, B and F, 105TH Cavalry Regiment (all from Milwaukee), and Battery B, 121ST Field Artillery Regiment (Green Bay). (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

28 July 1934 – Elements of the WNG were mobilized for the strike at Kohler, WI. The Soldiers were complimented by both sides involved in the labor dispute. COL John C. P. Hanley, commander of the 105TH Cavalry Regiment, was the initial commander of the WNG elements on scene. The first troops to arrive the morning of 28 July were about 200 cavalrymen from the 105TH Cavalry Regiment’s units in Milwaukee (mainly HQ Troop, Troops A, B, and F, as well as part of the 105TH Cavalry Medical Detachment), commanded by MAJ R. H. Mieding, with Major Coggeshall as second in command. Early that morning LTC Edward J. Gehl and MAJ John F. Mullen were ordered to drive from Camp Williams to Kohler. That afternoon the 1ST Battalion, 128TH Infantry, with Company I attached, entrained a special at Camp Williams (the 64TH Infantry Brigade, and other WNG units, were conducting their annual encampment at Camp Williams at the time) and arrived at Kohler that evening, under the command of Major Jackson. Other WNG personnel mentioned included LTC E. J. Gehl, LTC T. G. Lewis, LTC Schantz, LTC H. G. Williams, MAJ John F. Mullen, CPT George C. Sherman. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

August of 1934 – PFC Chester J. Zukowski, from Milwaukee and assigned to Troop B, 105TH Cavalry, had his wedding plans interrupted by the strike at Kohler. He was supposed to get married on 2 Aug. Instead of asking his commander for a pass to get married (which he almost certainly would have received), he asked his bride-to-be to postpone the wedding one week. PFC Zukowski didn’t think his unit would be at Kohler that long, and she was agreeable to the new date of 9 Aug. As the new wedding date approached he realized that his unit would still be at Kohler, so he requested a pass. A pass was granted. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

August of 1934 –President Roosevelt’s train stopped in Sparta, WI, long enough for him to address a crowd of about 10,000 people. Mayor Nicol had requested that the local National Guard unit, Headquarters Company, 64TH Infantry Brigade, commanded by Captain Tyler D. Barney, be utilize to supplement the local police in controlling the crowd. The Secret Service paid compliment to the National Guardsmen for their efficiency in handling the crowd. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

9 August 1934 – President Roosevelt visited Green Bay, WI; he delivered a speech at Bay Beach. LTC Nicholas M. Schantz (WNG State Staff) was responsible for the security arrangements along the parade route from the railroad station to Bay Beach and back. More than 500 WNG troops, 300 Tree Army men (CCC), as well as an unknown number of Naval Reservists, Reserve officers, and American Legion members supplemented the local police to line the streets to control the crowd of 100,000 spectators. On his way out of town, President Roosevelt stated that the security detail in Green Bay was the best he had seen anywhere on his tour. The WNG troops consisted of the 127TH Infantry Regiment’s Company D (Appleton), Company H (Oshkosh), Company I (Neenah), Company M (Fond du Lac), and 1ST Battalion HQ Company (Menasha), as well as Battery B, 121ST Field Artillery Regiment (Green Bay). Battery B fired a Presidential salute at some point during the day’s festivities. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)

13 August 1934 - The Company G Association (128TH Inf.) held its annual election of officers on the drill night of 13 Aug. SGT John R. Olson was re-elected president over SGT Lloyd S. Olson, CPL Adelbert C. Bast. CPL James W. Bennett was re-elected vice-president over CPLs Leo H. Imhoff and Emauel Bender. CPL Stanley L. Gallag and SGT Harry N. Lundberg were re-elected secretary and treasurer respectively. PFC Robert Von Hoersten was elected representative of the 1st platoon over PFC Lester W. Marx and PVT Stanley K. Swenson. PVT Herman L. Rosen was elected representative of the 2d platoon over PVTs Wilson H. Donkle and Ronald R. Faust. Retiring representatives were PFCs Malcom O. Blackwood and Lester Marx of the 1st and 2d platoons respectively.

September 1934 – The Wisconsin National Guard Review chastised an unnamed Wisconsin newspaper for revealing detailed information about troop movements when some units were mobilized for the Kohler strike several weeks earlier. (WNG Review, Sep. ’34)


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