The 32D 'Red Arrow' Veteran Association
The 32D Infantry Division
in World War II
The ‘Red Arrow’
Back to Australia - Rehabilitation and Training
After the 32D Division’s participation in the Papuan Campaign, it was returned to Australia for rest, rehabilitation and training. The Division wasn't fully assembled in Australia until early April. The return trip took some time because of the limited number of planes available to fly the troops back over the Owen Stanley Mountains to Port Moresby and also a limited number of ships available to transport them to Australia.
“NEW” photo added 5 Dec. 12
U.S. Army Signal Corps photo
32D Division Soldiers board aircraft at Dobodura Airstrip on 4 February 1943 for the flight to Port Moresby. There they would board ships for the trip back to Australia.
The 32D Division returned to Camp Cable, about 30 miles south of Brisbane, where it had been stationed before it left for the battle for Buna.
In February, BG Clarence A. Martin became the assistant Division commander. COL Robert B. McBride succeeded BG Albert W. Waldron as CG of Division Artillery after Gen. Waldron was promoted to major general. COL Joseph S. Bradley replaced COL Clarence M. Tomlinson as commander of the 126TH Infantry. LTC Merle H. Howe was promoted to colonel and remained commander of the 127TH. COL Alexander J. McNab became commander of the 128TH Infantry after COL Martin was promoted to brigadier general.
CPL Clarence Jungwirth, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and assigned to Co. H, 127TH Infantry, describes his unit's return to Australia:
“We left Port Moresby by boat on Feb. 22, 1943 and arrived back in Brisbane, Australia on March 1, 1943. We were glad to be off the stinking island of New Guinea, and to be back in civilization. The first few days we were camped on a R&R area on the coast. The first night most of the troops went into town to get roaring drunk and try to forget what they had been thru. The Australian liquor joints were selling bottles of booze at $20.00 a bottle, quite a sum of money in 1943. The G.I.'s exhausted their stock. There were a lot of big hangovers the next day. I never drank much in those days and had stayed in camp, just glad to be away from the enemy.
“Then we were trucked back to Camp Cable. There we were to get new clothing, new recruits to replace the wounded, KIA's and to retrain for the next operation in New Guinea.” (Jungwirth 73)
1LT Ralph C. Schwerbel, from Appleton, Wisconsin and assigned to Co. D, 127TH Infantry, wrote a letter home describing his unit’s return to Australia and described some of his experiences in the rest camp. His letter was printed in the Appleton Post-Crescent on 3 Apr. ’43:
“The welcome music of Appleton’s band rang out as we hit dock in Australia some time ago and it really was a treat to hear it after nothing but jungle rhythm and native shouts for quite awhile. Townspeople cheered the returning soldiers and it was a great feeling to get back to the mainland after arduous months in the much publicized New Guinea campaign. The Australian Red Cross filled us with ice cream, fresh fruits, cigarettes and, second only to the ice cream as a treat supreme, ice cold bottles of coke. To top that off, a few hours later we again hit the line for a delicious meal of steak, mashed potatoes, more fruit and pudding. It was a real field day on food for a pack of hungry Yanks.
“We are taking things a bit easy now, located on a beautiful white sand beach with clear, blue breakers of the Pacific rolling in to make ideal surfing. Food at camp is excellent and plentiful. All in all, we’re having a swell time prior to polishing off the rough edges learned from combat experiences before we have another go at Tojo’s little brown men.
“Noticed that Sergeant Stan Bethe is wearing the arm band of special police detailed for this temporary camp. Most of the boys are regaining the weight they sweated off in the tropics. I suppose it won’t’ be too long before I’ll be sporting my set of triple chins again.
“The big news concerns Captain Edmond Bloch of Neenah, former commanding officer of Company H. He’s now commanding the second battalion and was twice decorated for gallantry in action. Young, athletic, bronzed and likeable, Ed has received the silver star and the oak leaf cluster in addition for a second display of heroism. It really makes a fellow proud to work with men like him and others who have done excellent work in the recent campaign.
“The men got three months pay and the results of canteen sales will give you the story. Over 4,500 pints of ice cream, hundreds of cases of coke and a small truckload of candy bars were sold in about an hour. We can get plenty of fresh fruit from local vendors. The lads consume plenty of the plums, grapes, apples, bananas and huge pineapples which are available.
“I found in a visit with the Appleton boys that Bill Fiebelkorn was made a sergeant, George Jaeckels a technician fifth grade and Frankie Brueggemann and Don Vanderlois two stripers. Vanderlois and Fiebelkorn are acting as life guards on the beach in our rest area.”
1LT Schwerbel had joined the Wisconsin National Guard in 1935, the same year he graduated from Appleton High School. He was a SGT in Co. D, 127TH Inf. at Appleton, WI, when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. It is unclear if he received a battlefield commission during the Battle of Buna or if he completed OCS before his unit was deployed to New Guinea. 1LT Ralph C. Schwerbel was later KIA on 25 Dec. '44 by sniper on Leyte, Philippines.
On 1 March 1943, Major General William H. Gill assumed command of the 32D Division.
MG Gill was at Camp Carson, Colorado when he was ordered to Australia on 18 February. He started the long journey the next day, accompanied by his chief of staff (COL John A. Hettinger) and an aide (CPT Cecil M. Coulter). He had served in France during World War I as a battalion commander with the 5TH Division and was awarded the Silver Star during the Meuse-Argonne. He had been the XO and then commander of the 27TH Inf. Regiment; a couple of years after MG (then COL) Harding had commanded that regiment. He had been chief of staff of the 8TH Division, a brigadier in the 28TH Division and commanding general of the 89TH Division.
“NEW” photo added 5 Dec. 12
U.S. Army Signal Corps photo
CPT Herman J. F. Bottcher being decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross by MG William H. Gill for extraordinary heroism at Buna.
“After a period of rest the Division began a hard program of training to fit replacements into its ranks, and pass on to them its hard won knowledge of jungle fighting and develop the infantry artillery teams so essential to success in battle. (Blakeley 130)”
On 3 March the 107TH Quartermaster Battalion was reorganized as the 32D Quartermaster Company.
On 4 March the Red Arrow ordnance detachment was redesignated the 732D Ordnance (LM) Company.
On 9 March, a large award ceremony and parade was conducted for the 32D Division. One hundred and ten ‘Red Arrow’ heroes were bestowed with Distinguished Service Crosses, Silver Stars, and other awards. LG Robert Eichelberger, I Corps Commander, was present and personally pinned some of the medals.
Somewhere around this time, the 121ST Field Artillery Battalion's 155mm howitzers were taken away and replaced with 75mm howitzers.
The Chaplains of the 32D Division teamed up to conduct a massive Easter Celebration for the Division’s Soldiers on Easter Sunday, 25 April 1943. A Catholic mass opened the event at 0830 hours, followed by Protestant services at 1000 hours. The services were held in a huge amphitheater and included music from the massed bands of the Division as well as choirs made up of Soldiers from throughout the Division. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (CPT) Edward Connolly, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, served as sub-deacon for the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born on 18 Jan. ‘11; he professed his vows on 15 Aug. '30 and was ordained 28 Apr. '39 as Father Callistus Connolly, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province. He joined the 32D Div. in Australia; he had been performing religious work in Australia for several years before the war. He was Chaplain (Lt.) and served with Urbana Force at Buna. CPL John A. Deppisch was his chaplain assistant. He was strafed by aircraft at Buna, several bullets went through his jacket but he was not hurt. Later he was Chaplain (MAJ) and Asst. Div. Chaplain at Luzon. His awards included Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/4 battle stars, WWII Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), Presidential Unit Citation, and Philippine Liberation Medal w/1 star. After the war he performed some religious work in Jamaica and was also on the staff of St. Joseph's Monastery Parish in Baltimore, MD. In '63, without warning, he lost his ability to speak while saying Mass and he remained incapacitated for the rest of his life. He passed away on 16 Jul. '80 at Baltimore, MD. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain Bernard P. De Crane, from Cleveland, Ohio, served as deacon for the Division’s Easter Celebration. He was ordained in '38. After the war he was pastor at St. Barnabas in Northfield Center, OH ca. May '61. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (LTC) Lester C. Doerr, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the Division Chaplain and led the Division’s Easter Celebration. He had been principal of Palmer School at Grand Rapids, MI ca. '30 and principal of Grand Rapids South H.S. ca. '38. He was Chaplain (MAJ) in 126TH Inf., Michigan National Guard, when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. He was assigned to hospitals at Port Moresby during the Papuan Campaign. He was transferred to be Chaplain for a higher echelon unit ca. Jul. '43. He retired from military service as a COL on 31 Oct. '55. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (CPT) Lennie Sam Dubberly, from Prosper, Texas, conducted a call to worship for the Protestant service during the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born on 29 Jul. '07, he was a Methodist minister in Prosper, TX, before he entered the service. Assigned to the 126TH Inf., he arrived at the front near Buna on 21 Nov. '42. He was WIA by shell fragment or bullet in foot on 26 Dec. '42 and later awarded the Purple Heart. He passed away 5 Jan. '00 and is interred at New Fountain United Methodist Church Cemetery, New Fountain, TX. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain Stephen Dzienis, from Wyandotte, Michigan, was unable to participate in the Division’s Easter Celebration. He was still in the hospital recovering from jungle sores and skin disease he contracted during the Papuan Campaign. Born on 18 Jan. '06, he was first assistant at St. Stanislaus Parish at Wyandotte, MI, when he entered active service in Jun. '42. Assigned to the 126TH Inf., he marched over the Owen Stanley Mountains with the rest of the 2D Bn. He officiated the burial ceremony for COL Lawrence A. Quinn, 126TH Inf. Regt. Commander, and the others who were killed in a plane crash near Natunga in the Owen Stanley Mountains on 5 Nov. '42. He served with 126TH Inf. units in the Australian zone at Buna. He passed away in May '73. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (Lt.) Norman B. Emch was from Columbus, Ohio, but he also had ties to Grant Co., West Virginia. Born on 17 Apr. '02, he had been pastor of Hubbard Lutheran Church, Hubbard, OH, for over 5 years until '34, when he transferred to be pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, North Canton, OH. Assigned to 127TH Inf., he reached the Buna front just before Christmas '42 where he spent much of his time at a medical aid station about 50 yards from the front line. Once a sniper's bullet pierced his sleeve without hitting him. Later he was attacked by sniper again while conducting a burial service near Buna Village, again he was unhurt. He wrote a condolence letter to family of PVT Richard Price, Jr. after he was KIA on 4 Jan. '43 near Buna, he had known him personally from when he was pastor at Hubbard Lutheran. After the war he was Chaplain at a VA Hospital in Chillicothe, OH in '46. He attained rank of CPT before he left service. He passed away 14 Mar. '87 and is interred at Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, OH. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (MAJ) Austin J. Henry, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was Assistant Division Chaplain and master of ceremonies for the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born in 1906, he was ordained in '32. He had taught at Messmer H. S. in Milwaukee. He was assistant pastor of St. Gall’s Church in Milwaukee when he entered active service. He was Chaplain (CPT) in HQ, 32D Div., Wisconsin National Guard, at Whitefish Bay, WI, when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. He had officiated a military funeral for Vicksburg, a dog who was a mascot in the 120TH FA, after he was killed in an accident in Australia before the Papuan Campaign. He designed a lighter and more portable set of field gear for Chaplains. At the start of WWII, traditional Chaplain field gear weighed 40 lbs. and proved very difficult to carry in the jungles, his design only weighed 6 lbs. He passed away in 1994. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (Lt.) Delbert Peter Jorgensen was from Comfrey, Minnesota. Born on 13 Jul. '11, he lived at Gilman, Abbotsford, Aniwa and Suring, WI, where his father, Rev. Jens C. Jorgensen, served Congregational and Presbyterian churches. He attended Wheaton College, Class of '34. He was pastor of Congregational Church at Comfrey, MN, before he entered active service. His wife and son lived at Berlin, NJ, while he was in the service. For 3 weeks he was the only chaplain with U.S. forces on the front south of Buna Village. After the war he was Chaplain of 112TH Fighter Wing in the Penn. National Guard ca. '51. He attained the rank of LTC before he left the service. He passed away on 27 Jun. '97 and is interred at Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, OK. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain Edward Kuehnert, from Chicago, Illinois, gave the benediction for the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born on 20 Jan. '03, he was pastor at St. Philip Lutheran Church in Chicago when he entered active service in '41. He was assigned to a field hospital a few miles south of Buna. He passed away on 29 Feb. '96 and is interred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Saint Louis, MO. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (CPT) Carl Robbins, from Obion, Tennessee, led some prayers during the Protestant service during the Division’s Easter Celebration. He had attended Lambuth College, Class of '34. He was minister of First Methodist Church at Obion, TN, when he entered active service (he also had ties to Jackson & Paris, TN). [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (Lt.) Wilfred Schnedler, from Huntington, Indiana, led the singing of some hymns during the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born on 23 May '04, he was a Lutheran minister at Huntingdon, IN, when he entered active service. Assigned to the 128TH Inf., he narrowly avoided death during the Japanese air attack on the supply ships off Cape Sudest, New Guinea, on 16 Nov. '42. Not a strong swimmer, he was slowly making his way toward shore when he was pulled into a lifeboat. His chaplain assistant, CPL Leonard G. Rupprecht, from Neillsville, Wisconsin, was presumed killed and has been MIA since that attack. He attained the rank of at least MAJ before he left the service and passed away in May '78. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (Lt.) Edward P. Sullivan was from Waukon, Iowa. Born on 21 Jan. '09, he graduated from Loras College and was Asst. Pastor at St. Mary's Church and superintendent of St. Mary's School, Marshalltown, IA, before he entered active service. He was assigned to 32D Div. at Camp Livingston ca. Oct. '41. He deployed to Port Moresby with the Div., but was hospitalized with a tropical fever before his unit deployed to the Buna front. He attained rank of MAJ before leaving service. He was a prolific painter and taught art at Loras College for 30 years as of 30 Apr. '81 (professor emeritus). One of his paintings was selected to represent Iowa at the New York World's Fair. He passed away on 8 Jul. '82 and is interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Waukon, IA. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain Sigvard M. Tweeten, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, read some scriptures during the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born on 30 Dec. '09 at Norge, VA, his father was Rev. Jacob O. Tweeten. He graduated Luther Academy in Albert Lea, MN, attended Luther College in Decorah, IA, and graduated Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN in '34. He was ordained into the Holy Ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago in '34, where he served for 5 years. He transferred to Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Minneapolis in '39, from where he entered active service as a Chaplain in '41. His wife and child lived at West Salem, WI, while he was in the service. Later he was MAJ and Div. Chaplain at Luzon. He returned to Gethsemane after the war and was also division chaplain for the 47TH Div. in the Army Reserve. He was a Chaplain in the Minn. National Guard from '55 to '66. He left Gethsemane in '57 when he became chaplain at Minn. Veterans Home. Upon retirement in '74, he moved to Fairmont, MN, then later Menomonie, WI. He passed away on 21 Dec. '99 at Menomonie, WI, and is interred at Hamilton Cemetery, West Salem, WI. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
Chaplain (CPT) Joseph E. Whelan, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, was celebrant during the Division’s Easter Celebration. Born in 1906, he was assistant pastor of St. Augustine’s Church at Kalamazoo, MI, when he entered active service. He was Chaplain (1LT) assigned to 125TH Inf., Michigan National Guard, when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. He served with the 32D Div. from '40 to Apr. '45 as a chaplain in several units in the Div. He served with Warren Force, likely the 128TH Inf., at Buna. He reached the front near Cape Endaiadere on 18 Nov. '42 and remained close to the front throughout the Papuan Campaign. He had several close calls with the enemy, including a Japanese aerial attack early in the battle. CPL William A. Deppisch was his chaplain assistant. He was promoted to MAJ ca. Jan. of '44 and was later Division Chaplain at Leyte. He attained the rank of LTC by the time he was separated from service. After the war he was pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Owosso, MI, ca. Mar. '59. He passed away on 30 Mar. '73. His uncle, Father John G. Cook of Detroit, had been a chaplain during WWI. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
CPL John A. Deppisch, from Port Washington, Wisconsin, was an acolyte for the Division’s Easter Celebration. He was chaplain assistant for Chaplain Edward Connolly. Born on 7 Sep. '18 at WI, he entered the service on 20 Mar. '41 at Milwaukee, WI. His brother William left with him for overseas service (he was chaplain assistant for Chaplain Joseph E. Whelan). He passed away on 30 Nov. '89 and is interred at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Port Washington, WI. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
CPL William A. 'Bill' Deppisch, from Port Washington, Wisconsin, was assistant master of ceremonies during the Division’s Easter Celebration. He was chaplain assistant for Chaplain Joseph E. Whelan. Born on 13 Feb. '16 at WI, he entered the service on 18 Apr. '41 at Milwaukee, WI, and was assigned to the 32D Div. His brother John left with him for overseas service (he was chaplain assistant for Chaplain Edward Connolly). He passed away on 17 Dec. '80 and is interred at Saint Catherine’s Cemetery, Milwaukee, WI. [added 1 Mar. ‘13]
“General Orders Number 21, War Department, 6 May 1943, cited the Papuan Forces, United States Army, Southwest Pacific Area, for outstanding performance of duty in action during the period 23 July 1942 to 23 January 1943.
“When bold and aggressive enemy invaded Papua in strength, the combined action of ground and air units of these forces, in association with Allied units, checked the hostile advance, drove the enemy back to the seacoast and in a series of actions against a highly organized defensive zone, utterly destroyed him. Ground combat forces, operating over roadless jungle-covered mountains and swamps, demonstrated their courage and resourcefulness in closing with an enemy who took every advantage of the nearly impassable terrain. Air forces, by repeatedly attacking the enemy ground forces and installations, by destroying his convoys attempting reinforcement and supply, and by transporting ground forces and supplies to areas for which land routes were non-existent and sea routes slow and hazardous, made possible the success of the ground operations. Service units, operating far forward of their normal positions and at times in advance of ground combat elements, built landing fields in the jungle, established and operated supply points, and provided for the hospitalization and evacuation of the wounded and sick. The courage, spirit, and devotion to duty of all elements of the command made possible the complete victory attained.
“Under the provisions of this order, the following units of the 32d Infantry Division became entitled to the Distinguished Unit Streamer embroidered 'Papua': Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 32d Infantry Division; 32d Ordnance Detachment; 32d Quartermaster Company; 32d Reconnaissance Troop; 32d Signal Company; 107th Medical Battalion; 114th Engineer Battalion; 126th Infantry Regiment; 127th Infantry Regiment; 128th Infantry Regiment; Battery A, 129th Field Artillery Battalion.” (qtd. in Blakeley 130-1)
On 29 May 1943, a large award ceremony and parade was conducted for the 32D Division. Seventy-five ‘Red Arrow’ heroes were bestowed with Distinguished Service Crosses, Silver Stars, and other awards. LG Walter Krueger, Sixth Army Commander, was present and personally pinned some of the medals.
Elsewhere in the Pacific while the 32D Division was being rebuilt in Australia: US forces had evicted the Japanese from Attu in the Aleutians; Guadalcanal was taken; during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, a Japanese convoy bound for New Guinea was destroyed by Allied aircraft; General MacArthur had started a new campaign further up the coast of New Guinea and on New Britain; and there was further progress in the Gilbert Islands and Solomon Islands.
“This was a period of reorganization, re-supply, rehabilitation, and retraining. The troops had taken part in the Papuan Campaign and were in bad shape. I think somewhere in the records it will be shown that almost 8,000 had malaria; certainly the morale of officers and men was low. The men had to be cured in body and mind before any effective training for renewed combat could be accomplished. However, by October 1943 the Division was ready for combat and moved back to New Guinea. The remaking of the Division could not have been accomplished without the help of higher headquarters (Sixth Army and I Corps) who provided a place for rest and recuperation for the sick, assisted materially in securing replacements and equipment, and assisted in the retraining. It was a long hard pull and I can never thank adequately the fine officers and noncommissioned officers who proved themselves real leaders. Many times during this trying period, I must confess that I had grave doubts as to whether the Division would ever “come back.” But they did, and magnificently, as their victories in succeeding campaigns prove.” (MG Gill, qtd. in Blakeley 131-2)
CPL Clarence Jungwirth, Co. H, 127TH Infantry, offers the following information about preparations for a VIP visit in September of 1943 while the 32D Division was at Camp Cable:
“While at Camp Cable,
we were told that Eleanor Roosevelt the wife of President Roosevelt would be
coming for a visit to our camp. We were given a few days to clean up the place.
With much grumbling we tried to fix the camp up like new to the point of
putting tents up over the garbage cans. This we thought was ridiculous and to
the extreme. We followed the old army adage when on 'Police Call' - 'if it ain't growing, pick it up, and if you can't pick it up,
“On the day of Eleanor's visit, the camp was spic and span as she roared thru the camp in a black limousine. Very few of us caught a glimpse of her, We often wondered if she ever noticed the tents over the garbage cans.” (Jungwirth 76)
From 16 to 30 October 1943 the 32D Division was moved from Australia back to New Guinea. At Milne Bay and Goodenough Island they continued their training and prepared for future combat operations.
its first trip to New Guinea, this time the entire Division, to include its
much needed artillery, ultimately all of its heavy weapons would be allowed to
make the trip.
Blakeley, H. W., Major General, Retired. The 32D Infantry Division in World War II.
The Thirty-second Infantry Division History Commission, State of Wisconsin, n.d.
Cannon, M. Hamlin. Leyte: The Return to the Philippines. U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1954.
Carlisle, John M. Red Arrow Men: Stories About the 32nd Division on the Villa Verde. Detroit: Arnold-Powers, Inc., 1945.
Drea, Edward J. Defending the Driniumor: Covering Force Operations in New Guinea, 1944. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1984.
Edward J. New
Guinea - The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II. U. S. Army Center of Military History, n.d.
Hill, Jim Dan, Major General, Retired. The Minute Man in Peace and War. Harrisburg: The Stackpole Company, 1964.
Jungwirth, Clarence J. Diary of a National Guardsman in World War II. Oshkosh, WI: Poeschl Printing Company, 1991.
Mayo, Lida. Bloody Buna. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University Press, 1975.
Milner, Samuel. Victory
U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1957.
Papuan Campaign - The Buna-Sanananda Operation. Washington, D.C.: Historical Division, War Department, 1945.
The Red Arrow - 1955 - The 32D Division, Wisconsin National Guard. n.p., 1955.
Smith, Herbert M., Lieutenant Colonel, Retired. Four Score and Ten: Happenings in the Life of Herbert M. Smith. Eau Claire, WI: Heins Publications, 1995.
Smith, Herbert M., Lieutenant Colonel, Retired. Hannibal Had Elephants II. Eau Claire, WI: Rev. William A. Heins, 1995.
revised 27 April 2013
since 15 March 1999