April 3, 2012
Being a northern Indiana boy, I’ve grown particularly fond of the 38th Infantry Division, and their efforts in World War II. The division was formed from units of the Indiana National Guard. So essentially, many young men from the same community would fill a company, serving together in war. One can only imagine how tight the bond between these soldiers would have been, and how painful the losses.
Company L, 152nd Infantry, 38th Infantry Division was formed from the old Warsaw, Indiana National Guard unit, and was commanded by Captain Milo Snyder. On August 5, 2006, Company L, held their 59th consecutive, but this time, final reunion, in Warsaw.
President of Company L, Clarence De Turk, provided a follow-up letter to the Warsaw, Indiana American Legion Post #49, thanking them for their cooperation over the years.
“I was reminded of how important our past is to who we are today. Being president of Company L, 152nd Infantry, we had our last 59th consecutive reunion on August 5, 2006. We had the largest held company reunion in the United States. On several occasions we had in attendance over 200, including wives and children.
“We had many, many historical items which were donated to the Historical Society on August 17, 2005, and are now on display. The public should make an effort to see these stories and memories of those who were there.
“Members of the company served together in World War II. They served in the Southwest Pacific, including Hawaii, New Guinea, Philippines and the islands of Leyte and Luzon.
“We also had two unique members who were veterans of three wars. ‘Sarge’ – Ralph C. Lichtenwalter … had a voice that everyone listened to. They called him ‘Pop’ and he was sort of a dad to all of us because of his age.
“Captain Milo B. Snyder was the finest example of the patriotic volunteer soldier, as captain of the Warsaw-Indiana National Guard, Company L of World War II fame. These two members were skilled teachers and serious on discipline.
“What was thought at the time to be one year of training in the States eventually took these men half way around the world, over a five-year span. We were used as a training unit for recruits for two years. The entire Indiana National Guard – 38th Infantry Division departed New Orleans in January 1943 for Hawaii via the Panama Canal.
“After occupying beach positions in Hawaii for about nine months, the men went next to New Guinea. Here routine camp was set up. And then in November 1944, Company L personnel experienced their first combat while moving into Leyte and Luzon.
“In January 1945, the Indiana 38th Infantry Division was given the mission of removing the Japanese from Bataan. The men of Company L engaged in heavy fighting, attempting to remove the enemy from Zig Zag Pass, a natural fortress occupied and controlled by the Japanese. After 16 days of combat in mountainous jungle terrain, Zig Zag Pass was cleared in February 1945. The road from Subic Bay to Manila was now open.
“Members of Company L participated in the mopping up activities which took several months. After Bataan was finally cleared, the men of Company L as part of the 152nd Infantry played a difficult and important role in the battle at Corregidor.
“We would like to thank all the past officers and members of the American Legion for the wonderful cooperation over all these years. You made every member of Company L feel welcome and happy.”