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37th Infantry Division

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Fallschirmjaeger, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Hi Marla. Glad you could join us. As far as starting a new thread, go to the forum you wish to post in and at the top right, you'll see a button that says Start a New Topic. Hit that, give a name to the new topic and type what you wish.

    The MP platoon of the 37th was part of the table of organization after 1944. Prior to that, the 37th Military Police Company was part of the Headquarters Company. For a look at the 37th, look here http://www.members.tripod.com/~Carter_Phillips/father3.html/
    You can also look here http://www.military.com/HomePage/UnitPageHistory/1,13506,722518|793197,00.html

    [​IMG]

    This is the insignia of the 37th.

    You should introduce yourself here http://www.ww2f.com/forum/27-%E2%98%86%E2%98%86-new-recruits-%E2%98%86%E2%98%86/

    There is so much more to say, but this should get you started.
     
  2. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Welcome Marla,

    Post a larger image of your father and we might get some information from his uniform.

    The period 1940 to 1945 is a very long time so his unit within the 37th Infantry Division may have changed over time.

    As noted above there was only a Military Police platoon assigned to the 37th ID. The designation C Company, 1st Battalion sounds like an infantry regiment. Overseas the 37th ID consisted of the 145th, 148th and 129th Infantry Regiments. The 145th and 148th were original Ohio regiments.

    As noted further-up this topic, only the 145th Infantry made it to New Zealand so that may help focus the search.

    So he may have started with the Infantry and later transferred to the Military Police.

    Tracking down his discharge document might help. If it is not in the family, he may have registered it at the local County Court House.

    Hope this helps, Good Luck!!!
     
  3. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    To all who posted updates here, a great thank you. I have friends and relatives who served on Bougainville and Luzon with the "Buckeye Division". My family and I appreciate the many comments here. Here is the thread for my friend, First Sergeant James Underwood, Metamora, Illinois.

    My Great Uncle Paul Glasgo, from Akron, served as a squad leader in Company E of the 145th Inf. with Mr. Underwood and a Mr. Earl Otis Hawkins from Wooster, Ohio.
    Mr. Hawkins is still alive and living in Wooster although he is handicapped by blindness now. These are all great men and I am sure many more served in the 37th I.D.

    Thanks to all who keep the great memories of the 37th revered among these hallowed pages for future generations to study.

    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/44237-1st-sergeant-james-underwood-37th-infantry-145th-regiment-company-e-3rd-platoon/?hl=%2Bjames+%2Bunderwood
     
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  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I think Earthican is on the right track. Your designations do sound mre like infantry. Sounds as though you have more searching ahead.
     
  5. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    The thought occurred to me that sometimes people don't know if someone replied to their post unless their post is quoted. So here's a quote, please see messages further up.

    I also suspect that sometimes new members can't find where they posted -- it's happened to me.

    Let's hope Marla makes it back.
     
  6. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Hi. Thanks to all of you who replied. I bookmarked the page so I wouldn't lose it! <G> I appreciate the info so far. My Dad served for 5 years as stated. About 15 years ago I sent for papers relating to his service. What came back was a Certification of MIlitary Service. It stated: "Lewis D Cummins (his name was actually Dale. Why he used Lewis - his Dad's name - is another story for another day! LOL), service #20 504 811 was a member of the Army of the United States from 10-03-1940 to 10-03-1945. Service was terminated by Honorable Discharge. Last rank was' corporal." I also recieved another paper with more info regarding arm of service: "CMP, component NG, organization MP Plat 37th Division. Place of separation Sep Cen Camp Atterbury Ind'. Military occupation specialty and number was listed as 'Military Policeman 677'. Battles and campaigns: 'Northern Solomons, Luzon'. Decoration and citations: 'American Defense Ribbon, AP Theater Ribbon, Phillipine Liberation Good conduct medal with clasp; 2 bronze stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, bronze star on Phillipine Liberation ribbon'. I get the 'Company C, First Battalion" from page 166 in a book on the National Guard, AND I just noticed when checking it again that it says underneath the 'Company C' (this is a Duh!) one hundred and forty-eighth regiment.

    I will gladly upload more and larger photos of my Dad in his MP uniform and his regular uniform if someone will tell me where to do it and how! I'll also introduce myself as requested, etc., as time allows.

    Thanks to all of you again who answered me. I WISH I had talked to my Dad more about his service when I was young and he was living, but then again, when you did ask he did not have a lot to say. He loved to tell me how he chaffuered Ann Miller around, and my mom told me he used to pull GIs out of brothels (yes, really!), but that is about all he ever talked about - the fun and easy stuff. He did tell my mother that he had to empty out the pockets of Japanese soldiers who had died and bury them. To the day he died he had some of those photos in his desk. He told her it was one of the hardest things he had to do - emptying their pockets and seeing the photos of their wives and children.

    Marla in Troy, OH
     
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  7. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Just so everyone knows, I introduced myself and placed several photos of my Dad in the post along with one of me. Not sure if this is active yet, but here's the link. http://www.ww2f.com/topic/50991-hello/

    Marla
     
  8. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Found this photo that my granddaughter took of my Dad's medals which I still have. Marla
     

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  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Great photo (although the corporal chevrons are upside down). You should consider making a shadow box to honor him, using a photo and the medals as a surround. I've done that for my father, and several others have done so as well.

    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:4857]
     
  10. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Great, thank you for sharing.

    Everything shown appears related to the Military Police -- nothing to the Infantry.

    I had not seen the gold wreath before. According to a news article, circa 1945, the gold wreath is for a Meritorious Unit Citation and was worn on the lower right sleeve. Maybe somebody can confirm or qualify my shallow internet search.

    Out of battle, the MP's enforced military discipline for soldiers away from their unit such as towns/cities designated for recreation.

    In combat, the MP's controlled vehicle traffic and security within the division zone behind the infantry regiments. In a fast moving operation such as the 37th ID's drive to Manila, using jeeps and motorcycles, the MP's moved along the division column to control traffic. Many Japanese soldiers were bypassed and could pose a threat to small detachments of MP's moving alone or stationed at key road junctions.

    ****EDIT****
    Not mentioned in his awards but it was added to his ribbons in one picture is the WWII Victory Medal.

    Also the eagle patch and pin is an Honorable Discharge badge. Jokingly referred to as the 'Ruptured Duck'.
     
  11. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Thanks again to all who have replied and supplied info. As to my Dad's medals, I intend to have them put in a shadowbox of some kind soon. My mom is still living and I think she would enjoy having them now, and then I will have them later to pass on. Thanks also for the heads-up on the ones that are upside down! I can use the photo as a reference when I work with the lady who will frame them.

    I appreciate the info from Earthican on the MPs (and medals). What I am mainly trying to understand, I think, is the role of an MP in a war. My mother told me that my Dad did not see a lot of fighting, but then I have the references to some things he did which were defintiely in the line of danger, and I did not understand if the MPs moved along with the troops, were separate, or what. Also, does anyone know how or why you would become an MP? Would my Dad have chosen that or had the position assigned to him? He was not a policeman in civilian life. Actually, on his enlistment papers it states that his 'civil occupation' was 'actors and actresses'. Not sure exactly what he meant by that!

    Thanks again for the help in understanding all of this,
    Marla
     
  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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  13. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Fighting, or combat, is relative even for the infantry whose mission is to close with and destroy the enemy.

    Much of it depends on the situation. While clearing central Luzon, in the drive to Manila, many groups of Japanese were cut-off and sought to attack any Americans they thought they could take on. An MP platoon is not very large, up to 60 men, scattered about the division zone. Their security function was to detect and track these groups. If it was a large force of Japanese, the MP's would request help from the infantry or other available troops. But if the group was small, five or so, they would attempt to eliminate the problem themselves. Other than receiving artillery fire, 'people hunting' can be the most stressful combat imaginable.

    Unless you find a history of the 37th Division MP Platoon, or someone that was there, it will be hard to gauge how much fighting your father was in.


    Your father joined the National Guard at an interesting time. It was just before the 37th Division was mustered into federal service. I suspect he knew this and decided he wanted to serve with men from Ohio rather than be drafted later. What unit a person serves with in the National Guard often depends on which unit is stationed close to his home. However, all NG divisions were understrength and upon entry into federal service they had to fill critical positions first. Given that the 37th Division was now training in Mississippi, and they couldn't keep men locked on post, I imagine having the MP's up to strength was considered a high priority.

    It is impossible to say how your father got into the MP's. Above average intelligence, the ability to handle oneself in a physical confrontation or maybe they just needed drivers at the time -- though I don't think the jeep was available in 1940. You might find clues from his pre-war life but you may never know for certain.

    Good Luck!!!

    p.s. I recently read Groundpounder by Jacob Close, though commissioned later, he writes about his experience as an enlisted rifleman in the 37th Division in 1940 and '41. For a flavor of camp life it is pretty good.

    p.p.s. Favorite Army occupation classification: Hucksters and peddlers, code 161
     
  14. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Could you provide a little more info on the book and how the company and regiment info connects with your father? Is it a yearbook of the 37th Division?
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I'm curious about this book, too. In my searches of the web, I've come across many articles and blogs on the 148th, and in particular, Company C. Read these blog articles (they're several years old) for more details. http://37thdivision.blogspot.com/
     
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  16. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    How have I missed that blog!? Thanks for posting that one, Lou.
     
  17. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes. :unsure:
     
  18. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Hey! That's my line. :mad:

    ;)
     
  19. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    Thanks once again to all who have responded to my inquiries. I am learning more about what my Dad's service might have been like and I can't thank you enough for that gift. Thanks especially to Earthican for the explanation of what an MP's duties could be. What you said fits with some of the things my Dad told me and my mom.

    As to the book that I have the info from, I am pretty sure it is in the house - the problem is, there are probably 10,000 more beside it! We have quite a library. I will try to locate it and post any info here when I do. It has been years since I xeroxed the pages about my Dad's NG unit out of it and it could be just about anywhere. I am going to attach jpgs of the pages I copied to this post. Unfortunately, there is nothing to ID the book on the top or bottom of the pages, only the page numbers.

    As a PS, I have been watching a documentary film about the Pacific Theater in WWII and from what my Dad told me and what the film has said, I think my mom was confused about Dad being in New Zealand. I think it was New Guinea instead. I actually remember him mentioning headhunters! I have some photos (again lost in the vault at the moment) of some of his friends with natives from the region where he was. When I find them, I will post them and maybe someone can ID something from them.

    Thanks again!
    Marla
     

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  20. mcfair_58

    mcfair_58 New Member

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    I found another copy of one of the photos of my Dad that I posted. This one has info on the back. It states:

    Dale Lewis Cummins
    To postmaster San Francisco, California
    Australia
    H.Q. and M.P. Company PO

    On the other copy of this photo there is a date - 4/12/1942 - so I know he was in Australia on that date. I find it interesting that he used an ink pen to draw in his MP badge. The same ink pen was used to write the date on the other copy and also 'U.S. Army' and 'MEF', I think.

    Marla
     

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