The US Department of Defense website recently posted an article on Staff Sgt. Jesse R. Drowley, a US Army soldier who earned the Medal of Honor during the fighting at Bougainville in early 1944. While an interesting story in itself, it also gives a brief description of the type of infantry/tank cooperation required by US troops in the intense fighting against Japanese fortifications in the Pacific campaign.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2017 — When Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Ray Drowley arrived alone at an American camp on the Solomon Islands with a gaping wound in his chest, a missing eye and a shredded uniform, a junior officer threatened to court-martial him for abandoning his defense post. Instead, Drowley was put on the path to history.
On Jan. 30, 1944, Drowley was a rifle squad leader with B Company, 132nd Infantry Regiment, Americal Division, when he displayed the bravery that would earn him the Medal of Honor.
The Americal Division arrived on Bougainville on Dec. 25, 1943, as part of the Solomon Islands and New Guinea campaigns. The division was unique in World War II as it carried a name and not a numerical designation. It got its name from “American, New Caledonia,” the South Pacific island on which the unit was provisionally formed for defense in May 1942. Though officially known later as the 23rd Infantry Division, the Americal name remained.
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