On July 2nd, 1944 the 158th RCT reinforced to over 13,500 troops, initiated an amphibious assault on Noemfoor Island New Guinea. Intelligence indicated they would face a strong and well-trained force. On July 1st, as troops were loading for the operation, Japanese propaganda voice Tokyo Rose announced, "the Butchers of the 158th will find a wall of steel awaiting them." After several days of aerial - and what observers described as the most effective naval gunfire preparation they had ever seen - the first wave supported by three cruisers, fourteen destroyers, and three rocket LCI's (Landing Craft Infantry) crossed the line of departure. RCT casualties were 45 killed in action and 121 wounded. Japanese losses were 1729 killed in action and 186 captured. All museum Japanese weapons were captured on Noemfoor.
Recently, Wayne Ward contacted us advising his father-in-law Major Brooks Pierce served as an intelligence officer prior to and during the operation. His extensive collection of pictures presumably taken in connection with the intelligence/operational phase contained a number of interesting shots of the troop convoy, landing craft en route to the beach, and related pictures. The picture of Major Pierce illustrates the very effective air and naval support provided prior to and during the assault. We have few if any pictures of this major operation. Noemfoor illustrates the statement by RCT Commander BG Hanford McNider, the "158th RCT could expand from its original framework of the 158th Infantry Regiment and 147th Field Artillery Battalion to exceed in manpower and equipment the better known divisional dimensions."
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