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[2nd Infantry Division Patch] The Twenty Third United States Infantry, 1812-1945

The following unit history of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was printed in the ETO shortly after V-E Day. The booklet describes the history of the regiment from formation through V-E Day, and list key regimental personnel during WWII. The unit history was similar to the G.I. Stories booklets and was cleared by the censor for mailing home to a soldier's family.

The Twenty Third United States Infantry

[The Twenty Third United States Infantry, 1812-1945]  


The Regimental Crest of the Twenty Third Infantry is symbolized by a shield with the colors white and blue. Service in Alaska is portrayed by the totem pole with the Russian bear, the old owner, and the American eagle, the new owner, with a plate between them denoting the feast given the eagle by the bear. The totem pole is encircled by the French Fourragere, a unit decoration presented the Regiment for service during the First World War.

The Maltese Cross represents the Civil War Fifth Corps with which the 23d Infantry served in the Army of the Potomac. Philippine service is denoted by the sea lion of the Pacific.

The distinction of being the first American Regiment to circumnavigate the globe is indicated at the base of the shield by a globe and two steamships. World War I service and commemoration of the Mont Blanc campaign of October, 1918, is shown by the outline on the lower half of the shield.

The Regiment's motto is: »We Serve«.

[Colonel Jay B. Lovless, 23rd Infantry Regiment]

From the uncertain days in Normandy to V-E Day, the 23d Regiment has been skillfully and courageously led by its commander, Colonel Jay B. Lovless.

A native Texan, Colonel Lovless was graduated from the University of Montana in 1925. Commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in 1926, he has served in numerous U.S. posts and in Hawaii and the Philippines. He was graduated from the Infantry School in 1935 and the Command and General Staff School in 1940.

A veteran of the 2nd Division since 2nd of February, 1940, Colonel Lovless has served in the three Regiments of the Division, and commanded two of them. Formerly a member of the Division General Staff, the Colonel wears the Legion of Merit, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, French Legion of Honor, French Croix de Guerre and the Order of the Surovov, a recent Russian decoration.



From D plus 2 to V-E Day, this combat team has advanced, 1,665 miles against a clever and vicious enemy, has taken 17,253 prisoners, has never once been driven from ground once gained, has constantly defeated all enemy units in its path. No combat team in the ETO has a better record of thoroughness, skill and never-ending success.

It is most fitting now, on the completion of the war in Europe, that full tribute be paid to all present and former members of this combat team. It truly has been a team, magnificent in ever-willing, co-operative, eager, intelligent teamwork that has brought success repeatedly and without fail.

Bitter, dogged fighting against every imagineable adverse combination of terrain, weather and enemy forces has resulted in thinning the numbers of company and battery rosters. Always, however, the ranks have been filled and the baton passed to capable new hands.

Some have remained on the team throughout the war in Europe. Many have fallen bravely. Many have joined the team along the way as reinforcements, quickly to become veterans. In every action, however, teamwork has been improved, and the smooth efficiency of the fighting machine has been more deadly in conquering the enemy.

I am deeply and humbly proud to be your commander. Each one of you, I know, is justly proud of your own fine part played on the team and of the splendid feats of your comrades and each of our component units.

I know you all join me in gratitude that we have finished this chapter of the war with such honor and glory. If we are called upon to repeat our performance on other battlefields, we shall be ready.

Colonel, 23d Infantry,

[Soldiers of 23rd Infantry Regiment through history]

As symbolized by its Regimental Crest, the Twenty Third United States Infantry has a long and honorable heritage, with a battleground covering the circumference of the globe. It is a proud Regiment: Its sons, whose lives were a part of that immortal record, leave an enviable mark for those to come.

The Twenty Third Infantry was first organized by Act of Congress on 26 June, 1812. The Regiment took part in thirteen battles and skirmishes during the War of 1812, including Sacketts Harbor, Lundy's Lane and Fort Eire. In 1815, elements of the Regiment, along with other units, were consolidated to form the present 2nd Infantry. The Regiment then ceased to exist until after the Civil War, when the 2nd Bn. of the 14th Infantry was redesignated as the Twenty Third Infantry. This Battalion had been organized in 1862, and served throughout the Civil War, amassing honors that are indicated by 11 of the streamers flying from the pikehead of the Regimental colors.

Congress authorized the present day 23d Infantry, effective 21 September, 1866.

Until the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Regiment alternated periods of activity in the Indian Wars serving in the Northwest, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Michigan. Company E served as a garrison for the newly purchased Alaskan territory from 1869 to 1870.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the Regiment sailed from San Francisco to the Philippine Islands. It arrived in July, 1898, in time to assist in the capture of Manila. Traveling through the Suez Canal, it completely circumnavigated the globe and returned to the United States in 1901.

A return trip to the Philippines in 1903-05, found the Regiment in several punitive expeditions against the Moros, including the infamous Datto Ali.

A third tour in the Philippines came in 1908-10. This was followed by a period at Texas City where it was organized as a part of the 2nd Division.

[World War I: 23rd Infantry Regiment]

The Regiment sailed for France in September, 1917, arriving at St. Nazaire. It moved to the vicinity of St. Thiebault where intensive training was begun immediately. The Twenty Third Infantry occupied a sub-sector near Rangieres on 17 March, 1918, and remained in that defensive area until May.

In May, when the German threat to Paris became imminent in the Chateau Thierry area, the Regiment, along with other Divisional units, was rushed up to the strategic Paris-Metz Road, where the advancing enemy was engaged. This open warfare was entirely new, as action in the previous months had been largely trench warfare. The Regiment immediately counter-attacked and stopped the German drive in its sector. Losses were great, but the action steadied the Allied line from Switzerland to' the sea. It proved the fiber of American troops, who never before had been used to check an enemy drive of that scale.

On 18 July, 1918, Marshal Foch hurled all his best divisions against the west side of the German positions at Soissons. Among them was the 2nd Division with the 23d Infantry. The Regiment made a spectacular sweep, marching and fighting for three days and nights, undergoing untold hardships. The results were astounding. The German lines were penetrated to a 5 mile depth and thousands of prisoners were captured. This drive started the German retreat which ended in the signing of the Armistice.

Until September, 1918, the Regiment and Division fought under British and French higher commanders. In September an American Army was formed and trained. It was used to attack the St. Mihiel salient on 12 September with the 2nd Division as a shock unit, and the 23d Infantry as a lead Regiment. The Germans were driven from ground held for four years, the Division taking objectives in one day that were assigned for two and three days later.

The last and hardest struggle of the war came in October and ended on 11 November. This was the Meuse-Argonne offensive, launched on 4 October. The Division was initially attached to the French 4th Army. The right flank of the Mont Blanc Ridge was taken, freeing the city of Rheims and opening an avenue for attack on the Argonne Forest. Reverting to the American 1st Army, the 23d Infantry attacked the Argonne Forest from the east on 3 November, where one of the most astounding maneuvers of the war was executed. With German speaking soldiers leading, the Regiment marched in a column of squads under cover of darkness straight through the German lines. The leaders explained to the Germans that it was a regiment being relieved. The 9th Infantry did likewise on the right flank, and just before dawn, the two Regiments deployed and formed a line in the rear of the German positions.

For three nights the march was continued, and after five days and nights of continuous fighting and marching, the Regiment was ordered to halt. In one week the Germans were defeated.

The Regiment followed the Germans to the West Bank of the Rhine and the town of Vallendar.

For its part in World War I, the Twenty Third won signal honors. For having been cited twice in Orders of the French Army, it has the privelege of wearing the French Fourragere. This distinctive decoration is still a part of the uniform worm by members of the Regiment.

The Twenty Third Infantry returned to the United States on 4 August, 1919, and took part in the 2nd Division parade in New York. It then entrained for Camp Travis, Texas (later Fort Sam Houston), where it remained for 23 years.

[World War II: 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division]

From 1937 to 1942, the 23d Infantry, as a part of the 2nd Division, pioneered in the development of the triangular infantry division and in perfection of airborne infantry tactics and logistics. Also, during 1941 and 1942, the 23d Infantry furnished three full regimental cadres for newly activated units and numerous smaller cadres.

On 20 November, 1942, the 2nd Division moved to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where it again pioneered, this time participating in the first large scale winter training program and maneuvers ever conducted in the United States Army. Twenty Third Infantrymen on skis and snowshoes operated in deep snow at temperatures as low as 45 degrees below zero.

On 27 September, 1943, the Regiment left Camp McCoy with the 2nd Infantry Division, sailing from New York on 8 October, 1943, and arriving in Northern Ireland on 20 October. During the winter and early spring the Regiment engaged in intensive training on the bleak Irish moors, in preparation for the invasion of France.

On 16 April, 1944, the Regiment sailed to South Wales, where final preparations for the invasion were completed, including moving to staging areas at various British Channel ports. On 8 June, 1944, the Twenty Third Infantry landed on Omaha Beach with the first invasion forces.

In slow, painful hedgerow fighting, the Regiment inched its way forward day after day against hard fighting enemy paratroop elements. St. Georges d'Elle, Hill 192 (which commanded St. Lo), St. Jean des Baisants, Etouvy, Vire, Truttemer le Grand and Tinchebray were scenes of bitter fighting up to August when the organized German resistance in Normandy collapsed. A short respite, the first one up to that time, was interrupted by an overnight motor march of 210 miles to Brest. From 21 August to 19 September the Regiment battled the 2nd German Paratroop Division which fanatically defended the surrounding hills and villages. Knowing that the fortress seaport, which housed German U-boats, was greatly needed by the Allies for the purpose of establishing supply routes into France, Hitler ordered the garrison to hold for at least 90 days. However, Brest, the scene of some of the most savage and bitter street fighting of the war, fell in 39 days. Formal capitulation of the Fortress to the 2nd Division occurred on 18 September, 1944. Its hard-driving leader, General Herman B. Ramcke, was captured the following day on the nearby Crozon Peninsula.

Another rapid motor and train move of 720 miles on 30 September, 1944, saw the 23d Infantry crossing France and Belgium to new battle positions on the German border. Defensive positions were taken up along the Siegfried Line just north of Luxemburg.

The first ceremony of American troops on German soil was a 23d Infantry parade in November, south of St. Vith. Major General W.M. Robertson, Divisional Commander, presented decorations for heroism to officers and men of the Regiment. On 12 December, the Regiment moved 30 miles north to the vicinity of Sourbrodt, Belgium.

The German break-through on 16 December found all three battalions of the 23d Infantry fighting savagely in the line. The failure of the enemy to accomplish a penetration in the division sector, despite repeated tank and strong infantry. attacks, upset the entire German plan of action to reach and cut off the vital supply nets at Liege. The Regiment stopped attack after bloody attack.

This action was summed up by General Courtney Hodges, Commanding General of the 1st Army, who declared, »What the 2nd Division has done in the last four days will live forever in the history of the United States Army.«

During the period of 13 to 23 Jan. while attached to the First Division, the Regiment fought under the most severe climatic conditions. It spearheaded a drive that broke the determined enemy resistance in the vital Ondenval-Iveldingen Pass to clear the way for armored thrusts into St. Vith, Belgium. Sleet, rain and bitter cold froze the men's clothing to their bodies as they, struggled through waist-deep snow over rough terrain. The enemy forces, principally the 8th Regiment, 3rd Panzer Division, were decimated. So heavy were enemy losses in men and material that the 8th Regiment ceased to exist as a fighting force.

Soon after, the 23d Infantry Regiment was again on the offensive in the Siegfried Line, pushing through the Schleiden Forest to reach the vitally important Roer River dams. Early in March the Regiment drove to the Rhine. The crossing was made on the 23d of March in the vicinity of Niederbreisig, five miles south of the famed Remagen bridge.

From this point, mounted on tanks and tank destroyers, infantrymen of the 23d made a spectacular 365 mile drive in 23 days to the vicinity of industrialized Merseburg, Germany, just west of Leipzig. Thousands of PWs, hundreds of towns and an American PW camp were captured in this dash, a record seldom equalled elsewhere in military annals.

In the face of direct fire from over 200 guns of 88 and 128 mm calibre, the 23d doughboys cleared one of Germany's most concentrated flak areas. Sweeping on they entered Leipzig, the fifth largest of German cities. The assault on Leipzig was determined and co-ordinated, with four bridge-crossings being made simultaneously. In a few hours the attack had reached its objective and the city had fallen. The next advance was halted at the Mulde River, the limit of U.S. advance. There the Regiment awaited contact with the Russian Army.

A move was made south to the Czechoslovakian border, and east into Pilsen where the population greeted the dougboys with wild enthusiasm. This was a fitting climax to the long hard months of struggle in the greatest of all wars.

Here the biography of a great Regiment pauses on V-E Day, 8 May, 1945. Its record speaks for itself. During the ETO War, more than 1,665 miles have been covered, over 30,000 PWs were taken, 13,000 of which were hospitalized, and 217 days were spent in continuous combat, a record equalled by no other division in the European Theater of Operations.

Our fallen comrades have not died in vain. Their memory and fighting spirit will never be forgotten. If the call to arms should sound again the 23d Infantry will be ready to answer with the same deeds that helped finish this war.


[The Route of the 23rd US. Infantry, 17 April 1944 to 7 May 1945]


Sgt. John J. McVeigh, Co. H., was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions at Brest. He distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty.

Sgt. McVeigh, heedless of the tremendous volume of small arms and flak fire directed toward him, stood up in full view of the enemy and directed the fire of his squad until his position was overrun. He then drew his trench knife, his only weapon since his ammunition was expended, and charged the enemy. He killed one German and was advancing on the others when he was shot down.

The distinction of being the only living member of the 2nd Division holding the Congressional Medal of Honor is reserved for Sgt. Jose M. Lopez, Co. M machine gunner, who distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the Krinkelter Wald area on 17 December, 1944.

Firing more than five thousand rounds of ammunition, Sgt. Lopez, singlehanded, successfully beat off an enemy attack of approximately 100 infantrymen, disregarding a Mark VI tank firing continuous rounds from an 88 mm gun, thus enabling his own and another company to withdraw when both positions were nearly enveloped. During the action, Sgt. Lopez was compelled to shift his firing positions and did so, carrying his heavy machine gun unaided. He was alone and in the face of direct fire thoughout the entire mission.

As this book goes to press a recommendation for the Congressional Medal of Honor is pending award to Pfc. Richard E. Cowan, M Co. machine gunner reported missing in action, who distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 17 December, 1944, in the Krinkelter Wald area, Belgium.

The Distinguished Service Cross, an award presented for extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy, has been awarded the following present and former members of the Regiment: Lt. Col. John M. Hightower, former 1st Bn. Commander, for action near Hunninger, Belgium; Lt. Col. Raymond B. Marlin, former 2nd Bn. Commander, for action at Notre Dame de'Elle, France; Capt. John M. Stephens, Jr., Co. G, for action at Ondenval, Belgium; 1st Lt. Marvin H. Prinds, Co. C, posthumously, for action during the attack on Ondenval, Belgium; Capt. (then 1st Lt.) George B. Mitchell, Co. K, for action near Berigny-St. Lo highway, France; 2nd Lt. Ewell L. Smith, Jr., Co. K, for action during the assault on le Bois de la Roche, France; 1st Lt. Samuel J. Murray, Co. A, for action in the vicinity of Ondenval, Belgium; S/Sgt. Galyn Clay, Co. K, for action near le Bois de la Roche, France; Pfc. Byron B. Dickinson, Co. L, for action near St. Georges d'Elle, France; and Pfc. Richard Von Patton, Co. B, for action in the vicinity of Vieurville, France.

Recommendations, pending award, for the Distinguish Service Cross have been made for Lt. Col. Paul V. Tuttle, Jr., 3d Bn. Commander, for action at Krinkelter Wald, Belgium; Capt. Keith G. Van Neste, HQ Co., posthumously, for action at Dorsteivitz, Germany; S/Sgt. Ernest L. Barber, Co. B, for action at Leipzig, Germany; Pfc. George Heilig, Co. L, for action at St. Georges d'Elle, France; Pfc. Leroy S. Law, Co. B, posthumously, for action at Leipzig, Germany; and Pfc. Alexander Maluchinik, Co. B, posthumously, for action at Leipzig, Germany.

Commanding Officer    Colonel Jay B. Lovless
Executive OfficerLt. Col. John H. Chiles
S-1Capt. James T. Noton
S-2Major Raymond W. Laycock
S-3Major Jimmie E. Anderson
Asst. S-3Capt. Howard C. Alphson
S-4Maj. Joseph E. Vincent, Jr.
S-5Capt. O. Charles Huber
Regimental SurgeonMajor Martin Israel
Liason Officers1st Lt. Long H. Goffigon
 1st Lt. Ellis L. Fuller
 1st Lt. Edward W. Keough
Sergeant MajorM/Sgt. Joseph E. Whitfield
Commanding OfficerMaj. Morris B. Montgomery
Executive OfficerCapt. William M. Blatt
S-21st Lt. Charles Church
S-3Capt. Frank W. Luchowski
S-41st Lt. John F. Ball
SurgeonCapt. John G. Wafer, Jr.
Bn. Sgt. Maj.T/Sgt. Loraine W. Harris
Commanding OfficerLt. Col. William A. Smith
Executive OfficerMaj. Vern L. Joseph
S-21st Lt. George W. Payne
S-3Capt. Herbert C. Byrd
S-41st Lt. Robert C. Goforth
Bn. Sgt. Maj.T/Sgt. Harry E. Horner
Commanding OfficerMaj. Martin E. Coopersmith
Executive OfficerCapt. William E. Dugan
S-21st Lt. Robert M. Green
S-3Capt. Kay K. Cowan
S-41st Lt. John J. Ford
Bn. Sgt. Maj.T/Sgt. John J. Gerhart
Headquarters Co.Capt. Maximillion A. Drueke
 1st Sgt. Lee Barnett
Service Co.Capt. Joe A. Dickie
 1st Sgt. Edgar McCoury
Cannon Co.Capt. Charles F. Baker
 T/Sgt. Nathan L. Roberts
Antitank Co.Capt. Roy G. McCracken
 1st Sgt. Eldrige E. Harber
HQ Co. 1st Bn.Capt. John W. Fornaro
 1st Sgt. Gilbert E. Beehner
Company ACapt. Raymond Dearth, Jr.
 1st Sgt. Paul W. Heuback
Company B1st Lt. Wilfred H. Drath
 1st Sgt. Thomas C. Black
Company C1st Lt. Edward R. Carmody
 1st Sgt. Gilbert M. Levisay
Company DCapt. Arthur P. Tate
 1st Sgt. Dick G. Moore
HQ Co. 2nd Bn.Capt. Henry L. Calder, Jr.
 1st Sgt. Donald A. Musta
Company ECapt. Daniel J. Manning, Jr.
 1st Sgt. Clarence L. Umberger
Company F1st Lt. John M: Calhoun
 1st Sgt. Henry Gratzek
Company G1st Lt. Laurice L. Loberg
 1st Sgt. Clarence C. Quinn
Company HCapt. John W. McClain
 1st Sgt. Evan Powell
HQ Co. 3rd Bn.1st Lt. John J. Moretti
 1st Sgt. Carl R. Burelson
Company I1st Lt. David A. Poucher
 T/Sgt. Alvin C. Gandy
Company K1st Lt. Jesse E. Fussel
 1st Sgt. Joseph W. Ethridge
Company LCpt. Walter J. Eisler, Jr.
 S/Sgt. Albert A. Markus
Company MCapt. Thomas A. Harris
 1st Sgt. Fred H. Marburger

Lt. Col. Maxwell S. Snyder
Lt. Col. James J. Matthews
Lt. Col. William S. Humphries
Maj. Henry G. Spencer
Lt. Col. John M. Hightower
Lt. Col. Willard W. Morris
Lt. Col. Raymond B. Marlin
Lt. Col. Louis F. Hamele
Maj. William R. Hinsch, Jr.
Lt. Col. John B. Naser
Lt. Col. Paul V. Tuttle, Jr.
Lt. Col. Paul T. Clifford


Colonel Jay B. Lovless assumed command of the 23d Infantry Regiment on 16 June, 1944.

Preceeding Colonel Lovless, Regimental Commanders for the past five years were: Colonel Hurley E. Fuller (former Commander of the 110th Infantry, 28th Division, taken prisoner during the Ardennes breakthrough and recently liberated by the Russian army) from 14 January, 1942, to 16 June, 1944.

Colonel Roscoe B. Woodruff (now Major General, Commanding the 24th Infantry Division on Mindinao) from 30 July, 1941, to 11 January, 1942.

Colonel Charles K. Nulsen (now Brigadier General, Commanding Fort Sam Houston, Texas) from 7 January, 1940, to 30 July, 1941.

[2nd Infantry Division Insignia - Indianhead]

The Indianhead patch worn by members of the 2nd Division was the brainchild of a truck driver during World War I. The emblem was exhibited in a prominent place on the side of his truck. It caught the eye of a passing high-ranking officer, and was eventually selected as the insignia for the Division.

It differed during the First World War, in that the color of the background on which the star was placed showed the battalion or independent company of the regiment as follows: black, headquarters company; green, supply company; purple, machinegun company; red, 1st Battalion; yellow, 2nd Battalion; and blue, 3rd Battalion.

The circular shaped background represented the 23d Regiment.

After the war it was decided to standardize the patch and a shield was selected as the background with its color black for all units.


[Autographs Page]

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Decorations _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Battle Actions _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

(Passed by Censor for Mailing Home)

[Regimental Combat Team 23, 2nd Infantry Division]

The units which support the 23d Infantry Regiment are vital cogs in the machine. The doughboys swear by them. In direct support are:

37th Field Artillery Battalion
Co. B, 2nd Engineer Battalion
Co. B, 2nd Medical Battalion
Co. B, 612th Tank Destroyer Battalion
Co. C, 741st Tank Battalion
Btry. B, 462nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion

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