Hollandia 1944 patrol
Here is a snapshot showing 24th Infantry Division leaders with a patrol crossing Lake Sentaini at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea on a very hot summer day in 1944. In the boat – from left to right – two soldiers from the 3rd Engineers (I do not have their names); Lt. Walter Page, ADC; Lt. Art Stimson, ADC; Brig. General Kenneth Cramer, Asst. Division CG, 24th Division; Col. Layman, CO, 21st Inf Reg; and Maj. General Frederick Irving, CG 24th Infantry Division.
There were two boats taking the patrol across for a ten- to twelve-mile mission to engage and destroy Japanese reported to be in small units attempting to retreat, east to west, along the New Guinea coast. They were going from their Imperial 18th Army base at Wewak, trying to escape through the jungle, skirting around our recently won Hollandia beach-head and big airdrome.
It was a routine patrol mission, daily duty for units of the 21st Regiment in securing their sector. The top brass went along that day for the experience, to observe their men in action, etc.
As it developed, there was no action; not a round was fired. At the designated trail crossing, we found many dead Japanese, apparently from hunger, exhaustion, or disease. The scene was not uncommon. The stench was overwhelming. Only one, very sick Japanese soldier was found. He managed to stand to surrender, be searched and then fell back down. He was carried by stretcher but died before dark.
I would like to hear from anyone who was there.
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The Taro Leaf, Vol 64(2) Spring 2010, pg. 13.