Some of the most intense fighting on Okinawa for the 96th Division occurred starting April 8, 1945 when they were trying to overtake Kakuzu Ridge. The Japanese had fortified underground caves and the Americans were out in the open. There were heavy losses for the 383rd, 3rd battalion on April 9. The regiment had suffered 326 casualties, 23 killed, 256 wounded, 47 missing. Below shows the position on April 10th. They attacked again but still had difficulty gaining ground and add to that it was raining heavily.
Dad spoke about some of his buddies and I came across pictures and some names with addresses. I only remember one story that he spoke of a buddy. I do not know his name, but my dad was running shoulder to shoulder with him, all they had were sidearms. His buddy went down and my dad turned and saw that he was shot dead. Dad grabbed his identification tag and kept going, making it back to his company. Below is a photo of 3 of his buddies, Preston, Hardt, and Schaffer. This was taken in Fort Lewis, WA.
This is from an article written about my dad in a company newsletter, July 1945, in Chicago where he worked prior to going into the Army. I do not know the author.
“On the tenth day (April 10) Harry’s group was part of the selected force that assaulted and took the first of the high ridges that protected the southern tip of the island. This ridge was extremely steep and honeycombed with caves, tombs, and tunnels from which the Japanese poured a murderous curtain of mortar, rifle, and machine gun fire. It was further protected by artillery which laid down almost impenetrable barrages, but through this hell of hot, devastating steel our Harry Rice fought successfully. That night our forces consolidated their positions, repulsing three ferocious counter attacks.”
To be continued.
Appleman, Roy E., et al. Okinawa: The Last Battle. United States Army in World War II. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1948.
Davidson, Orlando, et al. The Deadeyes. The Story of the 96th Infantry Division. Washington Infantry Journal Press, 1947.
Personal conversations with Harry J Rice, Jr.
Author unknown, Newsletter article from company my dad worked at, as of this writing, I haven’t identified the company.