98th Infantry Division, WW II

 Welcome to the 98th Infantry Division

 WW II Veterans Website

This Website is offered to help support and preserve the legacy of the U.S. Army's 98th "Iroquois" Infantry Division.  The content provided will assist those seeking information on the activities and destiny of Iroquois soldiers in World War II.  It is hoped that as you visit this site you will find pieces of history from your own service or those of a loved one, will inspire you to contribute to the Division's history by offering memories, stories or photos that can be added to this site.

The 98th Infantry Division has the distinction of being the only active Infantry Division during World War 2 not to be committed to battle.  While many Iroquois soldiers did experience battle with other units, only approx. 200 soldiers from the 98th Division were involved in combat operations.  This fact does not limit or reduce the sacrifice made be each soldier to do his duty when called upon. 

- Brief 98th Division History -

- World War I -

The 98th Division first came into existence during the final months of the first world war. On July 23, 1918 the War Department initiated the organization of the 98th Division. The Division, (less the 195th Inf. Brigade) was to be organized at Camp McClellen, Ala., with the 195th Inf. Brigade being organized in France. The organization got as far as naming a Chief of Staff; Col. Jennings W. Wilson on Oct. 1, 1918, along with a few additional staff officers. With the end of the war on Nov. 11, 1918, the division was demobilized on Nov. 30, 1918. The WW I composition of the 98th Division was to include the following units but was never accomplished.

  • 195th Inf. Brigade: 389th & 390th Inf., 368th Machine Gun Bn.
  • 196th Inf. Brigade: 391st & 392nd Inf., 369th Machine Gun Bn.
  • 173rd Field Artillery Brigade: 367th , 368th & 369th FA, 26th Trench Mortar Battery.
  • Divisional Troops; 367th Machine Gun Bn., 323rd Engineers,, 623rd Field Signal Bn., Headquarters Troops.
  • Trains:  323rd Train Headquarters & Military Police, 323rd Ammunition Train, 323rd Supply Train, 323rd Engineer Train, 323rd Sanitation Train.

- World War II -

 Activated on September 15, 1942, the division trained at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, participated in the Second Army's Tennessee Maneuvers and conducted post-maneuver training at Camp Rucker, Alabama, before departing from Seattle, Washington for the Hawaiian Islands in April 1944.

          

When the 98th Division arrived in Hawaii, under the command of Maj. Gen. George W. Griner, it was given ground defense responsibility for the Islands of Kauai and Maui. The 389th  and 390th Regimental Combat Teams (RCT's)  were sent to Kaui and the 391st RCT went to Maui. In May the battalions from the 389th and 390th participated in amphibious and jungle training.

     

   In the early planning for the invasion of Okinawa it was suggested that the XXIZ Corps, which at the end of 1944 was still engaged on Luzon, might not be able to disengage, rehabilitate and be re-equipped in time for action. A proposal was made to prepare and alternate force, the IX Corps, which consisted of the 27th, 97th and 98th divisions, with the 86th and 81st in area reserve. The operational commanders, however, did not agee, and the final plan called for the "98th Division to remain in the Hawaiian area as a reserve for the Ryukus, and if not employed, to move to the Philippines by May 1, 1945." 

On October 6, 1944, Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson had proposed to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz that the defense of the Hawaiian Islands be reduced from one Infantry Division to three separate Infantry Regiments, so that the 98th would be available for combat. During the first week of November, 1944, the 389th and 391st prepared to move to Oahu. However, while the division was making final arrangements for the move, a conference was being held between the staffs of Admiral Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur on Hollandia, in the South Pacific.  It was decided at this meeting that MacArthur would make available bases to support up to nine Pacific Ocean Area (POA) Divisions for future operations by May 1, 1945. The 98th Infantry Division was to remain in Hawaii until April, 1945, when it would be moved to the Philippines. The result of this meeting became known as the "Filbas Agreement." 

As late as March 1945, Lt. General Richardson made another request to employ the 98th as area reserve for Okinawa. Admiral Nimitz replied that the 98th would need to be equipped with an amphibious tank battalion and would also need to be relieved from its current assignment. Although this action was given approval, the plans were then dropped.  

Earlier, on January, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had instructed Admiral Nimitz to make plans for operations in the Chusan-Ningpo area of China (LONGTOM OPERATION), but not to start the actual preparations. Five days later Nimitz directed Richardson to prepare plans and initiate procurement preparations for the possible assault against Chusan Archipelago and Ningpo Peninsula, south of Shanghi on the China coast. During the Malta portion of the the Argonaut Conference, held from January 30 to Feburary 2, 1945, it was further discussed that this target would be seized in August 1945, prior to the actual invasion of the Japanese Homeland.  The units selected for Longtom included the 7th, 81st and 98th Infantry divisions and the 1st, 2nd and 6th Marine divisions.  After Okinawa was invaded on April 1, 1945 the planning for Lingtom was officially canceled in May.  

The actual combat experience of the division was by 200 soldiers from the 389th and 291st Infantry Regiments who fired 4.2 mortars aboard LCI ( Landing Craft, Infantry) while on detached service to the Navy.  In addition, 38 men from 98th Division Headquarters Company were detached to the XXIV Corps during the invasion of the Philippines.  Nearly all of the men involved were awarded the Combat Infantry Badge. 

The 98th Infantry Division was next alerted, on july 25, 1945 to prepare to participate in the invasion of Japan (Operation Olympic). It was assigned to the IX Corps, which comprised the 77th, 81st, and 98th divisions under the command of Maj. General Charles W. Ryder. While the 98th Division was on Maui in its final practice runs for amphibious landings the news came in that Japan had surrendered on August 15, 1945. Invasion plans now became occupation plans. Advance elements of the 98th embarked on LSTs (Landing Ships, Tanks) and LCMs (Landing Craft, medium) on August 31st and September 4th. The remainder of the division, reinforced by the 767th Tank Battalion left on September 5th and 6th.

The initial assignment for the 98th Infantry Division in Japan was to protect the concentration of troops in Wakayama. The division was further directed to occupy the four perfectures of Osaka, Nara, Wakayama, and Miye. When the 98th arrived in the Home Islands its assignment was expanded to include demobilizing the Japanese armed forces, seizing and destroying supplies and equipment and supervising the reallocation of suitable military supplies for civilian use. 

Although no resistance was expected, the 98th landed combat ready at 0829 on a rainy and cold September 27. The division proceeded to the designated bivouac area at Taisho Airport, some 35 miles from the beach. Taisho Airport was located on a broad, flat plain adjacent to the Yamato River. 

 
Taisho Airport - Osaka, Japan

The airfield was in very bad shape from Allied bombings and had not been used for about one month prior to the occupation. When the assistant 98th division commander arrived, he found the buildings that were to be used by the troops filthy and uninhabitable. Japanese labor was used extensively to help clean up the site. 

 
Directing Japanese labor in securing military targets, Osaka, Japan 1945

The 98th went about its main task of disbanding the Japanese army by finding and disposing of every item deemed to be of a military nature. In addition to the four perfectures, the island of Awaji Shima was added to the division's zone of responsibility. The 98th Division had been assigned 1,916 targets of which 1,902 had been completed by February 16, 1946 when the division was formally deactivated at Honshu, Japan. Its responsibilities were taken over by the 25th Infantry Division.