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Nickname: Fighting 88th
Association: (not formally organized)
2002: May 14-16 2001: July 10-12 2000: July 11-15 1999: July 10-11 1998: July 11-12
Contact: Clarence "Buck" Iles (1920-2005), Saginaw, MI
Newsletter: No longer published
Activated: 29 May 1943 as 88th Chemical Bn Motorized at Camp Rucker, AL
29 May 1943 - 1 Feb 1944 Cp. Rucker, AL
2 Feb 1944 - 25 Feb 1944 Tennessee Maneuver Area
26 Feb 1944 - 16 Apr 1944 Cp. Rucker, AL
Redesignated: 15 Feb 1945 as 88th Chemical Mortar Bn
Inactivated: 29 Dec 1945 at Camp Anza, CA
Overseas: Arrived SFPE 30 Apr 1944, Hawaii 6 May 1944, Saipan (Co C only) 17 Jun 1944, Philippines 20 Oct 1944, Okinawa 1 Apr 1945, Ie Shima 16 Apr 1945
Campaigns: Leyte, Ryukyus, Western Pacific
Number of men killed in action: 35 is the best estimate
Number of days in combat: unknown, but at least 187
Number of rounds fired: 111,689
Travelogue of the 88th Cml Mortar Bn, by Raymond B. Whitaker
Buck Iles reminisces: We never fought as a complete battalion. We were split all to hell all the time. I was a sergeant and originally in Company B, but sometimes we were split up so bad that we didn't really know what company we were in. Neither did our mail or food! Often we didn't know what Army division we were supporting. On Okinawa, my company supported the Marines for quite awhile, and we even have a Presidential Unit Citation to prove that.
The group that I was with made amphibious landings on Saipan, Leyte and Okinawa. After the Saipan battle ended, most of us got very sick from the dreaded dengue fever carried by mosquitoes. It was much like malaria except, if you lived through it, it didn't recur as malaria did. We were then put on a ship and sent to the island of Espirito Santo in the New Hebrides, near New Zealand, for rest and relaxation. Instead, we were dumped into a hot, tropical jungle, where we worked for several weeks to get a fairly livable camp. About the time it became livable, we loaded up for the assault on Leyte, and that was more swamp, rice paddies and jungle. We rested in tents along with scorpions, snakes and lizzards for a few weeks after MacArthur "returned" and retook the place. Then, on Easter Sunday, April Fool's Day, we landed on the "Big One", Okinawa. That was a tough one. Soon after that battle ended, we were again loaded onto ships and sent out into the beautiful blue Pacific to ride out the biggest typhoon of the century. That was as scary as the battle! We then headed back to Hawaii to regroup for the assault on the Japanese homeland. Thank God that never happened. We were in the harbor of Eniwetok when we received the welcome news that President Truman had okayed dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. Of course, that ended the war and I got home before Christmas.
88th Chemical Mortar Battalion, Co. D at Camp Rucker AL, c. 1943
Provided by Victor Buonadonna nephew of Anthony "Beak" Mascitti
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