World War II Chronicle: 26 January 1942

The Americans Have Landed

The White House reports that today, the first U.S. ground troops have arrived in Europe.

4,508 soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division departed New York City on 15 January, sailing through U-boat infested waters before safely reaching Belfast, Northern Ireland. As his yankees spend the next several months training, division commander Maj. Gen. Russel P. Hartle is tasked with creating an American version of the British Commandos — the outfit that would become the Army Rangers. Hartle picks his aide-de-camp, Capt. William O. Darby, to form the outfit. 34th Division volunteers account for most of the Army’s original 500 Rangers.

Over the course of the war, the three Naval officers mentioned in the daring raid near Subic Bay (see the front page) would earn five Silver Stars, three Distinguished Service Crosses, three Navy Crosses, and one Medal of Honor for valor.

Lt. John D. Bulkeley will command the PT boat that carries Gen. MacArthur (who celebrates his birthday today) out of the Philippines in a few weeks. Currently, Ensign John F. Kennedy (USNR) is assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence’s Charleston, S.C. field office, but when Bulkeley is sent back to the United States after earning the Medal of Honor, he recruits Kennedy into the torpedo boat service. Kennedy will promote Bulkeley to vice admiral and picks him to command the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Cold War. Lt. (j.g.) Edward G. DeLong will perish in July 1942. George E. Cox will reach the rank of lieutenant commander and passes on in 1972.

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Author: Documents

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