75th anniversary: 37th Infantry Division in the Luzon Campaign
Compiled by Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann, Ohio Army National Guard Historian
On the morning of Jan. 9, 1945, the 37th Infantry Division was one of four divisions of the Sixth Army that made the assault landing on Lingayen Gulf on the main Philippine island of Luzon. The campaign would be the most costly of the war for the Buckeye Division and earn them the nickname “Heavyweight.”
The 37th spent the rest of January marching the 150 miles from Lingayen to Manila and captured Clark Field and Fort Stotsenberg on Jan. 27. By Feb. 1, the 37th had reached the edge of Manila and spent the entire month battling a fanatical enemy that turned every building into a fortification and fought to the death. When it was over, the 37th had sustained 3,732 battle casualties including 461 dead Soldiers.
The 148th Infantry Regiment, 117th Engineer Battalion and 637th Tank Destroyer Battalion all received the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions in January and February 1945. In addition, four Soldiers of the 148th Infantry — 2nd Lt. Robert M. Viale, Tech. Sgt. Cleto Rodriguez; Pfc. John N. Reese Jr. and Pfc. Joseph J. Cicchetti — earned the Medal of Honor during the fight for Manila.
Photos from Ohio Army National Guard Historical Collections and Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler Audiovisual Collection/Ohio History Connection