106th Infantry Regiment

The 106th Infantry Regiment, originally the 10th Infantry was a New York State National Guard Regiment that took part in the Spanish American War, served as some of the first garrison troops for the Hawaiian Islands, and fought in World War I as the 51st Pioneer Infantry. It was re-designated the 106th Infantry in November of 1940. For its service in World War II, the 106th had 12 companies, all initially recruited from the communities of upstate New York. The entire first battalion companies A, B, C, and D was recruited from Albany. Companies E and H were recruited from Binghamton. Companies F, G, I, and K were recruited from Walton, Oneonta, Mohawk, and Oneida respectively and companies L and M were formed in Utica. Additional Regimental troops were drawn from Catskill, Hudson, and Rome.

The 106th was inducted into federal service on October 15th 1940 and moved to Fort McCllelan, AL on the 23rd a week later. The 106th departed for Hawaii on March 10th 1942 and arrived there on March 15th 1942. The Regiment was designated as a floating reserve for the projected Marshall Islands operations and on December 14th 1943 it was attached to the V Amphibious corp. for training. The Regiment’s 2nd battalion occupied Majuro Atoll on February 1st 1944, expecting to encounter strong resistance, but instead finding that the Japanese had withdrawn their troops months earlier. The battalion remained there until March 5th 1944 when it was sent back to Oahu. The remainder of the Regiment was sent to assault Eniwetok Island, which was the eastern most of the Japanese bases in the Marshall Islands, and within bomber range of the Japanese stronghold at Truk. The assault commenced on February 19th 1944 as the 1st battalion of the 106th, preceded by amphibious tractors splashed the ashore with little opposition. The possession of the little island was hotly contested and the 3rd battalion of the 106th in addition to the 22nd Marine Regiment were sent in to reinforce the 1st battalion. Fighting went on until the 21st of February when the Japanese garrison succumbed and the 106th was returned to Hawaii on April 13th 1944. The Regiment landed on Saipan on June 20th 1944, several days after the rest of the Division. The 106th was heavily involved in the fighting for Saipan’s dominant terrain feature; a 1,554-foot mountain called Mount Tapotchau. The 106th initially fought along a ridgeline near the mountain’s base and in an open valley at the base of the ridgeline, two terrain features that were grimly dubbed Purple Heart Ridge and Death Valley. Later in the fight, following the reduction of most of the Japanese defenses and the failure of their Banzai charge, the 106th was instrumental in repelling the second and final Japanese counterattack. The 106th departed Saipan on September 4th 1944, bound for Espiritu Santo for rest and re-supply. The Regiment arrived on September 13th 1944 and after refitting and replenishing its numbers, departed on March 20th 1945. For the attack on Okinawa, the 106th was attached to the 96th Infantry Division from April 11th to the 16th 1945. While in Okinawa the 106th fought hard for possession of Rotation Ridge and in conjunction with the 105th Infantry Regiment captured a hill called The Pinnacle, a large spire of rock, honey combed with Japanese defenses. The 106th participated in the last of the 27th Division’s major fighting when on April 22nd 1944 the 1st battalion put down a small Banzai charge from the western sector of the pinnacle. Following the fighting, the 2nd battalion was attached to Island command APO 245 as the Ie Shima garrison on May 3rd 1945. The 106th arrived in Japan for garrison duties on September 12th 1945 and was deactivated on December 31st 1945 following its return to the states.

NYSMM Online Resources

John P. Earley Collection

Other Resources

Love, Edmund G. The 27th Infantry Division In World War II. Nashville: Battery Press, 1982.

Stanton, Shelby L. World War II Order of Battle. New York: Galahad Books, 1991, pgs. 103-105, 216, 230.