108th Infantry Regiment
The 108th Infantry Regiment, originally the 3rd Infantry Regiment, is a New York State National Guard Regiment that can trace some of its roots back to1830 when militia companies were formed in various cities. The Regiment served in the Spanish American War, the Mexican expedition of 1916, and fought in World War I as the 108th as part of the 27th Infantry Division. After WWI the Regiment reverted to their original name of the 3rd Infantry Regiment New York National Guard. The 3rd was redesignated as the 108th once again in April 1921.
For its service in World War Two the 108th had 12 companies, all recruited from western New York. With the first battalion drawing its men from Watertown, Geneva, Syracuse and Oswego, for companies A, B, C, and D respectively. Second battalion’s companies E, G, and H were drawn from Rochester and F company from Medina. Third battalion’s I, K, L, and M companies were formed in Auburn, Hornell, Elmira, and Ogdensburg respectively.
The 108th was inducted into federal service on 10 October 1940 and was moved to Ft. McClellan, AL on the 23rd, a week later, along with the rest of the 27th. The 108th participated in the Tennessee maneuvers from 21 May 1941 until 30 June 1941, and the Arkansas-Louisiana maneuvers from 6August 1941 until 6 October 1941. These maneuvers greatly helped the 27th Division and the 108th Regiment when it came time to operate in the field. On 12 December 1941, just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor the 108th left Ft. McClellan by train for California. The Regiment’s original mission was to have been the reinforcement and garrison of the Philippines. This plan fell through though when the islands surrendered. The Regiment was encamped first at the Los Angeles County fairgrounds, and then on 22 January 1942 was moved to Ft. Ord, CA.
On the 7April 1942 the Regiment embarked in San Francisco bound for Hawaii. There, due to triangularization, (originally Divisions were organized with two brigades of two Regiments each, in triangularization the Division has just three Regiments) the 108th, as the fourth Regiment in the Division, was separated from the 27th and placed under the control of the 40th Division (a National Guard Division from California) on 1 September 1942.
The 108th stayed in Hawaii, fulfilling duties as garrison troops there until 21 January 1944 when the entire 40th Division was moved to Guadalcanal. The Regiment left Guadacanal on 22 April 1944 and landed at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, to relieve the 1st US Cavalry and marines stationed there. The Regiment was occupied in active patrolling there, to keep the Japanese confined to one end of the island, until 9 December 1944 when they sailed for Luzon.
They were the reserve for the XIV Corps during the initial landings at Lingayen Gulf. After intense fighting near Ft. Stotsenburg, Tarlac, and Clark Field, the Regiment was relieved by the 43rd Division. The Regiment left Luzon on 8 March 1945 and landed on Leyte on the 13th of the same month. On 10 May 1945, the Regiment assaulted Macjalar Bay on the Island of Mindanao, they advanced 85 miles, before hooking up with the 31st Division. During this time the Regiment was also attached to the Eighth Army Area Command and then X Corps. During the 108ths’ time on Leyte, 2nd Battalion (with attachments) was assigned the duty of destroying Japanese forces on the Island of Masbate. After the Entire Regiment reformed on Leyte, they continued their push on to Mindanao.
On 29 June 1945 the Regiment was reunited with the 40th Division on the Island of Panay. The Regiment departed from the Philippines on the same day bound for Korea, for post war occupational duties. There they stayed in an occupation role until 15 March 1946. The Regiment returned to San Francisco on 5 April 1946 and was inactivated two days later at Camp Stoneman CA.
For its service, the 108th received the following campaign streamers:
1. Bismarck- Archipelago
4. Southern Philippines (with arrowhead)
It also received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.