Marty Higgins Praised The 100th/442nd Rct At Dedication Of National Ww II Memorial Reunion, Washington, D.C., May 27, 2004
The former commander of the 36th Texas Division, Marty Higgins expressed his gratitude to the 100th/442nd RCT for the daring rescue of his trapped unit during the National WW II Memorial Reunion held in Washington, D.C., on May 27, 2004.
The following is an excerpt of Higgins’ 3-minute speech:
First of all, I want to thank the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution for providing me the opportunity to thank the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team for rescue of the 1st Bn, 141st Regiment, 36th (Texas) Division….I deeply regret the losses you suffered in that action.
The strange thing to me, none of the newspapers mentioned you were the rescuers. It was so prevalent. I feel it was purposely censored. The only publication that did identify you, was the Stars & Stripes, European edition.
Perhaps the U.S. government was too embarrassed that the sons of the people that lost their homes and were interned in barbed wire camps could be so brave.
Because of time constraints, I have prepared a brief, which is in the press packet, of what we endured during the seven days when we were surrounded by the Germans.
There are four things that may be of interest to you:
1.1. When our Battalion landed on the beach in southern France on August 15th, 1944, we had 500 men, including 18 line officers. By the time of the LB was trapped in October 19441 was the only original officer left. I attribute that to my wife, Majorie, saying the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary every day.
1.2. When I joined the 36th Division in June 1944 my Platoon Sergeant was a Texan, and half of the men were Texans. By then there was not a Texan left in the LB Company, except for those in rear echelon, cooks, clerks etc.
1.3. At the time of the LB, there were five officers: Erwin Blonder, OH; Joe Kimble, PA; Gordon Nelson, MA; Harry Huberth, NY; and me, NJ.
1.4. Quite a number of 442nd members thought that General Dahlquist pushed you to save the Texans. As mentioned before, very few Texans were left. He used you because you were one helluva fighting unit. Our 36th Division was one of the finest in Europe, however, when our people could not get us out, you, the 442nd, did it, and, at a terrible price. No way can it justify your losses. Another reason he used the 442nd was that it would have been a disgrace to lose an entire Battalion….
May God bless you all….