Have Experienced Stiff Fighting, Says 100th’s Commander
With the Fifth Army, Italy — High tribute was paid to the fighting soldiers of the Japanese-American 100th Infantry Battalion by their battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Singles, a West Point graduate.
“There are countless instances of battlefield heroism by these infantrymen fighting on the Fifth Army front,” said the firm, steelnerved battalion commander. “They have plenty of guts, and aren’t afraid to use their initiative during attacks. They’ve fought their way over endless mountains in Italy since last September. They have captured towns from Germans without assistance of other units. Recently they captured a German command post, complete with a large motor pool and an entire field artillery battery, all intact.”
Italian towns recently captured by the 100th Battalion are: Belvedere, Sesseta, Pastina, and Orsiana. Belvedere was taken by a surprise thrust, Sesseta by a flanking attack, Pastina by a frontal attack, and Orsiana bypassed and then completely surrounded.
“These Americans of Japanese ancestry take their hardships in stride,” he continued. “Battlefield instructions are carried out quickly. This alertness has made several otherwise impossible gains possible throughout Italy. Their spirit has won my admiration and respect, just as it has all observers who’ve lived in the field with them.”
“We’ve experienced stiff fighting in Northern Italy,” Colonel Singles continued. “But the men display a willingness to fight the enemy, even after being in the line for long periods. One instance that comes to mind is a platoon of the 100th that met a German force three times its size. The Japanese-Americans attacked nevertheless, and not only were the Germans beaten back but our prisoner stockade received many more Germans that day.”
Colonel Singles directs his unit’s battles from the battalion command post, which is often only 200 yards from German lines. Recently when his command post was under a German artillery barrage, Colonel Singles stood calmly beside a haystack. As the German fire increased, two dusty, sunburned Germans crawled out of the haystack and surrendered themselves to the colonel.
The colonel’s wife lives at 605 East 9th Avenue, Denver, Colorado.