House Joint Resolution No. 16
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Joint Resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the state of Montana commemorating the honor and valor of Montana's 163rd Infantry Regiment, Montana Army National Guard.
WHEREAS, the official reports emanating from General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters in the Southwest Pacific area and the War Department during World War II recognized the 163rd Infantry Regiment as being instrumental in three key Pacific campaigns: the Papuan Campaign (1943); the New Guinea Campaign (1944); and the Southern Philippine Campaign (1945); and
WHEREAS, in each of these campaigns the 163rd had one or more major battle victories and successful subordinate operations; and
WHEREAS, in the Papuan Campaign, as an organization of the 41st Infantry Division, the 163rd Infantry joined with Australian veterans to win the Battle of Sanananda, the final bloody struggle of the Buna-Gona Operation, which was recorded as the first land defeat of Japanese forces during World War II; and
WHEREAS, in the New Guinea Campaign, Montana's Regiment seized the key Aitape Airfield from Japanese forces with minor casualties and then stormed Wakde Island, under point-blank automatic fire, and defenses of the Toem Foreshore across from Wakde Island reducing and eliminating further Japanese resistance; and
WHEREAS, the 163rd provided reinforcements in the last great battle for New Guinea--the Battle of Biak Island, where they besieged and overran key terrain held by stubborn Japanese defenders called the Ibdi Pocket, a labyrinth of jagged coral ridges and thick jungle; and
WHEREAS, the 163rd's final combat actions occurred in the Southern Philippine Campaign, where operations began with a hard-won victory in the major Battle of Zamboanga on Mindanao Island, and subsequently the Regiment mounted a combat operation to seize the critical Sulu Archipelago and fought and won the bloody Battle of Jolo; and
WHEREAS, in the Regiment's final combat operation of World War II, the 3rd Battalion, 163rd Infantry Regiment was called upon to reinforce the United States 24th Infantry Division and greatly assisted in capturing the city of Calinan located in the abaca jungles of Mindanao; and
WHEREAS, when World War II ended, the 163rd Infantry Regiment was training for the invasion of Japan and actually served as occupational forces from the end of hostilities to December 1945; and
WHEREAS, in some of the most arduous combat against an implacable foe, and from the outbreak of hostilities the personnel of the 163rd Infantry Regiment demonstrated the finest attributes of the American soldier, in their devotion to training, in the association and cooperation with the free people of the great Pacific world to the south, and in the deep resolve to establish the rule of law amongst nations of the earth; and
WHEREAS, the hearts of all the people of Montana, while vibrant with affection for the Regiment, were burdened by the losses of fathers, sons, and brothers, and are fully committed to world peace.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the Legislature tenders to every officer, every enlisted soldier, and the families of the soldiers of the 163rd Infantry Regiment, Montana National Guard, the deepest gratitude of the whole body of our citizens for the great victories that they won, purchased with the blood of many of their bravest soldiers, hopeful that the Regiment will accept this expression as evidence of the continuing respect and the esteem that this state has for the 163rd, and that sustains and inspires us to dedicate each day to aid our citizens in the armed forces today.