165th Infantry Presidential Unit Citation
Company F, 165th Infantry Regiment, is cited for conspicuous valor and outstanding performance of a combat mission against Japanese military forces in the Okinawan phase of the Nansei Shotot Operation during the period 20-25 April 1945.
On 20 April, during the drive south toward Manchinato Airfield, Company F held an isolated position along the west coast. All supplies had to be brought by amphibious cargo carrier M29c (known as the "weasel") for a distance of almost 2,000 yards, and it was necessary to evacuate wounded by the same method.
When tide conditions were unfavorable, rations has to be carried in and wounded evacuated by hand for over 2,000 yards. During the night of 20-21 April, men not engaged on the outpost line voluntarily sacrificed their sleep in order to hand carry five antitank guns, broken down, which they assembled in the darkness and used against the enemy the following day with devastating effect.
On 24 April, Company F was orderd to conduct a night attack on Mike Ridge, West of Gusukuma Village. They ate a meal at 1700, filled their canteens, and drew ammunition. This was the last food, Water, or ammunition they were to have until the morning of 27 April. At 1920, the enemy laid an intense artillery barrage on the company’s Positions, but at 2230 the attack was launched toward the ridge. Hardly had it got under way before the company ran headlong into a Japanese counterattack. This they beat off, reorganized, and at 2502 launched another attack. Again they ran into a counterattack which they beat off. After engaging in a heavy fire fight for the remainder of the night.
The company assaulted at 1900 the ridge which four other companies had previously failed to capture in their turn. The company commander pushed his men to within 40 yards of the impact area of his artillery, whose axis of fire was parallel to his front line, and, by following the fire at distance, placed his two assault platoons atop the ridge within 20 minutes.
When they reached this point, there were only 31 men left in the two platoons and, within 10 minutes, 5 of these were killed and 2 wounded.
However, in gaining this objective, this small group has killed or dispersed an enemy force estimated at 150. Their medical supplies exhausted and with little ammunition and water left, these men held off, with out food, a series of four enemy counterattacks in force, during the ensuing 6 hours.
At 1600 the company commander again took up the attack. He called for supporting artillery fire between the remnants of his two platoons atop the ridge and the support platoon at the bottom following the friendly artillery fire closely, he succeeded in getting 20 men of his support platoon and company headquarters to the top of the ridge, bringing his strength at that point up to 46 men. Again, he launched an attack, which increased his foothold on the hill to a width of 150 yards.
After darkness, the remainder of the company joined those on the crest of the ridge.
Stripping machine-gun belts of ammunition, the company commander had it redistributed among the riflemen, and, at dawn, launched a determined attack, which by 2610 eliminated all enemy resistance for a distance of 1,200 yards to the south.
When he reported the success of his mission, he was ordered to return to his starting point of the morning and to eliminate the enemy still to his flank on the ridge.
At this time the men of Company F had slept for only 2 nights out of 6 and had not eaten for over 48 hours.
Intelligence estimates placed the number of well-armed and determined enemy soldiers manning the defense sector which Company F breached at being over 500.
The area captured by this greatly outnumbered force was considered such a skillful piece of enemy defensive engineering that the methods of construction and defense became the subject for study by headquarters Tenth Army.
Company F, 165th Infantry Regiment, overcame this elaborate system of enemy defenses through dogged determination, disregard for the privations suffered by lack of food and water, and individual heroism on the part of every member of the command.
(General Order 53, Headquarters 27th Infantry division, 20 July 1945, as approved by the commander in Chief, United States Army Forces, Pacific.) [General Orders No. 100, War Department, Washington, D.C., 7 November 1945.]