443rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion in World War II

ITALIAN CAMPAIGN

FIFTH ARMY FIRING POINT

On 9 April 443rd Battalion Headquarters issued march orders to a new 36th Division bivouac area near Forino, for mountain training. The mild April climate enabled the Battalion to further regain much of its combat-ready status. Then, to everyone’s surprise and consternation, on 5 May a radiogram from the Fifth Army detached the 443rd from the 36th Division and reattached it to the 107th MA Group for seven days training — 7 to 13 May — at the Fifth Army MA Firing Point at Torre Gaveta, west of Lake Fusaro. This apparently was a means of retaining the experienced and battle-hardened 443rd in II Corps since the 36th Division was then transferred to VI Corps and scheduled to move to the Anzio Beachhead. The separation was regretted by all. However, the 443rd moved as directed and was soon engaged in calisthenics, marching, target firing and weapons maintenance. At week’s end the Battalion was inspected by the 45th Brigade’s General Rutledge and his staff. General Rutledge concurred in the following commendation released by Lt. Col. Larson.

The Commanding Officer desires to commend all ranks for the splendid spirit and rapid improvement manifested during the past week of training. It is a source of great pride for me to be able to tell you that Brigadier General Rutledge and his staff, after close personal observation throughout the week, have declared this Battalion to be in all respects the best yet inspected.

Once more the 443rd Battalion has demonstrated that it is able and ready to rise to any challenge. On the battlefields of four campaigns you have proved in bivouac, on the drill field and at the firing line that you are the best soldiers and the best battalion in your branch of service. This record has been made possible by every man’s pride in this Battalion and in himself as a soldier. Your cooperative spirit and your earnestness in pursuit of excellence have been a source of pleasure and of inspiration to those who have observed you. It is a privilege for a soldier, whatever his rank, to be a member of such an organization.

We shall not be content, however, with congratulating ourselves on a task well done. At the same time that we have excelled others, we have learned in many respects how far short of perfection we are. We cannot rest on our laurels. We must and will continue to improve ourselves as soldiers and as members of a fighting team. It is recognized that many of the standards we have set during the past week cannot always be maintained under combat conditions. But, in all matters which do carry over into the field of action, we must and will maintain and raise our standards. This should be a matter of pride to every enlisted man and officer. By so doing we shall always be able, in the future as in the past, to proclaim ourselves without apology the best of our kind ".

— (Signed) Peyton W. Williams, Jr., Captain, Adjutant, for Lt. Col. Werner L. Larson, Commanding.

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