"A BRIEF HISTORY
OF THE
34TH INFANTRY REGIMENT"

_________________
Military History Section HQ
US Armed Forces
Far East Command

34inf.jpg (4385 bytes)

 

 

Three units have held the designation 34th Infantry Regiment.  The first 34th Infantry was constituted on January 29, 1813 and in October 1815 was consolidated with The Regiment of Light Artillery.  The second 34th Infantry was constituted on May 3, 1861 as the 3d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment and was reorganized and re-designated the 34th Infantry on September 21, 1866.  This regiment was consolidated with the 11th Infantry Regiment on April 6, 1869 and re-designated the 16th Infantry Regiment. 

The present 34th Infantry Regiment was constituted on July 1, 1916 and organized on July 15, 1916 at El Paso, Texas, by transfer of personnel from the 7th, 20th and 23d Infantry Regiments.  The initial assignments of the 34th Infantry included guard duty along the Mexican border and the training of National Guard units. 

On December 6, 1916 the 34th was assigned to the 7th Division and in August 1918 the regiment sailed for France.  In the closing days of World War I the 34th was moved into the Puvenelle sector in France where it fought with great valor.  For this and subsequent actions against the Germans the regiment was cited by the French government with the Battle Honors of “Lorraine.” 

Following the signing of the Armistice, the 34th remained in Germany as part of the Occupation Army until June 1919.  Upon returning to the United States, the regiment was equipped and set up as the first motorized infantry regiment in the Army.  Constant training and experimentation followed during the period between World War I and II, culminating in the 34th Infantry being selected as the outstanding regiment participating in the Carolina Maneuvers of 1941. 

On December 7, 1941, the regiment was preparing to move to the Philippine Islands.  The Japanese attack of that day changed this plan and the 34th destination was changed to Hawaii.  The regiment arrived at Oahu on December 21st and was attached to the Hawaiian Department Reserve, which, at the time, was engaged in setting up the Island defenses. 

 

 

 

On June 12, 1943, the 34th Infantry replaced the 298th Infantry as a unit of the 24th Division.  The regiment moved to Australia with the 24th Division, and later staged for the Tanahmerah Bay operation that took place in April 1944.  During the actual campaign, the 34th was in task force reserve but assisted in mopping-up operations after the objective, the Hollandia Airdrome, had been seized. 

    Shortly after this initial success of the 24th Division, the 34th Regiment was attached to the 41st Infantry Division for the thrust into Biak Island.  After a two- day crushing drive, the Sorido and Boroke Airdromes were captured by the regiment, which assisted in great measure in neutralizing Japanese resistance on Biak

    A more difficult task for the Regiment was to come in October 1944, at Leyte in the battle for the liberation of the Philippines.  Spearheading the 24th Division’s rapid thrust across Leyte, the 34th remained in constant contact with the enemy for a trying period of seventy-five straight days of combat.  It was on Kilay Ridge that the heroic action of the regiment’s first battalion won the Presidential Unit Citation.  For three weeks this group of men held the tactically important ridge against numberless major attacks by the enemy.  Short of rations and ammunition, the 1st Battalion held its position against great odds, adding an illustrious chapter to the history of the regiment. 

    In January 1945, the 24th was attached to the 38th Division for the Luzon engagement where an unopposed landing was made north of San Miguel.  However, the remainder of the struggle in the vicinity of Subic Bay was particularly hard-fought.  In one battle in the fight for Bataan, Company F suffered more than 90 casualties in one day.  In a two-day period following, the regiment counted 257 casualties. 

    At Zig Zag Pass near Olongapo, the Japanese proved a formidable foe.  From excellently prepared positions in the aptly named pass, they put the 34th Infantry to a severe test.  Zig Zag was a torment of twists and curves, dips and rises, deep and narrow gorges and jutting cliffs to the men of the Regiment as they battled relentlessly to destroy the enemy.  It required many days of bitter fighting, in which acts of individual heroism were legion, to accomplish this mission. 

    The tired men of the 34th thought that surely their time for rest had come, but word filtered down that Japanese had been seen embarking in large numbers from Bataan for Corregidor, and that this was to be their next objective.  The regiment was ordered to seize and secure Malinta Hill on Corregidor from landings on Black Beach near San Jose.  There followed the most violent days of war yet experienced.  The regimental commander declared: “There is no place to go, once you’re there, but forward.  We simply take the hill at all costs and stay there until we’ve killed all the Japs or the Japs have killed all of us…” 

    After Corregidor the Regiment rejoined the 24th Division in the Mindanao campaign, becoming a leading element in this action.  As in other campaigns the regiment took an active part in blasting Japanese forces there, adding tremendously to the success of the operation.  The 34th Infantry Regiment led the rapid advance from Pikit to Digos and fought a fierce battle along the cliffs on the north bank of the Taloma River. 

    In October 1945, the 34th Infantry moved to Japan with the 24th Division and spent the next five years in occupation duties on the Islands of Honshu and Kyushu.