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Original U.S. WWII 24th Infantry Regiment 1st Airbase Defense Force Pacific Theater Wood Sign - 22 ½” x 16”

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. In 1921, Italian Army General Giulio Douhet observed that "it is easier and more effective to destroy the enemy's aerial power by destroying his nests and eggs on the ground than to hunt his flying birds in the air." Douhet's metaphor was directed at fellow airmen, pointing out both the great offensive potential of airpower–a radical notion in 1921–and the exceptional vulnerability of aircraft on the ground. Flying machines, even modern ones, by their very nature are thin-skinned, relatively soft targets. Speed, maneuverability, and stealth enable these unarmored vehicles to survive and be decisive in combat. In contrast, an aircraft parked on a ramp has none of these characteristics and–compared with most other ground targets–is triflingly easy to destroy. The vulnerability of parked aircraft was vividly demonstrated by the Japanese at Hickam Field, Hawaii, and the demonstration was repeated by all combatants many times during World War II.

The 24th Division under the command of Major General Durward S. Wilson was based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and suffered minor casualties. Major General Frederick A. Irving took over as the commanding General of the 24th Infantry Division in August 1942. The 24th Division left by ship the USA on 8 August 1943. They arrived in Sydney where they stayed for about ten days before the unit shipped out by train the 1,000 mile trip to Rockhampton. They arrived at Camp Caves near Rockhampton on 8 September 1943. The 24th Infantry Division was assigned to I Corps on 8 August 1943.

On Friday 26 November 1943 General Douglas MacArthur accompanied by General Lumsden and Colonel Palmer of the Royal Army, and his aide, Lieutenant Colonel Morhouse, departed Archerfield Airfield at 0730 hours and proceeded by air to Rockhampton where he was met by General Eichelberger and staff and inspected the Rehabilitation Center, for the 24th Infantry Division and the 41st Infantry Division, and returned to Brisbane at 1830 hours.

At the start of World War II, the 24th Infantry was stationed at Fort Benning as school troops for the Infantry School. They participated in the Carolina Maneuvers of October – December 1941. During World War II, the 24th Infantry fought in the South Pacific Theatre as a separate regiment. Deploying on 4 April 1942 from the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, the regiment arrived on Efate in the New Hebrides Islands on 4 May 1942. A Company was sent to Espirito Santo to clear jungle with the 3rd Naval Construction Battalion Detachment building an airfield at Turtle Bay. Another Company was sent to Nouméa to work with B Co. on CB 3 on Ile Nou. First they worked on extending a Navy landing pier. When that was done they assisted in pontoon assembly. The 24th moved to Guadalcanal on 28 August 1943, and was assigned to the XIV Corps. 1st Battalion deployed to Bougainville, attached to the 37th Infantry Division, from March to May 1944 for perimeter defense duty. The regiment departed Guadalcanal on 8 December 1944, and landed on Saipan and Tinian on 19 December 1944 for Garrison Duty that included mopping up the remaining Japanese forces that had yet to surrender. The regiment was assigned to the Pacific Ocean Area Command on 15 March 1945, and then to the Central Pacific Base Command on 15 May 1945, and to the Western pacific Base Command on 22 June 1945.

The regiment departed Saipan and Tinian on 9 July 1945, and arrived on the Kerama Islands off Okinawa on 29 July 1945. At the end of the war, the 24th took the surrender of forces on the island of Aka-shima, the first formal surrender of a Japanese Imperial Army garrison. The regiment remained on Okinawa through 1946.

This sign was painted by members of the above mentioned Perimeter Defense Force for the Airbase that they were assigned. The “1st Air Base Defense Force” consisted of members from the 24th Infantry Regiment, 197th Field Artillery Regiment and the 134th Field Artillery Regiment. All 3 unit crests are painted on the main body of the wooden “shield” with an image of a paratrooper and an aircraft nose diving on the left and right flank of 1 ABDF.

24th Infantry Regiment DUI: The crest is a white blockhouse with tower masoned and roofed gold below a gold scroll inscribed "SAN JUAN" in blue letters. Attached below the disc a gold scroll turned blue and inscribed "SEMPER PARATUS" in blue letters.

197th Field Artillery Regiment DUI: Consists of a shield blazoned: Azure, in base a lion passant guardant Or, and in fess a lozenge and a fleur-de-lis Argent; on a chief Gules fimbriated of the second a winged projectile, wings inverted, of the last. Attached below the shield a Gold scroll inscribed "A Bas L’Avion" in blue letters.

134th Field Artillery Regiment: The red shield of the insignia denotes the unit’s allocation as an Artillery unit, and the blue saltires indicates the unit’s Civil War service in the Union army. Three alerions on the saltire are adapted from the arms of Lorraine and signify World War I service in France. The motto Omnia Possibilia is Latin for “All Possibilities.”

The sign is in great condition and comes more than ready for further research and display!

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