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The original item was published from 12/1/2014 2:56:00 PM to 12/4/2014 12:05:01 AM.

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Posted on: December 1, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Bismarck Historical Society Honors North Dakota’s Own 164th Infantry Regiment, Wed., Dec. 3

The story of the 164th Infantry Regiment in the South Pacific Theater of World War II will be the main topic at a special program meeting of the Bismarck Historical Society to be held at the Bismarck Veterans’ Memorial Public Library, beginning at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, December 3. The public is invited. The program is free of charge. Refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required.

On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on the Empire of Japan following its attack on Pearl Harbor. Ten months earlier, the 164th Infantry Regiment of the North Dakota National Guard had been mobilized for federal service and was in training in Louisiana in case the war then raging in Europe should endanger the U.S. And “They Were Ready”.

On October 18, 1942, the 164th Infantry landed on Guadalcanal to support the 1st Marine Division and in doing so became the first U.S. Army unit to take offensive action against the Japanese in World War II. On April 9, 1943, the 164th left Guadalcanal for a succession of other South Pacific islands carrying the unofficial title of “The 164th Marines” as bestowed by the U.S. Marine Corps in recognition of the courage, stamina, ability and relentless dedication to duty of those, “North Dakota farm boys,” who really “…know how to fight.”

Retired Bismarck school teacher and Bismarck Historical Society Board member Ann Vadnie will present a thorough history of this remarkable band of soldiers and their accomplishments that earned a presidential unit citation, a navy cross, six distinguished Service crosses, 89 silver stars, 199 bronze stars and 2,000 Purple Heart among many other medals and awards for bravery and service.

The narrative will discuss, among other topics, other campaigns of the 164th’s South Pacific service, their equipment, tools, living conditions, photographs, documents, and perils beyond those presented by an armed enemy. In addition to the narrative, there will be special exhibits of 164th memorabilia.

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